Sunday 2 August 2015

Rock Climbing Skills Training Courses in The Lake District. Wednesday, July 29th, 2015.

When the Hayne family decided to visit The Lake District for a Summer Holiday, they were keen to find someone who could work with their sons Theo & Ollie to provide some Rock Climbing Skills Training for the lads.

Mum Georgina Googled Rock Climbing Courses in The Lake District and up we came in her search. Liking what  she saw, Georgina rang up to book a day out with Iain for Theo and Ollie.

Now, originally, the lads climbing day was booked for last Monday, but the forecast was rubbish - not only for Monday but for Tuesday too. Rock Climbing in the wet is to be avoided if possible.

Because of that, Iain suggested that we might postpone the climbing day until Wednesday when the weather was to improve and improve it did! Photo one sees Ollie climbing up to Theo on bone dry rock - in warm sunshine. Conditions could not have been more ideal!

Theo, at 18 years of age, was the most experienced of the pair - having a number of mates with whom he goes rock climbing from the family home in Guildford. However, his experience of lead climbing in a multi-pitch setting was very limited and it is a skill which he wished to develop.

Ollie had never been climbing in a multi-pitch setting and one of his biggest concerns was whether or not he would be able to belay a lead climber. As he soon discovered though, it isn't that difficult!

Photo two sees Theo placing a "runner" or running belay. This is a way of the lead climber "stitching" themselves to the rock as they climb a route. This method works well - provided the leader places good anchors and the belayer is attentive!

As well as teaching Ollie how to belay a lead climber and teaching Theo how to assess and place good quality "bomber" anchor placements, Iain also showed Theo how to bring two anchors together to a central attachment point when at a stance.

What is a stance? Stances are the places where a climber stops between pitches on a multi-pitch climbing route. A stance will usually be a ledge with good anchor placements where the lead climber can attach themselves to the rock using a minimum of two anchor points - why two anchor points? Well if you are only attached to one and that one fails due to a shock load then the chances are you'll be ripped off the rock and will join the falling climber as they head towards the ground - with very serious consequences!

Photo three sees Theo at a very good stance as he belays Ollie who is just above the crux (hardest part of the climb). The stance is big enough that Theo can drop the rope at his feet as he takes it in - with no fear of the rope cascading off down the crag - something else to be avoided! The stance was also big enough that Ollie could join Theo there with plenty of room for the pair to stand.

The final photo from this post about a Rock Climbing Skills Training day in The Lake District sees both Ollie & Theo attached not only to the climbing rope with slings larks-footed through their harnesses but also still attached to the anchor which is out of sight on the left.

Here, we were half way up the second multi-pitch climb of the day and this particular place was a good point at which to retreat from the route - something all climbers should be prepared to do for any number of reasons. However, you must remain safely attached at all times whilst preparing for an abseil retreat.

We remained safe by firstly attaching slings to our harnesses as can be seen by way of a larks-foot knot and then tying an overhand knot halfway down the sling. The sling was then attached to the anchor using a screw-gate karabiner.

This was done whilst we were still attached to the anchors with the climbing rope - so we remained safe!

Having done this, we were then able to safely untie from the climbing rope which was then threaded through the anchor at its mid-point and then either side was "thrown" down the crag reaching the crag foot. We then all clipped both sides of the rope into our belay plates as in a "stacked abseil" with the first person off attaching a prussik for security. That person was Iain.

We then all unclipped from the anchor as we were now re-attached to the rope, Iain abseiled first followed by Theo and lastly Ollie. With a stacked abseil, each person down protects the person following by pulling the "dead rope" tight should the abseiler following let go the dead rope. Doing this prevents the abseiler from plummeting to the ground. All textbook stuff!

Both Theo & Ollie thoroughly enjoyed their Rock Climbing Skills Training Day in The Lake District with Iain and both learnt new skills and improved their confidence in multi-pitch rock climbing.

Our Rock Climbing Skills Training Courses are open to anyone who wishes to learn to climb. Ideally, at the very least, you should have prior experience of indoor climbing walls, tying on to the rope and belaying. A full day out costs £80 per person for a minimum of two persons. Alternately, for someone wishing to try rock climbing for the first time with no prior experience, then our Introductory half day Rock Climbing Sessions are a bargain at £45 per person for a four hour session (again, for a minimum of two persons) and are great fun for adults and families. All equipment apart from rock shoes are included in the price.

Contact us here to book your Rock Climbing Course in The Lake District; or call us on 07761 483364. We look forward to working with you!

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