Being a climber based in Edinburgh can be both good and bad at times
Firstly, there is very little rock to play on after work, which drives a great many of us indoors.
Secondly, Edinburgh has probably got the strongest indoor scene this side of Sheffield and by “strong” I don’t just mean the exceptionally large number of keen participants, but the shear number of very strong punters. This can be a good thing, as there always tends to be motivated people climbing around or above your level when you go to the wall, (at Alien anyway) which can certainly help with motivation levels.
For me however this causes problems, as a year or so ago, if I was feeling weak and crap, then I would go down to Alien2 and burn a load of people off, which would immediately make me feel a whole lot better. The problem now is that this strategy no longer works. Any time I have visited the wall recently, I have left feeling significantly worse than when I went in.
What appears to have happened, is that a very large number of climbers have gotten a lot better and by "a lot better", I mean they are now at pretty much the same level as the strongest climbers on the local scene.
This makes Alien2 a very hard place for a strong outsider to come to, as they will almost certainly get shut down (new angles, new holds, strong locals etc.). This rarely happens elsewhere. When I have been to the other walls in Scotland, I haven't had this problem. Nor do I find that I have had this problem with a lot of the walls in Englandshire. The only reason, however that I have not had a hard time in Sheffield is because it has been good weather when I have gone their to train and I’m the only idiot indoors.
All of the above makes Edinburgh a pretty unique place to train and live and I feel that Alien Rock has been pivotal in creating such a strong and friendly indoor scene.
For the future, I have no idea. At the moment there must be over 20 guys down A2 that are physically capable of doing a Font 8a. The problem being, that many of them will never get out there and actually do one. The other problem is that without the top few guys improving, we end up with a natural ceiling that people aim for and until some seriously strong youths emerge on the scene or someone has a serious breakthrough, this will be the case.