By Lulu Goad, Arabic BA
With the first ‘Queer Climb’ having been organised towards the end of 2019, the team at Yonder Climb, in North East London, felt it was about time they brought back this monthly event. The event was truly an evening allowing for the intersection of the climbing and Queer communities. As someone who is a self-proclaimed part of both, the opportunity to attend and better explore this space seemed like an experience I couldn’t pass up.
‘a crossover point for the Queer and climbing communities’
Flyers said 18.00 until 23.00, so naturally most attendees rocked up around the 8 PM mark most likely, to avoid social fatigue from the anticipated Queer speed-friending. Upon entry, slightly windswept, your photo is taken in a ‘don’t ask to see it’ way. Preceded by being handed a red palm sized ‘Hello, my name is..’ sticker to add to your Uniqlo climbing look.
Having had a stretch in the Yonder ‘gym,’ strapped on your climbing shoes and chalked up your hands, it was time to head towards all those avoiding the ‘comp wall.’ In between climbs, groups of people milled about on the mats, everyone introducing themselves to one another, pointing at their sticker in case you didn’t quite catch their name the first time – or for some to indicate their preferred pronouns.
Some were avid climbers and some very much beginners. However, most had found the event via social media, intrigued by an evening of topping out and being able to return to the mats on a slide. Despite initial nerves, especially for those – me – going alone in the hope to find ‘their people,’ it was an inviting atmosphere. The event was easy for those less keen to chat (they could climb) and for those less willing to indulge in bouldering acrobatics, allowing them to keep their feet firmly on the ground. Nevertheless, you weren’t there only to get sweaty and to flash a few of your projects (if that had been your wish). For climbers that like a good session but almost certainly find themselves in the pub later in the day, Yonder was the place! Kitted out with a cafe and bar, pool table and workspace, there’s not a lot you couldn’t get done. So, with access to unparalleled facilities and a crisp Indian pale ale, a ‘Queer Climb’ evening, including a set from the team at ‘Queer House Party,’ was a worthwhile trip up to Walthamstow after all.
Caption: Poster for Queer Climb (credit: Yonder Climbing, Eventbrite)