The best climber in the world is the one having the most fun! —Alex Lowe
Indoor experience obtained from a climbing gym is a fantastic way to get into the sport of rock climbing. And an upward transition to climbing outdoors is sort of a natural segue for those with access to the world’s great climbing crags. We’re fortunate here in the Mt Washington Valley in that we have myriad options. We have locations where we can find excellent free climbing “sport” routes where man-made protection is available as well as a host of “trad” or traditional routes where protection (in the form of nuts, cams, etc.), is added by the lead climber. Aside from “free soloing” or climbing without a rope — or using only one’s ability as their only protection — leading multi-pitch trad is most climbers’ end-goal.
Going from the gym environment to the outdoor crag is not as simple as one may think — as people don’t know what they don’t know. Suddenly, for example, you need a helmet to protect you from the very crag you’re climbing. Another consideration is nature itself. Reaching for a colorful piece of wall candy at the gym will likely never result in getting stung by wasps, scaring up a bird of prey, smearing off-route lichens, or encountering weeping/sweating rock on a hot, humid day. There’s A/C in most gyms. And it never rains, not unless their roof leaks. So how do the wise ones make this transition safely? They hire experienced guides.
And that all leads us to this: A vacationing family (another from Ohio) with some gym-experienced members reached out hoping we could get them on a local crag to test their mettle on rock, even though the request was very last minute. As luck would have it, the planets did align, and not only were we able to lead this family on a day long “Intro to Rock Climbing” course, we were able to supply two of our very best rock climbing guides. Namely, we had Redline Guides Pat Ferland and Will Murphy on the job — Redline Guiding’s rock climbing A-Team, so to speak!
With all things considered, the family of five and two guides headed over to a lovely rocky knob with great views known as “Jockey Cap” located in Fryeburg, Maine. There they brought the family into the vertical rock realm and showed them the ropes, so to speak. Having two guides — and a father/husband who seem to really enjoy and was skilled at belaying/protecting his family — the opportunity existed at that location to try some close-proximity multi-pitch climbing for the family’s most experienced climber, if wanted. Both guides, as usual, provided some photos and a little footage with which we produced this one minute video. We hope you enjoy it — and gets you stoked to have your own experience.