Intro To Climbing – Polldubh
Posted by Max Hunter on 12th September, 2015
Sean is currently working his way through the Munros, as well as the 3000′ ers in Wales, in summer and winter, but yesterday he decided to take a day off from his walking, and walking training to have a go at climbing. This was his second ever day of climbing, and the brief was to take him out of his comfort zone and give him some exposure. I added to this the brief of finding the limitations of his approach shoes on climbing territory (I was using rock shoes).
We started on the polished Pinnacle Ridge, and Sean cruised this and the approach shoes held up well (even on a polished Severe). I decided to increase the exposure now by going up The Gutter. This was of course easy for the approach shoes (at only grade Diff) – the exposure was more, but Sean has a good head for heights. A bigger test was needed so we moved onto Tear which is a super polished HS climb. This wasn’t a test of exposure but a serious test for the shoes. We watched another couple (with Spike) who were bottom roping and struggling with the crux – so Sean got a good idea of the crux and what moves might work. I led the climb and after the crux move I was going to chat about what I did, but the serious gusts/gales made me move on (I nearly go blown off)! Sean did it – and well. So we needed bigger tests! We moved onto abseil training – to get Sean prepared for an independent abseil from Resurrection. By now Sean had got the hang of Leader Belaying and he did well looking after me on Resurrection – and now it was his turn. I did give Sean a good briefing on Friends and their removal, but I’d placed a Friend 2 just before the crux move – and in the heat of the moment Sean pushed it in a little and so we had to leave it. Sean got happily to the last moves and then noticed the exposure – at last we had found the limit for his shoes and Sean had left his comfort zone lower down on the VS pitch – mission accomplished. Sean did brilliantly climbing on a Diff, a Severe, an HS and a VS – all wearing approach shoes. I’ll stick to my stickies I think!
Luckily Will Roland was soloing about – and after I insisted he put a rope on, he came up, rescued the lost Friend and then soloed on, on his way. Thanks Will.
Today, Sean is back to bagging Munros, although he did start early to avoid the worst of the bad weather that’s coming in.