Climbing Rocks!

When Alex was very young, he used to be a bit of a thrill-seeker, always heading straight for the tallest slide in the playground. As he has got older, a cautious streak has emerged. He’s not mad keen on rollercoasters like Fiona is, for example.

But Alex has always enjoyed climbing, and been very good at it. In the summer of 2010 his holiday club took a trip to our local indoor climbing centre ([Klimhal Amsterdam]( He and Fiona both had a great time, and the group leader told me that Alex went straight up the walls like Spider Man. It was Fiona, though, who wanted to to back in the autumn and try out some lessons. Which then led to _me_ taking it up.

A couple of weeks ago I asked Alex if he wanted to come along and try it some time, and I was surprised when he said yes. He usually prefers to stay home and play games, but recently he seems to be restless for physical activity. So yesterday morning we went to the Klimhal and had a _fantastic_ time.

I had been worried that Alex would get a couple of meters up the first wall, look down, and decide that he didn’t want to do this any more. Absolutely not the case. The half-height walls on the first floor were quiet, so we started there. After drilling him on the basic safety procedures, he scampered right up a grade 3 route with no difficulty whatsoever. Then he conquered a few 4s, and by the end of our time he was tackling 5a routes and loving it. Whenever he got tired and needed a rest, I would do a couple of boulders. We were at it for well over two hours. “This is awesome!” he said. “Can we come back again next week?”

It was so much fun to see Alex enjoy himself so much in a physical activity, and to see him so confident in his own natural ability. If he picks this up as a hobby, he’ll be out-climbing me in no time.

It was also great to have an activity that he and I can do together. I loved the time Fiona and I spent playing golf just the two of us in the summer. Sharing moments like that with the kids is precious. If Fiona (and Abi) want to join us next weekend, I’d love that too. But the couple of hours I had with Alex yesterday will stick in my memory as extra special.