Avon Gorge Trip
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When Andrew Caird asked me to join him for a climb in the Avon gorge I jumped at the chance. My first trip up a descent climb I was going to be safe right!!!!!

As it was my first proper climb outdoors apart from a couple of smaller routes and Andy decided that we would do a nice tasty 3 pitch route to wet the appetite. I think it's graded vd but not that that means much to me apart from high and steep. I had been practicing in the local climbing centre so my climbing ability was ok but the one thing which was going to affect me was my slight fear of heights!! Anyway the weather was cloudy with sunny spells and the weather looked like holding out. Andy had climbed this route previously so knew where he was going and where the pitches were. Which was nice to know. This sort of climbing was completely new to me so the first thing Andy thought me was how to remove the gear he had inserted into the rock face.

He would be lead climbing to the first pitch, take up the slack then belay me so i had to know how to remove gear and clip it on to my harness out of the way and safely. Once the tuition was over Andy started to climb up the first section to the first pitch. It didn't look to steep until it was my turn to go up to meet him. But I was ok and felt safe with Andy at the other end. The next section was a little tougher with the rock getting a little steeper and the drops getting higher.

But we were going well and I still didn't feel to bad. We were now on a tough little ledge which looked ok when Andy lead away but was a little terrifying when I was slowly making my was across and looked down. That did effect me a little and a few wobbles started to creep in but once again I felt safe with Andy's roping skills. Well as safe as you were going to feel! Anyway what happened next can only be described as a great test for Andy in the rope skill department. The heavens opened and gave us and the gorge a soaking.
So as Andy lead the last section the climb got dangerously slippery and we decided to go back down rather than take the risk of climbing 15 feet up without anywhere to fix the rope in. As he made his way back down on the ledge he slipped and fell into me which knocked us both off our feet and onto the edge of the ledge. It was a bit of a terrifying moment as I scrambled to grab anything which was in front of me. But looking back at it I was anchored to a tree and connected to the rock face so I wasn't going anywhere.

Still explains why you over compensate when you anchor yourself to things and tie down. If I had to estimate how far up the ledge was from the ground I would have to say about 120 feet or so!. From then on I was a little wobbly but wanted to get down safely. I have to say I was amazed by the amount of different roping skills Andy used to get us down and I never really felt unsafe. By the time we had reached the bottom of the gorge we were wet and tired but safe and some what relieved on my part.

A great day climbing but just a little unlucky with the weather. Looking forward to completing the climb in the summer.
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