My first experience at the RockBlok was 7 years ago, when I came for a taster climb and managed to ‘conquer’ the overhang (possibly with a bit of help from the rope!). Last Summer I started instructing here and have been doing so since, working during breaks from my studies at the University of Birmingham.
While I have been a keen climber for the past 5 years, before working at the RockBlok I hadn’t truly appreciated the impact which the outdoors and outdoor activities can have on people – children and adults alike. By pushing themselves on our climbing wall and high ropes course, people are able to realise new limits; be that overcoming a fear of heights or getting to the top of one of our harder climbs.
This ‘can-do’ attitude which we encourage here at the RockBlok is something which I carry through into my climbing, both on a personal level and in my role as President of the University of Birmingham Mountaineering Club (UBMC). During my time on the committee last year I ran a winter mountaineering trip to Scotland, which culminated in an interview with the BBC! Two of the club members (fortunately not me!) came into difficulties when climbing a winter route in the Cairngorms, reaching a large, unstable cornice which they were unable to get over. Being unable to climb up or down in the white-out conditions the decision was made to call mountain rescue, who had the pair safely back down some 6 hours later! The guys from mountain rescue were absolutely incredible – completely selfless and full of the same ‘can-do’ attitude which we promote at the RockBlok! We were interviewed later by the BBC for a program on the danger of mountains, so keep your eyes peeled for my ugly mug on the TV in late November!
Besides helping to run UBMC, I have also climbed in the Swiss Alps, France, Italy, Spain and all around the UK, as well as trekking in the Himalayas. The enthusiasm I have for climbing, be it in the UK or abroad, is something which I try to put into my instructing at the RockBlok, ensuring any visit will be both an enjoyable and character building one.