We're continuing the trend of finally actioning gifts I've given Alison over the last few years. This time it's a session at a nearby (as in walking-distance nearby) climbing wall, something I'd got her nearly two years ago when we first moved to London. Woops!
Like all climbing centres, The Climbing Hangar requires you to go through a supervised "introductory" session before you're allowed to use their facilities. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but whatever it was the reality was a lot more informal and relaxed. For starters, there aren't any ropes involved; this is technically a bouldering facility. In some ways that feels better, as it makes it a lot easier to just pick a spot and get started, but I did find it interestingly unnerving no having a belay when I got into a tight spot. There's nothing to "catch" me if I lost my grip, just the mats below.
It also meant that actual health and safety was covered off pretty quickly, so most of the hour session was just being shown around the three floors, having the colour-coded "path" system explained, and actually climbing. I really enjoyed the first few "ascents", but quickly got myself a little stuck once we moved into the medium difficulty colours. One low climb that saw you going diagonally around an arch completely knackered me, as it was almost all in the arms (I'm more a leg guy 😉). Then, something about the upper floors being harder and so warm made me overheat to the point of dizziness, so I ended up tapping out early and watching Alison for a bit. She was a lot better (who'd have thunk?! 🙃) and managed quite a few more climbs before our time was up and we called it a day.
Overall, it was pretty fun once initial worries were overcome and I'd definitely consider going back. The facility itself is great and surprisingly busy, given its location in the middle of pretty much nowhere. Plus, I clearly need to work on my upper body strength...