Saturday 25 August 2012

Rock Climbing Skills Training Courses in The Lake District. August 19th & 23rd 2012.

As well as getting wet providing clients ghyll scrambling & canyoning sessions during the last week, Iain has also greatly enjoyed getting out climbing with people who have wanted to learn the skills required for Rock Climbing.

Last week, we ran one of our two day Learning to lead milti-pitch rock climbing skills training courses and since last Sunday we have run another two of these courses - albeit, of only one day duration each.

Photo One shows Andrew with son David & daughter Helen. The three had done a number of sessions of indoor climbing and a few outdoor sessions previously. In fact only the day before they had been at one of our favourite single pitch climbing venues at Hutton Roof. Along the way, they were picking up many climbing skills and now wanted to progress to leading so that they would be able to go out any time to enjoy the outcrops of rock not too distant from where they live.

Having built up a clear picture of what skills the three already had, Iain felt that an easy multi-pitch climb would be a good progression.

So, it was decided that Andrew would lead and that the children would follow in series - that is two climbing ropes joined between the three of them. Andrew would lead - being the adult; and in doing so he would get a chance to place running belays, equalise anchors at stances; and generally be preparing for looking after the other two for future climbing sessions.

Helen & David would get a chance to belay with an "in series" system and also remove and deal with running belays as well as observing and stripping down anchor systems at stances. All in all, the ideal plan for the session; and one which will serve them all well with their future climbing careers.

Route One at Upper Scout Crag in Langdale was chosen as the venue and we did this one climb before the rain really set in as we knew it was going to. Photo two shows Andrew on the "crux" of Route One. The three learned a lot form their multi-pitch climbing skills training day with Iain and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The photos from this session, with useful annotations for aspiring climbers can be viewed here.

After a couple of days of canyoning sessions, Iain was back at Upper Scout this time with Stephen King & his son Chris, both from Essex.

The family were holidaying at Hawes in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and had visited our friends in Inglesport to get some advice on climbing equipment and ask about a suitable climbing guide. Inglesport had recomended Kendal Mountaineering Services and the pair had rung Iain and arranged to book a climbing day in The Lake District.

Before meeting the pair, Iain had gained the impression that they wanted a guided climbing session. However, upon meetin the pair and walking in to the crag, he built up a picture that this was not what was needed at all. Both Stephen & Chris had been out previously with Mountaineering Instructors, climbing & learning skills, so what was needed was a package where they could gain further progression.

As it turned out, neither had actually done a multi-pitch climb before and as the weather was such that we could "just about" climb we returned to Upper Scout Crag where it was decided that Iain would lead the climb and bring up the pair (again in series) so that they could try out belaying and running belay removals and anchor stripping - all facets of a multi-pitch climbing scenario.

Photos three & four are both taken at the stance on Route one. Iain had climbed up and set up a belay and then brought up Chris who in turn, belayed Stephen up the first pitch. Photo three shows Chris belaying Stephen who is climbing. Chis has his belay plate attached to his rope tie in loop and correctly orientated for the downward pull he would receive if Stephen slipped. Photo four shows the pair stacked neatly on the stance with Chris ready to belay Iain who is about to lead on up the next pitch.

Leading & teaching on a multi-pitch route takes a surprising a mount of time and having done the one route, we were left with a little time to look a the various ways of equalising anchors to a central attachment point either with the climbing rope or slings. Both Stephen & Chris were very pleased with the new skills they had learned from Iain and he was very pleased to have been able to provide them with an appropriate progression for the day despite the wet conditions. Further photos with annotations from this session can be viewed here.

If you are interested in learning to rock climb then contact us at Kendal Mountaineering services to arrange your session. You can learn the skills to climb outdoors in both Summer and Winter or you can choose to be guided up the classic climb of your choice. Booking a session with a Mountaineering Instructor will secure you the services of someone who has considerable experience of climbing or scrambling all year around in the UK. If you are interested in multi-pitch rock climbing or summer scrambling courses - make sure that your instructor holds the Mountaineering Instructor Award (MIA) at the very least.

If you would like to book a course or would like advice then feel free to contact Iain here. We look foward to working with you.

Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning sessions in The Lake District. August 18th - 22nd 2012.

Since our last post, we have been really busy at Kendal Mountaineering Services. Despite the wet weather, the Summer holidays are in full swing with many families wanting to get outdoors and try something new and exhilariating.

Most people don't give us much notice when wanting to book a session but Kayliegh Jarvie (centre photo one) booked her canyoning session with us way back in February and the weekend of the session was also the occasion of her sister Jacqui's birthday - so a good excuse for a weekend getaway to The Lake District.

As with most of our canyoning sessions, Iain had planned to take the three to Church Beck. However, the night before, it had rained heavily and Church Beck was out of bounds. We made the pilgrimage over to the alternative venue in Langdale but that was too low!

