I was just starting to get back into climbing before I left for Europe and didn’t want to lose motivation. So I threw my climbing harness and shoes into my pack for this trip. A quick Google search was all it took to locate the Forteca climbing gym about 10 minutes drive from our apartment. We made an appointment for Paul to get a session of instruction given that he’d never climbed before. It was interesting and I had to do some translation for the instructor (not that I speak Polish but I have climbed a lot in the past so knew the subject matter).
The gym was amazing. While the walls weren’t high, the standard of the holds and ropes was high. While in Brisbane climbing gyms use caribeeners to tie in climbers and grigris to make belaying fail-proof, Polish gyms are old school so you use a figure eight to tie your rope to your harness and it’s bring your own belay device (I had mine with me). I was proud of Paul for giving the sport a go and pleased he was able to belay me confidently. We spent about 1.5 hours playing at the gym, including a pretty solid bouldering session on a reverse sloping wall.
The gym was so professional. Climbers trained intently under the watchful eyes of coaches who set routes for them using long poles as pointers. Children as young as 5 or 6 years old spider manned up the bouldering and climbing walls. And men and women alike with superbly toned bodies made difficult routes look simple. I learned heaps just watching them train with their calm meditative approaches; something I tried to mimic and will continue to work on because I have a long way to go.