A great day at Birchen

You’ll get the gist of where I’m at from my intro. My last trip out was to Birchen Edge on 10th of October. Climbing with my mate who lead all five routes and I seconded.
We started on Trafalgar wall at about 11am, already very sunny and starting to get much warmer than the predicted 15degrees. A refreshing change from our last outdoor trip when it rained for a while then rained for a bit longer and…well you get the picture. Three routes seconded by me on that wall, Trafalgar Wall (S 4b) Barncacle Bulge (VS 4c) and finally Camperdown Crawl (VS 4c). I had little trouble with any of these but
found Camperdown Crawl to be the most challenging of the three. I go to an indoor wall about once a week but have only ventured outside on a few occasions. I find the difference quite huge, from just looking around for the correct colour, to having to examine real rock for not so obvious holds. Also with my fear of heights, the exposure is a lot more concerning. I seem to remeber having “a moment” on Camperdown Crawl but managed to get up fairly comfortably. Removing gear is a new skill to me, I don’t really struggle but have almost climbed past a runner a few times and had to be prompted from the belay with a sarcastic remark or two! A break for lunch and then we moved on to The Crow’s Nest. Two routes done here, Kiss me Hardy (VDiff) and Look Out Arete (S 4a.) Kiss me Hardy first was fairly straightforward but things got interesting on Look out Arete! The problem arose when entering the chimney, exposure was suddenly an issue! I think the sensations of being suspended over the void instead of facing the wall, combined with the added exposure to my left, were responsible. A few words of encouragement from my mate, sat above me and some swear words from me got me through it…eventually!
So 5 routes seconded and a lot more experience under my belt. A really good day made even better by the fantastic weather.
Apologies for the lack of substance in this post but it’s late at night and I really just wanted to “break the ice” on my blog. Next session on the indoor wall should be tuesday, so I should have a bit more to say then.Plan is to start pushing the grades a little, hopefully some 6’s. We’ll see what happens…
Cheers
Graeme

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