Edith Shum: Climb Away

It’s time to give rock climbing a try!

One of the first things I knew I had to do when I got to Townsville was to climb more. I’ve been rock climbing for a handful of years, but it’s never been consistent. It was always either too cold to climb, too much school work to do, or to be brutally honest, too lazy to go. But Australia had less excuses to offer- it was never going to be too cold to climb. Climbing, to say the least, is an addicting sport. There’s really no other sport like it, and I’ve dragged enough friends out to say that it is something everyone can do. And don’t fool me if you’re saying to yourself that you cannot climb because you are scared of heights, because I am the definition of someone who is terrified of heights. Heck, going up tall escalators sometimes gives me the heebie-jeebies. But the beauty of climbing is that it makes you forget about everything you’ve been worrying about. Whether that be your upcoming midterm, lab reports, that cute classmate, or that burrito you’re craving, there’s only one thing on your mind, and that is getting up to the top.

I have to be honest though, before coming to Townsville I was a bit worried about whether a climbing community even existed. But was I sure wrong about that! The climbing community here is incredible. Not only is everyone super friendly, but also very knowledgeable, supportive, and welcoming to all new climbers. If you’ve never climbed before, I highly recommend joining RANQ*(Rock Climbers Association of North Queensland). They run trips every weekend (often to Mount Stuart), and the club provides all the gear you’ll need. It’s $40 per day trip, or $80 for a 6 month membership, or if you’re feeling pretty committed, $120 for a year. If you’re unsure about being a member, come along for a day trip, and if you come for another trip, you’ll automatically be a member for 6 months! As a student myself, I totally understand if the price can be a bit steep, but I can guarantee that the friends you’ll make and the thrill you get when you climb to the top and see all of Townsville below is like no other.

When I’m not climbing outdoors, you can find me climbing at two wonderful climbing gyms right here in Townsville. Upper Ross PCYC, is located not far from the university and is only $12. Unfortunately, you’ll need your own shoes here (harnesses are provided), but because it is a small gym, you’ll know everyone there within minutes. Go in alone, and you’ll be coming out with a bunch of climbing friends! The other gym is Hot Rock Adventure Centre** in Aitkenvale. As one of the newer gyms, it also offers yoga classes and a chance to test your balance on the slack line! At $14 (or $20 with shoes hire), you’ll often find many members from RANQ hanging around.

So come and join the fun of calluses, gnarly climber’s hands, a graceful wedge between rocks, a breathtaking view, the best of friends, and you’ll be saying ‘climb away’ in no time!

* RANQ : http://www.climbnq.org.au/

Join their email list: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/ranq

Facebook: Rockclimbers Association of NQ (Townsville)

** Hot Rock Adventure Centre: http://hotrockadventure.com.au/


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