Anyway, we decided to try Stickle Ghyll, a favourite Lake District Ghyll Scrambling venue which was just about at the limit, but as you'll see if you look at the photographs here, the trio had a great time indeed.

The next session 3 days later had also been booked a while back by returning client Steven Finkill. Steven & his girlfriend Sally were the subject of a post about an all day caving trip that Iain had organised for them in the Yorkshire Dales National Park earlier in the year.

On this occasion, Steven, living in Manchester, had been looking after two of his nephews from the North East and thought they might enjoy a canyoning session in The Lake District with us.

Water levels had changed substantially since the previous Saturday and Church Beck was now at a much better level which was good since the youngest chap in this party was only ten; and probably about the lower age limit we would advise for this trip.

All three thoroughly enjoyed splashing about in the ghyll and getting thoroughly soaked. At least the weather was warm meaning that despite being soaked, everyone was still comfortable. Other photos from this Canyoning Session in The Lake District can be viewed here.

The final party to undertake an exhilarating wet session with Kendal Mountaineering Services during this week came with parents Tony Irwin & Duncan Bain and five of their children who wanted to try canyoning whilst visting the Lake District on holiday away from their homes in the south east.

Iain first knew the session was definitely going ahead about three hours before he was due to run it - but if we are not working then a short notice booking is fine. Iain dashed around to get the kit ready and then shot over to Coniston to give the group a great afternoon Canyoning session that they all thoroughly enjoyed.

Other photographs from this session with Duncan, Tony & the family can be viewed here.

Unfortunately, the summer weather has not been what we would generally hope for here in The Lake District (well, a bit less rain & a bit more sun would be nice!). However, there is still much you can do with us in the rain - such as Ghyll Scrambling or Canyoning or Kayaking or Canoeing. So if you are wondering what to do with yourselves on a wet day then give us a call, you can be guaranteed to have a great time.

Saturday 18 August 2012

Learning to lead. Rock Climbing Skills Training courses in The Lake District. August 13th & 14th 2012.

Last Monday & Tuesday, Iain was joined by Matt & Tim Simpson from Norwich who were on holiday in the Lake District for a week of outdoor adventures.

Matt had spent a considerable amount of time climbing at an indoor wall in Norwich and wanted to make the transition to traditional rock climbing out of doors; although unfortunately the opportunities for outdoor rock climbing do not exist in Norfolk.

Matts mum had gone online and found the Kendal Mountaineering Services website and noted that we ran skills training courses for people wishing to learn to become rock climbing leaders. After a telephone conversation with Iain, she subsequently booked one of our two day learning to lead multi-pitch rock climbing courses in The Lake District for Matt.

Iain took the pair to Upper Scout Crag in Langdale - one if his favourite teaching rock climbing  venues and in photo one, Matt can be seen at the first stance of Route One belaying his dad - Tim who agreed to act as Matts second for the duration of the course.

When Jane had booked the course for Matt, it was clearly to be for Matts benefit. Iain felt that the best way for Matt to get the most out of his learning to lead multi-pitch rock climbing course would be to have a second who would belay Matt whilst Iain coached alongside Matt as he climbed.

Mountaineering instructors do this by rigging a rope down the length of a climb on which we can move up or down, keep ourselves and our clients safe and be alongside to coach anchor placements, anchor equalisation techniques and belay techniques. This is the best possible approach for anyone who wants to learn about rock climbing. In photo two, Matt, having set up an equalised system is belaying Tim who is on the Crux pitch of Route one.

In photo three Tim is pictured as he tackles the crux on the second pitch of Route Two at Upper Scout. Undoubtedly, the course was a steep learning curve for Matt as there is a great deal of information to be absorbed on a two day learning to lead multi-pitch rock climbing course - but it was an even steeper learning curve for Tim who is not a climber.

However, despite this, it was clear that Tim had also enjoyed himself and he had clearly absorbed a lot of what was taught over the two days. Having come along to support his son as per Iains recommendations, it is reckoned that he had a thoroughly exhilarating time and he certainly worked extremely well as a second for Matt. He also climbed well too. Well done Tim!

Day one and two were spent at Upper Scout Crag. We started off by looking at anchor placements and equalising anchors, using slings to equalise anchors to a central attachment point and when to tie into the anchors at a stance with ropes rather than using slings.

We then climbed route One in 3 pitches with Matt leading, placing running belays and setting up the anchors at each stance. It is surprising how long it can take to climb a multi-pitch route when you are learning along the way, but having finished Route One, we only had part of the afternoon to do a second climb. So, Matt led off up Route Two, the plan being that we would finish at the second stance and abseil off the route from there so that the pair could see abseil retreat techniques; and that is exactly what we did.

For day two of Matts learning to lead multi-pitch rock climbing skills training course in The Lake District, we returned to Upper Scout once again.

