Sunday, 9 December 2012

The best beginings start in the middle

I have been working as a climbing instructor now for around 6 years hence the title of this post, however I hope this is not the middle but merely a late start for me to embrace technology. I suppose this blog is here to give an insight into myself which most people hoping to come and climb with me will not already know and also for me to keep a record of my time spent in the outdoors.

Rock the Kasbar - El Chorro, Arab Steps
My first introduction to rock climbing was perhaps more full-on than most would have enjoyed. I was taken to a very high limestone crag in the Peak District, England, called 'Wildcat' with a partner who I believed at the time to be fully competent. It now turns out he was not exactly fully competent as a climber and certainly not as a coach. After fighting my way up a route far above my difficulty in trainers and only half understanding that a fall from that climb would have been near certain death due to my lack of understanding; I was about ready to quit. Then sitting on the top of the crag, looking over the sunset I realised this perch and perspective were both a place and view I would never have experienced were it not for climbing. I knew then I could never stop.

My first 7c - Sandokan, El Chorro, Desplomilandia
Photo Credit Mark Haley

I have now progressed to a standard where safety is no longer the issue, only ability. I have worked for years as an instructor and spend my free time climbing or wandering around looking for climbs. It is an inspiring way of life. walking up the footsteps of great climbers before you and finding the new routes to gain that perch and perspective no one has yet seen. This is my document to those travels.

My first real step outside of the UK is where I would like to really begin as this is where I provide my work from over the Winter. El Chorro is 40 minutes north of Malaga, accessible by train or car. It is a small town set in a stunning landscape. The sport climbing is unbelievably high quality and caters for all abilities. A car is not necessary as all the crags are with 1 hours walking... most only 20 minutes away! The two photos here were bench mark climbs for me. This year I am aiming to climb 8b+, this grade is well beyond anything I have climbed before. I suppose then this is not the middle of my story and by no means is it the end. The best beginnings do start in the middle, so this year is a new beginning for me.

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