It’s been a while since we have been to a new wall but we felt that it was time to get to grips with a new challenge. So off to West London, White City to be precise to the Westway Sport Centre.
Situated at the back of the sports centre, through the football pitches and basketball courts, that line the walkway under the A40 and beyond the row of indoor tennis courts. You find a door to a giant freezing tent like structure. One might suspect that the netting joining the ceiling to the walls was a clever way around planning permission.
Before you start your adventure, you have to take a quick test and prove that you can put a harness on, tie in and belay properly. This although stressful to those who don’t like tests, is necessary as the Westway is predominantly rope-work centre. Having seen some strange belaying techniques in other walls this seems like a simple yet effective solution to insure that those inside are doing the right thing.
Inside is packed with high walls, leaving only small gaps and walkways around the structures. Top ropes and lead walls are interspersed around two square towers, over a 100 panel sections, there are some quirky sections too, a small chimney and even a treelike free standing post gives something a bit different. At the top of one of the walls there is a small rope bridge and there is a hole at the top of the chimney which looks like a secret to be explored, probably for kids, we say grudgingly.
For the most part it seems to be a hell of a lot of overhangs and the slab wall in one corner was smothered in kids the entire time we were there, with only easy low grade routes. At the back of the first tower is a nice features wall with lots of routes and even a decent crack line to try if your hands can take a good gritstone rash (clearly ours need some toughening up as we failed miserably to climb it (we will succeed in time!)
The second tower has a very steep overhanging lead wall at the back which looks both imposing and interesting, though we didn’t get to try. On the front side are numerous Auto-Belays and a ton of lead walls.Opposite the overhang is a small bouldering section, with, you guessed it, overhanging routes.
It seems that (having noticed this before), the lockers don’t get used too much, most climbers seem to bring their bags in and dump them on the floor, resulting in a huge mess next to the bouldering mat.
Around the corner there is a small traverse wall and some beast makers and training section, weights, resistance bands, and foam rollers. When you walk a little further through there is a rope and rings to have a go on.
Plus if you want to do some more bouldering, there is another……. overhanging wall!
And at about 60degrees a extreme one at that and with the biggest (deepest) crash mats we have seen anywhere!
There is even a little cave with surprise, surprise an overhanding boulder wall hidden inside the second tower, which is cute!
There do seem to be a LOT of kids classes there during the day and big classes too, over 60 kids at a time running, screaming, throwing bean bags at hoops and each other, skipping and even climbing! The noise drowns out the customary drum and bass that all walls seem required to play.
Her: I have had an arm injury for quite some time now, so I really do have problems with overhanging routes. That being said some of the lead walls looked interesting and the tree structure was pretty cool, though I didn’t try it down to the children (Yuck) I wished there had been more variety slabs and whatnot and heat! It was ok, maybe sometime in the future, but not something I can see myself becoming to attached to.
Him: I like many other walls have been here before a few times in the past. Having previously climbed on the concrete wall that was outside under the motorway. The interior wall is good, this is the first time I really got to do some rope work as previously I only went there was bouldering competitions and a couple of fun sessions. They have got rid of the slab on the bouldering section, which I really liked. Plus the back room was too steep, there as she said needed to be more variety. Why are they so scared of slab work? Like with most walls they perhaps need more route setters with as the two that are setting have very set styles. In all it is still a great wall, lots and lots of routes to try just wish that it was warmer.
And finally there is a cafe (we do love a café after all!) but be warned you might need one of those mortgage things to afford to have a post climb meal here, £12.90 for a large soup and £6,75 for a salad sandwich, err no I don’t think so. We beat a hasty retreat to Ladbroke Grove tube and the Cafe Nérro instead.