Friday 4 April 2014

Scrambling Courses in The Lake District. Tarn Crag, Langdale. Friday 28th March 2014

Last Friday, Iain spent the day with Iain Watson & his son Max who were visiting the area for the weekend. Iain wanted to learn the basic skills required to go scrambling and had booked on to a one day Scrambling Skills Training Course in The Lake District with us.

We started right back at basics by learning how to safeguard each other on easy grade 1 scrambling ground such as that seen in photo one.

Here, Iain climbs whilst Max adopts the technique of "spotting". When spotting, you prevent the person above you slipping off a scramble or low climb by a combination of pressing their feet against footholds, holding their feet in position or pressing on to backs, bums etc in an effort to stop that person slipping off, sliding down, or worse  - falling off backwards!

Whilst at this point we hadn't started using the rope - if there is any chance that a person can slip and bang their head then helmets should be worn. As soon as a slip could turn into something more serious such as a fall, then the climbing rope must be used - particularly if the nature of the terrain has changed - meaning that spotting would no longer be safe or effective!

In photo two, Iain demonstrates the scrambling technique of short roping. This was after Iain ( the instructor) had short roped the pair up & back down part of the venue in order that they could see the techniques involved.

Short roping is used where there is the possibility of a slip turning into something more serious. Two or more persons are tied in to the rope and the leader shortens the length of rope between the and the other person/s by taking up chest coils. As soon as the rope is employed then it is imperative that it be kept tight between the leader and seconds as often as possible. In photo two Iain is practicing "short roping" Max up an easy section of our scrambling route - forming hand coils as he takes in the rope.

After a morning of learning Scrambling skills, Iain took the pair to attempt their first grade 2 scrambling route and The Spur on Tarn Crag is a great little route going at this grade.

The route starts off up a rocky crest from the southern side of the crag with one having to make a tricky move across an exposed slab before scrambling up to a good block belay. Iain led the whole route and once Max had safely arrived at; and been securely attached to that belay, Iain led off up the second pitch (section) of the scramble before arriving back at the crest of the ridge (photo three)

Here, the stance is fairly small and exposed with a drop into the gully running between our route and the main crag so, Instructor Iain showed Iain how to place two anchors, link them together with a sling and rig up a system with which he could secure himself and belay Max up to this stance. Max was secured here before Iain set off up the next pitch where he arranged a body belay in order to safeguard Max up that section.

From the top of that final scramble up the ridge, one joins the main bulk of Tarn Crag and the guidebook description states that two further rock bands can be surmounted on the way to the summit. Iain made short work of both of these using direct belays at the top of each with which to safeguard Max and used the technique of "moving together" between the rock bands - a quick & efficient scrambling technique.

The final photo from the day sees Iain belaying Max with a body belay up the final easy slope and that was it! 4:30pm, time to pack up & descend to our vehicles.

Iain learned a lot from attending one of our Scrambling Skills Training Courses in The Lake District and the plan was to put these skills to use the following day in the Wasdale Valley on the west coast of Cumbria - near to where the pair and the rest of their family were to be staying over the weekend.

More photos from the pairs day out with Iain can be viewed here - complete with descriptions so that you can see what our Scrambling Skills Training Courses in The Lake District are all about. If you are interested in learning the skills to partake in this exhilarating & satisfying sport then contact us here. Iain & Max paid only £75 each for their full day out with Iain and these courses not only include instruction & coaching from a fully qualified Mountaineering Instructor, but also helmets, harnesses, ropes and climbing hardware are all included in the fee. Give us a call to book your course, we look forward to working with you.

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