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An introduction to Yorkshire Grit
Climbers based in York are blessed with many superb climbing venues within easy access of the city. The nearest being Almscliff the infamous Yorkshire wart that dominates the skyline of Wharfedale.
The rock is gritstone; near to the road, small, perfectly formed with an almost infinite amount of climbing. A perfect outdoor gymnasium...
This game is all about micro routes known as “boulder problems” or just “problems” in climbing jargon, Operating at low levels that you can just jump off at will, well that’s the theory. There is no climbing gear to complicate things it’s just solving puzzles using pure physical movement.
As you are close to the ground you can push yourself to the limit of your ability in relative safety you just keep practicing until you learn the sequence and nail the sucker.
The equipment is simple, a pair of rock shoes, chalkbag, a crash mat and of course it helps if you know your way around or know someone who does.
It seemed like absolutely ages since I had climbed outside so when a couple of bright sunny days came along last week several people posted on Yorkclimbers.com to say they were interested in a day on the grit.
Almscliff is our local crag, through the summer months we are here training most weeks. Today I arrive first, go to an area called Low Man and do my normal warm up routes soloing Pinnacle Flake climb and Fluted Columns, as I reach the top of the second climb Dave & Pete turn up.
We decide that as its first time outside this year we are a bit rusty so we are going to take it easy and do a moderate circuit. Almscliff has masses of “problems” in a very compact area so we move round picking the grades that suit the mood of the day. The weather is nigh on perfect, sunny, no wind, even though the temps are only just above freezing the strenuous exercise keeps us warm.
It’s just fantastic to be out on the grit again.
The down side is that as you are working hard you soon get tired, we last about two and a half hours and manage approx twenty five “problems” before we grind to a halt. These short, intense, sessions are fundamental to our pastime; generations of climbers learnt there basic skills here and many like us maintain fitness and confidence with regular visits.
Climbing & bouldering are dangerous activities anyone who is interested in climbing outdoors should find a competent person to teach them the basic skills needed for this activity.
On first acquaintance Almscliff is quite daunting even though there are several guidebooks available. It takes time to find your way around the place and learn the circuits. If anyone reading this article is new to the area or wants to learn to climb outdoors they should contact Yorkclimbers.com a free community website set up to support local climbers.
The difinitive guidebook to the area is called "Yorkshire Gritstone" published by the Yorkshire Mountaineering Club.
A specific boldering guide called "Yorkshire Gritstone Bouldering" published by Rockfax is also available.
Mountaineering activities are inherently dangerous. Anyone wishing to take part in any mountaineering activities should be aware that they will have to make critical safety decisions based on their own judgement every time they climb outdoors.
More blogs & photos can be found on Yorkclimbers.com