Belay lessons at Higgovale Quarry

After several months, I finally attended another MCSA Search & Rescue Training event at Higgovale Quarry and yearned to do some rock-climbing at The Quarry again.  Fortunately, Shaheen said that they would be climbing on Saturday ^_^ which worked out great for me but again with time constraints. Sigh

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Anyway, we meet at The Quarry at around 2pm and first take pics of this and that before Shaheen, Rashaad, Anwar and Karl set up a 16, 17 & 18 graded climbs.  We watch and learn and also watch the couple next to us doing a 23/24 graded climb repeatedly.  That was interesting.  Initially their dog Borris barked at us until…

The learners are Zubeidah, Mansoor, Travis, Yvonne, Don and I.  Although Yvonne & Don had no interest in climbing but there to learn how to belay.  They spend 6 months in Cape Town and 6 months at their home in the UK ^_^.

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The kids play about and Boris is all around us and friendly and wants our food.  He even followed me all around the quarry while I was eating a pie lol.  I felt like the Pied Piper.

Travis is attempting the 18 graded climb (only his second outdoor climb mind you) and he struggles with too tight shoes which was hurting his toes.  It’s essential to have comfortable climbing shoes and can imagine how painful that must have been for him.  I wanted to offer him my shoes but he wears a size 12!   Also Travis is Autistic.

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April also happens to be Autism Awareness Month.

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Most people assume that Autism is a mental disorder but it is not.  It is a neurodevelopmental disorder.  Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviours, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences. We now know that there is not one autism but many types, caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental influences. The term “spectrum” reflects the wide variation in challenges and strengths possessed by each person with autism.

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Travis communicated with us perfectly and he can belay and rock-climb.

I got to Belay Shaheen with Anwar as back up.  I initially fuddled a bit as I forgot the motions of belaying but once I got the rhythm again, it was easy peasy!  Except!  Shaheen was climbing faster than what I could belay her!  She really motored up that route!  I can’t even remember if she ‘took a fall for me’  – belay test. She repels down with I think Anwar showing me a different way than what Rashaad showed me last time as my hands didn’t remember that motions but got used to it.

I was so super chuffed that I got to belay Shaheen when she’s belayed me on most of my successful climbs ^_^

It’s getting late and asked if I could ‘climb and leave’ and they said sure.  Yvonne was my belay with Anwar as her instructor.  And I forget once again how to tie my figure 8 knot!  I seriously need to practice this!  I also need to get me a belay device and chalk bag!  Honestly these guys are so great to spare their extra gear for us newbies!

Up I go with both Mansoor and Shaheen taking pics of me hehe. I take break on a ledge have time to pose and ‘take a fall’ for Yvonne.  On the final pitch I want to give up and told them to let me down as it’s getting late and I have to pick up my daughter.  They of course said no!  Friends do not let friends down!  Sigh

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This is where I struggled like crazy last time I was at the Quarry sigh so doubting that I would be able to this without much effort!  And time sigh

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but with guidance, and long long stretches!  I climb almost effortlessly!  Really?!  I was nervous for nothing! ^_^  Pose for me pics before repelling down ^_^  Well done Yvonne!  Well done to all the new belays!

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Once I’ve perfected the art of top rope belay, I need to learn how to lead belay O_O  but that’s for another time.  It took me a long time to build up the courage to learn how to belay in the first place.  Having someone’s life in your hands is serious work!

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No mountain adventure for me on Sunday as I assisted Ommiedraai with handing out of medals at the Spar Ladies race so grateful I got to climb on Saturday.  Thank you guys!

Most of the photos uploaded were taken by Mansoor and Shaheen so photo cred goes to them.

Until my next mountain adventure (whatever it is), ciao for now and thank you for reading ^_^

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