Well, if you have followed my posts from the last month, you likely saw that we took a belated honeymoon to Ireland and had our VERY FIRST OUTDOOR ROCK-CLIMBING EXPERIENCE!
No, my family and friends were not too comforted to see my 5-month pregnant self hanging off the side of a cliff. I assure you, it was with the most risk-reduction practices that I chose to participate in this adventure. Plus, YOLO. Plus, all my climbing friends thought it was pretty neat….
Lance and I have been indoor climbing for about 3 years now, but have never made the leap to get outdoors.
It was an adventure!
As an indoor-trained climber, I am very accustomed to following a designated route. The moves are not easy and often take both mental and physical problem-solving skills, but I at least have a general idea of where I am supposed to be moving. What I quickly learned, is that this is not the case with outdoor climbing.
Our guide, Iain Miller, started us on some 5.6/5.7 rated routes. Use your imagination here. This type of route in a gym is usually FULL of very generous, easy to hold/stand on holds. Now, imagine you are quite literally on the side of what appears to be a very flat piece of granite rock, also rated as a 5.6. Ummmm……say what???
The biggest difference is that these generous holds I am used to do exist; they just happen to be the exact same color as the rest of the rock and are a lot more difficult to find 🙂 Enter…patience and self-trust. Honestly, I am not sure that any amount of gym climbing really prepared me for this experience.
Real, actual granite rock that has been recently rained on is both slick and sand-paper-y (is that even a word?) making outdoor climbing is an entirely new challenge. I am excited to pursue more of it, likely after little Baby O. makes his or her arrival.
So, if you ever find yourself on the northwest coast of Ireland, look up Iain Miller. He was super friendly and professional, tailoring our guided experience just for us. We ended up on Cruit Island, where he had first-ascended over 300 routes. I don’t know–but he seems like kind of a big deal to me. We purchased a half-day excursion for $150/person and got about 6 climbs in a piece. It was an experience well worth the cost. We also brought most of our own equipment and rain gear (which I would recommend because MAN it was windy), but you don’t have to.
Check him out here: Unique Ascent