Thursday 31 December 2009

Lake District based Scrambling Skills Training Course, Nov 28th & 29th 2009

Well, coming back to the UK was something of an anticlimax after Nepal. One thing that struck Iain as he was getting off the plane at Manchester was the wall of rain that had been happening here for some time by then.

At least in Nepal it was either warm & dry or cold & dry - but it was dry!!

But then one has to remember the monsoon season!

In this picture, Iain is demonstrating the technique of taking chest coil coils as part of short roping for scrambling. We take these pictures for clients so they can refer back to them when practising these skills for themselves.

Gary & Andy booked this scrambling course with Kendal Mountaineering Services after receiving numerous positive reports as to the quality of instruction and service we offer our clients and they weren't disappointed.

Having travelled up from Staffordshire, the guys wanted to learn the ropework skills necessary for leading grade 2 & 3 scrambles. At first it looked as though the weather was going to be problematic as the first winter snows had arrived on the Friday night and the mountains were covered down to about 1500 feet - not ideal for any training course.

Iain, however, had a few venues in mind and chose to work in the Coniston area on a well known grade 1 scramble called Long Crag.

In the above picture the guys are looking at the options of using a direct belay - one of the many skills Iain showed them that day.

Of course it is all very well teaching people skills, but the best way to learn is to put them into practice. Here, Andy is using a direct belay (Italian hitch) to bring Gary up a section that required just a bit more protection than a body (indirect) belay.

By the time the guys had completed the scramble it was rapidly getting dark and after some coaching with regards to an abseil retreat, we decided to call it a day.

The forecast for Sunday was not good. Gale force winds and snow spreading from the east and so the decision was made to return to the Long Crag area and consolidate the skills learning that had taken place the previous day. This time we did a grade 2 scramble called Boulder Route to the right of Long Crag itself with Andy & Gary alternately leading the rocky sections. The above picture shows Andy short roping Gary up to the foot of the next section.

The weather was cold and wet but we completed boulder route with time to spare and so headed over to the Miners Bridge area to have a go at Mouldry Bank - another grade 2 somewhat vegetated in its lower reaches but with better rock buttresses higher up.

Then suddenly we were running out of light again just as Gary was belaying Andy up the final 2 pitches of this route. The weekend course was over but Gary & Andy were very satisfied. Andy had this to say about their weekend with Iain.

What a fantastic weekend! Both me and Gary felt the course met our requirements exactly, pitched at the level we wanted with the right amount of content. Day one was packed with plenty of useful techniques and skills essential for the scrambling we want to do in the future, day two was used to practice and polish up skills in a real situation on more dificult ground and weather conditions which required protection. The grade 2 scramble in wild weather on Sunday was a real experience, something new which we would never have attempted before but now feel we are equipped with skills to do!

It was great to meet and work with you and we'd definitely use your services again.

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