Don't know if you'd enjoy the local sport at that grade and it might put you off.
If I were you I'd split the cost of some QDs (5-6), 10 nuts (WC classic?) a couple of slings , a nut key and a copy of eastern grit between the group. You could then go and muck about on some VDiffs until your heart is content. might be an idea to get someone to show you a few things wrt protection and anchor building tho'.
In reply to andic:
Cheers. We've got a few slings. The though about sport was we'd not need to get a grown up to help us.
I'd be happy with a boulder, but there was a bit of nose in the air when I suggested that :D
If you read through Peak District sport climbing guides you will notice that there is a very limited amount of very easy sportclimbing around. I recommend finding someone a little more experienced to go with you on your first adventure.
Also you need to be able to re-thread the top belay.
Yes it is different. I have taken quite a few people on their first outdoor climb. Most described it as more scary and more difficult.
For example, indoors you have nicely coloured holds to follow, but outdoors you need to find the holds and there might be many options and you may miss the good ones because they are hidden...
Further, indoors the routes tend to go up in a straight line, but outdoors your route may go a meter to the left/right. Believe it or not, it confused a few of my indoor-climbing friends at first.
Definitely step down a grade or two from what you (safely) climb indoors.
Starting with a save toprope is good advice just to get used to the new situation and all.
For the leading you can practice the belay threading at home. Hang two screwgate carabiners somewhere and pretend they are metal rings that you can not open. Then go through the whole procedure.
If you take your time and practice a lot beforehand you should be fine.
Always double/triple check and speak with your belayer beforehand and agree to very clear commands like "slack", "take", "ready to lower" and so on.
In the end safety is the most important but on the other hand it is not rocket science either and by a combination of watching a few good instructional videos (from the BMC or other mountain guides) and practice at home/in the gym you should be fine.
If you have two ropes and two belayers maybe you manage to set up a toprope and then you lead a route with the toprope as backup, do the whole re-threading (could be a bit messy with the second rope though) and lower off on the lead rope again with the toprope as backup.
In reply to SiGregory: Get into trad as soon as you can otherwise there is a good chance that you will become severely disallusioned with what is available to you at the moment sports wise.
The way climbing developed in the UK meant that most of the good rock and easier lines, easier in a relative sense of course, were climbed using different tactics and ethics to those used in sport. This left mainly grotty quarries and extremely difficult lines to be climbed with bolts. Easy sport is as rare as rocking horse shit in the UK. Portland probably being one of the more aesthetically pleasing environments with plenty of routes in the 6's and even a few in the 5's.
Trad on the other hand offers a diverse range and quality of routes to keep you busy for a lifetime.
> The way climbing developed in the UK meant that most of the good rock and easier lines, easier in a relative sense of course, were climbed using different tactics and ethics to those used in sport. This left mainly grotty quarries and extremely difficult lines to be climbed with bolts. Easy sport is as rare as rocking horse shit in the UK.
> Trad on the other hand offers a diverse range and quality of routes to keep you busy for a lifetime.
Good explanation of why the uk offers so little sport climbing for those moving on from climbing walls.
Although experienced climbers disparage it, setting up top ropes on a few gritstone trad routes between diff and VS is a pretty sensible way to get started outdoors IMO. Though finding experienced people to take you out and show you the ropes MASSIVELY shortcuts the process; meaning you will get more climbing done, learn more quickly, and be less likely to kill yourself.
The Peak district is really rich in high quality traditional climbing at accessible grades, the same cannot be said of the sport, there is a bit but the quality isn't there in the low-mid grades.
If there's a few of you to club together I'd beg, borrow and buy a basic trad rack, a guidebook and a 'how-to' book. Get familiar with the books then persuade someone with some experience (someone you know or advertise on here and be honest about who you are and what you want/need - you'll get a better result) to go with you for your first day out. The books are a safeguard against your experienced mate being less experienced than you thought, the mate is a safeguard against the books being misunderstood and the mistakes we all occasionally make. The basics really are easy to learn and there is so much good climbing to do while you build experience it really is a great way to expand your sport.
If it's getting toward autumn before you get going I'd club together for a pad or two then head for the boulders.
Thanks for all your replies (and kind offers of guidance). I had t seen the Ready To Rock, but we have been discussing the courses at P-Y-B.
I can see that given the current popularity of "gym" climbing, this would be a good area of focus for BMC.
Not sure how we will progress as a group. Some are scared of trad, others turn their noses up at bouldering. Looks like the local sport routes are above my grade.