Went to the Leeds Wall with a friend from Church at the weekend. His boys are in the climbing club there, so he gets to climb for free while they have their lesson. Anyway, he invited me along to be a belay partner.
My climbing background is principally traversing. I got the bug doing a outdoor climb in Wales, but 99% of my climbing experience was doing an hour’s traverse every lunchtime for 4 years while at Uni.
So at one level I wasn’t mad keen. I’ve only really had one great experience of belay climbing, and that was the aforementioned Wales one. The times I’ve been since then, I’ve either not had anyone to go with, or I’ve gone with someone really good, and felt like I was holding them up and frustrating them.
Fortunately about 18 months ago, I signed up to the new climbing wall at the University of Leeds and had to do an assessment of my rope skills before I could climb unsupervised. Of course I’d forgotten it all, and was pants – but fortunately the dude took pity and gave me a crash course, and it all came back.
I’d also happily registered as a full member of the Leeds wall back in 2001 (!), so I was allowed to belay my friend (otherwise I would have had to go in as a guest, and not be allowed to).
I have to say it was fab. He has only recently started climbing again, so we’re about the same level (ish), which means we could take turns on the same climbs, and we run out of puff at about the same time (he did 5 climbs, to my 4.5). The highest grade we did was 5/5+ – I think a 6 might be beyond me until my fitness is back up.