/ Just got the climbing bug... now what?

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Helsbels84 - on 09 May 2013
I am 28 and I've only just discovered that I LOVE rock climbing. I wanted to do something different over the bank holiday weekend. I got in touch with someone at http://www.ukactivitybreaks.com/ (brilliant btw) - they suggested a climbing taster weekend.

It was fantastic. The instructor was fun, the group were randoms and all got along well. The weather was glorious (played a part in my amazing experience I am sure). What do I do next?

I can't afford to go away every weekend and do a climbing lesson so I was wondering if there are groups of individuals that go along together that I could find and join perhaps? I am not so interested in a climbing wall, I want to get out.

What's my next step?
iccy - on 09 May 2013
In reply to Helsbels84:

There are loads of clubs and individuals who will be happy to take you out and help you along. Where are you based?
Helsbels84 - on 09 May 2013
In reply to Helsbels84:
I've just moved to Cheltenham so I don't really know the area or many people yet. Getting to 'grips' with everything at the moment ha!
GridNorth - on 09 May 2013
In reply to Helsbels84: Try these guys: http://www.thegmc.org.uk/ They meet at the indoor wall in Gloucester usually on a Tuesday I believe. If it's not a meet there are at least plenty of members there on that evening. Here are the details for the climbing wall: http://www.the-warehouse.co.uk/

Glad to hear that you want to get outdoors but indoors is a useful training facility and the only practical way of getting anything done in the winter months.
iccy - on 09 May 2013
In reply to Helsbels84:

I don't really know the area but it looks like there are a couple of clubs based nearby:

Gloucestershire Mountaineering Club http://www.ukclimbing.com/listings/info.php?id=751

Malvern Mountaineering Club
http://www.ukclimbing.com/listings/info.php?id=684

I'm sure there will be others along later who have personal experience of the clubs near by!
wiwwim - on 09 May 2013
In reply to Helsbels84: You need to decide where your ethical allegiances lie, i.e. do you do bolts or are you anti bolts?, do you envisage drytooling sea cliff routes? Are you in it for the escapism and environmental oneness, or is it more about the adrenaline rush or "look at my pectorals hairy celebration of the pump". If you haven't thought about this, then climbing is not for you- you are possibly not elitist enough. Get niche-fond fast. standing still is lethal. Kapow.
stoneback - on 09 May 2013
In reply to wiwwim:
> (In reply to Helsbels84) You need to decide where your ethical allegiances lie, i.e. do you do bolts or are you anti bolts?, do you envisage drytooling sea cliff routes? Are you in it for the escapism and environmental oneness, or is it more about the adrenaline rush or "look at my pectorals hairy celebration of the pump". If you haven't thought about this, then climbing is not for you- you are possibly not elitist enough. Get niche-fond fast. standing still is lethal. Kapow.

WOW - Way to bamboozle the noob!

Jon Stewart - on 09 May 2013
In reply to wiwwim:
> (In reply to Helsbels84) You need to decide where your ethical allegiances lie, i.e. do you do bolts or are you anti bolts?, do you envisage drytooling sea cliff routes? Are you in it for the escapism and environmental oneness, or is it more about the adrenaline rush or "look at my pectorals hairy celebration of the pump". If you haven't thought about this, then climbing is not for you- you are possibly not elitist enough. Get niche-fond fast. standing still is lethal. Kapow.

I wouldn't bother with that stuff, I'd recommend just staying home arguing about Margaret Thatcher or sexism on the internet.
needvert on 09 May 2013
In reply to Helsbels84:

Climbing walls can be a bit ordinary, but they're a good place to work out leading/belaying, build up your body and meet/create climbing partners.
stoneback - on 09 May 2013
In reply to Helsbels84:
Hi, Welcome.

A club is an obvious solution but not for everybody, i never joined one and have never struggled to find partners and get out. especially if you're up for driving an hour or two.

Also worth considering - for about 150 a day you could hire an SPA qualified instructor, of which there are many freelance around, and fast track yourself. Thats what i did a few years ago(link below - good guy), over 2 days he taught me the basics of leading, setting up belays, ropework, gear placements etc. That enabled me to confidently find a partner on UKC "lifts and Partners" knowing i wasn't going to be out of my depth of easy trad routes. You can also quite easily be taught how to manage the lower off and properly protect a sport route which opens up the world of bolts.(be careful talking about bolts on here - stick to less controversial subjects like Syria or Thatcher.)

If you dont want to go down the instructor route then join a club or just ask for a partner on here - just always be 100% honest about your experience and make sure you can at the very least belay properly, the rest will come.

www.sheeradventure.co.uk/

Nick.
stoneback - on 09 May 2013
In reply to Helsbels84:

Oh, and set up a profile even if you dont have much to put in it yet. Only axe murderers dont set up profiles, everyone knows that.
Kieran_John - on 09 May 2013
In reply to Helsbels84:

Grab a guide book, some climbing shoes and go out bouldering!

-eagerly awaits standard bouldering abuse!-

Joking aside, that and indoor climbing is how I met the people I now climb outside with.

