Climbing with kids. What could go wrong?! As part of our adventure, we’re going climbing in May. We thought we’d first try finding an indoor climbing wall before tackling something outdoorsy. There are a few climbing walls around us that allow four year olds to climb including White Spider Climbing, the University of Surrey and High Sports. To find climbing walls near you try the BMC.
However, we thought Clip n’ Climb would be more fun, especially as it was our first go with our son, so anything that made it more enjoyable was good for us! Climbing purists would probably freak out at the idea of this, but it’s a really great idea for children.
Which Clip n’ Climb did we visit?
We visited the Tonbridge centre. It’s set on a retail park in a warehouse. Inside there is around 25 different walls to scale, all colourful, and differing in difficulty. Some have ropes to help, others are shaped like proper rocks. There’s also a series of steps to climb up; a bit like something you would see at Go-Ape. Not for the fainthearted!
You have to have a 30 minute safety briefing, where you are fitted with a harness, and the rules and how it works are explained. Our son listened very carefully to all this, which surprised us, given he’s only four. Then you are let loose on the walls for an hour. You book in sessions, so it’s never overcrowded. My son didn’t really have to wait at all to have a go on different walls.
The beauty of Clip n’ Climb is the ropes are suspended on a pulley in the ceiling, which takes up the slack as you climb, then slowly lower you down when you fall or finish, so there is no need to learn all the complicated climbing moves with the rope. Perfect for young climbers, or for those who are not sure if they would enjoy it or not.
What was the verdict?
Our son loved it, though he didn’t attempt to go much higher than twice his own height. He loved trying all the different walls, and was easily entertained for the full hour. When I asked him if he enjoyed it, it was a resolute YES. Our poor old younger son who is two desperately wanted to have a go, and I actually think he would have been fine, but the minimum age limit is four, so poor old Bertie had to make do with the police car and a chocolate biscuit at the sidelines. Spectators can watch easily from ground height, or up a level. There’s also a small cafe with cakes, biscuits and sausage rolls and a play area for younger visitors. It’s very noisy – think energetic dance music in your ears for 1.5 hours – which probably didn’t bother the climbers, but for spectators with nowhere to escape – help! Other than that, it was a brilliant experience.
Next stop, outdoor climbing.