Climbing Diaries: Emma


Last month was my start to the trad season. It was a really sunny day, so a few friends and I went across to Hawkcraig. We forgot just how windy it can be there though, so although Edinburgh was lovely, we had a few very chilly climbs. My first lead of the year was Pain Pillar, an exposed VS. Although that isn’t an extremely hard grade technically for me, it was great for my confidence, as, although I have been climbing for a while, I sometimes find it hard to push myself outdoors. I have been climbing for a total of 10 years, and although I’ve only been climbing outside for the majority of this time, the level I climb at didn’t really increase until last year. 

Until last year, I was a VS climber on a good day, if the route suited me and I was feeling psyched. Last year, I went on some trips and talked to some people who helped me see that my indoor grade and trad grade do not match up and I should be leading a lot harder. I managed to lead a few E1s by the end of the year, but I still feel like I could be a lot more confident on rock. 

I have been trying to climb harder partly because I like to challenge myself, but it is also because being able to climb harder routes opens up so many more possibilities. There are crags where the easiest climb is VS, so if that is your limit these crags are essentially closed to you. One of these crags is the amazing Etive Slabs. I went there last year and climbed Spartan Slabs, which, at VS, is the easiest route there. It was an amazing climb, with lovely balancey moves and a really interesting overlap. The only problem was that I didn’t feel confident to lead anything else there. So this year I am continuing my journey to become a climbing legend (at least in my own mind) so I can go back there (and other places!) to climb some lovely hard lines.

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