I really enjoy scrambling on long routes and have developed ambitions to climb some of the stylish ridges in the Swiss Valais. However, it has been an uncomfortable truth for some time that I would have to do some actual pitched climbing if I am ever to realise this goal.
I find the indoor climbing wall boring and don’t want to have to drive up to North Wales every time I feel the urge to climb. So when I discovered that Ali Taylor offers rock climbing instruction in the Wye Valley, I couldn’t wait to get started.
Much of the gear and ropework for climbing is still a mystery to me, so my main goal for the day was to improve movement skills and footwork. Ali took this on board but recognising that I didn’t know what I didn’t know, she also had other ideas. As well as seconding on a challenging multi-pitch route, I also got my first real insights into the process – lead belaying, placing / removing gear, abseiling…
Up until now, I have never been shown these things in any detail. Consequently I have come away with a far greater understanding of what is required to climb on rock and would even say I am possibly ready to lead others on a roped scramble.
Ali over delivered on my expectations and I would strongly recommend her to anyone who is serious about improving their climbing (and not just following someone else for a nice day out!). She is meticulous in her approach and will not compromise safety under any circumstances. Added to that she is great fun and has lots of stories to tell about her climbing experiences.
She may not have converted me fully from scrambling to pure climbing, but one thing is for sure, I will be heading back to the Wye Valley in 2014 to climb a couple of Severe routes!