Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Team assembled for the Gore-Tex Experience tour trip!

Helena Robinson on Shear Fear, E2 5c, Ratho Quarry

I was nervous about the weekend. From everyone who applied to our competition to win the climbing trip in Norway with us, we had already chosen 4 great climbers, all of whom sounded ideal for the project. How to choose 2 from them? It’s obviously not something I’m used to doing, and I found it hard.
But we had a nice weekend. With mega downpours soaking bits of Scotland at random, we stuck to Ratho Quarry so we could keep climbing indoors if we were unlucky. As it happened, we got to climb trad pretty much all day. 

James on Sedge Warbler E2 5b

We started off with a team ascent of Shear Fear (E2) and then split into 2 teams to attack the harder routes. I ran back and forth, watching, thinking. I wasn’t so much looking for the strongest or most single minded leader. The ideal place to be to take on new routes on mountain or remote cliffs is just being an all round ‘solid’ climber. In trad climbing that means going for it, but only at the right moment, with safety either in protection or preferably ability to remember and downclimb out of trouble. It also means anticipation of problems, faffs, the sequence ahead and a million other things…
I looked for evidence of all of these skills and found plenty in all 4. There was a range of experience among them. More experience doesn’t necessarily correlate to more skills. Experience sometimes reinforces timidness, overconfidence or bad habits. James made a solid and safe lead of Shear Fear, Jake smoothly dispatched Wally 3 (E4) and both Helena and Julia made gutsy and determined leads on a very damp Gruel Brittania (E3).

Jake smoothly leading Wally 3, E4 6a

Julia eyes up the depths of the Shear Fear flakes

Julia going for it on Gruel Brittania (E3) 

I was impressed all round. But in the end, a choice had to be made. Well done Helena and Julia - I’m looking forward to climbing granite with you in Norway!
Now that the project has taken on a new life beyond a few words and ideas typed on my screen or discussed between Gore-Tex colleagues, it seems a lot more real. I’m really looking forward to visiting a new place with such a strong team assembled. Joining us climbers will be Paul Diffley and cameras and Donald to help us rig and film. Time to train once again…
Some more great pictures on the Gore-Tex facebook page.

Helena, James, myself, Jake and Julia - it was a pleasure.

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