A few years ago we received a very generous donation which has allowed us to build a purpose-designed bouldering wall in the Cranleigh School Outdoor Education Centre. Such is the interest in climbing within the School community that the wall is in use twice a day, most days of the week.
The range of interest ranges from novices (through the outdoor education programme every Fourth Former will have at least one opportunity to climb) to pupils who compete in local and regional bouldering competitions such as the Blokfest as well as some inter-school fixtures. For pupils who can compete at this level, climbing is offered as a sport option; though the training is far wider than purely climbing, taking in aspects of yoga, circuits, power and stamina training.
The performance climbers also help out with the running of the climbing club, which offers the opportunity for pupils who have passed their competency test to hone their technique, either as an end in itself or with one eye on performance/competition climbing in the future.
In addition to using our own wall, we run fortnightly trips to Craggy Island in Guildford, where the pupils can test themselves on extended route climbs or more boulder problems. In fact, we use their competency test as the basis of our own assessment of the pupils’ ability to climb without direct supervision. Trips to Craggy Island are charged as extra, but at a highly reduced entry fee.
Dr Simon Young, Head of Outdoor Education, holds, amongst other qualifications, a Single-Pitch Award (SPA) and has many years ‘traditional’ climbing experience.