It was a very wet start to the day and wet rock is not an ideal medium to climb on. Iain had felt that the pair were at about the limit of their abilities on Upper Scout and often we may consider going to Middlefell Buttress on day two and if people are really going well - finish on Revelation on Raven Crag.

However, Iain felt that to return to Upper Scout and finish off Route two - linking it with Route One via Route 1.5 might be more appropriate, so that was what we did. A very heavy shower came in whilst we were at the 1st stance on Route one which soaked the rock and meant that Tim felt unable to make the crux move on the first pitch of that route. So, Iain showed Matt the Improvised Rescue Technique of hoisting to help his dad overcome the difficulty.

Photo four shows Matt belaying Tim from the 3rd stance of Route Two whilst Tim tackles the crux of the pitch below. By this time the sun had come out and the rock was drying up nicely, the weather for the rest of the day was perfect.

After completing their 3rd multi-pitch climbing route we spent a little time revisiting techniques required for equalising anchors at stances before calling it a day, a little early, but the pair had climbed well, absorbed the techniques for climbing multi-pitch routes in safety and were very happy with what they had achieved over the two day course.

If you would like to learn how to climb on outdoor rock in The Lake District then do it with one of our experienced mountaineering Instructors at Kendal Mountaineering Services. You will be in safe hands with experienced and appropriately qualified people who will ensure you have a great course. Further photos from Matt & Tims climbing course complete with detailled descriptions can be viewed here. To book your rock climbing skills training course in The Lake District contact us here. We look forward to working with you.

Wednesday 15 August 2012

Ghyll Scrambling, Canyoning & Open Canoeing Sessions in The Lake District. August 4th - 12th 2012.

It is well over a week since we posted up anything about our activities here at Kendal Mountaineering Services. That is not to say we have been quiet - anything but, in fact! Anyway, this post is an attempt to catch up and covers the whole of this busy period rather than being a report about each individual session.

In photo one we start off with Cara Hale & Wayne from London. Cara contacted us looking for a half day of ghyll scrambling to be run in conjunction with a half day of motor boating. We weren't able to provide the latter but we did provide Cara with links to people who could. Anyway, she chose to book with us for their ghyll scrambling session.

As they did not want canyoning as well, Iain chose to take the pair to Stickle Ghyll in Langdale. It was a nice morning and the ghyll was at a good level giving this couple from London just the right amount of fun that they needed. They thoroughly enjoyed their session with Iain; and the rest of the photos from their ghyll scrambling half day session in The Lake District can be viewed here.

Iain was back into action the next day - this time with Katie & Cameron who had booked on to one of our half day Introductory Canadian Canoeing Sessions in The Lake District.

Iain met the pair at Waterhead, Ambleside, where we got kitted out and unloaded the boats ready to go. Our session consisted of some flatwater skills on Windermere to allow the pair basic control of their Canadian Canoe before taking a journey up the river Rothay and ending up at the Rothay play wave where the pair were able to run the rapid and practice high crosses ie how to get across the rapid from one side to the other - without capsizing!

However, capsize they did - many times; though the weather was hot and the water not cold.The pair thoroughly enjoyed playing on rapids - so much so that we visited the Brathay bridge rapid as well and then suddenly we were running out of time. Photo two shows the pair on the lower river having great fun.

Iain was straight back out the next morning to meet Helen Scott & her partner Thomas who had booked one of our Church Beck Ghyll Scrambling & canyoning sessions some time previously.

The pair had spent the weekend camping in the area with the intention of climbing Scafell Pike - Englands highest Mountain. But whilst the weekend weather had been hot, it had also given rise to a number of thunderstorms and heavy downpours and the pair had wisely decided to stay off the mountain tops.

Photo three shows Helen & Thomas at the start of the Church Beck Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning trip. As ususal, we ascended the ghyll as far as the chockstone fall before getting out, heading right to the top of the gorge and descending back to the Chockstone fall. Helen & Thomas thoroughly enjoyed their session with Iain and are talking about returning to try the Esk Gorge day on their next visit. Photos taken during their session can be viewed here.

Iain moved over to North Yorkshire for the next few days to run another rock climbing & bouldering session at Brimham Rocks followed by the ususal abseiling & gorge scrambling session at Howstean in Nidderdale for Village Camps. He didn't take any photos this time, but you can read about one of his previous sessions in this post.

Anyway, after arriving back in The Lakes on Thursday night, Iain was straight out the next morning to meet Alison & Stan Wiblin from Oxford who had booked one of our multi-activity adventure days. They were in the area for a long weekend to do some hillwalking, they had been ghyll scrambling before in the area, but this time fancied trying something a little more challenging.

