Rock Up Officially opens this week (22 March) in St Stephens shopping centre, and I managed to head over for a first look. Along with me for the ride was Mama Alice as well as my friend Suzy and her little girl Izzy. You’ll be hearing more from them later.
Rock Up by me – an adults day outAs someone desperate to get their fitness back on track this sounded like a different way to achieve this; after reading it could burn up to 700 calories per one hour session it sounded VERY appealing indeed!
In all honesty, I don’t think my mum really thought much about where I was inviting her to until she got there, but she and I were both super excited when we walked in to what is essentially a massive playground. See how excited she looks!
We dug deep and tried a few walls out, making a little higher up each time. The instructors were really patient and encouraging, advising which walls to start with and cheering us on.
I think the scariest bit is coming back down – basically, stick yo’ butt out and let go! Even from a couple of meters up that feels daunting, but we were in good hands and knew we would be just fine if we did as the instructors showed us.
I had a little go on the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ – nothing to hold on to on the way up, nothing to hold on to on the way down…simply step off. I say “simply” when it’s very clear from this picture that I found it anything but! My mum was actually shouting “jump to mummy!”
I eventually made it just short of the top of one wall; if I hadn’t looked down and wasn’t shattered I would’ve been hitting that buzzer like a boss!
We had lots of fun, felt like we had overcome a little of our fear, and definitely gave ourselves a workout! We can’t wait to go back and give it another try now we know what to expect.
– Wear light and comfortable clothing. Jeans were absolutely fine but definitely a t-shirt or similar on top as you really do work up a sweat. I may even opt for workout clothes next time
– Stay hydrated. Even if you’re not constantly climbing you still get pretty tired, it’s a pretty tough workout, so make sure you have something to drink to keep your energy levels high.
– Do everything exactly as they the instructors tell you. If not you may hurt yourself in some very unfortunate places. I think you know what I mean.
– Don’t. Look. Down.
After being invited to tag along with my 5 year old daughter for a sneak peek and trial Rock Up before its official opening, we couldn’t contain our excitement. Izzy had done this before at a similar venue, but for me, I hadn’t rock climbed or abseiled since my early teens so my excitement was tinged with nerves.
The place itself is very welcoming, the friendly staff are very helpful and nothing is too much trouble – suited for both the beginner and the more experienced, they want you to have as much fun as they do climbing! The brightly coloured walls are nothing but enticing, and designed to allow you to go as high as you feel comfortable.
When it was time to tackle the walls, mum had to step up to plate and show there was nothing to fear. Unlike other climbing walls your lines are automatically counter weighted to you – don’t ask me how, it just works! – so when you’re ready to come down, you simply push away from the wall and gently bounce or glide back down to the mat. This goes against every rational thought and for me was a very mind over matter scenario and my nerves very nearly got the better of me.
Hitting that button located at the top of each wall does gives a certain sense of triumph – just don’t look down before making your way to the bottom again! But once Izzy had seen mummy do it, she was off!
My daredevil rock climber extraordinaire was in her element and didn’t stop until her hour climbing was up and to my amazement she even made it to the top too! Although she had no problem looking down, it was just me! Out done by a 5 year old – awesome ha-ha!
Every wall is open for trying and anyone aged 4 or over is allowed to give them a go (their oldest climber is 80!)– and as long as there isn’t a queue you can climb it as many times as you like until you want to change. Obviously some are more suited to the smaller hands/shorter legs, but if you want to try, then they let you try! Even the soon to be infamous stairway to heaven is open to all ages, making your way from pillar to pillar, it’s a true balancing act with nothing to hold onto, when your ready it’s simply a leap of faith the reach the bottom.
Reasonably priced for the time (and exercise!) you have, we will most certainly be making a number of return visits and no doubt sign up to the after school clubs they are planning on launching in the future.
It’s nothing short of a fun and fantastic activity in the middle of a city.
Perfect for those with both young and older children, the addition of a soft play allows parents to please both their little explorers and young adventurers at the same time! The climbing supervisors put the kids right at ease, with high fives being thrown around at every corner, kids will be confident enough to just get stuck right in – Win Win!
– Let your child explore. With a physical and very adventurous activity like this, it’s hard not to worry. Being adults, we have a tendency to over think things. As parents we know that the more we ask if they are ok, the more worrisome and nervous our children can become.
– Get your little one to trial coming down by themselves at a low height. Get them comfortable with that before letting them scale half way up (or to the top!). There is only one line available on most of the walls and the staff are unable to climb safely up to retrieve anyone finding themselves ‘stuck’…… get them used to trusting the equipment. Once they are happy and comfortable release the reigns, let them challenge themselves and most of all let them have fun!
– Let them choose. Don’t tell them what they can/can’t have a go at or how to do it. The supervisors will make recommendations, but if they want to try a hard wall, let them. They will soon figure out what they can and can’t do – or reach!
– Be patient. If it’s their first time they are bound to be both excited and nervous. Let them change their mind a million times on what wall they want to attempt, or how they want to climb it. Let them figure it out. You may find they go back and forth a lot, deciding where they want to go, but it’s perfect for decision making and building their confidence.
– Mums and Dads – enjoy it too! The arena is safe for your little one to explore! There are plenty of supervisors on hand to monitor everyone and its regulated so it will never be over packed. I wish I had climbed more (my nerves did get the better of me a little – I even hate coming down ladders so doing this was a big challenge for me) but I enjoyed watching her so much I forgot to test myself too! Get stuck in, you won’t regret it and you will have some awesome memories of the day to share together too.
– Most of all… relax and just have fun!