James, an outdoor pursuits graduate from Hartbury College is more of a paddler than a climber, or so he thought. His mum, a nurse from Ali’s Doctors surgery, booked a multi-pitch experience for his 19th birthday. The stage was set. James was excited but had always found climbing a bit timid and a tad boring.
The journey to the Wye Valley was a little spooky as fog engulfed them all the way. James was suitably attired and just needed to borrow a helmet and harness. It was to be a ‘steep’ learning curve as he had never led belayed before, or climbed multi-pitch routes and certainly not with double ropes. James was a quick learner, very enthusiastic and extremely calm. Within an hour Right Hand Route at Wintours Leap was in the bag and James faced his first ‘real’ abseil. He was unfazed by the 200 foot ab and after a quick snack they ascended Left Hand Route in good style and at a reasonable pace. James is a determined young man but he reads the route well which enables him to move fluidly and flow up the route.
At last they moved on to something a little meatier – Joe’s Route. A VS 4c which some say is HVS. It is an intricate route that weaves it’s way up the North Wall. It can be done in one long pitch, but is also easily broken down into two pitches and enables the leader to see her second, which on this occasion was a topless James. One of the perks of the job! He really enjoyed the route. It was his favourite of the day.
They finished with Gryke, a slighly harder route, but it only really has one hard move and is not sustained like Joe’s route. It’s fair to say James had a wicked day and now considers himself a climber with paddling sinking into the depths. We’ll be seeing more of James!
‘James had the most fantastic time and has been buzzing ever since. Thank you so much.’ Caroline Robinson