The Vault Regulars

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The writing is on the wall.

Probably like most readers of the blog i wish the clock could be turned back. Back to my twenties when the body worked well and nothing was any trouble. Stupidly heavy packs, no mileage too much. Playing football, squash and climbing without a thought.
I eventually stopped playing football and started more serious climbing. It was a big mistake, at the time i didn’t realise how fit football matches and training was keeping me but once you lose that ‘Yard” you never get it back. I loved climbing though and used to climb all weekend without pain or a twinge and the harder the climb the more i loved it.
Eventually Sheila started climbing and she was very very good. Better than i was in fact. Ralph our friend and lead climber was twenty years older than me but as fit as a butchers dog, has many firsts accredited to him and could run up the routes we struggled with. He is sadly no longer with us but he would have been proud of us yesterday.

We started climbing again.

It has been a good 15 years since i last touched a rope and i was a bit apprehensive to say the least. Climbing was about the ratio between power and weight, like a good sports car. I used to weigh 66 kilos when i was in my twenties and now i weigh 76 kilos. The power wasn’t a problem in my twenties but now in my sixties it sure is. So lifting 76 kilos with no strength was going to be challenging.

We had booked a beginners course at Manchester Climbing Centre and we also had my daughter Lisa and son in law Andy with us.

I thought a climbing wall would be much easier than being on actual rock but it isn’t, i can assure you of that. We got kitted up and i found out that bowlines are no longer used to tie on. I had to be instructed on using a double figure 8 knot and was told bowlines were old school. Oh well. All things change.

We set off on a horizontal warm up wall before progressing to belaying each other and getting used to the gear and the different grades of wall attachments. All good fun except that i was immediately noticing  the lack of upper body strength. My legs were ok but my fingers and shoulders were already complaining.
I managed to get to the top of the first wall which i guess was around 30ft or so, the rest of the team did as well and Andy and Sheila were loving it. Lisa struggled a little but considering she has Fibromyalgia  i was impressed with her.

Then we moved up to single climbing on a wall about 50ft high and i didn’t make the top. I just didn’t have the energy to get there and fell off safely. Andy fell off as well and almost took me out on the way down. We were all struggling but laughing about it too. We eventually realised that it was going to take more than one session to get some upper body strength back.

Looking around i was the oldest person in the centre by a country mile. It was good to see so many youngsters and female youngster to boot doing so well. There were some good climbers in there.

Before our session ended Josh our instructor took us into the bouldering room. We found it quite difficult. Maybe because we were all knackered.
We were so knackered that when we had to sign the papers to say we had done a training session non of us could write, we were shaking so much and our fingers wouldn’t work.

But what a good time we had and a beer went down a treat. Oh and the lobster curry.
Here are a few images of the afternoon and thanks everyone.
Boy do I ache today.(Sunday)

The start, Josh on the left.
 Sheila on her way up.
 Sheila reaches the top. Well done.
 Lisa and Me giving the big wall a go.

 Sheila abseiling.
 Self climb and belay wall.
 The main hall.
 I think is was looking for the exit door.
 Andy bouldering.

 Lisa showing good style bouldering.
L-R. Me, Andy, Lisa and Sheila.
Lobster curry at the Spice Lounge, Manchester.


Sir Hugh said...

I started climbing again when I was in my late fifties having not climbed since about 1969. I then climbed with a very good friend until 2003 when he very sadly died from cancer. We were climbing together for over seven years up HVS going out once and twice a week as well as frequenting various climbing walls when weather was poor. I much prefer the real thing outdoors. I hope you continue and I look forward to hearing more.

AlanR said...

Hi Conrad. Before doing this yesterday I would agree that outside is better. However we enjoyed it very much. I have no climbing gear left and I am not about to buy it all again. What I will say is we will hire it and climb the walls again. It goes to show that age doesn't limit you.

Dawn said...

What fun Alan, fantastic

Laura said...

I've always fancied it but have always had the wrong weight/strength ratio and particularly weak in my arms and we'll done you all. Looked like fun!

AlanR said...

Hard work but yes fun.

AlanR said...

Hi Laura. It's worth having a go on the easy walls and just some simple rope education is worth knowing. Give it a go, as you say its fun.

John J said...

Lobster Curry?...not 'This and That' then.
I'm impressed with your climbing (and the curry), well done !

AlanR said...

Yes. Unfortunately T and T didn't have lobster on the menu. We settled for 2nd best. Ha. We had a great time. Can't wait to go again.

Phreerunner said...

Great stuff Alan, keep it up...

afootinthehills said...

Late to the party. Great fun you're having there Alan and Sheila. I climbed from my early teens then in the early '90s a climbing wall was built next door to work so I used that in the evenings and the odd lunch time. I viewed it as a training activity rather than anything else, though it was fun all the same. My last climb was in 2008 with Lynne and by that time I'd developed Dupuytren's contraction in a finger so no more hand jamming for me! Enjoy your future visits - and more lobster of course.

AlanR said...

We will see.

AlanR said...

I viewed it as training! Well so did i until i had a go. I have never tried it before and maybe its an age thing but i never ached like i do today when i climbed seriously.
I might get the team to try ice wall climbing next.

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