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Barn Climbing Creation

*Editor’s note: This is the second contribution from Chelsea Phillippe about her and Katy Nelson’s time spent lambing in England. Enjoy the story and photos.

Another spring, another lambing season on the Walson-Barton Farm near Winkleigh England. Nearly 500 pregnant ewes wait patiently for their 2 favorite shepherdesses to supervise, assist and encourage the delivery of their precious lambs. For our second year of lambing in England, Katy Nelson and I arranged with sheep farmer Andy Hawkey to build a climbing wall in one of the barns – in our spare time of course!

Jenny and Little Katie on Sheep Module (5.13c)

After careful consideration of location, priority #1 is to avoid the possibility of falling on small lambs, we find the perfect place.

Next, the necessary materials are gathered.  Holds are shipped in, about 100 foot holds, which will double for really small hand holds.  Ladders are rounded up, power drills tested, screws scavenged, a large pipe dug up, cleaned and set for a top rope, and of course large sheets of wood are found.

Sheep farmer Andy hanging wood to become the climbing wall

To prepare for our route testers we cut up small blocks of wood, attach our small holds to these blocks and then begin placing them on our wall.  With a couple short bouldering routes up we find some old mattresses to serve as crash pads and bring out our testers.

Chels setting a few tough lines

With our target audience pumped and satisfied we add a top sheet of wood, sling up the top rope and put up “long” routes, one with the really small holds to challenge Katy and I during our down time (when the sheep aren’t birthing).

Family climbing session with Big Katy (aka Katy Nelson), Susan, Andy, Jenny & Thomas

With a variety of routes established, an extra small harness purchased, and belay lessons taught, our home-made climbing wall in the lambing barn becomes a family event.  A little something for everyone.

E.F.R. - This is fantastic. The little girl’s expression of both fear and determination is exquisite – don’t we all make that face at some point in a route?June 21, 2011 – 11:14 pm

Adam - Thanks for the contributions, Chels. We’re always interested to hear your adventures. I hope to see you soon!June 21, 2011 – 11:17 pm

kris - Great to hear what you and Katy have been up to, Chels! The possibility that someone could go lambing in England was unbeknownst to me.June 22, 2011 – 2:41 pm

Thiemann - Cool stuff, Chels, however…Sheep Module, 5.13c? We both know that ain’t a lamb’s whisker over 12d.July 17, 2011 – 5:25 pm

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