Recently I found out I need more surgery, this time a medial collateral ligament recognition – not good! Initially I had been booked in for late March for my knee, which in all honesty won’t do! It has been in bad shape for 13 years, so putting it off until the end of summer to finally get it fixed is a trade I am willing to make if it means we can make the most of 2015 and put those travel, climbing and mountain plans into action!
So far plans are coming together for a weekend climbing on the cliffs of Pembroke, this in fact is something we have on our bucket list, so it’s a major thing for us! We also have other plans involving returning to Snowdonia and generally climbing outdoors as often as possible this year! Often in winter it’s easy to stay inside away from the sting of the cold air but we awoke early on the Sunday morning determined to get out and make the most of any opportunity.
This time we would be heading over to the Peak District and to Froggart and Curbar edge, a legendary crag in climbing terms and one we had been keen to climb. When we arrived the sun was shining over the frozen ground and a low mist lingered in the valley below. It was truly a beautiful day to be out climbing and given the time of year not at all as cold as we imagined it would be!
Once he we decided to spend most of the day getting on some of the crags easier routes to get us back in the swing of things. Trad climbing can be a strange thing; most people usually climb well within their ability as opposed to bouldering or sport climbing where falling is all part of the drill.
Trad it much more slow and considered and it has to be, you are placing your own protection in the wall as you ascend, it’s quite common to go for a day trading an never see another climber fall! It mostly a head game and confidence is key, as much as I have ambitions to progress a few grades this year I also know rushing is not the best way so we took our time and got up some nice fun routes and got our “head back in the game” as they say!
The crag has some wonderful lines consisting of a mixture of natural and also quarried grit resulting in some fine cracks and also many blank slab faces. We climbed some great routes mostly within the “VDiff (Very Difficult)/ HardVDiff” range, which despite their ominous sounding grades are in fact relatively easy for the experienced climber and often very well protected.
Both of us have lead at 3 grades harder than this at “VS (Very Severe)” and hope this year to go one better and eventually lead a “HVS (Hard Very Severe)”. Often grades can vary wildly depending on where you climb, as is the somewhat complex but yet brilliant UK grading system which not only takes into account the technical difficultly of the climb but also the protection and boldness of it too!
So a great first day out on the crag of 2015 in an amazingly beautiful location with weather you could only dream of in January!! We finished up the day on a wonderfully featured boulder around the back of the crag as the sun was setting on a great day!