My Experience

The standard disclaimers about how dangerous climbing is and how unreliable anything is you read anywhere apply here as well. This site is far from definitive (and probably far from accurate).    It is here for the amusement of myself and friends and possibly to shed some light, though I don't mind a little obfuscation now and again either. Various parts have been adapted and pilfered from sources found hither and yon, though I have tried to make all entries mostly original.     So please read, but remember that responsibility for safe climbing is your own.

Basically, not much.

1. My story so far...

I started climbing in October 2003 with friends down an indoor wall, and slowly learnt how to belay and climb. I swore that I would never go and climb outside as that was scary. In addition, I had a passionate interest in Aikido, which  had been studying for 6 years. However, the number of times I climbed each week started to rise, first to two, then three sessions per week.

I was hooked. Every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday I would be down at the wall throwing myself at harder and harder routes.

Then I got talking to a nice guy down the wall, a 57 year old climber called Martin, with 40 years climbing experience. When it came to climbing, pretty much anywhere, any type of rock, any route, he had done it. Grade-wise he topped out at E5, which is seriously good. He offered to take me and my climbing partner outside and teach us the ropes, gear placement, etc, an offer we gleefully accepted as, by this time, outside was calling. It was May 2004.

I found I enjoyed climbing outside much more than inside, and soon was climbing inside Monday and Saturday, and outside with Martin Wednesday and Sunday.

Then summer happened, and I went out pretty much every night. I was climbing 25 hours (six days) a week. Due to losing my climbing partner I was, to a certain extent, forced to lead routes outside faster than I would have done otherwise, and my experience rocketed.

An unfortunate incident at Leeds wall (falling off and shock-loading my bodyweight onto one finger) kept me out of climbing for three months Jan-March 2005, sadly, but I've got back into it carefully.

I now climb with a diverse group of people. I still climb once or twice a week with Martin, and still abjectly fail to follow him up routes even though, at the time of writing (April 2005) I am now leading into the extreme grades.. Beware of old men. I also climb with the Leeds Mountaineering Club, and a varied group of friends. Overall, I climb or have climbed on a semi-regular basis with about 50-odd people

2. My actual climbing experience

I've climbed a lot on UK Gritstone, which is my favourite rock, entirely traditional climbing. At the time of writing (November 2005) I've led over six hundred routes and seconded about half that. On bolted limestone I've climbed both in the UK and Spain, traditional and sport, a total of about 100-odd routes, most of them leads.

This is why I say I don't have much experience - at the end of the day, I am an enthusiastic beginner. Give me 10 more years of this and I'll consider myself a climber.

3. What kind of climbing to I like?

Traditional British climbing, of course.

Put me on a Gritstone slab, with no gear, no holds, a crap landing and highly technical moves and I'll be well chuffed:-)