Perhaps like thalassophiles, who draw their energy from the burst of the waves, there exist a few amongst us who get their rocks off from a more earthly element. I guess we’ll call them pedraphiles. These strange creatures scour the countryside on the prowl for the perfect boulder, which on discovery, will be cleaned, climbed and baptised. I know this, because it is my mother’s new raison d’etre.
She’s not the only one to be so taken by nature’s climbing frame, I can now count more boulderers than stoners in my group of friends. Is this what happens as you approach your thirties?
The charm of bouldering has so far been lost on me. As a goodfornothing millennial, I crave the instant gratification of conquering a rock face, the fear and adrenaline of the climb, not to mention the Instagram opportunities awaiting at the top. There’s also the underlying knowledge that while I’m hanging by a thread, someone always has my back. By comparison, blindly grasping and desperately trying to find a foothold while not really getting anywhere is far too close to my current state of existence for it to be an enjoyable pastime.
Although I prefer dodging rocks as I hurtle my way down the mountain, rather than painstakingly clambering across them, I really do want to understand bouldering. I’ve loved every experience I’ve had of climbing, and while I’d be a lot happier having a board strapped to my feet, just being in the mountains brings me a sense of peace and fulfillment.
One of my goals when I moved back home was to give myself a chance to appreciate the area that I took for granted whilst growing up. It seemed ridiculous to have climbed in Thailand and Vietnam, but not in my hometown in Snowdonia! I also envisaged opening a cafe that would become a haven for climbers and bikers, with a similar vibe to the mountain bars and cafes that I loved in the Alps.
So, over the winter I got involved with a project that is helping bring that goal to life! I’ve built a new website for MidWales climbing, editing and migrating content, and learning a lot about climbing! I’ve also started editing material for the new guidebook to bouldering in Mid-Wales. The book is going to cover a huge area spanning from Betws to Aberystwyth, and being based in Blaenau Ffestiniog I’m looking forward to making a big dent in it!
There will also soon be some topos available in the Caffi, for those of you who fancy burning off your baklava and having a little explore!
If you want to know more, head over to midwalesclimbing.com, or check us out on Facebook or Instagram. The website is collaborative, and accepts all kinds of submissions, so if you want to share a story, photo or a new route, then please get in touch!