Rock climbers, Dungeons and Dragons Players and people who work in IT. The Venn diagram for kink-crossover has long been thus. I did certainly notice that a large number of kinksters in my own statistical sub-set seemed to be very into their rock climbing. Thus began my mission to discover if it worked the other way around, and hopefully meet a new bunch of friendly kink lovers who know their way around a rope knot and harness.
Upon my quest, what should I discover on Fetlife but that there is, in fact, a rock-climbing munch that has already been underway for some months. So, grab your chalk, tighten your straps and let’s prepare to belay into the world of the Climbing Munch.
Finding the climbing munch
Having messaged the organisers, I arrived a bit early to sign in and look around the venue. The staff are pleasant, and though at times it got busy by the kiosk there was always enough room inside. Having not climbed in a very long time, I attempted to undertake a little practice run before the others arrived (humiliation not being one of my kinks.) It was harder than I remembered. Even if you work out regularly, the muscles used are all different, and you’ll feel it then and for the next 3 days in the wrists, shoulders and ankles. It also requires a lot of tactical planning and skilful execution of certain moves to pull off without plopping off the wall onto the crash mats.
Having been reminded of the gruelling nature of this exercise, I went to actually stretch and warm up before I could do myself further damage. There’s a little room with mats, which was pretty chill, and one dude seemed to be asleep on one. There’s also a little gym room with barbells you can use for free. One entrance payment lasts you the whole day, so conceivably a real meat-muffin might climb, work out with weights, have lunch and then repeat.
Joining the munch
Once the climbing munch guests arrived and polite introductions were made, we got straight to it, climbing some routes and watching and shouting encouragement to others as they scaled the footholds. Climbing together as a group seems to be a pretty good icebreaker, as you can support each other when climbing, and console each other collapsed exhausted on the mat.
There were some very good regular climbers there, who made it look effortless, but also some people who had never climbed before and others who just did it now and then. Your skill level wasn’t really important, it’s a mad workout either way.
Was the munch all whips and chains?
Despite being a kink-based crowd doing a vanilla activity, I can’t say the conversation was overly kink-oriented, apart from perhaps the odd shared in-joke here and there, so nobody should feel concerned if they are new to kink either.
After climbing, we made our way on foot to a nearby bar which was so hipster it should have had a septum ring as a door knocker. Drinks were reasonable London prices and there was enough space for us to have a big table together. The music was a little on the noisy side, but the climbing venue and bar changes regularly, so you’ll need to message the organisers if you want to find people.
Attire for the event is vanilla/sportswear, and you can change before the pub if necessary. Honestly, we could have just as easily been a bible study group on a day out.
How does climbing work if you are into kink?
Unfortunately, as this was a freeclimb/bouldering venue, there were no ropes and harnesses to dangle from, putting your trust in another not to drop you. There are still, however, some kinks I can see it working for:
- Humiliation. There’s nothing like falling off the wall in a heap of physical failure and weakness to create that shame arousal
- Sadism. Watching others fail and fall with a splat can be quite satisfying
- Masochism. If you are new to this, prepare for a world of pain, especially to your fingers, but also pretty much every joint and tendon as you hold your weight against the wall with your grip strength
- Chastity. Your hands and fingers really aren’t going to work for the next few days, so unless you’ve charged up your toys, prepare for a self-imposed dry spell
Want to join the London Climbing Munch?
Find the event on fetlife.com and come on the first Wednesday evening of the month. Venues change.
