Sian is a freelance writer living on the Gold Coast.
Published July 28th 2011
Hanging by your fingertips eleven metres off the ground is a great way to appreciate your mortality. Not only does the heart beat faster with the adrenaline surge but the energy required to haul yourself up a rock face adds to the blood rush.
The overhang challenges advanced climbers
The heart may increase apace but there's nothing scary about climbing at Paramount Adventure Centre's indoor rock climbing venue in West Burleigh on the Gold Coast. Full harness safety equipment is provided and before anyone is allowed near the wall, they must complete a short safety lesson with qualified instructors. Only when the instructor is satisfied the climbers are ready, are they unleashed on the wall.
The centre boasts 850 square metres of climbing walls including a bouldering tower for climbing without ropes, replicated rock face tower, moveable crack climbs, a climbing pole, overhangs, and chimney climbs. There are colour coded climb grades ranging from easy - great for beginners, to extreme climbing for the more adventurous. Coloured modular holds screwed to the wall provide the route and climbers are free to try their hand, or fingers, at any climb they like.
Following the marked routes makes the experiencing more challenging, but if simply getting to the top is the goal then place your feet and fingers wherever you find a hold and go for it. Climb routes are changed often to keep the regulars challenged and with names such as Five Finger Exercise, Desperation Wall, Downhill Racer, and Grumpy Old Man the climbs are sure to test.
Climbing is best with one partner, while one climbs the other belays or controls the rope at ground level, taking up the slack and keeping it locked in place. Belaying is taught in the safety session and is a very easy technique to master. The rope runs through an auto-locking device anchored to the floor which reacts much like a seatbelt. In the event of a fall the rope locks and the climber simply dangles until the belayer lowers them safely to the ground.
Indoor rock climbing is a wonderful family activity and a great sport for children. They are often uninhibited by fear and have an inexhaustible endurance, usually scrambling up the wall like spiders, although they are not allowed to belay others until the age of 12.
Kids were made for rock climbing
As the venue is indoors with ropes and belay systems already in place it's an excellent way to safely learn the ropes or develop technique without having to endure the elements. The entry price allows for harness hire and up to three hours climbing. Sports shoes or similar rubber soled shoes are recommended or climbing shoe hire is available for $5.50.
Rock climbing is a great workout and almost anyone can do it. Strength, stamina, and technique certainly help but are definitely not a prerequisite. Many of the climbs can be conquered with simple determination. Oh, what a feeling of achievement when you reach the top.