Postcoder Contributor Simon Webster comments on the rise of the climb.
I remember the first time I came across the idea of rock climbing without a rope. I was ten years old, and Mission Impossible: II had just been released in cinemas. I went along with two friends and their dad, and as the opening scene played out, beginning with a super wide shot of a menacing rock face high above Dead Horse Point in Utah, and then zeroing in on a speck of a climber who, heavy breathing audible, would dust his hands with chalk each time he went for a new hold. I decided that one day, I toowould do that. Other resolutions I made during the two hours of the film included: learn seven languages, become proficient in multiple martial arts, and, eventually, live the life of an international spy. We got home from the movie, took our shoes off, and slid around on the floorboards pretending to be Ethan Hunt.
Sixteen years later, and most of those fantasies have turned out to be just that: unrealistic. But the unbridled thrill that I felt toward the idea as a ten-year-old hasnt dampened, and it seems like Im not the only one. In the US, bouldering has been going through something of a revolution the last couple of years, particularly amongst young professionals. As a sport, bouldering offers both physical and mental challenges, with technique and approach often as important as brute strength. Climbing gyms, though not without their own little etiquettes, are on the whole highly collaborative, communal places, and the sport acts as a great leveler. Height, it seems – can be both a help and a hindrance, too-big muscles sometimes get in the way, and gender plays no role in determining whether someone will flash a problem or not.
In 2014, Melbournes first dedicated bouldering gym opened: The Lactic Factory in Abbotsford.Creative routes were setamongst a setting of tunes and plants and the crew behind that gym, in response to growing climber numbers, have since set up the second gym, Northside Boulders, in Brunswick,and there are no signs of slowing.
Head down one night, rent some shoes, hang from a wall, and meet some people. I guarantee youll soon be hooked.
The Lactic Factory
Address:1 Studley St, Abbotsford VIC 3067
Address:329 Victoria Street, Brunswick VIC 3056