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04.05.20

Dear climbing

While we wait for news of if, how and when we can reopen, there are a number of ways you can help TCA to stay afloat. But one of the nicest ways is to share your climbing story. Some of our respondents have said it feels cathartic to write it down. For others it helps to flex an under-used muscle. Mothership climber, Kate took up our challenge to write her very own love letter to climbing.

“Well, needless to say that I miss you, there is a large bouldering wall shaped hole in my life. As much as I love my fingerboard, rings and home gym items, they don’t fill the void. Even the chossy boulders down Frome Valley are starting to look appealing!

Things have got me to reminiscing about how we first met; a rather too long 18 years ago. Our affair was brief, my young heartbroken by the boy who introduced me to you, and my tendons in both forearms tattered from trying so hard too soon. An old school of climbing wall you were back then, consisting of move-able crash mats and 4m high wall! A short but impacting 5 months that laid the foundations for my passion for you.

Fast forward 5 years, and following a rather random request on a private design forum, I found myself down at a large, west London facility, eyeing you up and enjoying the shirts off 10% more power rule! Burnt off by teeny climbing squad members warming up on my proj. V4 and fumbling up routes with forearm pump, you opened your doors and started my travelling to find you. Rockfax aided, I met you and fab in equally fab locations; I still cannot say Cala Magrana without a northern accent and occasional listen to M80 radio.

After that belay boyfriend relationship ended, my habit for you had taken his place, I stumbled upon a new wall just opened near London Bridge, here my independence and love went to the bouldering part of you. Never have I felt such a part of something, and I was on the fringes! You were my shoulder to cry on, my jokes and banter, my safe space and social outlet, where I could chat or retreat, challenge myself, fail and gloriously succeed albeit infrequently. Here I made your lasting friends and met my climbing love. You were there for us when we met, carried me and my kicking child (she loved it when I jumped off!) through pregnancy and then welcomed us back.

It was then we got to see how beautiful you were through parts of Europe. You demanded we drove roads through France, Spain, Italy and Switzerland to find crags with fierce rock types, scary drop-offs and hidden gems that only the locals knew about, spat me off every one of your problems in the 7’s and shared your humility with me.

We then followed you to a new city, and began a new relationship with a new climbing wall. One that is now called home, with familiar faces, awesome climbing, great coffee and cakes, with new friends to make and keep. You welcomed us here too, like an old friend, always making me feel secure. Taking in our second child with as much love as the first, and sharing that my experience has made me stronger.

And now I say thank you, for being there, for the last 13 years, and I say again that I miss you. I know you are there, and hope that you are well and I know that we will be together again, if not in the old way, in a new way, as things like to change! I’ll see you soon enough, down the wall, or at the crag, under a boulder, at the belay, for a pint at the Miners, at the top, just trimming my nails, after just one more try, gotta do my max hangs, in a bit, come on Joe, laters, see ya, still miss ya!

Kate”

Do you miss climbing? Do you have a nice climbing story to share? We want to hear from you. Read more love letters and submit your own.