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Personal Reflections on Climbing

Pete Sutton sends us this hard hitting contribution on the Climbing Section. Perhaps we shall get a suitable reply?

It seems that the Climbing Section - like the Liberals have taken a slight setback in recent times, although I think the picture is not as black as might have been portrayed,

Although a considerable portion of the Climbing Section has definitely stagnated, several of us have actually carried on the tradition of climbing.  This must be to the amazement of some others, who have taken to dancing on horizontal floors instead of up vertical walls.

One thing that has been sadly missed is the tradition of the Climbing Section going away together on Bank Holiday weekends.  Excepting Easter weekend, which was a combined caving, climbing and drinking weekend - not necessasarily in that order - the majority of the Climbing Section elected not to uphold old traditions of the B.E.C in having climbing weekends, but rather to following new 'old' traditions of a more uniformed nature, B.E.C. ties were left behind.  The group did manage a weeks summer holiday in Pembrokeshire and N. Wales, but the less said about that, the better.

Even so, the Climbing Section was represented in N. Wales at Whitsun and experienced excellent weather, good camping and fine climbing.  Ivy Sepulchre (190' H.V.S.) was climbed on the Cromlech in Llanberis Pass and several good V.S.'s done on Craig-y-Ulenalt, Snowdon South.  One in particular proved quite exciting with two hard pitches and exposed third pitch.

As Gerry mentioned in his climbing report, Thursday evening climbing again took place this year in the Avon Gorge. The terribly wet weather through the summer months - it always seemed to rain on Thursday evenings - had its bad effect on climbing, but even so it was disappointing previous regulars couldn't always find the time to come along.

Here, I feel that I must sound a note of warning.  The few remaining members who are active climbers cannot, and will not forever be loners.  Already, substantial moves have been made away from the club in an effort to broaden the sphere of activity.  A number of trips have been made recently with the Egons Climbing Club - a club incidentally which does not limit its climbing on Sundays to the Avon Gorge and which does not take the view that if you can't climb H.V.S. - then tough luck! Instead, it travels to places some people might have never been to, like Chudleigh Gower, Symond's Yat, Cefn Coed, Maelstrom Quarries etc, and caters for beginners; moderates or hard climbers. As individuals, they also make outsiders welcome and able to feel one of them almost immediately - a feature which has been sadly lacking amongst our own Climbing Section.

Still, we mustn't end on a note of gloom.  Three or four more active climbers are on the books, and it's up to us, both active climbers and stagnated ones (sorry about that!) to make them feel welcome and transform the B.E.C. Climbing Section once more into an active, lively and social group, within the general structure of the club as a whole.  I feel also that much greater liaison will occur between B.E.C. and other climbing groups which I am sure can only be beneficial to the participants.

Editor's Note:     Well, there you are, climbers! It seems that, to one of your number at least, all is not as well as it might be.  Ever since the B.B. was first produced in 1947, it has been enriched by tales of the exploits of club climbers - from the early episodes of the Menace (John Morris); 'Orrible Orren; Ron (Holler-in-the-night) Newman, and many other equally colourful people, not forgetting the ubiquitous 'Kangy' King. Perhaps one answer might be to encourage more 'all-rounders' like Kangy, and have more interaction between cavers and climbers.  Any further correspondence on this subject would be welcome, since one of the functions of the B.B. is to enable club members to air their views on subjects such as this.