A breakthrough weekend

Wye Valley

This weekend I went back to Tintern Quarry, where I have already been before, but somehow it felt massively different and I liked the place so much more this time around. Everything worked together this time to make this weekend a breakthrough moment in my outdoor climbing so far this summer.

Tintern Quarry lies on the east bank of the River Wye, not far from Chepstow and just over the Severn Bridge if you’re driving from London. The Wye Valley will always be memorable to me as the place where I did my first trad lead, but the sport climbing in England hasn’t really managed to find its way into my heart until this weekend.
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Sport climbing in Portland

Blacknor crag

This post is a little late – my trip to Portland was over the first bank holiday in May, but better late than never!

Both my knees are bruised and scratched, my hands look like I’ve had a fight with a tiger, and it really hurts to walk…a sign of a good outdoor climbing trip! Or rather, a sign that I have experienced a number of moments of desperation, and fell quite a few metres to smash my body into some rock. 

The first days of May mean only one thing to a climber – the start of the outdoor season. So we forget indoor gyms, where we climb on colour-coded plastic in the winter, and migrate to real rock.

On the first bank holiday in May I went to Portland for some sport climbing – a rare luxury in England, where most climbing is trad. Despite a shoddy weather forecast for the bank holiday weekend, we managed to get in two days of good climbing in the (occasional) sunshine. Well, mostly in the sunshine, actually!

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North Wales: Getting lost on Tryfan

Views Wales

‘A climbing trip to Wales is inevitably an unexpected adventure.’ Those were my thoughts as I stood completely lost on the top of a mountain, contemplating the scramble down and wondering if we should use the rope as protection for this bit…

We came to Wales for a long weekend at the end of April, when the weather is really hit and miss, hoping for the best. The plan between me and my climbing partner Valentina was to do some easy trad routes on Little Tryfan (which was conveniently located just outside our hut!), and then jump on a longer multi-pitch route later that day or the next. The weather forecast was looking worse for days two and three, so we were hoping to get a lot of climbing done on the first day.

Naturally, Wales had different plans for us…

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How I discovered my passion for rock climbing

When I first moved to London, all the way back in 2011, I did what everyone else around me was doing. I put the hours into my career, I went out drinking with friends, I got a gym membership. Three years and a failed relationship later, I knew something had to change.

This city can suck you into its relentless rhythm and make you give up your hobbies and passions in favour of a gruelling daily commute, boozy corporate events, and aimless weekends trying to sleep off the hangover and exhaustion.

At first, it is exhilarating. Then it becomes draining. And then everything starts to fall apart and you just want out.

This is how I got into climbing.

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Frankenjura: Hardcore German climbing worth training for

Indoor climbing in Germany is really hard work, and now I know why. The last time I went to a bouldering gym in Germany – Boulder Habitat in Bonn – I was in pain for days. It felt like I had never climbed before, despite training three times a week for over a year. But after climbing in Frankenjura, in northern Bavaria, I now realise why…If that is what they have to train for, no wonder all the indoor routes are overhanging and pumpy!

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