/ Next steps
good on you John - where are you based?
Your experiences sound very similar to mine. I find myself now enjoying climbing immensely. I was fortunate that a couple of friends were into climbing and I was able to have a few days out "learning the ropes". One of them is an MIC and as a consequence I got some really good instruction on some classic routes.
The club route is a good way to meet people to climb with, alternatively you might find someone on this forum.
Where are you based?
I'm from Great Wyrley and although the climbing round this area isn't great there are some pretty acceptable indoor walls nearby. There is Wolf Mountain in Wolverhampton which is mainly top ropes but with some bouldering and Boulder Central in Wednesbury that has just opened, entirely bouldering but excellent.
If you're looking to go outside, the roaches is probably the closest bet. Its about an hour and a half away (towards Buxton). If you're willing to put in a little extra driving, Awesome Walls at Stockport is really good for beginners. The walls in Birmingham I've found to be a bit hit and miss, some are okay but some are truelly terrible... I can't remember which though, sorry!
I am quite happily plodding on with low grade routes whenever I can get out (work permitting). If you fancy a day on a crag in north Wales or the lakes, drop me an email via this site.
I'd recommend Redpoint as a climbing wall, its friendly and runs plenty of courses.
As to outside, be careful. I would strongly suggest you go out with an experienced outside climber rather than on your own, or do a "wall to rock" course at somewhere like Redpoint. The roaches has some easy routes, other places like Stanage, Burbage North, Bamford, etc have plenty, but again a warning about tacking on to an experienced climber or experienced group applies - it's possible to mess up even on easy ground and messing up 30ft above ground level can be unfortunate.
Hence my advice would be to:
a) find yourself a local course that will teach you the basics (or a friendly experienced climber).
b) head outside with a course or, again, find an experienced climber.
c) fill out your profile with details - people find it easier to trust people they know something about, and you are more likely to get offers of help from on here with a full profile.
d) However, the rider applies, trusting your life to someone from the internet has a degree of risk attached, and hence a commercial wall-run outside or inside course would be safer for you, especially given your history.
Having done a bit more research, I have come to the same conclusion, with afraid being the operative word. Thanks for the advice all the same.
Elsewhere on the site
A fantastically versatile little pack; whether out running in the hills, hitting the trails on the bike or just running for the... Read more
Pete Whittaker has flashed the 32 pitch route Freerider 5.12d on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley over three days,... Read more
Manchester Climbing Centre is showing Reel Rock’s Valley Uprising on Tuesday the 11th of November at... Read more
Last year, Finn McCann wrote an article about climbing El Capitan with his terminally ill father Seamus, who had been... Read more