King Edward VI School student Arthur Rinaldi, aged 14, suggests we should all get climbing
Climbing has certainly been experiencing a boom in popularity and it’s not hard to realise why.
More and more films and shows depict the exhilarating fear that comes from hanging off sheer rock faces, attached only to a rope.
Two feature-length films about climbing have captured a wider audience, one being Free Solo, Alex Honnold’s terrifying ropeless climb up the 5,000ft El Capitan in Yosemite Park, which was very well received, earning £17 million at the box office. There is no doubt that the film has introduced climbing to a larger audience, who may now want to try to recreate that feeling, and has caused at least a few people to try out their local gym.
Luckily, joining a climbing gym is not too much of a hassle. Over-18s can sign up and be climbing in 10 minutes for about £9 for one day.
Another reason that could have caused the rising popularity of the sport is the abundance of new climbing gyms opening around England. Flat old Suffolk is not the best spot for outdoor climbing, so it makes sense that centres would open to capitalise on newcomers to the sport. I know that places like this were what let me follow up on the intrigue that these films gave me.
Since then, climbing has quickly become one of my favourite sports and I want to explain why.
Often climbing is only thought of as the big wall climbing portrayed in films such as Free Solo and The Dawn Wall but climbing is more diverse than that. The easiest type to get into is bouldering – up smaller walls that you climb without a rope. These climbs focus more on power rather than the endurance required for a tall rock face, and most gyms now focus on bouldering. This is how most people start out. The small walls are friendly and signing up is simple and easy.
Another part of climbing that is often overlooked is the amount of thought that is put in before the climb.
To climb well you must pick your route through the rock very carefully. I know that this is part of the reason climbing is so enjoyable to me, being forced to pick my line up the wall and think on my feet when the line fails. You must also consider constantly about your technique, whether you can even reach the next hold in the position you are in.
But how might someone who has a passing interest in climbing try it out? I would say that bouldering is the easiest to start out at.
The smaller walls are much easier to cope with and you don’t need an expert buddy to belay you from a rope, but if roped climbing intrigues you, you can try it out.
Since I’ve discovered climbing, it has quickly become one of my favourite sports. And hopefully I might have prompted your interest, too.