I’m very aware that I’ve slacked off writing on here, I’ve even avoided reading and commenting on blogs. And that sucks as I love you guys and I’ve done so.e cool bouldering recently. I guess the elephant in the room is Skye. I went up with a large group of climbers and had amazing experiences
I saw sea eagles and golden eagles
I climbed epic hills
Walked to beautiful places
And took a dip in the coldest freshest water you can imagine
And spent time with wicked brilliant beautiful people
But I also discovered fear. I hated the exposure on multipitches. Not helped by rolling a block on to my toe on the first day. I found it paralyzing and to the point where I struggled to lead anything of any grade. Which was frustrating and I felt had a negative impact on those around me.
I swore in the last day I wouldn’t multipitch again. I’m still at that point if I’m honest. Certainly not big ones anyhow which frustrates me as I love the way multipitch gets you somewhere. I don’t know how to overcome it
Im so sorry, I went to Stanage, it was sunny, I climbed and didn’t take any pics. It was great to get the trad rack out and put a few routes up. I’d forgotten what it was like to trust a new belayer but we went with Nat’s friend, Peggy. Which is far more scary when you know she’s lead 8a before. Although it is nice when she says you lead something hard.
Here’s the logbook from yesterday
OK ok I know it’s nothing hard but I am the average climber
OK so climbing grades are a pain. It would be bad enough them changing between countries but often bouldering gyms in the same city use different grading systems here are breakdowns f9r bouldering and climbing to show how they all compare.
Today was one of those rare weekend days for me when I’m free, sadly the weather forecast was rubbish. I hunted through the met office and found a single gap that was centred on Honley. It’s a little place I’ve been itching to go and Amy was up for the risk of weather. On the way in everywhere was raining until an opening in the cloud centred over the crag which developed into a beautiful sunny afternoon
This crag is well off the beaten track but as Amy said, like a lost world. The grades are a little out we felt, but Birch Climb (MVS 4b) and Zig Zag of the same grade stood out. I came away full of adrenaline from Devils Steps, way harder than the recorded grade and I’d recommend a boulder mat under it.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been asked a few times what ‘trad’ is or what gear you need for sport. So I thought I’d do a quick rundown of the main climbing types
Bouldering is a style of climbing that requires no ropes, the climbs are called problems and they tend to be short., the max indoor height is 4.5 metres. Outdoors is similar however you get ‘highball’ boulder problems generally up to around 6.5m. All you need to boulder indoors is a pair of shoes and you may wish to take some chalk too. Outdoors I’d recommend at least one boulder pad, but even this doesn’t have to be expensive. I bought a Grivel one for under £70 (Using gooutdoors price match) and it’s been excellent.
Bouldering is the super popular climbing style at the moment and numbers are soaring in the UK, mostly due to ease of access and fitness benefits.
Sport is a fairly overlooked style of climbing in the UK. You will recognise the style from indoor climbing walls though. Sport is a fairly safe style of climbing you clip your rope into quickdraws that are placed through bolts which are fixed into the indoor walls or rock. They are NOT bombproof. Bolts wear out, you generally don’t know who placed them and accidents still happen.
Sport is again fairly accessible however you do need a harness, rope (probably 30m), ideally climbing shoes and you will need a belay device to climb indoors. Outdoors you will likely need a longer rope (remember to check climb lengths), a set of quickdraws, at least one sling (as you progress you may want more sport specific pieces like a daisy chain but a sling works fine) and a locking Carabiner.
Though there is a fair bit of bolted rock in the UK it is nowhere near at the popularity of the continent. Sport climbing is held back by trad climbers refusing to allow rock to be bolted (too right) Spain is a really popular destination for Sport Climbers with excellent climbing hostels like the Orange House and huge easily accessible crags.
Now things get complicated
Trad climbing is super popular in the UK although it is seen as a little old fashioned (see Alex Honnold’s view here) and many sport climbers view trad climbers as insane.
Trad climbing involves placing gear into the rock, this is generally the placement of cams, nuts and hexes into cracks in the rock and occasionally slings through the rock. This gear is only as good as its placement and sometimes there just isn’t anywhere to place gear.
To trad climb you need a rack of gear, so everything for sport climbing plus whatever you feel comfortable with. The generally accepted rack basics, including a selection of cams (usually 4 to 6) a HMS, 2 locking carabiners, 2 slings and a set of nuts. However most take the same view as me that the more gear you haul the more likely you are going to find a piece that fits.
Trad climbing is expensive to get into, its where most accidents happen; when gear doesn’t prevent a fall or where people fall before placing gear but don’t have the protection of a boulder mat. Trad takes a lot of getting used to and is best accessed through climbing with a more experienced trad climber. Building anchors on trad gear needs to be taught, DONT EXPERIMENT!!!
When people talk about soloing, they are referring to any climb done without gear.This can range from 6m trad climbs done without gear to Alex Honnold doing the Dawn Wall (Go check it) Soling is generally a mind game people climb what they feel comfortable with and for some its the only way to enjoy the exposure of height and the thrill of adrenaline.
I’ve never aid climbed but the best way of viewing it is as a step up from trad where people place gear in the rock but it is to help them climb otherwise inaccessible rock. Aid gear includes small flexible ladders!!!
No E11's, no Yosemite, no hair-rasing solos, just the beautiful art from an average climber