Nothing to fear but…
My body felt charged and my breathing was shallow. I stared as the climbing instructor made short work of the slab above us and then disappeared round the side of the mountain. He was out of sight and – it transpired –out of earshot. I waited for his call. Nothing. I wasn’t going to move until I heard the obligatory:
‘Climb when you’re ready!’ to which I would answer:
‘Ready to climb!’
Then I felt a sharp tug on my waist, the rope between us became taut and inexorably; I was dragged upwards. Funny how terror intensifies the senses: I could smell the softener in my sweater, the scent of grass in the meadow below and the damp rock above me. The rasp of my metal studs on the rock sounded like a death knell and my eyes dissected the rock so that every molecule stood proud.
That was a long time ago but the experience is still fresh in my memory bank and when Cliff Rhys Jones said, after a terrifying experience on his programme ‘Mountain’ last night
‘Is rock-climbing for me? I think I know the answer to that.’
I was with him all the way.
I came across the photos below of Harrrison’s Rocks where I used to practice. I’ve had them for years and am unable to credit the photographer but thought I would share them. Harrison Rocks are owned by climbers and as they are soft sandstone leading is forbidden and top ropes must be used.