Sun, rocks and smiles

Well, Brimham.
We went to Brimham.
My aim is to see how many times I can write Brimham without telling you what went on at Brimham.
But we went to Brimham. And bouldered.

Let’s begin by getting to Brimham. Just like our last journey, there was a tentative week of weather checking, but someone had clearly done some dodgy deal with the meteorologists of the world. But we had SUN, and it was warm, possibly too warm. The day started with a little breeze but gradually heated up, making conditions a little sweaty for such a friction-dependent crag. However, as an introduction to grit and a learning opportunity, it was definitely a pleasant environment to be in.

We started the day in the car park, whipping off jackets in the car before suiting up with mats and backpacks ready for our short walk to the crag. And I mean short. Within a few minutes, we hit the “Car Park Boulders.” The plan was to do a warm-up here, explore some of the harder stuff, then venture up to other areas. This was the plan.

We started with a little bit of mobility. Most of the glorious folk who joined were regulars in my sessions, so a led warm-up wasn’t necessary. We used one of the smaller boulders to work on mantling, a skill rarely set indoors and hard to train without top-out boulders or fat ledges.

Once people were comfortable with mantling, we attacked a little traverse. Using a boulder in different ways to help learn movement can be vital but is often overlooked. A traverse on good holds can be a great way to get used to how rock feels while also getting muscles warm.

We were ready. Muscles warm, expectations set, we looked at the guidebooks: 4’s, 5’s, “easy.” Then reality set in for my squad. Outside was different. The grades didn’t mean quite the same as they did indoors. The holds weren’t super incut jugs. Stuff was coarse, grippy, and often flat. Feet were plentiful but marginal. Stuff doesn’t stick out but digs in. “I can’t slide my foot on the hold.”

After a bit of play on the easier stuff, once people had gotten used to the feeling of a few landings and tops, we shuffled around the area, testing out a few harder routes, different gradients, and of course, looking at “The Pommel,” a true grit classic.

There’s a clear reluctance with “awkward and abstract” moves, cams and jams, body positions that feel alien to a resin climber. But through considered working and a little bit of play and exploration, comfort levels rose.

Personally, I loved the day. Getting people used to how rock feels compared to indoors is super rewarding.
My psyche for climbing is definitely coming back more and more through time outside. I’d gone through a stint where the joy and desire to climb were lacking, but surrounding myself with newer folks who see the wonder in the sport is awesome. The joy has definitely shifted to the sharing of the sport recently, as opposed to taking part in the sport. But as the weather improves and the desire to be out returns, maybe we’ll see the return of an eager climber again.

The trip out was awesome, and I’m psyched for more sessions on the rock, introducing people to the best sport in the best environment.

I wanted to get the views of the group on how they found the day, so I asked them to write a paragraph about their experiences and got some great responses.

Outdoor climbing, so I learned, is just different. Thinking about it, the word sharp comes to mind: it is scary and somewhat edgy. But it is also creative, invigorating, refreshing, and exciting in multiple ways. It is a great adrenaline kick!

And let’s face it: it is much more inspiring to hug rocks than human-made handholds and walls.

I loved it!

Dan from City Bloc is a wonderful instructor: constructive, helpful, and friendly, one who makes you think (and rethink) how to move those hips and position those feet to help movement be as effortless as possible (apparently it is all about hips and feet!!!).

Since I started my adventure with climbing, I was looking forward to outdoor sessions (nature makes everything better ;)). Spring has arrived, the season started and surprise – our City Bloc launches outdoor climbing classes!

I absolutely loved the day at Brimham Rocks! – this place is just like a massive playground for climbers 🤩 Having Dan looking after us, I felt safe and secure 👍🏻 Also, the whole group was really friendly and supportive, making the day even more enjoyable. Can’t wait for the next one!

After a good few years climbing inside, I have wanted to take it to real rock for a while now, but always felt a little uneasy about the idea.
I thought I would take the opportunity to attend the Bloc Wellbeing outdoor session at Brimham Rocks, as it felt like the best way to try it under expert guidance.
What a day! Dan is such a great coach and helped push me to try some challenging routes.
I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to climb outdoors.

It cost me thousands of pounds to say nice things about me. But I’m so happy they enjoyed the day. Looking forward to more!

Thanks for reading.
Book on here

Or not. But you probably should.


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