There is a great advantage in being associated with an activity passionately and for a considerable duration of time, no matter how good or bad you are at it.
The advantage is that you start belonging to the community who values, nurtures and encourages your love or liking for that activity. Go to any place and you will end up finding your old friends or friends’ friends or friends’ friends’ friends, ready to take you in, through that community bonding.
I found myself in Pune for a month for a work trip and it was inevitable that I would end up climbing rocks on weekends. Sadly, I don’t have any pictures to show off for Pune climbing but on one Saturday, I caught a bus for Mumbai and was already at home and playing with my friend Archana’s beautiful twin nephews by lunchtime. Archana, her elder brother Milind and their another climber friend Dinesh would take me to Belapur the next day for some climbing.
To quote the place description on Rockclimbing.com,
“CBD Belapur is an extension of Parsik hills that has been explored and developed as climbing and bouldering site. There are lots of bouldering routes ranging from V1 to V8 opened at the site. There are a some bolted sport routes as well ranging from 5a to 7b. The area has been host to open international bouldering and lead climbing competition and artificial bouldering as well.”
More information on how to reach : http://www.rockclimbing.com/routes/Asia/India/Maharashtra/Mumbai/CBD_Belapur/
CBD Belapur has long been popular among Mumbai climbers for its suitability for rock climbing. The hillocks have huge boulders and rock walls that make it an ideal site for climbing. Access to this place is very easy too. Members of Girivihar, the famous Climbing/Trekking/Mountaineering organisation based out of Mumbai routinely conducts its rock climbing camps in this area and initiates youngsters into this fabulous sport.
The four of us parked our car at the base of the hillock. We passed through the village and within half an hour, were somewhere up the way on the hillock, around the site where boulders lay in our wait. All the routes on these boulders are already bolted. We had our own rope, belay devices and other climbing paraphernalia. There were two routes that we were planning to attempt in the short duration of 3 hours that we had available to us.
I wanted to attempt a lead climb that day. It had been ages since I had tried that. In fact, it had been a long time since my last session in the natural rocks and the rock here, ( Deccan Basalt) felt good. With Milind as my belayer, I started the climb. I could not make much progress that day. I had a fall in the second move itself. I made it till the first clip, took a fall, climbed again and made it some way beyond the first clip but could not proceed after that. Milind was the next to attempt it. I belayed him while he smoothly made it past all the clips and topped the route. Phew! The route was now ready for climbing on the top rope.
Archana, I and Dinesh then completed the route on the top rope. It was a good practice session for me as a belayer that day.
We moved our gear to the route adjacent to the first one and this time, Dinesh opened the route. This was fairly easier than the first but was fun enough.
Towards our left, in some distance, we could hear climbing calls from Girivihar climbers who regularly practise on the rocks here. They were doing some very difficult routes and we spent next half an hour watching them climb and chatting up with some friends in that group.
It was a Sunday Morning very well spent! I was in Maharashtra’s hilly terrain after a year and it felt very nice to be in the hills, surrounded by bush , plants and the grass, with views of cliffs and boulders around you ( albeit hidden behind the plant growth as the season was immediately post monsoon). At the top of both of the routes, I had felt the necessity to have a camera clipped to my harness so that I could have clicked the beautiful view visible from that vantage point.
I returned to Pune the same evening, with more plans to climb here on my next trip.