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Stop and stare

Aun Ngo

Tue May 12 2009

Tim Addicoat

OVERLOOKING Swanston and Franklin streets, it’s difficult to miss Hard Rock’s huge glass windows.

It has attracted the gaze of many curious passers-by, as they ogle wide-eyed from the street level, at the miniature spiderman-like figures scaling the walls inside. Some even stop to wave and take pictures.

The rock-climbing gym has been bustling since it began trading in the urban jungle of inner-city Melbourne, and has attracted a surprisingly diverse crowd, from primary school to university students, as well as corporate groups.

Tim Addicoat, 22, a casual instructor at Hard Rock, reckons it is an incredible sport.

“It’s a complete body workout. Compared to repetitive gym work, it works your arms, legs, back and core at the same time,” he said.

“You’ll discover improved balance and strength.”

Candice Ng, 25, an experienced rock climber and a regular at Hard Rock, agreed.

“It becomes useful for giving good massages and not having to stop after 2 minutes because you’re tired,” she said with a smile.

The benefits do not stop there.

“When you’re locked outside your house, you can climb the fence pretty easily. I did that. Three times!” she exclaimed.

“It was either climbing up three floors or paying $60, so you’ve got to put your skills to good use!”

Don’t try this at home however, kids.

Inside Hard Rock’s gym, a climber tackles the wall while his partner belays from below. Photo: Samantha Su

For Candice, rock climbing is about the challenge.

“I’m actually afraid of heights. Going rock climbing is my way of overcoming that fear,” she said.

There’s also a sense of friendship when you go with a group of friends.

“In rock climbing, friends help each other out. The climber has to rely on the person belaying, and you build a lot of trust from that.

“It’s a good way to loosen up, and to try something different where people can’t judge you – you really can’t do anything wrong in rock climbing!”

It’s also a great way of meeting new people.

“We put on some music in the evenings, so people come and have a good time,” Tim said.

The city gym receives a lot of newbies to rock climbing. It’s friendly to amateur climbers, and everyone receives instructions on basic safety and passes through a check-off process.

This involves learning how to use the safety ropes, and basic climbing and belaying skills.

“It’s a really quick way of teaching people how to climb, while making sure they know what they’re doing. It’s pretty easy – most people catch on pretty quickly,” Tim said.

If you’ve never considered rock climbing before, maybe it’s time you climbed that wall.

For price listings and membership information, click through to Hard Rock’s website here.

Hardrock, Melbourne CBD
501 Swanston Street, Melb, VIC 3000
Tel: (03) 9631 5300

Opening hours:
Weekdays 12pm to 10pm
Weekends 11am to 7pm