Wednesday 16 April 2014

Rock Climbing Courses in The Lake District. Langdale, April 14th 2014

Yesterday, Iain was at work with the Bacon family who, whilst on a visit to The Lake District, had booked our services to provide them with a multi-pitch Rock Climbing Day.

The family already have a considerable amount of experience of indoor climbing and have done outdoor climbing on a number of visits to North Wales. Father - Paul, was keen that his son Liam should get some experience of "trad" rock climbing techniques and Liam, himself, is keen to gain the Single Pitch Award (SPA). The youngest son Adam - was just keen to get on to outdoor rock - and who could blame him as the conditions were looking spot on for a Rock Climbing Day in The Lake District!

Photo one sees (left to right) Liam, Adam & Paul at the foot of Route 1, Upper Scout Crag - ready to climb. Iain had arrived early at the Sticklebarn Car Park today with rucksacks ready packed for the family as he was expecting the area to be heaving with Rock Climbers. The family were also there early; and the decision was made to get straight on to the rock - before someone else beat us to it! Strangely enough, we had the crag to ourselves almost until the end of the day!

 By 10am, we were starting to climb on what was to be a perfect day, virtually no breeze, clear blue skies and warm sunshine. For Mum - Debbie, the sheltered bay at the foot of Upper Scout Crag was a great place to sit, soak up the sun and enjoy the fantastic views that surrounded us. For Iain & the guys, this was Lake District Rock at its very best and Upper Scout Crag really felt like a warm welcoming place in complete contrast to Iain's previous day there almost a week ago!

Route 1 at Upper Scout Crag consists of three pitches. The first was led by Liam whilst coached by Iain with respect to anchor placement techniques, placing running belays and equalizing anchors at and belaying from the first stance. Adam was first up to Join Liam followed by Paul who was then coached by Iain in the techniques of running belay removal.

Paul then led off up the second pitch (photo two)

Photo three sees Paul at the crux of the route - somewhat polished these days, but on a day like this - still a most pleasant & exhilarating place to be. He certainly looked like he was enjoying the climb anyway!

Not far above here, Paul arrived at the next stance where, with Iain's guidance, he placed two anchors and then tied in with the rope which is what normally happens when a climbing pair (or in this case climbing trio) lead alternate pitches.

Next to join us at the second stance was Adam, who merely had to clip through the runners leaving them attached to Liam's rope as he climbed upwards. Iain descended to coach Liam with respect to removing runner placements, but he already seemed to have the hang of this. Once at the stance, Liam collected all of the bits of climbing hardware from Dad and then proceeded to climb the final easy pitch - setting up at the top by tying the ropes into the anchors and then bringing up the others - their first ever "trad" rock climb completed, Bravo!

The final photo from this Rock Climbing Skills Training Course in The lake District sees all three attached to two ropes looped around the oak tree at the top of the second pitch of Route 2 at Upper Scout Crag.

The scenario was that we need to escape the route by means of an abseil and that two 50 metre ropes would reach the bottom.

Before untying from the rope, we first needed to transfer to the anchor using cowstails larksfooted into our abseil loops. We also tied an overhand knot into these with which to attach our belay plates to the ropes. Photo four sees everyone attached to the abseil rope ready to descend in a method known as a "Stacked" Abseil. Want to know more? then look at the photos here! We finished off by looking at the various methods of equalizing anchors using slings and how a guide plate works for belaying two seconds on a climb who are climbing in parallel on separate ropes.

The three paid the equivalent of £60 each for a full day of climbing tuition with Iain and picked up a lot of useful skills & techniques which will go a long way to ensuring their success and safety as they move on to multi-pitch climbing. If you fancy learning rock climbing skills for yourself, then contact us here. We will be very happy to help.

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