Route planning and finding for traditional climbing
Plan your day, including the approach, descent and walk out. Long and complex climbs can present route-finding difficulties when you're actually on the route, so spend some time sorting out where the line goes as you approach the cliff. Look for key features on the cliff that you know you will be able to identify when on the rock.
You'll need to make some kind of judgement as to how long the actual climb will take. This is usually a combination of technical difficulty, your ability to climb at that grade and how efficiently you manage stances and belay changeovers. The closer the grade is to the limit of your ability the slower the whole procedure will be.
Sea cliff climbing often requires an abseil approach. Make sure that you are in the right place and that you tie a knot in the end of the rope.
Short climbs are great for an evening out or if you're looking for lots of mileage under your belt and can manage several in a day. Guidebooks give little indication of how much time a climb will take but they do usually tell you how long it takes to reach the crag. Take note of your average time to do particular grades of climbs and use this as a yardstick for longer climbs and future days out. And remember if you think there is the slightest chance you might finish in the dark - take a torch!
Nigel has been an International Mountain Guide since 1979, is author of several climbing books and also works as a photographer
. He has climbed and guided in many mountain areas of the world and uses his 30+ years experience to inspire and develop other climbers, skiiers and trekkers.
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