Sunday 31 May 2015

BMC Sport Climbing Day - At Foxhole Cove

Yesterday I got up early to drive down to the Gower for the BMC "Learn to Sport Climb" course! I met Simon Rawlinson (my coach) in the car park by Foxhole Cove.

We met Simon at 9:00am and he led us down to Foxhole Cove. It was quite a steep route and my Mum struggled to get down it!

When we got down Foxhole Cove it looked quite small but when I got closer I saw it was actually quite big. We put our stuff in a big pile on the floor and lay out the rug. We all sat on a rock and Simon told us the positives and the dangers of sport climbing. The best thing was that the routes will never be reset so you could climb the same route forever.

To start off we went round to the slabs and tried:

  • The grade 2 called "A Leopard Cannot Change His Spots"
  • The grade 3 called "The Power Of The Leopard Skin Legwarmers"

I really enjoyed both routes but I wanted to try something harder! So I went back around the corner with everyone and Simon taught us how to clean the route after we had climbed it. I already knew a couple of ways from the NICAS level 5 sessions I used to do and from YouTube but Simon's way was much easier and made a lot more sense.

The way he taught us was:
  1. Clip a quickdraw into one of the metal hoops at the top of the climb.
  2. Clip another quickdraw to your belay loop and then clip the other side to the quickdraw with the rope going through it. You are now safe. Tell your belayer
  3. Ask your belayer for a lot of slack and pull plenty of rope up from by your knee, grab a bite of rope and tie an overhand knot on the bite but make sure the bite is quite small.
  4. Clip the bite to the quick draw attached to your belay loop.
  5. Then untie your original knot. It doesn't matter if you drop the rope once you have untied because it is still attached to you by the overhand knot.
  6. Thread the end of the rope through both the metal hoops and tie your original knot back in, the same as you do on the floor.
  7. Next unclip and untie the overhand knot and tell your belayer to take in tight.
  8. Pull up on the quickdraws and ask your belayer to take in slack again so that you are resting on the rope and not putting pressure on the quickdraws this means you can test your knot without taking off your safety quickdraw. If you are happy that your knot is tied correctly then you can take off all your gear and from the top hoops and ask your belayer to lower you down slowly so that you can take out your gear on the way.

After this I onsighted a 7a called "Marmalade Skies".  I got scared on this climb because it was harder so there was a chance I could fall off and I had never fallen off outside before! But I kept on going because I really wanted to top a 7 on my first day.

For my next climb my dad belayed me and I did another 7a it was named "Joy de Viva". At the start I couldn't tell which one it was because I couldn't see the clips so Simon pointed it out to me and my Dad. The start of the climb I was really confident but I got a bit nervous in the middle as there was a couple of big moves but I managed to top it much more easily than the last 7a! I had to clean the top of this climb but it was really easy apart from taking some of the clips out because it was an overhang. When I got to the second last clip I had to take it out of the bolt
and swing right out over the rock which was scary but fun.

I ate my lunch next so I could have a rest before I tried the 6c and the 7b.

I belayed my brother on "Marmalade Skies" once lunch was over so that I could go first on the 6c "Goose In Lucy".

My Dad belayed me again on the 6c so Simon could take photo's. The start of the 6c was definitely the crux - it was really hard. I got a bit scared on the 3rd or 4th clips because there was a move where you had to trust your feet and twist round to grab a jug but I made it on - I think my 2nd or 3rd attempt. The rest of the climb was all jugs and I had no problems! I think it should be a 6c+ rather than 6c.

A while later I climbed my last climb the 7b through the roof named "Pioneers of the Hypnotic Groove". It looked really fun and I had wanted to try it since we arrived there. The first part was easy and I really enjoyed the clip above the long bar! I got scared at the big move out left to the jug in the big hole it took a few goes and some falling practice but after I came down and had a rest I went back up and did it! I then made it up the rest of the route less scared as I had done the hard bit. I was really pleased when I reached the top but also scared because I had to do the biggest swing in the whole of Foxhole Cove - and I thought the last one was big enough.

I cleaned the top feeling very confident about the cleaning method and then had to take out the rest of the clips which used more effort than I used climbing! When I came to the second last clip I was excited and a bit nervous. But I did it!

This is the video of my swing:

We decided to go back after this climb so we packed up our stuff and climbed back around the hill and met my parents back at the top as we arrived back much before them.

I had a great day out with Simon and my family. Thanks to Simon I know loads about sport climbing now and my Dad can take me climbing outside in the summer whenever we want because he knows how to do all the stuff as well!

Thanks Simon