Helen Waghorn joined Ali for an introduction to outdoor climbing in order to take the next step from climbing indoors. Helen mainly boulders and has little belaying or outdoor experience. Helen began with a few simple climbs getting used to real rock and how to use her feet and recognise a good foothold. Trad gear was then introduced as she seconded routes to encourage weight transference and good resting positions using only one hand. She got the opportunity to place and take out gear and also how to lead belay.
The day finished with a longer climb – 70 feet which challenged Helen’s stamina. Bouldering develops power but unless you combine it with some circuit or endurance work it makes climbing routes much harder. She did well and made it to the belay with lots of encouragement and determination.
Ali gave Helen the chance for a bit of adventure on Day 2 and took her on a multi-pitch climb. It’s exciting and often unnerving to be so far above the ground and only attached to a few bits of metal, but Helen coped well with the exposure and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Helen tried her hand at gear placing and building belays on the ground, and was amazed at the thought of trying to do this up a route hanging on with only one hand.
She seconded a few more routes – each becoming a little more technical and challenging, with opportunities to take gear out and rack it up on her harness. She found some moves quite strenuous, but this was often due to her propensity to use her arms rather than getting the weight onto her feet and pushing with her legs – but she made steady progress over the two day course.
Helen has great determination which is a great assest in climbing, she also seems to enjoy it a great deal.
‘Thank you so much, it’s been brilliant. I can’t wait for the next bit.’ Helen Waghorn