Rock climbing is such a diverse activity that attracts folk from all walks of life. It is also a great leveller, a 'get away from it all' sort of activity, and something that many find very relaxing (although this often comes after the climb)! Some will only ever climb indoors (which we think is a shame), some will top rope, others will second routes without ever leading. All these are fine and much enjoyment can be taken from all these aspects.
For the absolute and undiluted experience of climbing, leading a trad route is the way to go. There is a real sense of adventure, an increased level of risk which must be properly managed, and a massive sense of achievement (along with relief) upon reaching the top!
On Saturday Rachel's aim was to lead a trad route and feel more comfortable whilst doing so. So after a few warm ups on top rope and discussion about gear placements, she set off up a Vdiff/Severe at Wodens Face, Borrowdale. Placing loads of gear, taking plenty of time over it, resting whenever possible, a safe and controlled ascent was made, a belay built at the top and a big tick. Leading a trad route isn't something to be taken lightly, and we had discussed this at length prior to the ascent. As mentioned above, it's also not for everyone, and climbing can be enjoyed without making that step. For Rachel leading is, I think, an integral part of rock climbing and that's great. What's great for us is to be a part of the journey.
Rachel was joined by her friend Anna, who is new to climbing. Anna wanted to try an Abseil so we fitted that into the morning, then set up some top rope routes for Anna to enjoy. After the leading by Rachel we finished the day with an ascent of Jackdaw Ridge on Shepherds crag. Oh and the obligatory stop for refreshments at Lodore Farm Cafe.
Big thanks to Rachel and Anna