Interview: What is it like to 'rock out' on a BMC subsidised climbing course?

Posted by Will Harris on 15/07/2014
Participants enjoy a BMC subsidised course at Plas y Brenin
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We caught up with Holly Rayfield, 15, from Harrogate to find out about her experiences on a recent BMC subsidised outdoor climbing course.

The BMC subsidises a number of outdoor skills courses, all using funds provided by Sport England. Whether you are making the progression from indoor to outdoor climbing, or want to pick up some tips on hill walking, scrambling or winter mountaineering, there is a course for you. Many of these courses take place at Plas y Brenin, the National Mountain Centre in Capel Curig, North Wales. 

We also offer subsidised indoor to outdoor climbing courses at a regional level, in partnership with local climbing walls. These courses are aimed specifically at 14 to 25 year olds, hoping to give the next generation of climbers the opportunity to progress from indoor to outdoor climbing. Harrogate Climbing Centre offers such courses, and we asked Holly Rayfield, a recent participant on one of these courses, how she found it.

Interview

How did you start climbing indoors?
A friend invited me to come along to a weekly club and I immediately loved it so carried on.

How long have you been climbing indoors?
Just over three years.

You recently took part in a BMC subsidised outdoor course. How did you find out about it and where did it take place?
A member of staff at my local wall told me about it.  We went to Almscliffe Crag, about 15 minutes drive from where I live.

How did you find climbing on rock for the first time?
I really enjoyed climbing on rock as it was good to transfer everything I have learned from indoor climbing onto real rock.

How did climbing on the rock differ to pulling on plastic? Was it easy to read the route?
The rock was different in the sense that there were few huge juggy holds so you have to be more technical about how you moved. Reading the routes wasn't too difficult but it did take more time than when you're indoors because the holds aren't brightly coloured so you have to find them yourself.

What did you enjoy about the course?
I enjoyed having the opportunity to climb outdoors and experience what climbing on rock is like after having climbed indoors for some time. It was also a sunny day which is always good!

What did you find challenging about making the switch from indoors to outdoors?
Mainly the little things, like having to work out where the hand and footholds were and not having the grade written at the bottom of the route. It was tricky at first but after a while I got used to it and it became easier.

Have you got any plans to continue climbing outdoors?
Yes! I have a lot of friends who climb outdoors so I'm planning to go with them over the summer and I'm also interested in doing more courses like this when I can.

What are your climbing aspirations?
I'd like to continue climbing and competing (and hopefully improving) as I am now. I'd also like to continue coaching younger climbers, something which I have been doing a lot of and really enjoying recently. In terms of climbing outdoors I'd love for it to become something I do regularly and I'd like to spend some time travelling and climbing outdoors in other parts of the world.

Would you recommend the course to others?
Yes, definitely. I think it's a great starting point for climbing outdoors and a good experience for anyone wanting to get out on the rock.

Holly climbing indoors before making the move outside.

Want to know more about our courses?

Find out about regional courses near you.

Learn more about a wide range of BMC subsidised courses at Plas  Brenin.
 

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