Summer climbing!

Climbing at Stanage

With overseas travel likely to be challenging and domestic holidays booked up or over-priced, this might be the year to join one of our outdoor climbing trips.

This summer, weather and Coronavirus permitting, we hope to run a number of trips to different climbing locations in England. Cost is in the region of £99 per head, inclusive of all necessary equipment.

PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL UNDER 18s NEED TO BE ACCOMPANIED BY A PARENT OR GUARDIAN.

Full details of dates and locations will be posted on our website, but are likely to include:

The Southern Sandstone in Kent
All climbing is top-roped, so suitable for beginners and upwards. Less than 90 minutes from central London, the crags of Harrison’s Rocks and Bowls are ideal for day trips.

Harrison's Rocks
Harrison’s Rocks

The Peak District in Derbyshire
Mainly top-roped climbing, though we can offer traditional lead-climbing trips for older kids and advanced climbers. Over the years we have climbed at a number of crags in the Peak, including Stanage Edge, Burbage, Froggatt, Bamford, Yarncliffe Quarry and Birchen Edge. Normally our trips run for two days during the week to avoid the crowds. Accommodation is either the North Lees campsite, or a local B&B.

Stanage Edge
Stanage Edge

Portland and Swanage in Dorset
We hope to run both top-roping and sports-climbing trips to these popular seaside climbing areas. Accommodation is either in campsites such as Tom’s Field, or in local B&Bs.

Dancing Ledge, Swanage
Please email us for more details.

Geckos alumni: Rachel

Geckos enjoying a trip to Stanage Edge

Rachel climbed with Geckos for two intervals: the first as a 9 year old, the second as a teenager. She now works as the Comment and Features Editor of a London newspaper and appears regularly on television discussing the media (and cats). Here is her beautifully written and inspirational account of climbing with us and what she got out of it.

Old habits die hard! Rachel still climbing trees in 2020.

I started rock climbing age six. It was inevitable really – I’d been attempting to climb things (boulders, trees, walls) since I could stand, and as my parents hadn’t been able to stop me, they figured I should probably be taught to do it properly. I never stopped. From the week Geckos was founded (I was one of the original class) until today, rock climbing has been a constant in my life. It has taken me all over from the world – from the slabs of Burbage North in the Peak District, to the sheer faces of the Swiss Alps, to the cliffs of Cat Ba Island in Vietnam.

It’s been over a decade since I was officially a Gecko, but the years I spent training with Richard Baxell and his group of instructors instilled in me the skills and confidence that have enabled me to sling on a belay harness and start scrambling wherever I am in the world. No tree or boulder is safe. People think of rock climbing as a solitary sport, exercise for people who don’t like teams. The opposite is true. In what other sport are you trusting your teammates not just with winning, but with your life? From day one I was taught that belaying was far more important than climbing, and that safety was paramount. From before I could read or write, I was learning about trust, responsibility, and discipline. Those are lessons any parent should want to instil in their child from an early age.

As an adult, rock climbing has never been just about fitness – it’s an exercise in problem solving, in confidence, and in resilience. There is no opponent, just you and the rock and your own assessment of what you can do. Of all the sports I’ve ever tried, it’s the only one which engages my brain as much as my body, and the exhilaration at reaching the top of a rock face that looked utterly insurmountable is an adrenaline rush like no other. There is no feeling like gazing down at the ground from 1,000 feet and knowing that you got up there with just your own two feet and ten fingers. What other workout enables you to see the world from an entirely new perspective?