08 September 2015
On Friday evening, 7 young people and 2 youth workers from Mary’s Youth Club in Islington, North London arrived at Hindleap Warren Outdoor Centre in East Sussex. The purpose of the residential was to allow the group to learn, enjoy and better understand the sport of rock climbing.
The residential was funded by the British Mountaineering Council’s (BMC) ‘Rock Out’ programme. The focus of the programme is to help embed outdoor adventurous activities (specifically walking, mountaineering and climbing) into young peoples’ lives.
Hindleap Warren is part of London youth. With a membership of over 400 independent youth clubs representing 75,000 young people, it is a great opportunity for the BMC to communicate with young people who may not normally access adventurous outdoor activities.
Folllowing a warm welcome to the centre on Friday, the residential kicked off on Satrurday morning. Hindleap's Instructor's – Dan Osborn and Ben Laddiman – started the group on a purpose built man-made climbing wall. They looked at the 'fundamentals of climbing' and practiced good technique, movement on the wall and the use of proper climbing commands.
The day continued with the young people learning how to belay on the Jacob’s Ladder adventure course, abseiling on Hindleap’s Tower and getting used to fitting the harnesses, helmets and specialist equipment necessary to make climbing a safe sport.
On Sunday, the group visited Harrisons Rocks – a local Sandstone crag – for a day of climbing on rock. The Instructors discussed the local environment, how the rock was formed and the fact that that several million years ago everyone would have been underwater and in the sea!
The group had the chance to climb some classic routes. Due to the training delivered on the previous day on-site at Hindleap, individuals were able to tie the rope ensuring each others safety, belay their friends to keep the rope tight and help advise climbers on what technique could help them climb the route.
What impressed the instructors the most was the determination of the young people over the weekend. They were at all times keen to learn the technical aspects of climbing, and illustrated genuine strength of character when pushing themselves to conquer the routes.
The weekend was a great success and all of the young people were keen to try climbing again. The intention is that the Instructors from Hindleap Warren will be able to work with the same group of young people who attended the residential at a London climbing wall. The hope is that these young people will become ‘climbers’ and enjoy the sport more regularly.
Keep your eyes out for them at a crag near you!