Wednesday 27 August 2014

Rock Climbing Skills Training Courses in The Lake District. Friday 22nd August 2014.

Well, it was good news that the weather last Friday was going to be dry & sunny - especially as we had a Rock Climbing Skills Training Course in the Lake district to run for Sarah Payne and Kathryn West.

Both had come to us enquiring about Rock Climbing Skills Training Courses separately; and whilst we will certainly run courses for one person, we cannot teach multi-pitch rock climbing skills - unless two people turn up as a climbing pair.

So why is this? Well, multi-pitch rock climbing usually involves two or more people working together to climb a rock face. One person will be leading and stitching themselves to the rock by means of running belays and being attached to a climbing rope being paid out by the "second" - the person who subsequently follows the leader up the climb.

As Mountaineering Instructors, we have a duty of care to our clients and if two people turn up to learn climbing then it is possible for the instructor to "self line" - that is to set up a climbing rope alongside an intended climbing route from which to be able to coach; and keep safe, a novice climbing leader.

However, if one person turns up on their own then the climbing session must become a "guided" climbing session in which the Mountaineering Instructor acts as lead climber at all times to protect the client. However, in this situation it is not possible to allow a novice to lead and this was not what either Sarah or Kathryn wanted!

Both have been out climbing as competent seconds with other leaders, but both wanted to learn to lead rock climbs for themselves. However, neither had been able to arrange a climbing partner to join them and share the cost of our fee for a Rock Climbing Skills Training Course in The Lake District.

So Iain put the two in touch with each other as they were keen to work together on this climbing course and find a date that was mutually suitable and one on which Iain could work with them to provide coaching.

Unfortunately, we had to cancel a previous convenient date when the weather refused to co-operate. This was on Sunday August 10th, when hurricane Bertha had crossed the Atlantic to lash our district with torrential rain and strong winds.

There was no point whatsoever in attempting to teach rock climbing skills in those conditions, but fortunately, the pair were able to reschedule to the 22nd of August instead.

We spent a few hours in the morning at Lower Scout Crag in Langdale looking at anchor placements and equalising anchors (photo one) to a central attachment point before heading up to Route One at Upper Scout Crag to get on with some climbing.

Sarah & Kathryn each led at least one pitch on this route (photo two) and got to practise the skill of good anchor placements, extending anchors for running belays; and equalising two anchors bringing them together to a central attachment point which is essential when belaying from a stance as Kathryn is doing in photo three.

As part of our Multi-Pitch Rock Climbing Skills Training Course in The Lake District - as well as teach you how to lead rock climbs competently and safely, we also consider it very important that you learn the techniques necessary to perform an abseil retreat from a crag.

Why might you need to do this? For a number of reasons! The weather may have deteriorated and climbing has become a cold & uncomfortable proposition, chilly people do not climb well and mistakes might result in an accident. Or, it may be getting dark! Other reasons might include people feeling suddenly unwell or someone getting injured; or, one might just decide that the climb is beyond their ability.

We showed Sarah & Kathryn the techniques for arranging an abseil retreat from a convenient oak tree on pitch two of Route Two. This involved 1. Attaching to the anchor (a sling around the tree)  using cowstails before both untied from the rope. 2. Threading the rope through the anchor and then dropping both sides down to the foot of the crag before 3. Attaching to the climbing rope with their belay plates as in a "Stacked Abseil" before following Iain down to the foot of the crag as in photo four.

The pair thoroughly enjoyed their Rock Climbing Skills Training Course in The Lake District with Iain and have booked another day out with us in September - let's just hope that the weather is kind to us then!

To learn more about rock climbing skills contact us to book your own course here. As long as we have dry weather - such courses can be run, usually up until the end of October. You'll have a great time and learn a lot on one of our Rock Climbing Skills Training Courses in The Lake District - so get one booked today!

No comments: