Redhill Community Centre’s rock wall now has more than 20 climbs, ranging in difficulty from ‘super simple’ to one that will challenge even technical climbers.
“When I first started working here two years ago, we just had eight climbs on the rock wall,” says Redhill Community Centre’s sports coordinator Sarah Poepjes.
“Now, with funding received from The Lion Foundation, we have got 2,000 holds, so there are about 23 climbs on the wall. They range from grade 10, which even a pre-schooler can do, up to a grade 22, which is very difficult.”
The wall looks like a natural rock formation. Some of the graded climbs use wall features like cracks and overhangs. This requires more problem-solving skills than plywood climbing walls where it is easy to work out where your next move will be.
Redhill Community Centre has a weekly evening rock-climbing session open to the public, but the rock wall can also be booked for group activities.
One such group is home schoolers who come each term. Sarah says she has noticed the growth in confidence among children in this group.
“Often the little ones can’t get to the top—not for physical reasons but because the higher reaches are where their fear kicks in, so it is a mind game for them. But they are awesome. There is one girl who has been coming once a week for the last three terms. Every time she climbs, she gets a bit higher,” says Sarah.
Redhill Community Centre’s rock wall is a boon for the Papakura community. It is competitively priced—just $5 per person on Tuesday evenings—and is near the heart of Papakura and close to public transport. The nearest commercial rock-climbing venue is about a 25-minute drive from Papakura.
“We have also got a really great community of people on Tuesday nights now, helping each other out and improving,” says Sarah.
Next step: lead climbing
The climbing style currently used at Redhill Community Centre is called ‘top roping’: the climber is attached to a rope that goes up to the top of the ceiling, through an anchor, and then down to the belayer, who holds one end of the rope.
The centre is hoping to get lead climbing introduced sometime in 2020. This style is more challenging in that the rope is between the climber’s legs and the climber clips the rope into bolts on the wall.