Saturday 13 April 2013

Scrambling in The Lake District with Kendal Mountaineering Services.

After spending last Saturday Abseiling and Ghyll Scrambling with Phil Brookers Stag party Iain was out the next day scrambling with a mate - Neil Mackay.

Neil is currently training to be a UIAGM Mountain Guide and wanted to get some practice scrambling before he returns to Plas y Brenin for a partial reassessment of his Summer Guides Test next September.

The weather recently has been cold & dry, but out of the wind - warm if one has been in the sun - ideal weather for Rock climbing & scrambling.

Neil had just returned from Chamonix and was itching to get out on some grade III scrambling ground so Iain suggested tackling Low Water Beck (III) linking it with Brimfell Rib (II) .

In photo one, Neil is setting off up the initial pitch of Low Water Beck - on this occasion pretty dry. Low Water Beck is also a great little Grade III winter climb when it comes into condition. You can read a previous climbing report about it here.

The scramble of Low Water Beck starts up the bed of the stream leaving after about 30m up a groove to the right. Above this the ground is mixed vegetation & rock and the belays are rather poor -only improving just below where one crosses the stream leftwards above the waterfall & gully below.

Above there, one again climbs rightwards of a v groove down which the stream is cascading and as it is not such serious ground, Neil employed a direct belay (photo two) to protect Iain as he climbed towards Neils stance.

A direct belay involves using the rope in direct contact with the rock, so any piece of rock must be absolutely sound with no obvious cracks. Such anchors such be given a good kick and tug to ensure that they are solid and if they sound hollow or move - do not use them. Failure to identify what is and is not a solid anchor suitable for a direct belay can lead to death if they fail whilst loaded and is often the cause for deferral during climbing assessments such as those encountered in the Mountaineering Instructors Award/Certificate and various Guides Tests.

Scrambling is the link between walking & climbing and takes you into some fantastic locations where you will find breathtaking exposure and fantastic views such as the one in photo three.

Here, Iain is pictured on Brimfell Rib with a view towards the NE face of Coniston Old Man with a frozen Low Water nestling at it's foot. Coniston Water can be seen in the distance.

Despite looking freezing it was actually a pleasant day with only a light breeze at the summit of the Old Man. You can view other photos of the day here.

Other great Lake District Scrambles include Jacks Rake in Langdale, Pinnacle Ridge in the Ullswater Valley, Sharp Edge on Blencathra, Slab & Notch Route on Pillar Rock in Ennerdale and Arrowhead Ridge on Great Gable in Wasdale - to name a few. Many scramblers ultimately aspire to complete The Cuillin Ridge on The Isle of Skye  - a 13 km sustained and committing traverse along an alpine-like ridge with scrambling, climbing and abseiling to be carried out to achieve success. Kendal Mountaineering Services offer two trips for aspiring scramblers to this ridge one in May & one in September each year!

As well as offering guided Scrambling in The Lake District, Kendal Mountaineering services also offer scrambling skills training Courses for members of the general public wishing to learn the techniques required to be able to go off and scramble for yourself.

Martin Richards & James Rocks travelled from Buckinghamshire on two occasions to learn and practise their scrambling skills with us. In photo four James belays Martin using a solid rock spike as an anchor. You can read about Martin & James's Scrambling Skills Training course in The Lake District here.

The prices for our scrambling Skills Training Courses start at £150 per day for two persons and this price includes the provision of helmets, harnesses, rope & rack.

Without exception, you will be coached in the skills by a qualified  Instructor holding, at the very least, the Mountaineering Instructors Award - this is the basic minimum qualification for teaching skills of this kind..

We aim to be flexible and are also prepared to work with individuals wishing to learn scrambling skills. In photo five, Chris Owen joined Iain for a very enjoyable two day Scrambling Skills Training Course in The Lake District and was very satisfied with the outcome.

Here, you can read a report from Chris's Scrambling Skills Training Course here which contains feedback direct from the client.

To book your guided Scrambling day in The Lake District, a Scrambling Skills Training Course or a Cuillin Ridge traverse trip contact Iain at Kendal Mountaineering Services here. Our Cuillin Ridge Traverse Trips are particularly good value costing only £425 for seven nights self catering accommodation including four days guiding on the Cuillin Ridge. The next one runs between September 7th & 14th 2013. We look forward to working with you.

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