How hard could climbing really be? That’s what I thought before I had my first lesson…


On Thursday 16th January forty odd Bancroftians, including me, made our way to the Stronghold Indoor Climbing site in Tottenham. The pouring rain set off a dismal mood which was at once silenced as we beheld the spectacular climbs. The amazing compound boasts a large complex with multiple colour-labelled climbs and two huge boulders. First of all, we were split into groups and met our instructors, who started of by talking us through all the different holds, climbing positions, stretches and exercises (crab walks and gorilla runs). I, with beginner’s confidence, drilled through these until we faced our real climbs.


It was only when we saw our first climb that I became slightly apprehensive. That’s when the instructor told us we were not going to get any helmets or harnesses. No helmets or harnesses! Looking up, it seemed quite a dangerous prospect of dropping from such a height but I soon found the soft, spongy floor fun and comfortable to fall onto. My first climb was one of mild terror as my mind proceeded to forget all the advice the instructor had given me and instead told my arms to hang onto the wall for dear life. Of course, I had every disadvantage thrown my way: being rather short and having noodle arms – it was annoying at first watching some of the boys scale the walls, naturally like monkeys. An unnamed student from Bancroft’s said, “Being scared of heights, my first climbs were very scary but with perseverance I have managed to overcome this a lot.”


Now in our third week of climbing I can certainly say that everyone has seen major improvements. And the feeling you have after you finish a climb – the feeling of accomplishment – is amazing, even for those short moments you feel invincible – ready for the next challenge. We, as a group, have not only become more confident and adventurous in our climbs but also more tight-knit – it takes a lot of trust to have someone guide you down from those heights, especially when you are afraid of heights. I would like to thank all the instructors at the site for challenging us to our limits and beyond, even when we couldn’t see the right path. I cannot wait for my next opportunity to climb.