Rock climbing

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rockfreak
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Rock climbing

Post by rockfreak » Thu May 15, 2014 8:43 pm

Any OB rock climbers out there in the London area who fancy a trip to one of the indoor walls - Mile End for instance. I'm still crag climbing - just, at 70,
and really need some practice, for fitness as much as anything else. Might be able to do 4c/5a these days but happy to belay one of you tyros on something
harder.

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J.R.
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Re: Rock climbing

Post by J.R. » Sat May 17, 2014 5:54 pm

......... and there's me approaching 67 puffing on the thirteen stairs up to bed !
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

rockfreak
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Re: Rock climbing

Post by rockfreak » Thu Jul 30, 2015 7:21 pm

Does ST Coleridge get a mention anywhere on the site for his place in the annals of rock climbing? All climbing histories of the Lake District give Coleridge the honour of being not only the first to record a climb but also to have recorded his feelings about his expedition. Although many local dalesmen would likely have scrambled among the local crags either for a bit of sport or to have helped a cragfast sheep, they didn't start recording these adventures until the latter part of the 19th century and indeed many of these intrepid souls who did tended to be professionals (academics or doctors, say) who had come in from outside the area to holiday.
Coleridge was a local at the time and had set out for a hill walk on the 5th of August 1802. Trying to walk from Scafell to Scafell Pike he found a formidable obstacle in the jumble of rock that is now known as Broad Stand. This set of little buttresses, ravines and sloping holds is normally climbed from the other direction so for Coleridge it actually represented a rock descent. And even the climbing of it from the Scafell Pike direction is listed as a Grade 3 scramble. A scramble is the point when Wainwright-style fell walking runs out, but before real rock climbing begins. But Grade 3 scrambling is the point where scrambling sometimes morphs into climbing and where the guide books advise a rope, a companion and knowledge of belays (anchoring the rope) for all but the most experienced.
Also, the crag system involved faces north and, at high altitude, will often be moist and slippery. For Coleridge, descending the route, the sloping holds would have been an added risk. He started down it and then discovered that he was too far down to climb back and so had to go on down, leaping his way from section to section with one false move likely to see him tumbling down onto the Mickledore col whose ground falls away beneath. Today, the local rescue team is familiar with having to rescue scramblers in difficulty here along with the very occasional bad injury or even fatality. But the poet is also known for having given the climbing world its first description of why people climb when he described the "stretched and anxious state of mind" he found himself in when tackling these wild places. Even when figures like Walter Haskett Smith came to make his pacesetting climb of Napes Needle in 1886 the climbers of the day were reticent in making too much fuss about their climbs in part because of a Victorian modesty but also because they didn't want the foolhardy or unwary to venture onto their climbs.
Coleridge was said to be in poor health at the time and with his addiction to laudanum well entrenched. Perhaps the latter steadied his nerves! But his place in British climbing (or descending) is firmly secured and if anyone wants a look at what he tackled it can be found at the end of that TV documentary A Day in the life of Scafell Pike, where even experienced professional mountaineer Alan Hinckes backs off an ascent of Broad Stand because of its greasy condition.

rockfreak
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Re: Rock climbing

Post by rockfreak » Fri Jul 31, 2015 8:29 pm

Sorry - the TV documentary mentioned above is actually titled "A Year in the life of Scafell Pike" and I think can be found on You Tube, or else, just for the Alan Hinckes bit, by tapping Rock climbing, Lake District, Broad Stand, Alan Hinckes, into Google.

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J.R.
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Re: Rock climbing

Post by J.R. » Sun Aug 02, 2015 2:21 pm

This is probably the clip you refer to, David.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hELFYcSMHNI
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

rockfreak
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Re: Rock climbing

Post by rockfreak » Thu May 26, 2016 8:34 pm

Since I mentioned climbing walls to kick off this thread, they appear to have proliferated in London. I tried out a low level bouldering wall at Parsons Green and another decent looking wall has been established in Seymour Place, Marylebone.

rockfreak
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Re: Rock climbing

Post by rockfreak » Wed Jul 20, 2016 5:59 pm

Another letter from Freaky in the Guardian, 20 July, but this time on climbing (Rock climbing on course to secure Olympic foothold), objecting to indoor bouldering being described as an "adventure sport" for the Olympics. It's a branch of gymnastics and not to be confused with outdoor leader/second ("free" or "trad" climbing) which is something of a tradition in the UK at a time when much continental rock appears to be littered with pre-placed bolts.

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