/ Outdoor Climbing September Trip - UK

AnthonyL92 on 18 Jul 2017
Hi Guys,

1st time posting so go easy on me!

Its early days at the moment but my friend and I are planning a long weekend climbing for around September time. We would be looking to go around the lower part of Wales - bit of driving, bit of cycling, lots of climbing.

We will be doing some recap courses on top-roping and lead climbing (Neither of us has lead before) but I would be really interested to see if you guys had any advice, would be interested in meeting up along the way, previous experiences, etc, etc.

Cheers!
Ant
springfall2008 - on 18 Jul 2017
In reply to AnthonyL92:

I know undercover rock arrange a lead climbing course if you are near Bristol.
AnthonyL92 on 19 Jul 2017
In reply to springfall2008:

Good idea! thank you.

I am Reading based (in Berkshire) but we will be heading that way for Wales so we could always make a detour...
SuperLee1985 - on 19 Jul 2017
In reply to AnthonyL92:

Presumably you are looking at sport climbing rather than trad? In which case, there are some sport climbing areas in the Gower.
However form my memory of the guidebook the grades tend to start around 5, and if you've not lead outside before a 5 will feel very hard.

When you say "Neither of us have lead before" does this include leading indoors?
I would want to be quite comfortable leading, and lead belaying indoors before even thinking about lead climbing outdoors.

There are also a number of skills that are very important to sport climbing outdoors that you will not learn from indoor leading. (Stripping the anchors probably being the main one) This stuff can be quite dangerous if not done properly and while you can read up on it online/watch video tutorials its no substitute for being taught by someone who actually knows what they are doing. A outdoor leading course, as suggested would probably be very sensible.
SuperLee1985 - on 19 Jul 2017
In reply to AnthonyL92:

An alternative good beginner venue that is not too far away from you would be the cuttings in Portland. There's a decent number of lower grade routes and the access is pretty easy. There's also more likely to be other people there in the event that you run into trouble.
JR_NL - on 19 Jul 2017
In reply to SuperLee1985:

I'm not sure I fully agree with having to be comfortable lead climbing indoors before going outdoors. I actually never lead indoors before doing my outdoor course. I found it way easier, with routes in French 3 & 4 all over the place (Austria, Ă–tztal), while in my local gyms there is nothing lead lower than a 5.
RX-78 on 19 Jul 2017
In reply to AnthonyL92:

other things to think about, how to bail from a climb. a clip stick might be handy as well. also make sure your ropes are long enough.

Just come back from Spain where we did our first self sufficient family sport climb (me, wife and daughter, no guide/instructor). We have done loads of lead climbing indoors, practicing stripping the quickdraws, lowering off etc. We found the grades in Spain much harder than UK indoor equivalent, also harder than instructor lead climbs we had done outdoors elsewhere. A clip stick would have been handy and we also ended up buying a 70m rope for the longer routes. Had to bail from a number of routes as well even though the grade was lower than I have lead climbed indoors.
AnthonyL92 on 20 Jul 2017
Thanks for your advice guys - it's really appreciated!

I spoke to a guy at the indoor wall yesterday and he advised that we should go with someone who has experience of setting up outdoor anchors, etc. rather than trying to do it all ourselves on the fly. Would you guys agree?
SuperLee1985 - on 20 Jul 2017
In reply to AnthonyL92:

Definitely a good idea, there are a lot of things that can go wrong if you don't know what to look out for. Have you tried seeing if there are any climbing clubs local to you? They are probably the easiest/cheapest way to get someone to 'show you the ropes'.
Offwidth - on 20 Jul 2017
In reply to AnthonyL92:

Consider easier bouldering as well. I'm sure someone here could make a list of some suggestions... that little bay round to the right (East) of Three Cliffs at the Gower was idyllic fun... craglets above sand. The new Pembroke guides also includes bouldering and Boulder Britain has a few places listed. When most of us older climbers started bouldering there was no such thing as a bouldering mat, we just carefully spotted each other. You could also meet up with other UKC posters to climb... many have kindly given up time to help people like you in the past.
springfall2008 - on 22 Jul 2017
In reply to AnthonyL92:

> Thanks for your advice guys - it's really appreciated!
> I spoke to a guy at the indoor wall yesterday and he advised that we should go with someone who has experience of setting up outdoor anchors, etc. rather than trying to do it all ourselves on the fly. Would you guys agree?

It depends if you know what you are doing and are aware of the risks....What sort of anchors are we talking about and what kit do you have?

AnthonyL92 on 20 Aug 2017
Thanks all for the feedback - it's been really useful

So I have managed to get an experienced climber to let me tag along for their next expedition and I've got someone who works at the climbing gym to give me a list of climbing routes with predrilled anchors.

I think I will go with a more experienced group for my first outing to avoid any disasters!
tony ball - on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to AnthonyL92:

If you guys are thinking about checking out portland let me know an hoping to head down there over next few weeks