Considering our blog is called Climbing Moss and we are both climbers we thought why not do a review of some indoor climbing walls? We wont however be reviewing that much moss (I don’t think)
He has been climbing for a long time, but took a break for a few years and has got back into the hang (see the pun there?) of it.
She was introduced to climbing by him and has only been getting to grips (see I did it again) with it for a year or so.
We have our home wall but we thought we would start with this one.
The Vauxhall climbing wall or Vauxwall is situated in the railway tunnels underneath Vauxhall train station as was formerly a restaurant amongst other things.
On the 1st of May 2014 the new climbing wall opened giving South West London a new climbing ‘gym’
First off its a bit awkward to find, they could really do with some pointer signs or a much better description on how to get there on the website, detailing which exit to leave the train station from.
Once you do find it the centre comprises of three arches.
Prior to your first visit it is better to fill out the online registration and submit it 24 hours before hand, otherwise you have to stand at the reception and fill the form out on an iPad and be charged £3.00 for the privilege.
PAY AS YOU GO ENTRY RATES
ADULT PEAK £10.50
ADULT OFF PEAK £7.50
CONCESSION PEAK £10.50
CONCESSION OFF PEAK £6.50
JUNIOR PEAK £8.50
JUNIOR OFF PEAK £6.50
This pretty standard pricing for a London wall however it is a lot smaller that some of the North/West London walls. It’s also strictly Bouldering and very low bouldering at that compared to some of the other walls I’m used too.
The first room (the left most arch) is comprised of the ‘Competition Wall’ an overhanging wall that is only about 3 metres high at most.
Her: Opposite is a Traverse wall which is only is about 8 moves long, Seriously how is this supposed to be of any use? and again it is only 2 metres high (if that). At the back are some tiny lockers and a tiny, tiny changing area.
The centre room (the one you see from reception) is comprised of a wider variety of walls, overhangs mostly but some verticals too. At the back is a gym area with weights, campus boards, warm-up area and a hard overhanging wall, It’s quite narrow and the door to the first room enters directly under a climbing area, which is really not very safe. I literally walked in under a guy as he was falling off!
The 3rd room has slab wall and more of the same low bouldering walls. It does have a nice little roof/cave area, which makes the most of the low ceilings, but it’s still really small. There is a cafe area and more lockers in the room too.
During peak times the rooms get really busy and quite dangerous for falling climbers and given such a small space with limited wall access to the routes, it was very annoying to have to give up sections to a class of beginners.
Her: When we first got there we went to the so called Traverse Wall where a overly muscle bound guy was standing about with what can only be described as a ‘Barbie Doll’ and she was squeaking about how she couldn’t hold on because it was too hard and the holds were chipping her nail vanish. So he stepped in and tried and banged about, fell off and then moaned it was too hard. This wasn’t even a graded route and when I did the traverse they huffed and vanished from the wall.
Most of the men in the wall seemed to be like this guy, they were all overly muscular in the arms and chest, doing pulls-ups and looking about at the girls, checking them out, but if a female out climbed them they quickly got disinterested and went to look for someone else to show off too.
This wall seems more like a gym for guys to brag that they are into ‘extreme sports’ and to bring their dates to.
However, although it is a low wall, it is good for beginners or those wanting to get more confident in their climbing without having to scale the heights of the other walls. As well as a general improving technique wall, without the fear of hurting yourself from the fall. Which is no bad thing.
The standout thing for me about this wall is the grading and colors of the holds used. Other walls use the very similar color holds for all routes from V0 to V5 (red, pink, orange, brown and flesh, etc), this is a huge problem for me (and I guess others) who are color blind to the red side of the spectrum as every hold on the wall looks exactly the same. Whereas here the colors were all very different and clearly marked all the way up. Also V1 route were actually V1’s not V5’s in disguise.
Him: I wasn’t impressed! It was nice to go somewhere different than our usual wall, but for the same amount of money that we would usually pay at another centre 10 times the size. It was radically low, the competition wall hardly seemed worth getting off the floor as you could reach the top hold just by standing. The traverse wall was ridiculous! For me the most enjoyable bit was the little cave/roof in the 3rd room.
However the grades were consistently good and clever at times, I don’t know if I would hurry back anytime soon.