Friday, 19 February 2010


Well since moving to the UK (almost 6 years ago!!) we’ve noticed the difference in the climbing walls available between here and back home in Ireland. Saying that, we’ve not been able to afford the time or money needed for regular access to a wall until this year between studies and work. But with only 2 months of making the weekly pilgrimage to Liverpool’s Awesome Walls I can say that the benefits of even just one weekly session there are clear. Having to make an effort to get there really keeps you keen and focused – we arrive, warm up and then crank out 10 leads each – Without putting any emphasis on grades we’ve noticed them creep up week on week. It’s all good! The big difference is the Barrel wall – concave wall into a roof into a convex headwall. Combined with genius routesetting you’re guaranteed a pump to condition you for what you want to be on in Europe when that holiday comes around! Ian Vickers has been setting the harder routes on the wall up to 8a – but take all the grades with a pinch of salt (they’re indoors after all). Back across the water I’ve been lucky enough to be shown both of Dublin’s Co-op walls. The Brainchild of Michael Duffy – the first Co-op was set up on the Southside in a garage two years ago now. It’s awesome! Then inspired by what they saw, a group of Northside climbers set up the Arch Co-op on the North Strand. They’re both brilliant! Owned and built by climbers to keep them psyched and get them strong. From what I’ve seen the Southside venue is home to the harder problems and a wider variety of holds – makes a difference! The Northside wall might even have more climbable area and the holds are slightly more conducive to easier problems, but at the angle they’re set on climbing there can’t fail to beef you up! It’s interesting to see from an outsiders point of view. I mean I think they’re great and much needed – and I’m sure the proof will be seen over the next couple of years when harder and harder problems get sent by climbers training at these walls. The emphasis of these walls (with the exception of the Coop’s campus board) is on bouldering to get strong as opposed to training. I think that’s a reflection of the often wet Irish weather – when given some space to use for climbing training it gets filled with bouldering area – no systems, warm-up walls etc… just plenty of variety of angles to set problems on to keep people psyched. I especially liked the Coop’s steep board (what it is 50 degree?) it was cool to try some of the set problems – no problem holding the holds but the footholds all seemed to be in awkward places for me highlighting the difference between climbing your own hard problems on the moonboard and trying someone elses! I’d move back to Ireland sooner knowing that those walls are there


Neal said...

definitely one of the reasons I'm still open to suggestion about moving back next year :) good point about just getting strong by doing problems too, it's a great way of doing so, if you can put in the time (remember the good times in DCU....)

Dave said...

Aye... DCU rocked alright! The Good Oul days huh? :o)

Neal said...

Every day is a Good Oul Day :)