/ OI NEWS: The Joe Brown 4, Dali's Hole and Snowdonia Parking
Then it's over to Plas y Brenin to discuss a possible UKC Adventure Climbing Weekend. Followed by a short visit to Siabod Cottage and a chat with John Cousins of MLTUK and Elfyn Jones, the BMC's Welsh officer. Yes some news about Dali's Hole.
Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/news.php?id=2844
Nice round-up Mick.
"There is no hiding our heads in the sand over the need for low grade sport climbing in the UK whatever your preferred style."
"demand", maybe - "need", no.
Indeed, why is the concept of buying a set of nuts to go with your quickdraws such a difficult concept to grasp?
Because those poor guys spending 10 quid a session down the castle and 50 quid on petrol to get to North Wales can't afford 50 bob on a set of nuts.
Also they need a safe environment to learn to climb outdoors before moving onto trad...
When Mick says 'need' you must remember that he is speaking not of climbers in general but of commercial interests. These naturally 'need' to expand the numbers buying their products, and the way to do that is naturally to dumb the sport down so that those with no ability or interest in it can still participate. Hence Dali's Hole.
The new cafe at Pen y Pass was a pleasant surprise. Decent coffee and excellent bacon butties.
The parking is a tricky one but one solution does seem obvious. If you really want people to use a park and ride scheme, it needs to start early and finish late, have buses at least every half an hour and, ideally, be free. It seems to me that too often local councils see the fund-raising possibility of parking schemes, but are unwilling, or unable, to back up their green posturing with anything that costs money or is genuinely packaged to appeal to new users.
Otherwise, there could be more parking at Pen y Gyrwd (the pay and display layby filled up very quickly at the weekend, even with the walk involved) and a proper footpath could be established up the hillside so that the potential dangerous walk up the road is avoided.
I don't hide the commercial nature of my job. I am the advertising manager at UKC, but also do editorial as Senior Editor here.
It is sometimes difficult separating Church from State but Jack our Chief Editor is very good at clipping me on the ear and kicking my behind if the two overlap, too much, or I overstep the mark....and so are people like you.
In this case, about a need for easier sport climbs I am not talking about nor is it driven by commercial interests.
I've never heard anyone in the trade talk about increasing easier sport climbs in the UK to increase participation and hence the sale of gear.
I'm sure climbing participation is increasing in the UK, but it has nothing to do with bolts.
It is all about indoor bouldering. That is where the growth is and new bouldering/climbing centres are sprouting up all over the UK like mushrooms after a warm rain.
I visited a new climbing centre/wall next to Tesco/Costco in Milton Keynes last week. Great bouldering for elite and beginners alike all in a very plush setting (showers and changing rooms/nice cafe).
Think yummie mummies in SUV with their offspring.
See JD's new wall in Harrogate: http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/news.php?id=2837
Now whether these new recruits make the move en masse to the outdoors is open to debate, I'm sure many do, and they may want easy sport climbs to introduce them to outdoor leading. What's wrong with that? I know you will find plenty wrong with that.
But I can assure that many who enter climbing through these new plush walls, will start climbing outdoors, and many will become, like you, passionate trad climbers.
I've witnessed it.
Is their some kind of conspiracy by the outdoor trade to increase easy sport climbs to increase participation and hence the sale of climbing gear?
In fact if there was the trade would be pushing trad climbing and mountaineering which are far more gear intensive than 'clip and go' sport climbing or pebble wrestling.
You need to go to this website to peddle your fantasies: http://www.davidicke.com/
Cheers and love you.
Look at British climbing shops in comparison to many places in France where a cupboard of some camp quickdraws and a few ropes and shoes in Decathlon is the "climbing shop". British trad climbing is a gift to "commercial interests" - i.e. shops - when you have people here discussing the relative merits of the camming angle of Camalots versus Dragons or Rockcentrics versus Torque nuts - when their greatest aspiration is Dream of the White Horses, but are more likely a Vdiff on Tryfan. Then of course they need a 300 quid Terra Nova tent to camp by the pub in Llanberis pass and will need to think about whether they want a Paclite or eVent jacket in case it rains. I'm not looking down on anyone because the above could pretty well describe me. I was at a local crag near Helsinki last week watching some folk who were obviously new to outdoor sport climbing who had their gear in Puma sports bags. No one had told them they needed a 100 euro rucksack to carry their gear in.
Some people like sport climbing but aren't very good at it. They want easy routes. There is no - or at most, marginal - commercial interest in providing them. You may not like the way climbing is going, but its no conspiracy theory.
Indoor bouldering is good for wall owners, Mick, but it's no good for lots of other commercial interests. You've got to get them outside somehow. Once you've achieved that, money will follow.
As for telling me that you've witnessed people learning on inside walls and then becoming passionate trad climbers, you astonish me. Not because you've witnessed such a thing, but because you somehow seem to imagine that I haven't.
But what good are easy sport climbs for those interests? If people have been going to an indoor wall, they might need to buy some quickdraws, but beyond that they have everything they need. If they couldn't do easy sport routes in Llanberis or Portland, they'd have to do a "learning to trad lead" course and then start buying a rack, double 9mm ropes, a rucksack to put it all in, etc. Then they'll want to a "learning to multipitch" course, etc. etc.
'Three lads breakfasting at Pen y Pass before their ascent of Mount Snowdon!'
Aah, Mount Snowdon! Is this the BBC website?
For us, the obvious route to real rock was sport to trad, but it comes as a real shock when you realise that you cannot transfer your f6a/b from indoors to out and find the very few f4 sports pitches a struggle to start with.
My solution was to move to trad routes much faster than i would idealy have liked to with the added danger of having to find a placement before you can use it to make yourself safe.
We are both now breaking into leading HS grade climbs but it would have been much easier on my nerves if there were a selection of low grade sport routes to transition through.
Lets finaly put to rest the elitist dogma that;
A) Sport climbing is not real climbing. or
B)Anything below f6c is not real climbing.
Remember we are all different and have differing abilities, this is how it should be, but we all love moving on rock and pushing our own grade a bit higher.
Please remenber that we are not all E or f6 climbers outdoors and neither were you when you started (unless you happen to Clark Kent), and think, would it have made your entry into the sport a bit more fun if it hadnt felt quite so desperate at the time?
I am not sure that Stu McAleese having a cup of coffee is news (no offence Stu) but other than that an interesting report.
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