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Roof Climbing: The Keepers Guide to Survive Steep Overhangs



Overhang climbing wall
Roofy @ Substation Brixton

From afar, Substation Brixton, the Keepers’ keep, feels like any other climbing gym. 


The place is clean and yet, it smells of toe jam marinade on a hot day. A permanent cloud of chalky particles floats eerily in the air, not unlike springtime in the UK. If you look carefully at the walls, you’ll quickly notice tiny blood splatters. Dexter would go crazy in there.


But there’s a unique feature in our great gym. A special place called Roofy. Apparently, it’s the biggest climbing roof in London. A steep overhang that will either kill you or make you stronger. Or both… Can't picture it? Check out Louis Parkinson’s video on Substation’s Roofy. Still interested in roof climbing? First of all, be ready to shed skin like a reptile. These treacherous holds are always worst than expected. Next, you will grow new calluses capable of shredding the toughest sand paper. And finally, the tendons on your fingers, wrist and elbows will probably stretch too much and tear a little.  Climbing a tough overhang requires a specific technique: 1. Drop your knees to stay close to the wall regardless of the clicking sound in your hips 2. Pull hard with your finger tips until they bleed 3. Push harder with your toes as if trying to crush your toenails 4. Engage your core until you pop the dreaded sport hernia.


Roof climbing is like defying gravity, common sense, and maybe even your own sanity. All at once.


Here's the Keepers quick guide on how to approach Roofy and hopefully conquer it...


The Introvert's Nightmare:

Overhangs are like the extroverted cousin of climbing walls. They demand attention, they flaunt their difficulty, and they seem to revel in the discomfort of introverted climbers who just want to hug the wall and disappear. So, if you ever wanted to feel like a spotlight performer while clinging desperately to a rock face, overhangs are your stage.


The Inverted Zen Master:

Picture this: You're hanging upside down like a bat, gripping tiny holds with your fingertips, and someone yells, "Just relax and breathe!" Really? Zen master, please tell me how to find my inner peace while defying gravity and contemplating the life choices that led me to this moment. If anything, climbing overhangs is a crash course in meditation with an adrenaline twist.


Someone climbing a steep overhang
A Keeper navigating Roofy @ Substation Brixton

The Art of Flailing:

There's a special kind of gracelessness that comes with climbing overhangs. Forget elegant movements and smooth transitions; we're talking about flailing limbs, awkward grunts, and the occasional accidental twerk against the wall. It's less "dancing with the stars" and more "struggling with bad holds,” but hey, who needs dignity when you're aiming for the top?


The Curse of the False Summit:

Just when you think you've conquered the overhang and victory is within reach, you look up and realize there's another, steeper section waiting to crush your hopes and dreams. It's like climbing a never-ending staircase to nowhere, except the staircase is made of slippery holds and existential dread. But fear not, fellow climbers, for the top is not just a destination; it's a state of mind (or so we tell ourselves as we cling to the wall for dear life).

The Gravity-Defying Spaghetti Move:

Ah, the infamous spaghetti move, where you contort your body into shapes that would make a yoga instructor weep and pray that your spaghetti-like limbs somehow find purchase on the wall. It's a move born out of desperation, fueled by adrenaline, and executed with all the finesse of a drunken octopus trying to salsa dance. But hey, if it gets you one step closer to the top, who's judging?


The Summit Victory Dance:

After what feels like an eternity of struggle, you finally reach the top of the overhang. You're bloodied, sweaty, exhausted, and probably questioning every life decision that led you here, but dammit, you made it! So, what do you do? You do the victory dance, of course! 


Wave to the imaginary crowd below, shout triumphantly to the heavens, and revel in the glory of your gravity-defying conquest.


In conclusion, climbing overhang routes is like a rollercoaster ride through the absurdities of human existence. It's challenging, it's exhilarating, and it's guaranteed to leave you with a few bruises and a whole lot of stories to tell. So, grab your chalk bucket, summon your courage, and embrace the chaos of the upside-down world. After all, the best adventures often begin where gravity ends.


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