To top off a sensational time in the Northern hemisphere I spent yesterday at the most popular climbing destination in the UK. I was here for a four day stop over before beginning the journey back home.
The crag is Stanage in the fabulous and famous Peak District. Dave and I had decided it should be a traditional climbing day and we would go and just climb the classics. It was a cold morning when we left Beverley for the hour and half drive. Eleven degrees in fact!
Enjoying each others company is something that just seems to occur for Dave and I and we chatted endlessly as we headed down the M62. We were both really excited about getting to spend a day trad climbing together. I had also contacted some friends who were also heading out and said we were heading out and do you want to catch up. They all said yes and we arranged where to meet for our little adventure.
Arriving at the crag I immediately spotted Michael standing on the side of the road like a beacon for our friends Alexis and Laura. Thu was sitting in the warmth of the car as it was still a little chilly outside. We decided to head up to the crag and messaged Alexis and Laura to advise them to contact us when they arrived. Awesome!We were off up the hill……its a very little hill by the way 🙂
Now trad climbing is not my strongest skill set by a mile. I have done a very minimal amount of it and I do enjoy the learning process that comes with it, but I decided to follow Dave up a couple of routes before getting on the sharp end. Once I had warmed up and felt my head was clear, I repeated a route I had previously done and cleared the sharp end heebie jeebies.
I looked up at this beautiful flat face and said to Dave “I want to run up that!” I racked up and tied in. It was a bold decision really reflecting back on it as the gear was small and a couple of the placements were marginal at best. As I climbed I noticed I was super focused and solid on my feet. Knowing full well there was a blank section ahead, I placed a “psychological piece” in a small horizontal break and continued up.
It was a truly wonderful and very exciting experience. I was not nervous but I have to admit there was a period of anxiety that felt like it lasted about ten minutes….It was more like thirty-seconds really, but my feet were about a metre above my last placement and I was on this very thin slab. I pressed down hard on my right foot and stood up, hitting a small crimp and then left to a good hold. When I went to place my piece, the rock it was going into moved and I quickly placed the piece in another location and clipped.
You’ve got to love a shitty piece of broken rock to get you focused again. Topping out on the route gave me a real sense of achievement as I clipped my anchors. Embrace your fears and learn form them I say! They may never go away, however you can learn to manage them successfully if you continue to work on it.
Dave and I climbed Heather Wall, Manchester Buttress, Lancashire Wall, The Tippler, Narrow Buttress and Flying Buttress Direct. It was a fabulous day out and these people are just fabulous. We all seem to just enjoy each others company and have a great time together. I will surely miss their enthusiasm for all things vertical and will definitely miss the laughter and conversations that ensue.
Thank you “Good Humans”. May your winter be full of warm hearted laughter and wonderful days out adventuring. 🙂