People always complain about the limited space we get in Hong Kong, which leaves us with nowhere to go and nothing to do on holidays. But, is this really true? Well, it could actually be that we lack the exploration spirit or the drive to find new goals for ourselves, apart from struggling to live in this hectic society.
“Rock-climbing is very self-driven; how far you’ll go depends on how much effort you are willing to pay,” says Wilson Chan, a sports enthusiast, who also used to be a top young archer in Hong Kong.
With the opening of different rock-climbing gyms in Hong Kong, people who want something else to do on holidays started paying attention to this sport. There are various kinds of rock-climbing; namely mountaineer, trad, sport, top-rope, free solo and bouldering.
For Attic V Climbing Gym in Wong Chuk Hang, the focus is on bouldering; Which is to climb both large and small boulders without ropes, just with safety mats, your hands, a pair of climbing shoes and a bag of chalk. Climbers can solve different “problems” and test out a wide range of boulder grades as they climb.
The owners of Attic V, Joanna and Gwie, are both experienced climbers who’ve been rock-climbing in different parts of the world. “I used to be a Hong-Kong-team (climbing) member. I spent days in the gym to train my strength for competitions,” says Joanna. “Now I enjoy climbing as you will never know what to expect! One day you climb a route, the next day you can explore another.”
While I was talking to Joanna, her partner Gwie, who built everything at Attic V, instructed a group of new-comers on safety precautions when climbing.
The gym utilizes a free-flow system. It welcomes basically everyone! On one hand, Gwie/Joanna will give simple instructions on climbing to beginners; on the other, climbers who have basic or expert knowledge can just come in, buy a day or monthly pass, borrow a pair of shoes and start climbing.
Ares Ho, a student from the University of Hong Kong, has been climbing in Attic V for almost 5 months now. He first started when his friends invited him to a trial climb with the HKU Sport Climbing Club. “I am obsessed with bouldering now as I can level up every time with different gradings and discuss with my friends how to climb better,” says Ares.
Last month, Ares joined Joanna, Gwie and a group of other climbers to attempt outdoor wild bouldering. He described the experience as being totally different from those at the gym. “There is so much more to consider when you are out! It was a bit rainy that day, so we had to be extra careful,” says Ares. “The rocks were in shapes that you could not imagine. It was very challenging, but fun!”
Now, knowing what it is like to climb outside, Ares wants to climb better and the drive pushes him to train harder and go further. Another point of motivation comes from his girlfriend, Carol, who broke her leg half a year ago. She is also very passionate towards climbing, as she loves that it is both a mental and physical challenge, and at the same time will help her recover faster.
At Attic V, they also met Wilson, a former archer. Wilson first attempted bouldering as he was looking for some unique activities to kill time. He had never heard of rock-climbing, but he found it rather extraordinary. Since then, Wilson has become a frequent visitor. “The reason why I keep coming now is probably because I bought a two-month pass,” says Wilson.
Well, he is obviously joking as he is now equipped with his own climbing shoes and a chalk bag purchased from the U.S. Since working full-time at a global investment bank leaves him no time to train for archery, he instead chose to spend time on climbing, which he can do whenever he is free.
If you are looking for something new to try, rock climbing can easily be one of your choices! While it tests your balance, strengths and courage, it also gives you some free time to stay away from daily troubles. The flexibility of climbing gyms would also allow you to join in at any available time without constraints.
If you are not so sure about bouldering, you can gain access to other gyms with more climbing support. Don’t let fear stop you from trying things which might bring you new perspectives of life! Go and try rock-climbing, you just might find your new fave hobby.
Here are some of the rock-climbing gyms in Hong Kong that you should try out:
- Attic V Climbing Gym
(Shop B, G/F Tin Fung Industrial Mansion, 63 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Hong Kong)
- Verm City Climbing Club
(4F, 321 Java Road, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong)
- Just Climb Climbing Gym
(G/F, Prince Industrial Building, 706 Prince Edward Road East, San Po Kong)
- GoNature Climbing Gym
(Unit C2, G/F, Wing Hing Industrial Building,14 Hing Yip Street, Kwun Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
Writer: Myra Copy-editor: Nicole Editor: Alexa Online : Sally