A bored 15-year-old turned a wall in her bedroom into a proper 8ft climbing wall – and it only took her a week.
Erin Sloan has been climbing for the past four years at the North West Face Climbing Centre, where she also works as an instructor, but it closed due to coronavirus.
The teenager from Winsford, Cheshire, said: “I just shut my door, put my music in and started drilling. I was very proud when it was done.
“The first thing I did was call my dad to tell him and show him pictures. He was really proud.
“I showed it off to my friend who is also looking at building one who went ‘I can’t believe you have done it!’ I just said ‘Well I have so you’d better believe it!”
“I would not say there was anything too difficult, but I am not the tallest person so getting the boards on with a major drill in your hands was not the easiest part – but I did it in the end!
“Mum was not sceptical. She knew I could do it. It has always been something I am good at – I do DT as a GCSE.
“A lot of my friends are jealous I have the wall!”
The driven teenager wanted to smash gender-stereotypes in climbing.
She said: “I am a girl and climbing is not a female-dominated sport. That is something that drew me to do this. There were a lot of people who were like ‘you are going to build a home wall – on your own?
“I was like ‘Yeah, what’s wrong with that?’ They didn’t think I could do it but I have never been a person to be put down by judgment.
“Climbing is always seen as a sport needing a lot of strength and height. Especially I think in the last four years I have been climbing we have smashed it out the water.
“I want to push gender boundaries in a sport that is relatively new to the world.”
She worked for roughly eight hours for the first two days of building, starting as early as 7am.
Her dad got all the items required and she was lucky enough to have been given some supplies from her boss before the centre closed.
She said: “I wanted to do it as fast as I could to be training again. It had been about three weeks before I had gone onto a climbing board.
“I hadn’t had any major building experience. It is something I have always wanted to do, but maybe when I had my own place.
“I have only been climbing for four years but it has always been something I have been into – as a child I was always climbing up the drawers!
“For the base at the top and bottom I had to seal in some wooden batons. I screwed those in and screwed the bottom board in so the wall could sit on something that was not my carpet.
“Then I got the board, painted the board and drilled the holes, put the metal things in the back, put the boards up and screwed into the wall.”
When it was completed her nine-year-old Labrador Luke could not understand where he was.
“He walked into my room, saw my wall and thought he was in the wrong house,” Erin said.
Before coronavirus hit, she would train about 80 hours a week on and off the wall – off the wall training involved a lot of cardiovascular training including running and cycling.
She said: “I am quite sad it is closed because the wall is a family. It is a home away from home. I spend more time at the climbing centre!
“It is a big part of my life I am not able to go to. That is what made me do the wall. I could have a home away from a home.”
She was even getting sponsorships, came 23/108 in an open-category competition and even raised £500 for Climbers Against Cancer by climbing the height of Everest at The North West Face.
Her target time frame was six months but she only needed three.
Erin has always been active, enjoying running, downhill mountain biking and kayaking.
She added: “I’m not the average 15-year-old. I’m quite confident in the way I speak and most of my friends are older than me.”