SPA Training – Booked

I have just booked my SPA training for 7 to 8 May with Stan Lowe of Ogwen Cottage OPC. I am really looking forward to it, although will be out of the country for the next four weeks, so no climbing!

It is good to have the target of the SPA to work towards now, and there will be a number of opportunities for personal and group climbing in different locations over the summer, including Stanedge, North Wales and potentially my home turf, the Lake District.

Further ahead, I am looking into some IML experience in France or Turkey, so there is definitely a sense of excitment building about the next six to 12 months.

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Cams

Wild Country Technical Friends, courtesy of http://www.outside.co.uk

I just bought my first set of cams the other day, courtesy of Outside.co.uk, who still have them at half price – an absolute bargain, if you are a first time buyer!

It will be good to put them into action, but I am glad that I took the time to initiate myself into climbing with nuts and hexes. My gear placements have been improving in speed and choice, so choose a apprenticeship with passive gear is well worth it.

Unfortunately, I won’t have the opportunity to climb for a while now, and although being ready to do my SPA training, will not be able to book on for one until May. Still, I feel in a good place and am raring to get group experience, supervising and leading sessions.

Photos from Three Cliffs

I’ve just updated the last two posts with some photos. Enjoy!

Three Cliffs, Gower

Three Cliffs Revisited

Three Cliffs Revisited

Josh getting ready for the first route of the day

It was quite a day of climbing yesterday, as I headed back to Three Cliffs Bay on the Gower with Josh. However, little did I expect to walk away, having lead (clean onsight) the two classic Very Severes on the crag, Scavenger VS 4c*** and Arch Slab VS 4c**.

Abseiling off Arch Slab

We warmed up on Perseverance HS 4b*, which felt thin to me on the second, but I quickly got into the groove by leading Left Edge HS 4b to its left. Josh then went for the big one, Scavenger, which is a great line in a stunning position, and said to be one of the best climbs on the Gower overall. However, I took over from Josh after he got about a third of the way up, hampered by running out of quickdraws and suffering from a stitch.

Into thin air

Despite some inner turmoil, I quickly reached Josh’s highpoint and then it was into the unknown. The route gets three stars for a reason, so there was enough protection and holds, and being a combination of crack and slab, there were plenty of options. The final section was the highlight for me – the footholds ran out suddenly, so it was a case of using the remaining crack to layback, which with the exposure and position, made it extremely exhilarating.

Watch out for the rockpool below!

Josh then made light work of Quartz Corner HS 4b and I was left pondering whether to tackle Arch Slab, which I had intended to do originally instead of Scavenger. The crux move is stepping out onto the apex of the arch, which took me some time to complete, as I summoned the resolve. Once committed to the slab, which is suspended over a rock pool in a very exposed position, the climbing was fairly technical and a case of keeping calm and relying on technique to the top.

It was a great feeling to pull up onto the belay stance and I never would have imagined completing two classic VSs at the start of the day.

Otherwise, it was another sociable day, as we were joined by a group from West Glamorgan University who were enjoying a day of climbing and relaxing by the sea. They abseiled into the void from Arch Slab, which looked great fun.

Three Cliffs, Gower

Getting some gear in below the crux on Joggled Wall Direct, HS 4a

I enjoyed a social day of climbing yesterday with family and friends at Three Cliffs, which I last visited in poor weather recently. There were several other parties out, so it was fun to chat and savour the lovely weather and climbing. One pair completed Scavenger, the classic of the crag, in good style, but were unable to extract a nut at half height.

After a long lay-off since January, I climbed a Difficult, Right Corner I, to get back into the swing of things. Then, still feeling a little jittery, I suppressed my nerves and tackled Spouse Crack, Severe, which, being a little recessed gave me some space and shelter to keep my composure and focus on the gear and moves. It even sported a small overhang, which made it good value.

Bringing up an excited second!

Not particularly fancying a slabby Severe nearby, I opted for the Hard Severe 4a, Joggled Wall Direct, which is essentially a Very Difficult for the first two thirds and then a crux small bulge or overhang to finish off. After pausing briefly to protect the crux and prepare mentally, I remembered to seek good high footholds before committing myself on handholds, and dispatched what was a very enjoyable climb with not too much hassle.

A very tired daughter at the end of the day

I know deep down, though, that Severe or Hard Severe, is not my grade, and really want to break into Very Severes. This is not to show off, but just a recognition that I can climb harder and that in itself will open up a greater range of climbs.

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