Whenever I take a break from climbing outdoors I feel like I’ve gone straight back to square one. Leading even an easy route can reduce me to a gibbering wreck if my bolt is a little bit too far away, or I’m not quite sure where to go, or my feet feel a little bit slippery. It seems to happen every time after a long break, no matter how confident I feel going into it.
I’ve never longed for rain this much in my life. A few days ago, temperatures reached a toasty 34 degrees Celsius, with Google telling me it “feels like 37”, and I could feel every single damn degree of it. My head was pounding, my body refused to move, I was starting to get pretty irritable. The weather forecast promised a 60% chance of rain, and I could sense it hanging heavy in the air (even heavier that the usual humidity in Thailand), but it just wasn’t coming.
‘Wow! A lifetime would not be enough to climb all the rock in this place!!’ – that was my thought when I first arrived in Asturias, a region in the North-West of Spain, in June this year. I have now just come back from a second trip, and I want more already!!!
My love affair with Asturias dates back to a day in mid-May when I was googling somewhere cheap to fly to in Spain at relatively short notice, to climb, of course. I stumbled upon Asturias on skyscanner.com. The flights were cheap! Even for the May bank holiday weekend, the return tickets were barely over £100. ‘I wonder if there is any climbing there?’ I thought to myself, so I looked around and came upon this article on UKC…and I knew straight away I had found something pretty damn special!
I had always wondered about these goofy-looking belay glasses that people sometimes sport at climbing gyms – I didn’t even know what they were at first, then I tried a pair on and felt vaguely dizzy.
The idea behind them is that you can see the climber above while belaying without having to lift your head and strain your neck for hours to keep an eye on them. They have special lenses that allow you to see like this.
In theory, it makes sense and I was always tempted to give them a shot, but I wasn’t going to fork out £40-£50 just to try them – and what if I didn’t like them anyway?
Continue reading “Review: Climbing Frog Belay Glasses”
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.
Continue reading “A breakthrough weekend”