😊GUESTS ARE APPROACHABLE – THE VIBE IS SUPER-FRIENDLY WITH LOTS OF NEW PEOPLE AND BEGINNER CLIMBERS JOINING IN, AS WELL AS SEASONED AND IMPRESSIVE ROCK-CLIMBING FANATICS
😊ATTRACTIVE PEOPLE – OH MY, if you are looking for some bearded man-bun hipster eye-candy with shoulders you want to lick, or petite fairy-like waif-women who scamper across the walls with the deceptive strength and the grace of a chinese acrobat, here is where to come. to be fair, this wasn’t just the munch though, who were all shapes and sizes. the activity clearly attracts some health nuts, whether they are kinky or not. as the venue was 90% non-munch people, it’s probably much the same every day. the general age bracket was early 20s to mid 30’s though there were exceptions
☹ SWINGING FRIENDLY (PROVISION, ATTITUDES) – THe only swinging you’ll do here is from that handhold on the overhang. this is a climbing centre, and though it would potentially be a good place to meet like-minded souls and chat about a shared hobby, it’s not a good environment to try to implement lusty night-game pick up. the munch attendees within the centre, may, however, be swayed if you play your cards right
😐KINK FRIENDLY – though the munch is for kink fans, the venue is not set up as a dungeon. not obviously at least. though there is plenty of opportunity for innocuous sadism and masochism as you climb and watch others fall from the walls
😊 TRANS-INCLUSIVE – as a public sports facility there is no reason for any belief there would be an issue here. the bathrooms are non-gendered and there are private changing cubicles
😊 BODY SHAPE INCLUSIVE – YES, There is no reason to be concerned. if you are very heavy or unfit you may struggle a bit with the climbing, but to be honest it’s hard enough for anyone new to the rock-face regardless
😊 AGE INCLUSIVE – YES, THOUGH under 18’s shouldn’t really be on fetlife anyway
😊 RACIALLY INCLUSIVE – THough the munch i attended appeared to be primarily of the caucasian persuasion (or passably so) there were a variety of nationalities, both within the munch attendees and at the venue in general, which seemed quite multicultural.
😊 COUPLES – YES, some people attended as couples. there is no real advantage or disadvantage to this
😊 SINGLE WOMEN – YES. there were single women in the munch, as well as many climbing at the venue. the munch was friendly but non-creepy so single women shouldn’t have any concerns about attending alone
😊 SINGLE GUYS – Lots of single guys were at the venue and part of the munch. the gender ratio seemed pretty balanced. for once, this is an activity where single guys don’t have to pay a premium to attend, and can flirt in their favourite way: non-verbally, by shows of strength and athleticism
😊 AFFORDABLE AND VALUE FOR MONEY- the munch itself is free to join, but you’ll need to sign up at the climbing wall in the week you plan to attend and pay at the door, plus a sign-up fee, as well as rent some climbing shoes if you haven’t got any (£20.20 in total), and perhaps treat yourself to a coffee or energy drink from the kiosk (you’ll need it.) I got a card giving me 50% off entry at my next visit
😊 safe – there’s a kiosk at the front door where people pay to come in, and some cage-type lockers. you’ll need your own padlock though, or to rent one. you’ll have some disclaimers to sign about your physical safety, as you’ll be climbing and falling off walls (as will others around you). though there are nice mats on the ground to cushion you, it’s still a risky sport. there are no ropes used here, it is all bouldering, traversing and free-climbing.
😊 SPACIOUS – there are multiple climbing rooms with high ceilings, and though the place was quite busy, there was always space to climb. there is also a gym equipment room, warm up and stretching room, and changing rooms. there is a little area to have coffee and chill out for a while if you wish too. if you ARE ARRIVING late for the munch, be warned that on the day i went the venue started doing one-in-one-out, so it should never get overcrowded
😊 WELL EQUIPPED – as well as renting shoes, you can buy things like chalk bags. the walls are set up by colour routes (green and purple being easiest) and you work your way up or across. there were mats on the floor and loo roll in the bathrooms. everything you’d expect at an indoor climbing wall really, minus the rope and harnesses
😊DIFFERENTIAL GENDER PRICING- NO
😊 DIFFERENTIAL COUPLES PRICING- NO
😊ROCK UP LAST MINUTE WITH A FRIEND? shoot the organisers a message in advance so you know who to look out for, and try to arrive before spaces sell out
😊EASY TO GET A MEMBERSHIP? NONE REQUIRED, but if the rock-climbing bug has bitten you, you absolutely can sign up at the venue. the munch is only monthly though, and has no formal membership at present
😊TRANSPORT- though the munch varies which wall they use, this one was 5 mins walk from Vauxhall station. you’d struggle to park nearby, though it might be possible in one of the side roads near whistle punks axe throwing, or similar, in the evening.
😐DISABLED ACCESS? though the rock climbing centre and the pub that the climbing munch went to afterwards were all on ground level, it is unclear what facilities the venue provides to support those with a disability to climb safely. those with asthma may find the powdered chalk gives them issues. it would be best to discuss your specific needs with the staff at the venue to establish what they can do to make the event accessible for you, simply due to the nature of the activity
*Photos are freesourced online for illustrative purposes only and are not of the event
*This review is written from personal experience of 1 event and unicornhunting.blog is in no way affiliated to the event, venue or it’s organisers
*This review was written without financial incentive or payment