Tuesday 11 June 2013

Lake District based Rock Climbing Skills Training Courses. June 8th & 9th 2013.

The weather in the Lake District of late has been very good indeed! Dry sunny weather has meant that many people have been taking advantage of the ideal conditions to get out rock climbing. For anyone who has been booked on to any sort of lake District based Rock Climbing Skills Training Course then this has been the time to do it!

Returning client Simon Hatfield booked on to one of our Learning to Lead Rock Climbing Courses a few months back as a way to unwind after a busy academic year and he brought his wife Annika who had no idea what had been planned for her.

The pair have previously spent a considerable amount of time indoor climbing at a climbing wall near to where they live; although they also love visiting The Lake District and considered it the best place to learn to rock climb.

On day one of their two day Lake District based Rock climbing course, the pair met Iain from Kendal Mountaineering Services at the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel and spent the day learning multi-pitch climbing techniques on Upper Scout Crag. Photo one was taken on Route 1 and shows the pair at the second stance of the route.

Prior to starting climbing, Simon & Annika looked at anchor placements and constructing running belays with Iain as well as learning how to remove and stow running belays. Iain was keen to get climbing as due to the hot sunny weather he was expecting the venue to get busy although surprisingly only one other pair turned up to climb here today.

We made our way up Route 1 with both Annika and Simon getting a chance to lead placing running belays, build multi-point attachments at stances and of course, belay each other up the climb. By the time we finished on route one, as usual, it was early afternoon.

After some lunch we started up Route 2 with Simon climbing the first pitch and Annika the second via the slightly harder Severe graded overhang. By the time we reached the oak tree at the top of pitch two, it was time to abseil off the route so, Iain showed the pair how to rig a stacked abseil retreat. In photo two Simon holds the dead rope whist Annika abseils - the idea being that if Annika let go of the dead rope Simon would immediately be able to hold her by locking off the rope. And that was day one of their Learning to Lead Climbing Course in The Lake District!

On day two of these climbing courses we always go to a different crag and so moved slightly further up valley meeting at the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel and heading to Middlefell Buttress for our next climb.

We had heard that there had been a recent rockfall at the foot of the climb we had come to do and so avoided this area by taking one of the alternative starts to the climb - a steep & polished (what isn't polished on Middlefell Buttress!) crack line graded at VS. Simon climbed this well on a top rope provided by Iain and followed by setting up a belay with which to protect Annika whilst she had a go.

Following success on this first pitch, Annika led the next two pitches before Simon led the last official pitch of the route (photo three). However, we think it is always worth having a go at the otional extra pitch of Curtain Wall (Severe) and the pair were keen to rise to the challenge and Annika to lead - it which she did well.

After lunch we headed over to the foot of another climb - Revelation (HS4b) to give the pair another three pitches of climbing. However, after the first pitch both were satisfied with what they had done during the day. Annika in particular, wanted to revisit the various techniques used to bring together two anchor placements to a central attachment point and she can be seen in photo four using the climbing rope for this purpose.

When leading alternately as a climbing pair you should consider using the climbing rope as in the manner in this photograph. However, doing so makes escaping the system more difficult than the other option of using slings to bring two anchor points together to a central attachment points. At Kendal Mountaineering Services we teach you both options as part of our Learning to Lead climbing Courses syllabus.

Our Lake District based climbing courses cost £160 per day for two persons to learn rock climbing techniques. As well as the provision of qualified & experienced instructors, helmets, harnesses and ropes & rack are included as part of the fee making these courses excellent value for money.To view other photographs taken as part of this Rock Climbing Skills Training Course click here. To book your own rock climbing course in The Lake District contact us here. We look forward to working with you.

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