What went on at the Women’s Trad Festival 2017?

Posted by Tamaris Higham on 29/08/2017
Hetty Key tackling her first HVS - Tody's Wall at Froggatt! Photo: Tamaris Higham

The Women’s Trad Festival (WTF) 2017 was a weekend long event where fun was had, new friendships were formed and for many, first trad routes were climbed!

After the success of last year’s event, the standard for WTF 2017 was set pretty high. With over 100 attendees including both men and women (that’s right, men were allowed to go too!) and a schedule packed full of climbing, competitions and trad classes, this year’s festival did not disappoint!

The event, which was supported by the BMC, saw climbers of all abilities spread out across the gritstone of the Eastern Peak District between 18-20 August. Birchen Edge was a popular spot for festival-goers, being only a short walk from the Eric Byne Memorial Campsite where the event was based. Other crags climbed at over the weekend included Burbage, Stanage and Froggatt. 

Just in time for the trad climbers to arrive at the festival on the Friday evening, the sun fought through the clouds to paint a stunning sunset over the campsite. After registering for the weekend’s activities and assembling tents, it was soon time for attendees, sponsors and organisers to flock around the flames of the campfire, where stories were shared and plans were prepared for the following day. As both the laughter of the climbers and the amber glow of the fire begun to die down, the last attendees standing retired to their tents to get some rest for the weekend ahead. 

A drizzly Saturday morning didn’t dampen the spirits of the climbers, who were psyched to start leading some routes with their groups. The Women’s Trad Festival 2017 aimed to help beginners make the transition from indoor to outdoor climbing, as well as to support women in outdoor leadership. Top quality instruction was provided by leaders throughout the weekend, with workshops in placing protection and building belays running throughout the day on the Saturday. For those who didn’t have their own equipment, DMM and Tenaya were on hand to help out and lend gear. 

As the weather worsened and the grit grew wetter and wetter, several groups retreated to the warmth of Outside in Hathersage, who were offering special discounts to those at the WTF!

By Saturday evening, the sun had returned and so had the festival-goers, all of whom were ready to relax around the campfire once more. The night kicked off with a BBQ, which was greatly anticipated after a day spent at the crag. Throughout the evening, climbers could visit sale stalls run by 3rd Rock and Outside, as well as a Rab stall offering a sneak preview of next season’s stock. The BMC were also present to inform attendees about the benefits of becoming a member

Before the night drew to a close a raffle was drawn, which raised £520 to be split between UK charities Urban Uprising and Climbing for All Sheffield. Urban Uprising funds climbing and educational programs for young people in deprived areas, and Climbing for All Sheffield aims to assist those with a disability in climbing, making our sport accessible to a wider range of people!

Sunday was a sunny day (hooray!), which meant that groups could get out and climb early on to make the most of the festival’s final day. Those who lead their first trad climb over the weekend were presented with part of a cam as a keepsake, and for those who weren’t quite ready to lead on this occasion, you’ll just have to come back next year for another fun-filled weekend at the Women’s Trad Festival 2018! 


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