White Spider // London // Review
I have wanted to climb at the White Spider ever since I began climbing in London, but it always felt a little bit too far as it is completely on the other side of town for me. But finally, I managed to coordinate things so I could climb there on a Friday night on the way to an outdoor climbing destination. And we managed to get there on the day the gym was celebrating its anniversary...
...and impacted negatively on the experience, unfortunately, because it was really loud and we found it hard to communicate while climbing. Obviously, this is not a permanent feature of the gym, and without this event I think we would have enjoyed it a lot more. Nevertheless, we still managed to sample a few routes, as well as the stalactite roof, which I thought was particularly good fun.
WomenClimb's Grading of Reading Climbing Centre
|Value for Money||3/5|
Grading and routes
The grading on the routes we got on seemed pretty consistent, though I didn't try anything hard due to an injured finger tendon. The routes on the stalactite roof were particularly exciting - it's the only roof climbing I've done with really easy routes. The 6a was very achievable, and fun!
There were walls we couldn't try because some areas were blocked off for competition climbing as part of the celebration, but the walls we did get on had an interesting variety of angles and styles. Most of the walls are around 13 metres high, which felt a little less tall than some of the gyms I'm used to, but the roof has 20 metres routes on it, which can help with stamina training. Overall the center offers over 350 routes on 104 lines, graded from 3 to 8b.
There is also a slackline running across the gym floor, which is a semi-permanent feature, which I thought was a nice touch!
Bouldering at White Spider
The bouldering area was hosting the competition, so I didn't get a chance to try the routes. That area looked spacious, and there are four areas in total with 250 problems, including a large boulder roof cave.
The gym is famous for offering workshops with a range of well-known climbers. On the day I visited there were workshops on offer with Leah Crane, and they are usually around £25 for a 2-hour class, so not too expensive!
Shop & Cafe
There isn't really a climbing shop, but the reception sells some of the essentials, such as chalk, ClimbOn, and a few other little bits. We also found some t-shirts and hoodies with the White Spider logo.
However the cafe is substantial. It is open until 9.15pm during the week and 6.45pm on the weekends with a vast seating area. It offers Fairtrade coffees, teas, cakes and snacks, soups, salads, and sandwiches and picnics are allowed. Everything is very reasonably priced, too.
Training for climbing at Reading
There is a dedicated training area which includes finger boards, system boards, and stretching mats.
White Spider Address/ Location info
White Spider Address:
225 Hook Rise South
Surbiton, KT6 7LD
Just off the A3/A240 at Tolworth Junction
Public transport access:
From Reading city centre take the 6 or 6a bus from Reading Station getting off at Basingstoke road
Single entry: adult member £10.50; non-member £12; offpeak £8/£9