Climbing outdoor on real rock in London? It’s impossible right? Well, yes it kind of is, I finally managed to get across to the shoreditch boulder in shoreditch park after about ten years of its existence. This is a man made structure, designed to be a piece of interactive art. Although it’s man made it is the closest thing you’ll get to real outdoor climbing in London.
It is made from a sort of concrete and hardcore pour and on the surface are lots of razor sharp crimps, bore holes and semi positive crimpy rails. Online at the UKC website or shoreditch bouldering blogspot you will find routes that other climbers have put up, I had a few hours to spare one day and decided to check it out.
A lot of the lower bore holes have been filled in, I would assume to prevent beginners and children from hurting themselves. This means there aren’t many real easy starts left on this wall and V0 climbs are perhaps now more like V1, so after a quick warm up I jumped straight into an a V1 climb on the right hand arrete of the slabby face starting with a small crimpy undercling, a slopey positive side pull and a heel hook you pop up left hand first to a small sharp but decent crimp then the right hand bumps up to a side pull and through to another’s decent crimp, after this if you are pulling with your heel enough you will Ben able to reach the bore hole while smearing the right foot and after this it’s plain sailing.
After this climb I moved onto what are now regarded as classics, inner city pressure and inner city riot a V2 and a V3 using the obvious rail on the popular west face of the boulder and managed to get the tick on both of these. I then moved onto an unnamed V3 on the same face taking a similar direction to the aforementioned routes, using the right hand arête, start with both hands on the two small very sharp crimps which are usually chalked up and the right foot on the obvious foothold which is pretty slippy, pull through the right crimp and pop up into the scoopy rail continuing up the right arête and finish with the heel to top out. Pretty scary but no doubt my favourite climb of the day.
There are plenty more hard problems to try I believe up to a V8, I found it quite difficult to find the holds without a clear definitive guidebook but there is also still plenty of room for putting up some lines of your own.
All things considered, would I recommend climbing at Shoreditch Boulder? Yes, if you are based in London and fancy the feeling of some "real rock" and the weather is right for it I would say its well worth a session, the climbing is pretty good and the closest thing to rock in London, if the weather is right its a nice park to be in and close to lots of decent places to eat for your post workout nutrition.