Climbing at City Bloc

City Bloc was created in 2009 by a group of 4 former members of the British Bouldering Team. The founders used their years of training and international competition experience to develop City Block into a space that allows beginners to develop climbing techniques, and also offers a place where experienced climbers can further their skills. Our intrepid writer Gemma Bridge gives it a go!

I have been bouldering once before, and still have a lot to learn. So, when I was invited to book an instructor-led session at City Bloc, I jumped at the opportunity, and I was lucky enough to be able to take a friend with me.

City Bloc is located on Kitson Road in LS10. The climbing space has been built in a large warehouse and is right next door to LS-TEN skatepark. The interior of City Bloc is spacious, really well lit and has lots of beautiful plants. There are many different areas inside, in addition to the climbing walls. There is a comfortable sitting area and a café, with sweet treats and a wide variety of hot drink options, which was great for me, as I arrived an hour early for the session. I also really appreciated the safe and secure bike storage area made available.

The cafe

When my friend arrived, 15 minutes before our scheduled session, we registered and got our special climbing shoes. I’m not sure I’m a fan of climbing shoes as they are very squishy, but apparently, they are supposed to be, because they help to keep you on the wall as you climb. Anyway, once we had our shoes on, we were taken on a quick tour around the space by our instructor. I was amazed to see the large gym area for climbers, as well as the range of climbing walls.

Our instructor was keen to let us get stuck in to the climbing, but first, he explained the different walls, and the coloured holds. We started out on the pink, which is the easiest of the climbing options, with the biggest holds and the most options for placing your feet and hands on the wall. We had a go at moving sideways first, getting to grips with how to hold and press. Then, we had a go at some of the harder walls and colours.

Gemma in action

As I have an injury, I was a little apprehensive about climbing on harder walls, but the instructor was understanding and only pushed me as far as I wanted to go. My friend, however, was amazing. She picked up climbing straight away, and our instructor was really impressed by her strength and ability to traverse the wall so well.

We both enjoyed learning new techniques and working out how to get to the top of the walls. My friend did some really cool moves, almost leaping between holds that look impossible to reach. At the end of the hour long session, we both had sore arms but left feeling great. I am hoping that after I recover from my injury, I’ll be able to go back to City Bloc and have another session, during which I’ll have the chance to push myself further and higher.

City Bloc has over the last decade built a team of friendly and experienced staff, as well as a sociable customer base, so it is well worth the experience. I would certainly recommend others to try it, and if you’re new to climbing, to organise an instructor-led session, as it’ll give you the tools you need to enjoy climbing safely, using the correct technique.

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