When the summer weekend weather turns out to be rubbish yet again, with the wind howling and rain lashing down, what else is there to do on a Saturday afternoon?
Going Bouldering is a great option.
The Netherlands might not be renowned for its high mountain peaks or prowess in the world of mountaineering, but if you look, you will find some impressive climbing and bouldering facilities. These are dotted all around the country, but in my home city of Rotterdam, there is plenty of outdoor pursuits on offer.
Monk Bouldering Centre
Monk is very close to my home; in fact, I am lucky enough to live only a walk away. It is a great place and fabulous use of disused space.
In a converted industrial space is the perfect outdoor facility for all the family. Even the kids can enjoy the routes, under the supervision of their accompanying adult.
The floor space is extensive as it contains safety matting on the floor and bouldering routes situated around the perimeter area. These routes vary in the degree of difficulty, with the courses coloured from orange and black routes being the easiest and child-friendly. Right up to red and mint, I guess for the experts among us.
We hadn’t bouldered for some time, so we opted to hang out a little and enjoy an afternoon of freedom. In the end, I was suitably impressed with our progress, and it was difficult to leave.
The climbing area has a great set of guidelines and rules, which highlight safety as paramount. Besides, there are seats for you to watch or house spectators, not climbing.
Towards the end of the main climbing area is a small jungle gym and free weight section, that allows you to practice all manner of strength and conditioning exercises. There is also extensive facilities to practice strength and hand grips. I tried, but after 20 minutes, I felt I needed a new pair of fingers.
Near the entrance is a cafe, shop and changing facility, with showers and storage. The cafe was superb with an extensive range of vegan products, tosti’s and drinks, like coffee, juice and beer on tap. It is a great space and has a cosy and friendly feel, with lots of hip kids and families enjoying this great experience.
Adjacent to the cafe is a small shop, which sells shoes, climbing extras and chalk, which is pretty essential when climbing. Also, there are decks for live music and an area that seems to house local artists work.
To climb at Monk we paid 11 Euros for an Adult and 8 Euros for a child. Also, we added some shoes and they were 4 Euros each. I thought this was good value and felt you got a lot in return.
We also added a few drinks and food, which came to around 40 Euros. It was money well spent and we did have a lot of fun.
On the Monk website, there are many options to pay for a regular monthly ticket, and this will allow you to visit the bouldering centre regularly. Of course, many climbers will opt for this and clearly, it is money well spent if you are going to use it a couple of times during the week.
Would I recommend it?
Yes, I definitely would. I love finding new things relating to the outdoors and adventure pursuits, and it appears they are making an appearance in more and more locations Especially in places that are not necessarily accessible like climbing in the Alps etc.
I thought the whole concept was a great idea, and it provides an excellent space for all ages and abilities to enjoy something exciting, adventurous and new. It had a relaxed feel and was very family orientated, as well as catering for the serious climbers among us.
There is no doubt in my mind bouldering facilities are really excellent and an easy way of redeveloping an outdated or unused space provided recreation challenge and new experiences for others to enjoy.
Well done Monk and thank you for an excellent afternoon!