The outdoor climbing wall at Doha’s Aspire Zone, EsQalar Sports, recently opened to the public. For the climbing community, who usually travel as far as Zekreet for outdoor climbing, it has been a long-awaited opportunity to scale new heights in the city. For the rest of Doha’s residents, the newly opened climbing venue offers another great outdoor activity to try out this winter. Of course, kids are natural climbers and scalers and a rock climbing wall is a great way to let the whole family explore new heights in a fun and safe environment.
Exercise for the body and mind
A fun way to exercise, rock climbing engages nearly all the body’s major muscle groups and helps develop core strength, balance, coordination, endurance and flexibility. It also packs an aerobic punch and an endorphin rush. Aside from being an exciting and fun sport, climbing hones your problem-solving skills. There’s no one path to reach the top and you have to be quick on your toes to figure out the safest and best route up. Not only will they burn off some energy and improve their strength and fitness, but climbing can help kids build confidence as well. Climbing improves your ability to focus and to overcome mental challenges, such as fear and fatigue. It is also an incredibly social activity, connecting you with other climbers who will belay for you (secure your rope as you climb), which helps children develop social skills, such as communication, concentration, trust and teamwork.
Rock climbing is a very rewarding sport whatever your age. It provides variety in every climb, a sense of achievement every time you get to the top, and physical and mental challenges that will keep you coming back for more So, grab your ‘rack’, practise your ‘guppies’ and your ‘hand jams’ and ‘climb on’!
Doha Family Rating
If you’ve never tried proper rock climbing before, don’t worry, All beginners must take the top-rope introductory climbing course before signing up to any of EsQalar’s membership packages. The top-rope course runs for three days from 7–9pm for QR375. Attendees will learn the basics of climbing while tethered to a rope that is attached to the top of the wall and how to belay. EsQalar also offers a lead climbing course for those who are ready to move to the next level. The lead climbing course runs for five days from 7–9pm for QR 500. Climbers will learn how to lead a climb and attach the rope to the wall for other climbers. Gear is included in the price for both courses.
EsQalar also offers programmes specifically for children: the schools programme and the academy programme. Both courses run from mid-November to mid-May and offer two levels of instruction with each level running for a three-month period. The first level focuses on climbing skills, such as endurance, flexibility, body awareness and strength, climbing techniques, and using climbing gear. The second level focuses on lead climbing and building on the lessons learned in the first level.
The schools programme caters for schools only, but the academy programme is open to the general public for children aged five to 15 years old. Single day group activities for 10+ children and birthday packages are also available.
All EsQalar’s instructors are experienced climbers, who are certified to instruct and supervise safe climbing. The climbing equipment is checked by staff on a regular basis and the wall is subject to a yearly official inspection.
Doha Family Tips
- Arrive early to avoid the crowds and ensure you get access to the wall routes you want. Weekends will always be busier than weekday evenings
- Don’t forget that with any membership packages you buy, you get free access to the bouldering gym—perfect for honing climbing skills and techniques
Location: Aspire Zone, in between the Grand Heritage Hotel and Aspire Dome, adjacent to Aspire Park
- From Doha, head towards Al Waab and Aspire Park
- From Al Waab Street, turn right on to Al Buwairda Street just before Khalifa International Stadium
- Follow the straight over a small roundabout on to Al Henaizbiah Street
- Turn left into the Aspire Zone site and follow the road towards the Grand Heritage Hotel. Parking is available behind the hotel
Parking: There is plenty of parking throughout Aspire Zone
Contact: 6659-3070, www.esqalar.qa
Hours: General access is Sunday to Saturday, 18:00–23:00, kids programmes operate on a separate schedule
Ages: Three years and up. Children must be accompanied by an experienced adult climber
Fees: Prices start at QR100 for a single adult day pass, QR150 for couples and QR75 for kids. Unlimited access passes for periods of 10 days, one month, three months, six months and one year are also available
Dress code: Dry wicking sportswear that offers comfort and mobility. Climbing gear, including a harness, climbing shoes and chalk bag can be hired at reception for QR25