Anyone wavering over whether to start climbing outdoors, read this! After the May trip, we caught up with newbie (but newbie-no-longer) Filipe, who told us a bit about how he got on. He has a message to all those nervously still deciding whether to quit the gym, for a weekend at least, and get climbing outdoors. Read on to find out more…
BARNEY: How great was FTOR huh?
FILIPE: It was amazing. Really.
BARNEY: You climbed with me the first day, and managed to notch up 12 stars, or thereabouts, in one day. Not bad for someone who had never climbed outdoors before.
FILIPE: I did much more than I thought I was going to. It was odd at first not following colours but I remember thinking on the first climb I did that it all made more sense and everything was actually easier because you could use anything. And when I got to the top, the adrenaline was so much more than climbing indoors.
BARNEY: So, what did you think it would all be like?
FILIPE: I didn’t know what to expect – I was a bit intimidated. I had seen a lot of the people who were going at The Castle and they climbed really well. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to do a lot of stuff, but in fact it was totally the opposite.
BARNEY: So the reality was better than you’d expected?
FILIPE: Yes much. Everyone took time to help us all. I felt really motivated and happy and it made me want to do more. I have been climbing indoors on and off for about two years, and joined NST specifically with the intention of going on trips.
I really wanted to get outdoors and climb. I did a lot of outdoorsy stuff when I lived in Portugal, where I’m from, like hiking and caving but that all stopped when I came over here.
BARNEY: On a scale of one to ‘oh my god I think I’ve just peed my pants’, how thrilling was climbing on real rock?
FILIPE: Actually it wasn’t terrifying at all. I felt safe at all times. I was more terrified of camping, which I hadn’t done for 20 years, but in the end that was great too.
I loved the way everyone interacted. It was actually easier to integrate that when you’re indoors.
I came back wanting to get all my friend who don’t climb into it.
BARNEY: Okay, multiple choice. Trad climbing is good because…
a) You spend 80pc of the time fiddling with gear/guidebooks/eating pork pies/chatting and 10pc agonising over a crux move which you may or may not manage to do (other 10pc, where DID that time go?).
b) It’s the style which gave birth to the modern sport of climbing
c) I look like a hero in the pictures on Facebook
d) All of the above
e) Other… please detail
FILIPE: All of the above! It seems like trad involves a lot more thinking than sport climbing, which I’ve now also done – in Portland. It’s a lot more precise, and you’re also more part of a team. Sport climbing is more like climbing at The Castle, actually. I want to do trad now. I’m taking a leading course in the Peak at the end of July.
BARNEY: If you had to give one piece of advice about going on FTOR to a newbie, having now been one yourself, what would it be?
FILIPE: Don’t be scared! We all feel like we might not be able to do it before signing up, but you can! Oh, and bring a nut key. I didn’t read the advice blogs as much as I could have and wished I had, as I didn’t have a nut key on the second day on one climb. I have one of my own now. Keep an eye on the forums and read the blogs! It helps!
BARNEY: If you had to describe grit stone climbing in a word, what would that one word be?
FILIPE: AMAZING! I prefer climbing in the Peak to Portland. In Portland, the rock was so slippy. I was climbing 3s that felt like 8a.
BARNEY: More multiple choice. Aren’t knots just great?
b) I’m so confused
FILIPE: They’re brilliant. I was doing a muti-pitch sport course the week after and we were doing a lot of knots – it looks difficult but it’s actually quite easy.
BARNEY: Camping was…
FILIPE: I loved it. I loved how everyone hung out at the campsite. There’s a list of things to take on the website, and I followed that thoroughly.
BARNEY: What next?
FILIPE: Well, I’m away from August but I’ll be signing up to FTOR2 and 3. And I want to go on another trip. I’m starting to think about buying some hexes or nuts. Buying climbing gear is expensive so I’m trying to spread the cost out. It’s also better fun than buying shoes or bags.
BARNEY: Climbing 4EVA?
a) HELL YEAH
b) OMG never again. ever.
FILIPE: Forever. I think so. I’m looking at places to climb… holidays where I can also climb… I want to climb more and learn more. It definitely feels like forever!
BARNEY: Oh, and now you are a climber, you need a climbing power name. Any thoughts?
FILIPE: Not sure… Blue Angel Wings? Or Pico. That’s the top of a mountain in Portuguese.
BARNEY: How about Leonard. Or Diane? Or Just Di?
BARNEY: Great, it’s decided!