Every year the club organises early-season easy outdoor climbing days, to help refresh our outdoor skills, and also to give newer and less experienced members an introduction to climbing on real rock. The first of these was held at beautiful Birchen Edge in Derbyshire, home to many easy climbs (plus a few challenging classics).
Lured by Helen’s provision of generous scones and cream and promises of a family friendly venue and vibe, over 20 of us headed north, with ages ranging from under 10 to over 70. There aren’t many sports which cater for active participation over such a generational range!

With cold, blustery conditions and damp in the air, arrival at the crag revealed a lot of green, greasy slab routes, plus some green greasy cracks climbs – far from ideal. Brrr!

Fortunately, Rob had gone to a great deal of effort to surpass even Helen’s catering efforts, and had provided a range of loads for the team to carry to the crag.
From these he proceeded to set up Birchen’s own – immensely popular – outdoor vegan burger stall. Our enthusiasm and energy levels fueled by his beany delights, we proceeded to set up top-ropes and lead some easier lines.

Despite the poor forecast, the weather improved during the day, and we were able to enjoy a full session of climbing. With energy maintained by plenty of scones, jam and and cream, and the slabs drying out, much of our focus later in the afternoon moved to the varied routes on Trafalgar Wall,

Ascents ranged from Mod up to VS, with a range of grit techniques (pull HARD, use yer feet, etc ) and traditional methods (if you can’t do the start, climb on someone’s shoulders!) being employed. Well done to everyone who attended and renewed or expanded their skills, and congratulations to Will and Lydia on their first ever outdoor climbing experience. Indoor climbing tends not to involve pulling on cracks or back-and footing on skiddy lichen, so a great effort from both of them!

Thanks to Mike for organising the day, and to everyone who provided kit, gave tips, belayed, set up ropes and generally helped out. And a special thanks to Helen and Rob for laying on such fine food!
Date – 13th April 2024

Outdoor Climbing Intro – Family Day at Birchen