Moving on up…

Moving on up, Slimming in the rain and Dog of the month; Route names are always a conversation point! Those are the names of a few of the routs climbed by RCC climbers on the Learn to Sport Climb day last weekend in Woodcroft Quarry at Wintours Leap. Climbing routes are traditionally named and graded by the first person to climb the route. Often the name gives an indication to its character and style however they can be also be completely random, perhaps reflecting the personality/state of mind of the first ascensionist!


The history of climbing is full of old fashioned traditions and ethics and the places where people climb are full of their own rich history. For me certainly its not just about the route, it’s about the adventure. This includes getting there, finding the route, climbing it and then getting safely back down again at the end! Its also about the place, the environment we get to experience when we are climbing and the conservation of the areas so that future generations can share the same experiences. These are all things that you will learn about on a Reading Climbing Centre Outdoor Climbing Day and the days are planned with all these important aspects in mind.


At Reading Climbing Centre we have built a range of outdoor packages to suit different levels from complete beginners to those wanting to make the steps towards Sport Climbing outside. We have a number of crags we can use depending on the experience of the group and there is something for everyone.  The centre holds an AALA licence and all our outdoor staff are qualified Rock Climbing Instructors with a high level of personal experience. We Are All Climbers and we want to share that experience with you in a safe well organised way.


Last weekend we had 3 groups out on the rock. On Saturday Heather and Mark took the Junior RCC academy to Woodcroft Quarry whilst myself and Tony lead a Learn to Sport Climb Course. For most of the juniors, it was there first time on real rock which they initially found challenging. Once they realised that they could use their feet on tiny holds that were difficult to see (No bright holds here!) they all began to send routes left right and centre! The kids and parents thoroughly enjoyed the day and were keen for more days like this as the summer continues.


The L2SC course is the perfect course for those wanting to learn all the skills required too from indoor leading to outdoor Sport leading on bolted routes. We start the course with a 2hour skills session indoors on the evening prior to the crag day, where skills are covered including re-threading sport anchors and some basic problem solving. We then make the most of the day outside practising these skills with a safety rope in place and instructors on hand to ensure you are getting the steps correct. Combine this with some long routes of different grades where they can refine their clipping skills, it is the perfect introduction to outdoor sport climbing. Whilst at the crag, we bumped into Dan and Richard had completed the course the previous week. They were putting their skills to the test on a variety of routes whilst their kids enjoyed the academy day. This is Richard just befor taking his first Whipper!


After the session Tony and I took the opportunity to go and climb a route on Wintours Leap’s Great Overhanging Wall. We had our sights on the Wye Valley Classic ‘Heil Hitler’ (F7a). This route had previously got the better of me but after watching Tony make light work of the crux after working it out, I basically knew I just had to try harder! A few stiff pulls later and we had both sent the route in good style and were on the way pub for a victory pint!


On the Sunday we took the Senior Academy to Wyndcliff Quarry. Although not as adventurous as Wintours Leap, Wyndcliff is a perfect coaching venue. The sun was shining and we were glad to have some shade at the base of the crag. The routes here are very short but pack a punch, which was perfect for our academy climbers. The routes are thin and technical, with the academy kids having to develop some intricate sequences to get through crux sections. Being roadside the crag can get busy, but there is a huge selection of routes across the grade ranges. The kids warmed up on ‘One Tooth Short of a Smile’ (F6a+) and ‘Old Men Last Longer’ (F5+). Mark and Heather and I got stuck in coaching the kids on routes such as ‘Mr Whippy’ (F6c+) and  ‘Miss Whiplash’ (F6c+) whilst Luke went through re-threading sport anchors with them. They all had a go at re-threading a sport anchor with the safety of a top rope in place. The heat added its own set of challenges, but overall the day was extremely successful with everybody enjoying the whole experience.


We have dates outdoor days running every Saturday in June with spaces available. For more info please call or e-mail and we will be happy to answer any questions.

Blog & Photos by RCC Operations Manager & Coach Andy Fleming