It’s been a few months however I believe it still relevant to welcome everybody back into the Westway Climbing centre after the past three stints of lockdowns.
So, welcome back everybody; it’s lovely to see you all again!
2020 was a difficult year for us all, and the climbing community was clearly a little bit desperate to get to the get back to gyms and outdoors what with all the kitchen, stair-well, and table bouldering we saw on social media platforms. It’s such a pleasure to not have to worry about impending lockdowns and in course, having to shut our doors again, now that restrictions are easing up. It is however important that we remember it’s not all over yet and we need to continue to do our part in getting back to normality. As a centre our return to normality allows us to begin hosting the majority of our products, including Beginners Climbing Courses, Lead Climbing Courses, and the remaining classes in our children’s programme. Read down below for a greater breakdown of these courses that are available to you.
To all our members that stuck with us through all of the chaos we appreciate your patience and commitment. Direct Debit Members you will know that you had your payments frozen through the lockdowns and discounted months for the time lost in the months of closure. For our Month Pass and Annual Pass holders your memberships have all been extended by the number of days the centre was closed. Annual Pass Members that purchased their Annual memberships in Jan 2019 your membership will expire mid-September / mid-October.
For the time being we will continue to operate with COVID best practise procedures in mind, including session slots, limited bookings, facemask requirements, and social distancing expectations.
What has been happening at Westway?
GB Competition Squad
In early May (8th and 9th) we had the privilege of hosting the GB Climbing squad in their lead competition squad selections on routes specifically set for the event by the BMC Route Setting Team headed by IFSC route setter, Yann Genoux. The selections encompassed both Seniors (16+ yrs) and Juniors (14yrs – 19yrs). This event was an awesome display of the talent, training, and determination these athletes embody. Some of the routes remain up for our casual members to attempt as well as for those who seek some competitive styled routes to train on. The Comp wall will see a full reset mid-July.
GB Paraclimbing Team
The 22nd of May saw us hosting the GB para team for their training day, which again had the BMC route setting team present to load up our walls with routes designed for the event, this time headed up by Gav Simmonds – again some of these routes have been left up for casual attendees to try and train on, and are much more feasible than the monster 8a upward routes from the competition squad event, so don’t be shy to attempt them!
The operations team has begun revitalising the training rooms with overhauls to their look and feel. AS of this publication date the Woodie Room has been completed along with a new set of holds and layout to get excited about. For those who are unfamiliar with the purpose of a symmetry room, the objective is to train both sides of the body on movements equally, that you aren’t training only your dominant side. The layout will be uploaded to Stōked for everybody to upload their routes on to, and try out.
In kind, the circuit room is now under the same brand of refurbishment for a few weeks and should be completed late July.
Returning to Normal
Now that London, and the UK as a whole is back on track to normality, we are bringing the majority of our classes and courses back in to availability. The NICAS programme and Adult courses will see a return in a limited capacity for a while until we are able to operate at full capacity again. In order to book a children’s class, you will now need to join online where you’ll be directed to the best course for your child according to their age. Adult classes, as well as any private coaching sessions are still bookable through our normal enquiries platforms and in-person with one of our front of house team members.
The NICAS program is aimed at teaching climbing in a structured and measurable fashion so that you and your child are able to determine where they are in their development and progress. We offer levels 1 through 5, although levels 4 and 5 are far more specialised than levels 1-3 and are focussed more on the lead and performance components as compared to that of the top roping modules in the earlier levels.
It’s not too long now until the Tokyo Summer Olympics which will feature Climbing in 3 categories: Lead, Boulder, and Speed. This is the first time ever that climbing will be featured in the Games and will be a huge gateway to our sport as it also finds bloom in the recreational sporting communities today. Climbing has been officially added to the Paris 2024 Olympics as of Dec 8th 2020, which is fantastic news for the continued competitive engagement of professional level climbing athletes. Amongst other notable names for these Games we will see Adam Ondra (CZE) and Alexander Megos (GER) competing in the Men’s events, and in the Women’s events, Janja Garnbret (SLO), and our very own GB athlete, and Bouldering World Cup Superstar: Shauna Coxey. This is going to be an especially emotional event for Shauna who recently announced her retirement from competitive climbing, and the Games will be her last competitive stage. This isn’t a goodbye to climbing from Shauna however, but rather a transition to focussing on her personal outdoor projects that had been put aside for competitive training, especially after her Olympic qualifications and her personal life and ambitions. We’re excited to see what amazing feats come forth from this new perspective of hers.
The event will be conducted in a combined format, which is especially difficult as climbers tend to specialise into one of the categories. All three electives will need to be performed in a single day for the finals, with routes set possibly as high as 8C+ for lead, and v10 for blocs. The speed route is around 6B, and will see no variation, but imagine flying up a 15m long 6B in less than 8 seconds?
If you’ve never spectated a climbing competition, then now is certainly the time to do so! We will be showing the Finals for everyone to spectate, so come along and support these amazing athletes with us as they chase their dreams and push our sport to new heights. Climbing is scheduled to happen between August 3rd and August 6th this year.
Dates to Look Forward to
At the end of July, in anticipation of the Olympics, we will be setting an Olympic style speed wall, along with timers. This wall will likely be in-demand so please keep your fellow climbers in mind when making use of it, and leave time enough for everybody to have go.
While a long time still to come, we will be hosting the British Lead Climbing Championships (BLCC) that were unfortunately missed out last year due to the lockdowns and centre closures caused by the pandemic. Registrations for this even will open closer to the time so keep your eyes open for that.