The myth about climbing is that it is too tough for ordinary folk, the task being reserved only for superheroes like Spider-man. But the team at the Arun Samant Climbing Wall is proving that wrong, teaching both kids and adults the art of technical rock climbing. Rekha Shetty heads to the wall; read on for dope on the climbing scene in Mumbai.
The Story Behind a Legend
Nestled in the by lanes of Jayprakash Nagar, Goregaon east, is the Arun Samant Climbing Wall. A climber’s paradise, it is always bustling with people of all age groups trying to conquer the summit of the wall. Arun Samant was a famous mountaineer and was known for scaling many virgin peaks and was a part of many expeditions in the Sahyadris and Himalayas. On May 31, 1999 during one of his expeditions, he passed away in an accident and left a legacy of adventure for many. To keep his spirit for the outdoors forever alive, his family built this wall on his fourth death anniversary, in 2003.
About The Wall
“It all started during an inter school competition where a bunch of kids from Nandadeep school were showcasing their climbing skills and I was left mesmerized by them. I was hooked to the sport and started my training in climbing. My passion for conquering the rocks is still going strong.” shares Rahul Pendse – climbing instructor at Arun Samant Climbing Wall. For Rahul, the passion for climbing started at the age of 10.
The 43 feet high wall has various routes designed for beginners as well as advanced climbers. On one side, the routes are designed for beginners with holds and grips for hands and feet. “The other side is reserved for advanced climbers which includes an over-hanging wall, a narrow rock tunnel, in cuts, bulges and cracks to give them an experience of natural rock. This helps in practicing natural rock climbing.” says Rahul.
Get There Now
Head to the Arun Samant Climbing Wall to get hooked on.
Address: Arun Samant Climbing Wall, Nandadeep High School Ground Compound, Jayprakash Nagar, Goregaon East.
Timings: Mornings: 7.30 a.m – 9 a.m Evenings: 6.30 a.m – 8 p.m (Closed on Tuesdays)
Take That First Step
Beginning your rock climbing experience with initial lessons on an artificial wall is a good way to start. Here, there are permanent anchors fixed on the artificial wall and has a more protected environment for the climbers as they do not have to fix the anchors. Also there are protection mats placed below the wall here. In outdoor climbing, climbers have to place their own anchor on the rock and remove each anchor once they pass through the section.
As with most outdoor sports, rock climbing doesn’t come cheap. What with the safety equipment, international standard harnesses, helmets, ropes, chalk bag and carabiners; it is a sport that needs an initial investment. But here at Arun Samant Climbing Wall, the team is doing a great job at making it accessible for all.
The Drive to Climb
If you are a nature lover, then climbing is definitely for you, it’s a great way to connect with nature and is a great stress buster. In today’s busy life where we are constantly surrounded by people, it acts a great activity to spend some quality time with yourself and definitely makes you stronger and healthier both physically as well as mentally. Let’s be outdoorsy and give yourself the joy of achieving the pinnacle.
Fitness, strength and agility are the first few benefits when you pursue rock climbing as an outdoor sport. But Rahul believes the benefits go beyond the physical. He says, “Rock climbing improves concentration and helps you in being focused. It is great to combine this sport and cross train for other sports like running and rifle shooting.”
“The drive to climb is for everybody. It doesn’t matter if you are 5 or 50. We have school kids, youngsters, office goers and senior citizens coming to learn climbing. Just like there are running groups or yoga groups, the same way we get groups that come in to stay fit physically and mentally and spend some quality time together.” In fact, many corporate teams book the wall for team building exercises.
Bouldering In India
When you are ready to head outdoors, you can also learn the art of bouldering – which is climbing without a harness or ropes. “India is blessed with beautiful and varied landscapes that are suitable for various styles of climbing and some of the best places to climb are Nashik, Badami and Hampi and for Ice Climbing, Himalayas are the best” says Rahul.