Thursday 10 April 2014

Rock Climbing Skills Training Courses in The Lake District.9th April 2014.

Yesterday we ran our first Rock Climbing Skills Training Course in The Lake District of the 2014 season.

Anna Thornton and her boyfriend Nick are visiting the Lake District this week. Both live & work in London as Trainee Paramedics, so getting away from the rat race and having a chance to relax and take life at their own pace in the tranquility of the Lake District is just what the pair wanted.

Anna & Nick both enjoy spending time at their local climbing wall together and felt that whilst in The Lake District, it would be an ideal opportunity to get venture on to real rock and learn rock climbing skills from a qualified Mountaineering Instructor.

The pair did a bit of online research and found our website. Liking what they read about our Lake District Rock Climbing Skills Training Courses, they contacted Iain to book a day out with him.

Photo one sees the pair at Lower Scout Crag in Langdale. Yesterday morning was rather damp, but the forecast was set to improve as the day progressed. To get quickly on to rock in these conditions would not have been a good plan so we spent several hours looking at anchor placements of all types and in this photo, the pair are practicing anchor selection and placements. They caught on quickly too!

Amongst other "trad" rock climbing techniques, we also looked at linking anchors together using slings to make a central attachment point (useful if one person is to be leading all of the pitches on a multi-pitch rock climb) and the pair can be seen practicing this in photo two.

Two anchors are placed into appropriate tapered cracks in the rock and connected to slings with screw-gate karabiners. The slings can then be shortened if necessary and joined with other karabiners to assemble an anchor system (belay) where both anchors bear equal weight (equal loading). The idea is that if for whatever reason, one anchor fails, then the other one will prevent the leader climber from being plucked from their stance. We practiced tying directly into the anchors using the climbing rope too - the technique used by most climbers if leading pitches alternately.

Photo three sees a very pleased Anna leading her first ever trad climb. The pair already knew how to tie on to the rope and belay each other and had, by now, learnt the skills for anchor selection, the setting up of stances and running belays, so now that the rock had started to dry off we were able to get stuck in.

Iain set up a rope so that he could self line along the line of the climbing route he had chosen for the pairs first outdoor rock climb. Self lining is a technique used by Mountaineering Instructors to allow them to be independent of a climbing pair whilst being able to coach them and ensure their safety. The safety involves attaching ones-self to a novice lead climber to ensure that they cannot fall - whilst allowing them the opportunity to place running belays and to experience what it feels kike to climb real rock as a leader. The route we used was still damp & slippery when we started, so Iain ensured Anna's safety by linking to her with a long sling - in this case the black & white sling seen at the bottom of this photo.

The final photo from this post about a Rock Climbing Skills Training Course in The Lake District sees Anna, who led the first & third pitches of the route securely anchored to an equalized system and busy safeguarding (belaying) Nick who is climbing up to join her.

Once Nick was safely at the stance, we unroped, stripped down the anchors, packed everything up and made our way down the descent route back to the foot of the crag.

Surprisingly, time was already heading in the direction of 4pm, but Iain made sure that the pair had a chance to practice an abseil retreat and learn how to properly coil the climbing rope before we finished for the day.

Both Anna & Nick were very pleased with their Rock Climbing Skills Training Course in The Lake District. The pair paid £75 each for this day which included the provision of helmets, harnesses, ropes & climbing rack as well as qualified tuition from an experienced Mountaineering Instructor.

As the weather warms up it also gets better for climbing out of doors and The Lake District is one of the best areas in the UK to enjoy this sport. Contact us and just like Anna & Nick, you can learn the skills and gain the knowledge to go out and do it for yourself. You can view other photos taken from this day here.

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