Awesome Walls

‘Ahh, the sharks are going to eat me,’ I yelled as I legged it up a treadmill climbing wall.

The aim of the game is to stay off the floor, to do this you must continuously climb up the wall as it moves downwards.

My brother was on the side setting the speed for me. I seemed to find some hidden energy from somewhere so he decided to make me go very quickly. By this stage we had been at the indoor climbing gym for at least 5 hours.

Next it was his go and I set the wall at a steep overhang and made him run up it super fast. There is a sensor on the bottom so if you can’t keep up the wall will stop moving safely.

The treadmill wall is one one of many great gizmos that Awesome Walls in Sheffield has.

The other great toy is the Kilter Board, this is connected to an app you download. You then can set the level of difficulty you want from your phone. You can also set the angle of the wall by pressing a button on the side of the wall. Once you press go on your phone the wall will light up, the green holds show you where to start, the blue holds are for your hands and the yellow holds are for your feet. The Kilter Board is super hard but great fun.

The main reason we were at Awesome Walls was to practice rope climbing before venturing to the big rocks in the Peak District. Plus that morning it was raining so we needed an indoor activity.

To rope climb at Awesome Walls you need to show a staff member that you can tie in, which means you can safely attach a rope to your harness. This is done with a figure 8 knot and a stop knot. Jonathan had made me practice this and belaying countless times. However, on entry with a pro climber watching me I kept messing it up. They were very helpful and let us in anyway.

To begin with we practiced top rope climbing, where the rope is anchored to the top of the wall. Following this we practiced lead climbing where you have to attach your rope to clips on the wall as you ascend. Then when you reach the top you tie your rope to an anchor.

After we had practised both types of climbing on the small walls it was time to face the mega walls. These are 15 – 23 meters high. And absolutely terrifying.

After tackling a few routes, I tried out the auto-belay climbs. This is where you clip into a rope which is controlled by a machine. You climb up to the top of the wall.

If at any point you lose your balance you’ll free fall for a few seconds before the machine registers your weight and lowers you with control. I managed not to fall which was great. However, at the top I had to essentially fall anyway so the devise knew to lower me. The first time I did this I didn’t want to let go as you can see in the video below!

The second time I followed my brother’s advise, ‘get to the top and without stopping push off the wall, let yourself fall and the machine will lower you.’

Where are your favourite climbing gyms?

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