Monday 15 June 2015

Family Rock Climbing Day in The Lake District. May 28th 2015.

When Jamie Rennie booked a family Rock Climbing Day in The Lake District with us for the May half term week he was looking for a good quality day out for the whole family.

This was to be a day where they could all enjoy Rock Climbing together but where Jamie could also learn the skills required to be able to go and rig up top rope systems in order to be able to go out and set up his own ropes so that the family would be able to climb safely on rock outdoors without needing to hire an instructor in order to do this for them.

Photo one sees the family at Lower Scout Crag in Langdale where daughter Daisy is being lowered down by Iain  after attempting to climb Cubs Wall (Diff) using a top rope/bottom belay system. In the background mum  - Helen, prepared to belay Jamie up a rather steeper rock route.
Photo two sees Dad Jamie and Son George having a go at what we would call  "Introductory Rock Climbing" also known as "top rope/bottom belaying".

In order for the pair to be able to do this, Iain had gone up to the top of the crag and had used a number of tapered cracks into which he had placed anchors. He had then linked the anchors using screw-gate karabiners and static rope to bring the anchors together in pairs to a central attachment point to which the climbing rope was attached  with either side dropping down to the foot of the route.

In this system the climber ties on to one end of the rope and the belayer clips the rope into a belay plate at the other end - then, as the climber climbs up the belayer "takes in" the rope - protecting then climber should they slip and let go of the rock. This system is great for allowing people to learn basic rock climbing skills and is great for families, groups and team building events.

Photo three sees Jamie "learning the ropes". Well - he was actually trying to untangle this one at this point!

Iain had just shown him how to place anchors using the various types available on the market; and then how to link them together to static rope using karabiners although in some cases - just a long 480cm (16") sling was long enough.

Whatever method is used to attach the climbing rope to to the anchors - it is most important to make sure that the load is equalized to both anchors so that one is not shock loaded should the other anchor fail. We also used rope protectors on both slings and the rope if there was any point where there was any rubbing on the rock of rope or sling as when loaded with the weight of a moving person  ropes or slings can run through and snap very quickly if not protected.

A rope protector is a plastic or fabric tube which can be opened along it's length (usually with velcro) and the rope is placed inside. the tube of material prevents rope abrasion. After we had set up a top anchor system, Jamie was about to clip the rope in - ready for use by the rest of the family.

Our final photo from this Family Rock Climbing Day in The Lake District sees Charlie - the eldest son being belayed by Dad at the end of Lower Scout Crag with the shortest & easiest rock climbing routes. We had set this end up principally to allow the youngest two George & Daisy to try a less steep climb and Mum - Helen even had a go here too (she had spent the day belaying quite happily but non too keen to climb).

We had been lucky with the weather which had been forecast to be overcast & showery all day but in actual fact, we had only been dampened by one heavy shower which soon passed and then with the westerly wind that was blowing - the rock soon dried out again. Lower Scout Crag can be a good place to climb in damp conditions as, with it being quite steep, it can often remain dry in wet conditions.

The family thoroughly enjoyed their Rock Climbing Day in The Lake District with Iain; and Jamie learned the skills he was looking for. For the whole day of Rock Climbing, the family paid the equivalent of £50 per person as Iain had applied a significant discount to the regular price which we will do if you are coming along to the session with children as we know how expensive a week away can get!

If you are interested in trying out Introductory Rock Climbing; or indeed - any other outdoor activity in The Lake District with you family during the Summer Holidays then contact us for a competitive quote for a great session in the outdoors. We look forward to working with you.

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