Ropes Of Maui

I tried Ropes of Maui for the first time a couple of weeks back. I’d been wanting to try it for a while but my free time and the good conditions never aligned. Ned and I really wanted to spend Easter weekend climbing on rocks and luckily the coach agreed. We’d made plans to go and see friends up in Northumberland but Ropes of Maui was on my mind. We packed up the camper, which makes spontaneous adventures totally possible and before our trip to the County we headed to Wales.

It was a lovely, sunny day. On days like that North Wales is hard to beat. It’s one of my favourite places to visit. I was beyond psyched to be out rock climbing again especially in the glorious sunshine. After warming up on the Cromlech boulders we headed up to the Barrel Cave to find a howling wind blowing through it. It was a slow start! I struggled on the 7a high start for a while. It was pretty intimidating and I just felt totally alien climbing on rock. I’d forgotten how bad footholds can be and how sometime a move is just awkward. Luckily Ned gave me enough grief to toughen me up.

I moved down to the lower start. An 8a called Stoned Temple Pilots. Then I quickly remembered how tiny holds can be outdoors. I was please to do the moves reasonably swiftly and complete it. For Ropes to Maui you start even lower, adding a 3 moves into the start of the 8a. These 3 moves felt super hard! After a good while trying them I’d finally figured out beta that would work. Unfortunately by this point I was quite cold and getting tired. Ned convinced me to have one last good go and I got so close! My hand popped as I was setting up for the last tricky move. Despite the obvious frustration I was pleased. Did I have another go in me? I rested, prepared and sat down to pull onto the start holds. Nope. It wasn’t happening.

I’d successfully reacquainted myself with rock climbing, tried hard and found a project. Definitely a good day out!

Ropes of Maui was on my mind. The start of the season was getting closer and closer and I didn’t want to leave any unfinished business behind. Thankfully Coach Glennie was kind enough to let me head back and Leah was keen to come! So we went for a little adventure in the camper. The weather forecast showed rain until 4am and then the conditions looked good. It definitely felt like we were being way too optimistic as we fell asleep to the sound of rain drops hitting the roof. However, our confidence in the weather forecast was rewarded in the morning. The rock was a little wet but there was a strong breeze so after a leisurely breakfast we had a quick warm up and then headed up the hill.

I spent a while familiarising myself with the 7a. It still felt intimidating at first. Next I did the big move on the 8a, which felt fine. So I figured I’d try from the start to see where I got to and go from there. I sat down and pulled on. I didn’t get very far as I couldn’t remember where my feet went. After inspecting the rock for a while I chalked up again and climbed it. I hit the first few holds terribly and was kind of waiting to fall off but somehow I fell up it and topped out quite surprised.

I was more shocked than please and a little sad that the process was over in a way. I knew it was possible but I didn’t expect it to happen so fast. I was also pretty disappointed that I’d forgotten to put my Go Pro on to which Leah said “Just do it again”. I laughed but she didn’t and I realised she was being serious. There wasn’t any harm in giving it a go and I was curious to see if I’d be able to do it again. Could I get my head in the right place and try hard enough. After a little rest I pulled back on. I hit every hold perfectly and throughly enjoyed climbing it a second time. It was definitely a good confidence boost too. All that training must be working! It was nice to do my first 8b in the UK after a while of not feel very good on rock.

I can’t thank both Ned and Leah enough. I feel so lucky to have such supportive people around me. Oh and my coach for letting me have a morning off training. We packed up fast post send and headed back to The Climbing Hangar for our evening session. After some acroyoga of course 🙂

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