Alison had found the Kendal Mountaineering Services website the previous year and liking what she saw, had saved the webpage with a view to contacting us this year

Photo four shows the pair at the first big fall in Church Beck. Once again Iain did our usual ghyll scrambling ascent of the gorge followed by the canyoning descent from the top - abseiling down three waterfalls before jumping and sliding down the final two and then exiting the ghyll to return to our vehicles for some lunch.

After lunch we relocated to Waterhead, Ambleside, so that the pair could try out one of our Introductory Canadian Canoeing Sessions on Windermere. The weather was hot, sunny & calm - ideal conditions for taking a Canadian Canoe on to the lake.

The pair had paddled an open canoe before so it was merely a case of brushing up on basic paddling skills before going on a journey around the northern end of Windermere and of course, visiting the river too. Photo five shows the pair as we headed back towards Waterhead. The rest of the photos from their multi-activity adventure day can be viewed here.
And then finally, it was back out the following afternoon to join Sunil Singh and his mates Roash & Alister for another of our popular Church Beck Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning sessions in The Lake District.

The guys were over for a weekend break from the North East although Alister was from much further away - Singapore and staying in the UK for a while visiting his old university mates and family.

We had a refreshing afternoon in Church Beck doing the Ghyll Scrambling ascent followed by the Canyoning descent, the guys loved it and are talking about returning to possibly try the Esk Gorge trip and some caving with us. Photos from this session can be viewed here.

The Summer Holidays are in full swing and whilst the weather has been mixed Canadian canoeing, kayaking, ghyll scrambling or Canyoning sessions provide great fun for all the family if you are wondering what to to on a wet (or dry) day in the area. Our prices start at £45 per person for half day sessions and all of the equipment you see people wearing is included in the price you pay. Also, the more of you there are the less it will cost. Contact us at Kendal Mountaineering Services to arrange your session and you won't be disappointed.

Iain took a rest on Sunday off before running one of our Learning to lead Rock Climbing Courses in The Lake District which will be the subject of his next post. 

Thursday 2 August 2012

Half day Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning sessions in The Lake District. July 31st 2012.

Gill Kirbitson contacted Kendal Mountaineering Services to enquire about a ghyll scrambling session for her family whilst on a visit to The Lake District.

One of our partner business U-cando Canoe, Kayak and Mountain Bike Hire at Waterhead, Ambleside had pointed the family in our direction, so thank you Adi fo doing that.

The weather has continued its unsettled theme throughout the Summer and whilst Tuesday had been relatively dry in a wet sort of way, the forecast for Wednesday was for heavy rain later.

Iains initial thoughts had been to avoid Church Beck as the stream drains a large catchment and the ground was already sodden, but in the event, it was at a fine level to take the family on their Lake District ghyll scrambling & canyoning adventure.

Photo one shows the family at the get in at Church Beck. Photo two shows Frankie & Piper the Golden Retriever enjoying a splashabout in one of the deep pools at the entrance to Church Becks Gorge section.

Iain was asked if the dog who loved water, could join in the session and he couldn't see a problem with this although the family were advised against her doing the canyoning descent part of the trip.

You can bring your dog along for free but we don't have doggie harnesses for canyoning and Iain very much doubts any dog would thank you for the experience anyway!

Just above the pool in photo two is where we get out to undertake the canyoning part of the session. A walk up over Miners Bridge follows before we get harnessed up at the head of the gorge and then start to make our way with the flow of water downstream to the first fall.

Photo three shows all the family -  three of them at the foot of the first lower in the ghyll and Gill watching with Piper from the track at the edge of the ravine.

Gill had elected not to take part in the ghyll scrambling & canyoning session but to follow our progress where she could and take photos - as well as keeping an eye on Piper who would have no doubt been in the ghyll with us otherwise.

After doing the second lower down the Miner Bridge Fall Iain took the trio down the narrow section with its three falls known as the top jumps.

We belay people half way down the first jump with a rope avoiding the narrow & extremely challenging jump into the first pool - it is a place where bashed elbows and broken ankles can occur but with our method we avoid all that.

The second jump should also be avoided due to another potential ankle breaking rock in the pool at its foots but it is worth going down this section to do the slide off the slab on the final (chockstone) pitch.

Photo four shows the family, Ross, Alex & Frankie at the foot of the chockstone pitch all having thoroughly enjoyed the session. Other photographs taken during this session can be viewed here.

The Summer of 2012 has been disappointingly wet and this has adversely affected all sorts of events and activities that rely on dry conditions to run. Heavy rain might affect what venue we use but at least you can still be guaranteed to be able to do some great activities with Kendal Mountaineering Services so long as you don't mind - getting wet! These include Ghyll scrambling (also known as Gorge walking), canyoning and Canoeing or Kayaking.

If you are stuck for something to do on a wet day with the family on your holiday in the Lake District - give us a call and let us arrange a watersports session for you. We look forward to working with you.