The national sporting scene is assailed by primarily football, rugby, swimming, gym routines with hockey and golf getting the occasional look in yet there is one sport that has seemingly escaped our notice: climbing.

Climbing is shrouded in a fear of heights and that you could plummet from at epic speed with the rope pulled taught thus swinging painfully in to the wall. These fears are not exactly unfounded but certainly exaggerated to such a degree that those who climb are heralded as bastions of either bravery or insanity for undertaking such a perilous activity. Recent avid climber, Leyla Huo (17), divulged to me that ‘climbing is great for the body and is very beneficial since you get to explore the outdoors more which people take for granted these days’. This is a very profound and distinct observation since climbing is frequently characterised as towering walls with multicoloured plastic blobs jutting out of the wall when it is clearly more broad than that.

Leyla also described her personal experience as having been ‘climbing in the mountains since I grew up in Italy and my house was surrounded by a huge mountain archipelago where people would climb and I just grew up with it in my family’. This is a unique climbing origin since it demonstrates the aesthetic beauty in climbing and the sense of connectivity you derive from it, as Leyla put it, ‘climbing is part of me’.

To speak to the more social side of climbing another frequent climber, James Russell (16) expressed that, “I started climbing as a social hobby to do with friends” showing that climbing carries precisely the same camaraderie as say football or rugby. James furthermore went on to claim that “it is good because you can set attainable and visible goals to progress as there are new routes you can move onto”. This portrays with perfect clarity that not only by participating in climbing not only does the course evolves but as do you as a person.

To conclude, as James and Leyla’s testimonies state, climbing can manifest itself in a variety of different ways whether it be outside or in and can produce a vast range of benefits both mental and physical. Give climbing a shot and let it ascend the ranks of the popular sports as it is more than deserving of it.