Walls are meant for climbing
Do you want to feel fearless? Do you want to focus on one thing rather than multiple different topics within a class? Does physical exercise excite you to relieve stress? Did that last question make you want to click away? Yes, I get it, at the mention of movement it may seem stressful enough if you’re not leisurely athletic. However, there is usually some kind of will to try something new, even if it is physical. Groningen is a relatively small city compared to other, major university cities. You may as well find out everything this place has to offer if you’re going to study here for the next four years. Even if biking is your daily exercise…
Climbing is the sport I want to discover. It’s a sport that can be done literally anywhere but a safe way to practice for the first time is indoors, with a rope and harness (lead climbing). Relatively north-west of Groningen is a great climbing gym called Bjoeks. Here you can climb under the supervision of instructors or independently, (but even then, you’re technically still under indirect supervision of the instructors) as well as boulder on the outside of the building. Bouldering is basically climbing without a harness or rope but on much shorter walls (5m high max). Does it already seem a little scary? I know I sure as hell was scared to try it but I was more than grateful to have the experience.
Climbing is all about the experience, gaining the experience to have experience, and then having the experience to make more experiences, in a way. At Bjoeks, you do all of this. I gained experience with a quick lesson that lasted for an hour and a half. If you’re completely new to climbing and aren’t sure how ready you are to commit to a full course, this hour is a helpful introduction and another way of forging new relationships with climbing buddies or strengthening a relationship with someone you’ve brought along. And I mean really strengthen because you’ve literally got their life in your hands when you belay them. Convinced, yet?
Yes, it is quite scary climbing up to 18 meters high but after a while, even if you’re completely inexperienced like I was, it becomes really addicting! You become so focused on the one task of finding the right techniques, the right holds, the right weight drops, to pull yourself up higher and higher that you forget about the height. The will to succeed increases evermore, and the sense of achievement and just pure freedom once you reach the top is truly something. If you can climb up 18 meters on a 5b or 6a then you can definitely succeed in your next exam. If you’re not quite aware of it yet, I’m really trying to motivate all the readers here.
Bjoeks also recently had a showing of the film, Reel Rocks, which narrated the extraordinary stories of several revolutionary climbers. These climbers achieved incredible feats within the climbing community but best of all, they achieved their personal bests and then some. Their stories and achievements were nothing short of extremely badass. Names like Alex Honnold, Margo Hayes, and Chris Sharma all make appearances in the film. They have hilarious, colourful personalities alongside their brute determination to just climb more and more. The film really makes you wish you were friends with these climbers.
If I’ve managed to motivate you to just try this sport (and perhaps later, this lifestyle), then head to bjoeks.nl t and book your next climbing appointment!