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Ain't no mountain high enough for me.

Byline: By Mark Bloom South Wales Echo

Sir Edmund Hillary, Sir Chris Bonington eat your heart out - there's a new kid on the rock!

Those are my thoughts driving down the M4 to scale the north face of the Dynamic Rock Indoor Climbing Centre and place flag Bloomy on its summit.

I'm not the outdoor type, together with nature and all that. Mowing the grass with light and dark stripes is about as close to nature as it gets.

So it was an added bonus that my first climbing experience was in the relaxed atmosphere of Dynamic Rock, Clydach, Swansea, and under the expert eye of Adam Shore.

With safety equipment checked, double checked and triple checked I took to the artificial rock.

After making giant strides like Sylvester Stallone in Cliffhanger, the first third of the rock face came and went.

And as Yazz and the Plastic Population once sang 'The Only Way Is Up.'

Or so I thought - but then came the thinking bit.

Let me explain. On the rock face is an assortment of brightly coloured grips of different design.

Some could hold a gorillas' grip. Others are only big enough for Ronnie Corbett's little finger - a bit like my pockets on a night out with the boys.

I was giving the impression this rock-climbing was a piece of cake and now and again I would shout down to Adam about how easy the first part of the climb was and the tricky bit seemed all ahead of me.

In truth I was taking a bit of a breather, and just when it seemed I was putting my best foot forward, I fell into the novice's trap of climbing with my hands instead of letting the size 10s at the end of my legs do the work.

Now I know what my instructor had said about not trying to overstretch and don't put too much emphasis on climbing with your hands - but hanging around some 30 foot from terra firma it is easier said than done.

You see there was just about enough space to see my foot movements below as I was starving that afternoon and could not resist setting up base camp in a chippy down the road.

A beef and onion pie plus a bucketful of chips later I was ready - come on you can't climb on an empty stomach!

I finally reached the top and it really did feel like I had scaled Everest - Hillary, Sherpa Tenzing and all that.

Right I thought, just gradually drop to the bottom.

'Oh no,' Adam shouts up.'Push your legs against the wall and let go of everything put your arms out and don't hold onto the ropes!'

I suddenly felt I might be greeting that chip shop feast I had demolished just 30 minutes earlier.

'What just let go, are you okay with that,' I answered, knowing full well what the reply was going to be.

You see the man who I was trusting to keep hold of my ropes, pie, chips and all that, was muscular, but lean as a rake. I had cartoon strip vision of me plummeting to the ground and Adam hurtling in the opposite direction.

The words I dreaded came echoing back: 'No worries, you'll be fine - go for it.'

Thank God Adam was right and I was wrong.

It was a great end to a great day and gives you a real sense of achievement.

Firstly climbing to the top and secondly having the confidence in somebody else taking the strain.

Snowdon here I come! Dynamic Rock Ltd; Swansea Indoor Climbing Centre,16-18 Hebron Road, Clydach, Swansea, SA6 5EJTel: 01792 845655info@dynamicrock.co.uk

Climbing: The 12m-high climbing walls host 28 bolt lines spread over 150m2 of slab, 150m2 vertical and 130m2 overhanging walls. In total, the centre will comprise approximately 430m2 of indoor climbing walls with an additional 110m2 of bouldering wall.

The bouldering wall is designed for those climbers who partake in bouldering as an end in itself, but is equally accessible for those who wish to use it for warming up/down. The bouldering wall encompasses approximately 110m2 of climbing surface of various angles from slab sections to steeply overhanging sections, and is 4.5m in height.

With high quality matting, and regularly set new routes, we offer one of the best bouldering facilities in Wales.

Standard entry prices: Non members: adult entry peak pounds 6.50-pounds 7.50

Members: adult entry off peak pounds 5.00 pounds 6.00; concessions peak pounds 4.50 pounds 5.50; concessions off peak pounds 4.00 pounds 5.00. Bouldering gives a pounds 1 reduction

Hire Equipment Prices: Harness (incl. belay device) pounds 1.50; climbing shoes pounds 2.00; chalk bag pounds 1.00; belay device and karabiner pounds 0.75.

Opening Times: weekdays noon- 10pm. Weekends and Bank Holidays 10am - 8pm.

Off Peak Times: Weekdays before 4pm, Saturdays before noon.

Competent climbers will need to register for unsupervised climbing on their first visit.

*Membership costs pounds 10 per year and entitles you to discounted entry. Unlimited Climbing Membership Adult Concessions Full payment:pounds 260-pounds 210.:
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 25, 2006
Words:859
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