We were very lucky to be offered a free climb at Vertical Chill, so a big thanks to the team there. This was our first outing to the wall, after hearing a lot about it, so we were super excited.
Vertical Chill is situated at the back of the Ellis Brigham shop in Covent Garden and it was great to see that the place was absolutely heaving with weekend shoppers!
There was already a large group on the wall ahead of us (who joyfully photobombed our picture)
so we happily waited our turn and chatted to our instructor Maliposia (I hope that is spelt Right) and Adrian, who made us feel very welcome.
After a short but necessary safety briefing we hit the wall. The Vertical Chill wall is a compact 8m high horse shoe. It is set over 2 floors of the shop so it means you have a constant flow of spectators on both floors avidly gawking as you make your assents.
The wall normally has 3 lines running but due to some cracking on the left hand side they had taken this one out of action, and unfortunately the mixed wall too. The 2 lines that were running were “The Slab” and sufficiently named “Overhang”!
Jim and I both attempted The Slab first to get used to being back in crampons and climbing on ice, but this was a relative breeze, so we worked our way up to Overhang. The Overhang as the name suggests was fierce and needed a good swing over the top with box axes and enough confidence in the connection to take your full weight. This then allowed you to get a leg up and over and pull the other over with it, it a very ungraceful way.
In the hour session we had a good 4/5 goes each at the walls so felt we had a good stint. Although you get a relatively short time on the wall during the session, we feel this is must do activity for any London climbers out there. As how often can you say that you’ve been ice climbing in London?!
Check out more information in our Vertical Chill section of the London Climbing Guide.