Tuesday 2 September 2014

Scrambling Skills Training Courses in The Lake District. Saturday & Sunday August 23rd & 24th 2014.

After the somewhat Autumnal feel to most of August, the weather, the weather improved significantly for Darren & Caroline Kells Scrambling Skills Training Course in The Lake District with us, the weekend before last.

After having been out on a few previous occasions with friends who had gotten into difficulties somewhat when attempting classic scrambling routes in the UK, both Darren & Caroline had decided that it was time to take some proper tuition in scrambling from a Mountaineering Instructor and had booked their course with Kendal Mountaineering Services way back in January.

Iain took the pair to Tarn Crag in Langdale where we spent the morning of day one looking at basic skills required for scrambling on easy ground. Photo one sees the pair employing the techniques of "spotting". Spotting requires the use of hands and a braced stance and is used when going up steep steps or coming down. Hands are used to hold feet in place or press into backs or backsides - the idea is to prevent a slip turning into something more serious. Using the technique of spotting allows one to make good progress on easy scrambling ground where the use of a rope would be really uneccessary and would only slow up proceedings.

Scrambling terrain is to be found between walking terrain and Rock Climbing. Grade 1 ground refers to terrain where there is little chance of a fall turning into something more serious. As the slope angle gets steeper and a fall becomes more likely - then the rope must be employed.

Photo two sees Darren short roping Caroline up an rocky rib where spotting would not be safe. In short roping, the leader takes up chest coils which are then locked off to prevent a falling second from throttling them. The rope between leader & second is kept tight wherever possible and when "taking in" the rope, the leader will always adopt a braced stance - ie leaning away from the direction of pull should the second slip. Indeed, in photo two, Darren is doing a very good job of this!

After spending the morning and early afternoon looking at spotting & short roping techniques including anchor selection & use and other belaying techniques available, we always get our clients on to their first proper scrambling route which will be no more than grade 2 in standard.

In photo three, Darren scrambles up the second pitch of The Spur, Tarn Crag having led the previous pitch and then brought Caroline up to the stance on a tight rope before leaving her securely attached to the belay as he climbed the second pitch. Throughout scrambling up this route, he was coached in appropriate techniques by Iain

By the time we reached the top, it was time to call it a day and descend. It had been a really good first day for Darren & Caroline's Scrambling Skills Training Course in The Lake District with reasonable temperatures and dry weather; and the forecast was looking good for the next day too!

9am on Sunday saw us meeting at the National Trust Car Park at Sticklebarn Tavern and heading to Tarn Crag again.

This time we climbed a different route - the East Rib, also grade 2, but this time Caroline led the scramble and she did a really good job too. Iain scrambled alongside Caroline coaching her in belaying techniques. In photo four Caroline was using an Indirect or Body Belay which she picked up very quickly. This sort of belay is only appropriate on easy sections of scrambling terrain and is very quick to set up!

After the morning consolidating Caroline's scrambling skills on the East Rib, we headed over the top of Tarn Crag and across to the foot of Jacks Rake on Pavey Ark.

Jack's Rake is only given grade one in the Lake District Scrambles South Cicerone Guidebook, but Iain believes it to be undergraded. It is one of the classic Lake District Scrambling ticks for many people but it also attracts a lot of people who turn up to climb it without decent walking boots, no helmets, harnesses or ropes and basically - no idea!

Today we found ourselves in a queue of just such people whom had become "stacked up" at a tricky step at the top of the first section. Fortunately, with the scrambling ropework skills the pair had learnt already, Darren was able to overtake this large, slow & inexperienced party and then bring up Caroline safely, quickly and efficiently (photo five). Once past these people, we were able to remain ahead and enjoy the rest of the varied and pleasant scrambling Jack's Rake has to offer.

Our Scrambling Skills Training Courses in The Lake District allow you to develop the skills to climb the Lake District mountains by the most exhilarating routes - leaving most hill walkers behind and getting into some great positions in relative peace.

There are some fantastic scambling routes all over the Lake District. Examples include Slab & Notch Route on Pillar Rock, Sharp Edge on Blencathra, Jacks Rake in Langdale, Striding Edge on Helvellyn and Low Water Beck/Brimfell Rib as an alternative route to the top of the Old Man of Coniston.

During one of our two day Scrambling Skills Training Courses in The Lake District, you'll develop all of the ropework and belaying skills to help you correctly select the appropriate belay method for any situation to allow you to go, with confidence, on to any of the country's great scrambles in Snowdonia, The Lake District and Scotland.

Our Scrambling Skills Training Courses can be run in any of these areas and our prices start at £80 per person per day with helmets, harnesses, ropes and scrambling rack all included as part of the fee as well as tuition from qualified Mountaineering Instructors. You can choose from one or two day courses; and if you really just want to have a great day out scrambling, but being looked after - then why not consider being guided by us on some classic Lake District scrambling routes? Contact us here to arrange your scrambling course. We look forward to working with you.

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