Will Johnston took to Rocktopia last week and won, sort of.

Turns out my limbs are built to climb rocks!

Well, sort of ...

I'm 6ft 4, and I believe could be best described as "gangly".


I've got size 13 feet, so they alone are hard to wrangle at the best of times ... there are not many of those times, if you ask my little toe it would describe its relationship with the couch/table/bed legs of this world as aggressive and disappointingly painful.

But the feet go well at reaching the little and splayed footholds of a rock climbing wall that those with the littler foot/leg would struggle to cling to.

And clinging is definitely how I'd describe my rock-climbing technique.

Similar to how you see baby monkeys holding on for dear life underneath their mum as she runs through the Balinese monkey forests looking for deserving Australian tourists hats, sunnies and phones to pinch. Yup, I cling like a tourist monkey. Though slightly less rabid.

Rocktopia, on Triton Ave at the Mount is a good time indeed. I got there at 6pm — by 6.12pm I'd hired rock climbing shoes ($3), was harnessed up, belay attached, been given a tutorial on how to use all equipment and was climbing my first wall.

It was $20 all up (including shoes) and we could stay as long as we wanted. Almost two hours later I was completely stuffed and had scaled, like a baby giraffe mixed with a sweaty cockroach, multiple walls of varying difficulty. I'd let go of plenty of the hand holds and let the rope/harness hold me. I hate heights and I've never been less scared of them.

It's a great and cheap form of exercise, entertainment and exhilaration.
Some people were clearly pros and literally climbing along the ceiling upside down like geckos, but, unlike many sports, I felt no judgment from them as a noob.

The only negative part about rock climbing I've found is that freakn' autocorrect changes "rock" to "Rick" and people are constantly getting messages from me about this guy Rick I climbed out at the Mount on Monday night and how buggered I was afterwards!


Will Johnston is host of The Hits 95FM Day Show. Live and local from 9am-3pm, every weekday in the Bay of Plenty.