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Suzi takes on Burbage North

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This week, i had my first taste of real rock… I know, I know, I know, how is this possibly the first time. As ashamed as i am to say it, it was great to get my first proper outdoor climb under my belt.

For those of you who don’t know about outdoor climbing there are a few different ways to do this (taken from The Castle Climbing Centre info page).

Traditional (Trad) Climbing

This is where the lead climber places their own protection (equipment) in the rock. The second climber follows up removing the protection on the way up. It leaves no trace of the climber having been there.

Sport Climbing

This is where protection (bolts with hangers) have been glued to the wall already. It is similar to indoor lead climbing.


This is the same as indoor, it is without ropes. Climbers take their own crash mats with them.

So with my wonderful friend Jon Soper-Dyer, we headed up to Burbage North in the Peak District to give me a taste of Trad climbing. Surprisingly, I wasn’t really nervous before the trip. I’d had a few thoughts about communication but really, i know better than most that new communication systems can be easily made. What was great was that Jon hadn’t made it an issue where others had which made me more confident.

I’d love to tell you what order we climbed what but really I was too focused on what I was doing to notice. Jon had helpfully made a note of the crag and routes we climbed because quite frankly, they all looked pretty similar to me. That will be the difference between his experience and mine!

The first couple of routes were really easy and I really enjoyed them. I didn’t really know what to expect but I loved every minute and although the wall can look a bit intimidating, with its lack of visible holds, you really do think more about your movement and it seems easier because you have less holds to choose from.

With regards to being the second climber, it meant that I was responsible for taking out the gear on the way up. This was surprisingly easy as well, most likely to do with the fact the routes weren’t that difficult.

After we’d climbed a few more routes, Jon had selected a few that were a bit more difficult and we even conquered a chimney or two. To say I was pretty chuffed with myself at the end of the day would be an understatement. It was so different from indoor climbing and gave me a real buzz. Not just because we were outdoors surrounded by beautiful scenery, but because my mind is NEVER that focused when indoor climbing. It was liberating to be entirely in the climb. So excited for next time.

Here is a breakdown of the crag and routes:


Burbage North

Banana Finger/Overhanging buttress

Monkey Wall mod

Overhang Buttress Arete mod

Burgess Street mod

Sentinel Buttress

Stepped Crack diff

Black Slab Variation diff

The Grazer Buttress

Think of England mod

Ring Chimney mod

In the meantime, enjoy the pictures. Hopefully, we’ll be able to organise some outdoor climbs at the beginning of next season.