“This is so much better than indoor climbing!” Kate Hawkins reports on Lancashire Mountaineering Club's series of outdoor climbing meets for novices which ran this Spring.
The aim was to give novice climbers who predominately climb indoors, the opportunity to climb with experienced climbers to help develop their outdoor traditional rock climbing skills. Making the transition from pulling on plastic to real rock is difficult, but we hoped to mentor and show others the joys of trad climbing.
Our Progression to Rock series consisted of four meets with the plan of progressing from a small single pitch quarry to long multi-pitch mountain routes. With British weather flexibility was essential and we ended up rearranging two of the meets to other venues due to forecasts of poor weather.
The first meet at Troy Quarry in March was attended by 51 people, with 32 of these being novice climbers. The second meet in April was at Froggatt in the Peak District, rearranged from Tremadog. Despite the rainy weather 28 people attended to experience climbing some damp routes, rounded off with coffee and cakes in Hathersage.
Borrowdale in the Lake District turned it on for the third meet at Shepherds Crag, with over 40 people enjoying the gorgeous sunny weather. We had a mix of 21 experienced climbers, 17 novices and a few walkers. For those who had only climbed indoors, this day was a great experience for them with quality Lakeland rock. Sunshine and stunning views of Derwent Water inspired comments like: “It was perfect weather for some amazing climbing to be had, a great day” and “Best one yet”.
The June meet was planned for Idwal Slabs, Ogwen, but had to be rearranged to Stanage due to poor weather. We had 18 people attend and with their trad skills progressing, it was great to see some of the novices beginning to lead routes.
Following the Progression to Rock series, the new trad climbers are ‘buzzing’ and keen to use their new skills on real rock. Many have gone on to join the LMC and attend other club meets.
It's great to have got feedback including: “Thanks to all who helped organise this and all the experienced climbers who were keen to share their knowledge with us less experienced ones.”
Despite the popularity of bouldering, indoor and sport climbing, traditional climbing obviously still has it’s appeal as one new member commented: “The good number of people at the recent Progression to Rock series...proves just how many of us want to learn trad climbing and want to get beyond the indoor walls”.
Find out more
The LMC Progression to Rock series will be running again in 2015. For further information on this or the club email firstname.lastname@example.org