We have been on a little break from blogging recently and decided what better way to come back than to tell you about our recent trip to The Reach climbing wall.
We have been traveling all over London for the past few years, In search of new places to go and climb. The Reach was one of those places we had been meaning to go, but it was a mission to get to from North London. Well this week we took the journey and it was a long one, Train, Tube Bus and Walk and finally we got there!
After we registered, paid our fee and proceeded to add another key card to the ever growing supply. It was a fairly standard entry fee but you also had to pay a 5 pound registration which is a fairly old thing, not many of the places we have been to have charged that. However I digress.
There is a fair amount of lockers and quite a large check in area, there are two changing rooms and two bathroom facilities. There are various art works and canvases for sale hanging within the reception and posters for upcoming events (there seem to be more than a few) there is a library and I’m sure probably much more however we didn’t fully check it out.
The first thing you notice is that the place is HUGE! There is such a large selection of walls, the most noticeable thing however is that it is not all over hanging!
There are a lot of slabs! My god!
We started off warming up, on the upper level, although there is a big space between the top roping area, it didn’t seem practical to stretch to start off there.
Upstairs there is two sections with various boulder routes, again no shortage of slabs or various angles. There are multitudes of problems of varying grades, which seem to be consistent throughout. They also seem to be able to understand the concept of colorblindness as no red, pink or orange routes seem to be next to each other.
It is odd that you have to walk through the coffee shop, and through a gate in order to get to the boulder area.
On the upper level there is also a training room, with a 45deg overhanging wall, campus boards, the hanging ball things and a few beastmasters.
We proceeded downstairs, to the hanging boulder and though you cannot really see it, there was a small cave with various traverse routes and circuits across the roof.
There is also a really cool painting of Stanage Edge with its various route names and grades, which is from the peak district guide book.
We felt like it was time to get on some ropes, so we started by the boulder on some upright walls, but quickly discovered one off putting thing.
The top rope Belay anchor points are bolted to the roof’s RSJs and are for the most part secure, but a few are set a little bit away from the wall, so are hanging behind the climber and creak and groan disturbingly as you climb. Of course they must be safe but it’s not very comforting to have a creaking girder that you are tethered to (of course as a lead climber you are usually in scarier positions, but this isn’t confidence inducing to beginners and less experienced climbers).
We decided to leave the creaking top-ropes and try the slabs, there are some very simple climbs and some great delicate, balancey routes and they are long too.
If you are a single climber or wanting to train alone, The Reach seem to have more Auto-Belays than any other wall we have been to, there are entire walls lined up with them, There are more slabs and their counterparts of severe overhangs, with long, bold, lead routes, we watched one guy struggling to top out a lead route on the big roof, eventually he dropped – much to my squirming and wincing at watching this!
In the back of one corridor is a really nice little gym, with TRX, weights and campus boards, as well as another little training board.
There was just so much to try and not enough time or energy to do so 😦 Hopefully we will be back soon though..
Eventually we had to give up, due to being exhausted, not because we have climbed anywhere near all the routes and we didn’t try the lead routes.
After all of that climbing we decided a much needed coffee was in order! We both got a Mocha, Ash got a slice of cake and Bob got a Halloumi and salad wrap.
We sat down on the chintzy and twee chairs to tuck in….. Oh My God this was probably the worst coffee we have ever tasted! Ever! We simply couldn’t drink it. The cake was alrighhht and the wrap was pretty much the same though. That coffee rivaled even the worst Clerkenwell coffee it was undrinkable.
All in all The Reach is more than a trek away which is a shame because there is just so much more to try and to do. The atmosphere and route setting is way above the Castles standards and it’s way warmer and various than the Westway.
We will probably be back soon but not as often as we would like because of the distance.
If your local however go! There is no reason not to!