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Andy Mills - First Year Chronicles

Our newest members share their experiences about the joining process and becoming a new member.

So, what motivated or inspired you to contact a mountaineering club?

I started climbing at Wolf Mountain before the lockdowns. When COVID closed the climbing wall I realised how much I was missing it and decided that I should learn to climb outside. Having no idea what I was doing I felt contacting a club would be far safer than a YouTube based education!

Any prior experience before joining?

Climbing wise I’d only climbed indoors. Mostly bouldering a bit of top roping and I had just done an indoor lead climbing course. I’ve always been into the outdoors and had spent some time hill walking.

What were the first few meets like you went on?

Symonds Yat near Hereford was my first meet, we all had to drive separately because of the social distancing rules. I was interested in sport climbing initially but after that trip I’ve got the bug for trad. There is a pinnacle of rock at Symonds Yat called the Long Stone and watching other people climb it seemed so advanced and unimaginable.

For my next meet I took my family on the Hereford camping meet and we all went stand up paddle boarding. I don’t think the kids expected me to be so good at capsizing the board. A great day out and the first time I’d been on a paddle board.

My last official meet as a probationary member was based out of the club hut near Llanberis. I did my first trad multi pitch as a second and then did my first multi pitch lead. I’m always grateful to have been given the support to develop that skill set within a year and before even becoming a full member.

As well as the three official meets there’s always people going out at the weekend or evenings and so I’d also been to The Roaches, Windgather and Ippikins Rock within my first year. I tended to use my spare time climbing and so didn’t make any of the walking, scrambling and cycling meets that were also on offer.

A year on – Full member. Any advice for our readers?

What have been the highlights during last 12 months?

The biggest highlight was going back to Symonds Yat with the club and leading Vertigo up the Long Stone Pinnacle. It’s graded at ‘severe’ and although not my hardest grade it’s the one that meant the most.

I took my wife up a multi pitch on the east face of Tryfan on Pinnacle Rib Route after a night at the hut. It’s easy climbing, graded at ‘difficult’, but is a full days effort with great views and was an amazing trip.

A year on have you learnt any new skills?

I have learned loads. I had never done any trad climbing and now I know enough to lead safely. It’s the gear, building anchors and using that new knowledge base that I find as exciting as the climbing these days.

So, why join Wolverhampton Mountaineering Club?

A great group of very friendly and helpful people we all have different interests but connect over a love of the outdoors.

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1 commentaire

27 sept. 2023

I not only love what you’ve achieved, but also that your wife and daughters have embraced “hanging out” in the great outdoors with WMC too - literally the more the merrier 😊

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