Since the beginning of the Year and with all the closures and stuff we have not been Climbing, so with the restrictions lifted and the walls of London finally opening again we were eager to get back and see how it has changed and what it is going to be like climbing post Lockdown.
When the Lockdown hit all Gyms, Swimming Pools and most importantly to us – Climbing Walls shut down and stopped us and most the the UK’s Climbing Fraternity from training. We say most, because we are sure if you lived in Sheffield or the Lake District climbing probably wasn’t limited. However with the lack of climbable rock in our back gardens we were stumped and everyone suddenly wished they had gone and built a Campus Board in the garage.
Now with restrictions lifted we were itching to get back to climbing. This week we decided to re-visit The Arch Acton, why there? Well we have only been there once and it wasn’t the best time to go (in its first week of opening and in the middle of February last year, it was freezing and horrid),
So off we went across London on the Overground, sat in the carriage surrounded by stupid people who are incapable of wearing a mask correctly or even at all. Surely a Face Mask should be worn on the FACE, it’s not a chin mask, an eye patch, a Forehead Mask or even a Wrist Mask, but clearly this is the instruction manual that most Londoner’s seem to have read on how to wear a mask.
We sat stunned at the stupidity and finally made it to Acton in the old Cinema.
Upon entering there is the new standard of perspex screens across the reception and sticky tape arrows all over the floor pointing in a one way system. It’s a fob key entry and contactless card payments as is the norm now, then follow the floor arrows around to the lockers. Once changed at the side of the lockers (we didn’t bother with the changing rooms) we warmed up on the mats next to the traverse wall.
We then went into the main area and realised there was only one other climber in the ground floor area and somewhere high above were a pair of male/female climbers, whose voices we could hear but never saw and that was it. So there was no problems with Social Distancing, no need to wear masks, no distancing from others on climbs, in fact we could have probably climbed naked and no one would have known! (Not that we felt the need to).
Acton Arch is a huge open space but during busy times we guess it could be awkward to climb in the little overhang niches, but that isn’t because of the need to stay away for fear of catching the virus, but simply because you need to give other climbers the space they need to climb safely.
There are plenty of cleansing pumps and the Arch’s choice of Hand Sanitiser is one with a ‘unique’ smell! Which isn’t helpful to a hand covered in chalk.
In all not much has changed and climbing is climbing, you shouldn’t be sharing holds with the man next to you on a wall, you shouldn’t stand underneath someone climbing and in general you tend to stand apart anyway, people don’t shake hands and if you’re feeling ill and having a shortness of breath you probably should not to be at a climbing wall in the first place. It seems that many are still staying away and the numbers haven’t returned to the pre-virus numbers yet and we would recommend if you do need to climb, day climbing is now, more than ever a real possibility.
As for our attempts to climb well maybe we shouldn’t have! Because Ash tripped up on of the oversized steps up to the top tier and thought he had broken his toe – he has just bruised it and it’s swollen and that was the end of his day and Bob tested the solidity of one of the volumes by head butting it and may have a concussion, so we gave up after not that long and decided to go get coffee instead, which turned out to be an equally bad idea, but more on that next time!
So there we go a little post on what we found, have you been climbing post Lockdown yet? What did you think?
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