Sunday, 13 September 2015

King Kong Climbing Centre: Loads of fun for all Apes

While having a conversation with an experienced climber in Needle Sports of Keswick a few weeks ago, particularly with respect to my right arms limitations (which are constantly improving, but may have a limit) I was advised to go to a climbing wall. This would allow for a safe environment where I could work with an instructor and find my current limitations. I’ve had some climbing experience, but things have changed considerably since then.
 
 
 
 
Why?
 
I plan to go further with what I am doing, beyond the grade 2 scrambles in the UK. I intend to go through a scrambling lesson, where rope work is included. A winter skills course here in the UK. And then start at the bottom in the Alps. I’d be interested in looking at Via Ferrata, scrambles and higher altitude walks/scrambles/climbs. But to do this I need to find out how the limited range of movement in my right arm affects what I will be able to do. (If you get the chance to read Kenton Cool’s biography ’One Man’s Everest’ which I will be reviewing you’ll find why I’m not giving up.)
 
 
The Climbing Wall
 
While in Keswick this week I had a day where I wanted to rest my legs a little. So I decided to give the King Kong Climbing Wall in Keswick. Now when you see the advertising and huge King Kong outside what is essentially the Planet Fear shop you get the impression that kids are the target audience. This is not correct and what is inside is actually very sophisticated.
 
Before you start you have to book your session. Prices can be found on their website, but I paid for a private one on one lesson for an hour. This hour cost me £35 and covered several points which I don’t think would have been as easy to do in any other situation.
 
The instructor, Heather, was very helpful and after a brief conversation about my limitations took me through 4 climbs with a brief assessment in-between each climb. I’m not a small guy and Heather coped very well each time I had to repel back down to the floor. She was very friendly and her observations and advice will be very helpful going forward in terms of what I now need to do. I plan to return in around 6 months and see if there has been any improvement.
 
 
Other facilities
 
Besides the conventional climbing wall the King Kong Climbing Centre also has an ice climbing wall, made of real ice. I believe it’s currently the only one of its type in the country. It looks like it might be worth a look next year.
 
There is an indoor caving area and hard play area, both of which look to be aimed at kids. There is a café upstairs, which include lecture and conference facilities. And out front you will still find a shop selling outdoor gear, with an emphasis on climbing.
 
 
Conclusion
 
I found my experience at the King Kong Climbing Centre to be fun and educational. If you fancy a couple of hours having a go at something new, it may be worth a try. I would certainly recommend it.

(Sorry, no action shots, I was too busy trying to not fall off)
 
 
Useful links:
 
Tel: 017687 75907
 
Needle Sports (Highly recommended both for advice, price and quality)http://www.needlesports.com/
Tel: 017687 72227