Outdoor Meetup // Wales (Part 1)
Something amazing happened at our meetup today. You might want to find out to see if you want some of the same – we’ve got lots more meetups happening soon for you to join in.
Our meet ups are designed to adapt and meet the needs of the people who attend and today was no exception. Four of us met at Bus Stop Quarry in Dinorwic, near Llanberis at 10am, with anticipation and excitement. It can be tough to meet up with a new group of people, especially when you’re about to place your trust in their hands. This venue is great, because it has a mixture of sport climbs and trad climbs at a wide range of grades. The sun was trying to get through and so was the rain, and it’s close to the road (and a lovely Cafe, so it worked well for us).
First, Ellie, Mimi, Becci and I said our hello’s and talked a bit about climbing experience and what we wanted from the day.
Ellie piped in ‘well, I’ve only led up to Severe, and I might like to do my RCI training some time, but I don’t think I’ve led enough climbs at a high enough grade’. ‘Ah’, I said. ‘Perhaps you can lead some Severes today. In fact, there’s an HS just over there and a really lovely VS round the corner….’
Fast forward to midday…
Ellie stepped up, saying ‘I’ll lead the HS in the corner’. Before we knew it, she was racked up, rope flaked, with Mimi belaying. Then she’d got to the top, organised her belay and been lowered off. It happened so smoothly and as she lowered to the ground we all congratulated her on her achievement. Hardest grade so far for Ellie!
Mimi then led the same route, using Ellie’s gear placements. Having started climbing in January 2018, this was a great achievement for Mimi too.
Meanwhile, Becci and I went through the procedure at the top of a sport climb (slightly different to trad). Then Becci warmed up on two 5a sport routes! Another result.
As we tidied our ropes and gear up and had a snack, the best words of the day floated out of Ellie’s mouth…
‘I’d really like to have a go at that VS round the corner’
Together, we trundled round the corner with our gear, a few clouds looming overhead, and got ourselves ready. I got the camera out and into position and then Ellie set off on Equinox, her hardest ever trad lead climb. It was a stellar performance by Ellie, because around two metres into the climb, the rain started – gentle at first, but by the top the route was pretty damp. As she topped out on Equinox (VS 4c), her face was beaming.
Ellie led her hardest ever trad lead climb. In the rain. Cool, calm and collected.
The rain continued to drizzle down and Becci followed up after Ellie, with Mimi close behind. It was a bit of a tussle soaking wet, so it was great when everyone had topped out (and decided to go for a cuppa to dry off).
The day wasn’t over!
Lodge Dinorwic served us delicious food and drinks and then we decided the day wasn’t finished and we wanted to do more climbing.
We headed further into the remarkable slate quarries where it was Becci’s turn to do even more firsts. She’s a trad climber with experience of leading VDiff graded routes (don’t worry if this doesn’t mean anything, we know the terminology sometimes sounds a bit strange!). She led two 5b’s and then took the plunge on a 6a having only just started leading sport routes earlier in the day. Becci has amazing flexibility and the second best quote of the day came out just as she pushed over the crux, near to the ground…
‘I knew there was a reason to keep practicing the splits….’
(Sorry, no photo evidence!)
Today’s exploits were so much fun and the friendly encouragement meant that we all got something special from the day. Tomorrow we are off to the Idwal slabs for a bit of multi-pitch trad climbing entertainment.