09 May 2016

Proper outdoor climb

Going outdoor climbing the first time in Wales had been a bit of and underwhelming experience. The routes were very, very easy, and only a challenge for trad climbers, and I am not yet one. The second opportunity I turned down. But then it was a Bank Holiday Monday, and there would be climbing at the very cliff face I had admired just over a week ago, after my trip to Manchester. And this cliff face was bolted! That meant that anyone could lead the climbs. Including me! So I was very tempted. I was also a bit ill. In the end I decided to risk it; fresh air can actually make you feel better, and it was in the afternoon, so I could be in bed early. I decided to go! In my own car, though; normally we share cars to keep pollution to a minimum, but now I wanted to be able to just leave if I wanted to.

It was a beautiful day, so the parking lot was packed. I just managed to squeeze in, and joined the others. This included a dog! Nice. We distributed the kit, and off we were! Soon we came to the cliff face. There we tried to find the bolts of the various routes. Then we kitted up. I was ready to climb.

For some reason, everybody else was keener on staring blankly in the mid distance, or doing some nondescript faffing. What? There's climbing to be done! I couldn't contain myself. In the end I just grabbed a rope, some kit, and a hapless person to belay me. I went up the easiest route; this was a first and starting easy would be the right thing. Furthermore, the others mind not mind me running off and starting things if I did so with a safe route. It actually was fun! And the rope was *just* long enough. I hadn't bothered to check. Oh dear...

Somebody wanted to second my route so I went to another route.  On another slab there were four routes; the one in the corner was rigged. I climbed it too. Easy! Then I wanted to try and lead the next one up, but the people in the corner thought it was too close. I had to move one up! That one started difficult. I tried it along the right hand along the left but I didn't manage. But then the one in the corner was vacated; Tony, our best climber, would lead the one I couldn't do while I would strip the one in the corner. That was fun too!

The easiest route rigged. Magic the dog keeps watch.

Tony on the route in the corner

It was a beautiful day! 

The route I tried but could not lead

Tony leading the route I failed at 

 On our way up (pic by Eifion)

View from the top of the route in the corner

Shameless selfie 

After all that I needed a drink. I also had a flirt with the dog (what will Pi think?). Later I also lead the route in the corner and seconded the one Tony had climbed. The the weather turned. And people started to have had enough. We stripped all the routes, and took our harnesses off. Eifion had brought a disposable barbecue and had lit it up. Now the sausages and the likes were ready! We sheltered a bit from the rain and the wind on the lee side of a rock. Then Tony said he was about to leave, and I decided to join. We walked back; we had barely turned our backs on the others before the weather turned sunny again. Oh well! 

I drove home, quickly ate something and was in bed by nine O'clock. I wouldn't wake up until 8AM! I clearly needed that... but when I woke up I didn't feel any worse then the day before. I had pulled it off!

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