The Sydney Rockclimbing Club is open to climbers of all skill levels; it is hoped that, before members participate in a club climbing trip, they familiarise themselves with the basic skills necessary to climb safely outdoors. The minimum set of skills would include proper belay technique and being able to tie into a rope using a figure of 8 knot. More advanced skills would include lead climbing (sport or trad) and setting of anchors and top ropes.
Whilst the Sydney Rockclimbing Club itself does not offer instruction, we can recommend some organisations that will be able to help and who can offer a discount to Sydney Rockclimbing Club members. As a starting point we have compiled the following list that we hope is helpful to members looking to develop their skills.
You owe it to yourself and your climbing partners to obtain and maintain your first aid training. Climbing can be dangerous and accidents do happen so it’s best to know how to respond if someone is injured. The Sydney Rockclimbing Club recommend training with a recognised provider with certificate revalidation every three years.
There are a number of organisations that run first aid courses – St Johns and Red Cross provide regular basic first aid courses, check out:
a focus on remote area first aid is particularly relevant to climbers.
Bush Search and Rescue offer single day general first aid courses as well as a three day remote area first aid course. They are running some of theses courses in May and July or late in the year in November. Get all the details at their website: https://www.bsar.org.au/first-aid-courses/
Blue Mountains Climbing School will be offering courses commencing October 2019
Keep an eye on their website for more info: https://climbingschool.com.au/
Lead Climbing Indoors
Once you’ve become familiar with top roping climbing in a gym environment then the next step to becoming a competent outdoor climber is to develop your understanding of lead climbing in a gym, including proper and safe belay technique. Andrew Forrest from Sydney Rock Climbing, which is based at the St.Peters gym, runs a great course that many SRC members have completed. Check out the details here: https://www.sydneyrockclimbing.com.au/lead-climbing/
For SRC members, Andrew is kindly offering his Standard course for the cost of the Fundamental, so make sure you let him know if you’re a member when booking.
Gym to Outdoor Conversion
Once you’ve made yourself comfortable with leading and belaying a leader indoors, then it may be time to transition those skills to an outdoor environment. A lot of experienced climbers learnt their outdoor skills by tagging along on climbing trips with more experienced people. It can be a great way to learn but also results in your knowledge only being as solid and safe as that of your buddy. If you do decide you want to climb outdoors then you could fast track your skills by doing a course from a good recommended provider. Here are some we can recommend:
Blue Mountains Climbing School. They run a number of excellent courses that will help you really get up to speed with the skills necessary to become proficient in climbing outdoors. They have a single day introductory course to give you a taste of outdoor climbing here: https://climbingschool.com.au/courses/introduction-to-outdoor-climbing/
Following on from their intro course they offer a transition to outdoor climbing which involves you starting to lead single pitch bolted sport climbs. This is the time where you’ll get to be on the pointy end of the rope in the great outdoors. https://climbingschool.com.au/courses/indoor-to-outdoor-conversion/
If you’ve mastered the art of clipping bolts on sport climbs and are comfortable setting up and cleaning sport anchors then it may be time to get your head around the art of traditional climbing. If you head down this path you’ll be learning to place your own protection and make yourself and your partners safe using natural gear for anchors and belays.
BMCS run this one: https://climbingschool.com.au/courses/foundations-of-traditional-climbing/
Having gotten all the way to lead climbing on trad gear is quite an accomplishment, but there’s still the issue of what to do if something goes wrong while you’re climbing. What if a leader or second can no longer climb or is rendered unconscious ? Having the necessary skills to rescue yourself or your partner in this situation can be vital in keeping you both safe. Luckily there are some courses that can teach you these skills.
BMCS run a two stage self rescue course, details of the first part are here: https://climbingschool.com.au/courses/self-rescue-level-1/
And the more advanced one is here: https://climbingschool.com.au/courses/self-rescue-level-2-3/
The Blue Mountains Climbing School have kindly offered a 10% discount to SRC members for all their courses so make sure you ask about this when you’re booking your course with them.