The Lancashire Mountaineering Club helps novices progress to rock

“It’s so much better than indoor climbing!” Kate Hawkins reports on the Lancashire Mountaineering Club’s outdoor climbing meet series for novices which took place this spring.

The aim was to give beginner climbers who climb mainly indoors the opportunity to climb with experienced climbers to help them develop their traditional outdoor climbing skills. Going from plastic traction to real rock is tough, but we hoped to mentor and show others the joys of trad climbing.

Our Progression to Rock series consisted of four encounters with the plan to go from a small single-pitch quarry to long multi-pitch mountain roads. With the UK weather flexibility was key and we ended up rescheduling two of the competitions to other venues due to bad weather forecasts.

The first meeting at Troy Quarry in March was attended by 51 people, 32 of whom were novice climbers. The second meeting in April took place at Froggatt in the Peak District, reorganized from Tremadog. Despite the wet weather, 28 people took part in the wet climb, complete with coffee and cake at Hathersage.

Borrowdale in the Lake District lit it up for the third meeting at Shepherds Crag, with over 40 people enjoying the glorious sunny weather. We had a mix of 21 experienced climbers, 17 novices and a few walkers. For those who had only climbed indoors, this day was a great experience for them with quality Lakeland rock. The sunshine and stunning views over Derwent Water inspired comments such as: ‘It was perfect weather for some amazing rock climbing, a great day’ and ‘Best yet’.

The June meeting was scheduled for Idwal Slabs, Ogwen, but had to be rearranged at Stanage due to bad weather. We had 18 people in attendance and with their trad skills improving it was great to see some of the newbies starting to lead routes.

Following the Progression to Rock series, new trad climbers are buzzing and eager to use their new skills on real rock. Many joined the LMC and attended other club fixtures.

It’s great to have received feedback including: “Thank you to everyone who helped organize this and to all the experienced climbers who were keen to share their knowledge with us less experienced ones.”

Despite the popularity of bouldering, indoor climbing and sport climbing, trad climbing obviously still has its appeal, as one new member commented: “The good number of people at the recent Progression series to Rock… proves how many of us want to learn the tradition of climbing and want to go beyond the inner walls”.

Learn more

  • The LMC Progression to Rock Series will run again in 2015. For more information on this or the club, email [email protected]

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