Anonymous on 09 May 2013 - 92.40.254.42.threembb.co.uk
In reply to Kieran_John: ...xxxxh

alooker - on 09 May 2013
In reply to Helsbels84: throw yourself at it and try as many things as you can, join a club, go down to the wall (great for general strength and also for meeting people to climb with) and generally get experience. Basic proficiency is key, though. Many are wary of total novices, your local wall should be able to teach the basics in a secure environment. Be safe and welcome to the sport/activity/pastime/way of life/excuse to not grow up/etc
foxjerk - on 09 May 2013
In reply to wiwwim: falling into the trap of niche-fondness at an early stage can really affect your pathway. you need to make sure that your skills are transferable and that your fingers are strong. bolt of no bolt, we've all used a peg or two and been grateful for it.

i'm pleased the op is not too keen on indoor walls as this will negate the mental anguish of the beanie hat / no beanie hat decision. op, you will need to buy a singlet (which are apparently referred to as wife beaters these days) and lots of jangly equipment.

seriously though, i am sure i have heard a quote that the best climber is the one having the most fun (and who is safe and alive obviously) so remember that in all you do and save your opinions for these forums!
jwa - on 09 May 2013
In reply to stoneback:
An SPA qualified instructor shouldn't really be instructing leading. You'd need an MIA for outdoor leading. I'd recommend learning the basics at an indoor wall then making friends with more experienced people who don't mind taking you out or joining a club.

Whatever route you choose, welcome to the club. It's definitely a bug that bites hard when it does.
In reply to Helsbels84:

Don't make the mistake I made. I've been climbing for coming up to two years but until a few weeks ago had only been outside once, although had done some bouldering too. So if you can mix up the indoor and outdoor.

I'd recommend Ascential Climbing http://ascential-climbing.co.uk/ seems they are based close to you. I used them a couple of weeks ago and we've booked a follow on session too.
PeterJuggler - on 09 May 2013
In reply to Helsbels84: Have a go at bouldering. You can do it on your own, but if you go to popular crags then you will most likely meet people. Once you've built up a network of climbing buddies then you could try roped forms of climbing with them.
GridNorth - on 09 May 2013
In reply to jwa:
> (In reply to stoneback)
> An SPA qualified instructor shouldn't really be instructing leading. You'd need an MIA for outdoor leading.

Not strictly true. It may be outside of their remit but that doesn't mean they can't instruct a novice as long as that novice is over 18. As indeed can any competent, experienced climber.

stoneback - on 09 May 2013
In reply to jwa:
Yeah, fair point but it was more about familiarisation with gear and belays in addition to the other info passed on. All done on the ground, in response to me asking lots of questions as i was due to head out the next weekend. Certainly got me started on the right foot.
Ander on 09 May 2013
In reply to Helsbels84:


Helsbels
Best post I've seen on UKC for ages- great to hear some enthusiasm. Ignore the rubbish some can't help but post, there's some good stuff on here too.

Firsly, you'll need a basic set of equipment- in this order- climbing shoes, harness, HMS caribiner & belay device, chalk bag.

There's oodles more gear you may end up wanting after that- but on the assumption you're climbing with someone who knows what they're doing then they should be able to share theirs with you in the short term- esp a rope.

In terms of finding someone to climb with, Options-
1) Join a club- I totally get that you're not interested in a climbing wall, but tbh that's where most clubs do their regular meets these days. It's probably the best place to meet other climbers- though be warned, a lot of them won't share your interest in the outdoors. Still- recommended. A lot of the more traditional clubs also own huts in various parts of the country- which are usually much nicer than the word hut might suggest- where accomodation will cost around 5-10/ night, so the cost of going climbing canget brought down that way.

2) Put a post for a climbing partner on here. Explain yourself- your level of experience, the equipment you own, where you might like to go, your travel facilities, your aspirations, etc. You may well find you can hook up with someone useful. Don't forget that you can go climbing on a daytrip from Cheltenham- to the Lower Wye Valley (the Forest of Dean, Chepstow area) or to the Bristol area (Avon Gorge by the Clifton Suspension bridge for example) You can actually climb (it's limited in some respects) at Cleeve Hill above Cheltenham.

3) Ummm... On that last one, I'm guessing you're a 28yr old lady. Sometimes 28y old ladies prefer (for a whole load of valid reasons) to climb with other ladies. I'll suggest to my girlfriend that after her triathlon, in a couple of weeks, when she wants to do a little climbing, that she drops you a note. She 'knows the ropes' so might work out to be a good day out. We're between the Forest of Dean and Birmingham at the moment, so Cheltenham is in the ball park.


jwa - on 09 May 2013
In reply to GridNorth:

> Not strictly true. It may be outside of their remit but that doesn't mean they can't instruct a novice as long as that novice is over 18. As indeed can any competent, experienced climber.

But if they're operating outside of their remit in a professional context they won't be covered by their insurance surely.

GridNorth - on 09 May 2013
In reply to jwa: Things may have changed but when I was an instructor my insurance covered me whether I had certificates or not but the premium for none certified was 30 or 40 a year more.
jwa - on 09 May 2013
In reply to GridNorth:
That's interesting. From the limited research I've done insurance companies will cover an instructor performing activities under the remit of their qualifications. I guess things have changed.
mikebarter387 - on 14 May 2013

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