Monday 14 September 2015

Scrambling Courses in The Lake District. Wednesday 9th September 2015.

Last week we took a chance to enjoy the glorious September Sunshine with past client - Darren Willis, who wanted to polish up his scrambling skills in order that he can take other people out with him to enjoy this great recreational sport.

Darren first approached Iain at the Kendal Mountain Festival last year expressing an interest in learning everything about climbing - both in Summer & Winter. This sounded like a great challenge for Iain.

Before learning to Rock Climb outdoors, we reckon that if you want an appropriate progression, it is best to learn how to scramble. We subsequently spent a number of days with Darren doing some scrambling Skills Training in The Lake District and last May, Darren joined us on Skye for our annual Cuillin Ridge Traverse Trip.

So what is Darren doing in photo one? Well, scrambling in fact although one might be led into believing he is on a rock climb. In actual fact, he was undertaking the first part of what is known as threading the needle behind Napes Needle on Napes Crag, Great Gable. This is only grade 2 ground!

Darren had wanted to get to Napes Needle and the Great Napes area for some time, he also wanted to practice and relearn some of the scrambling skills he had forgotten during the intervening months since his Scrambling Skills Training Courses in The Lake District which we had done back in March.

One of the skills Darren had forgotten was how to "lock off" chest coils  and in photo two, here he is having another go on The Climber's Traverse under Great Napes. That lump of rock beyond him is known as "The Sphinx".

Chest coils are an essential part of shortening the rope when scrambling. Whilst it is useful to have 50 metres of climbing rope on occasion, most of the time, as a scrambling leader you'll only need a few metres of rope between you and your seconds - particularly when "moving together" between steeper pitches.

Locking off coils refers to the act of tying them so that the rope cannot be pulled tight around the leaders neck should the seconds slip or fall - a nasty scenario! If you want to learn how to do it, then book on one of our Scrambling Skills Training Courses in The Lake District!

After "threading the Needle" and practicing some scrambling ropework skills on The Climber's Traverse, we set off up Sphinx Ridge which is graded 2 in the Scrambles in The Lake District North Cicerone Guide.

On our Scrambling Skills Training Courses in The Lake District, there will normally be a pair of people wishing to learn the skills together whilst being coached by a Mountaineering Instructor. Today, there was only Iain & Darren.

However, through observation of Darren's Climbing & Scrambling Skills & ability (he is a Scaffolder after all!) over the various courses he has done with us since last December, Iain judged it safe to put Darren out in front on the "sharp end" whilst he acted as a second on the other end of the rope. Photo three sees Darren sometime later doing an interested "splits" manoeuvre on Pinnacle Ridge - our last scramble of the day on our approach to the summit of Great Gable.

Today was a long day out. Firstly, there was the 2 & a half hour approach to Napes Needle from Wasdale and then "threading the Needle" plus various scenarios such as how the leader protects ones-self on a steep scrambling descent into Needle Gully took over an hour. There was some retraining took place on "The Climbers Traverse" path and then we would spend several hours on Sphinx Ridge looking at appropriate belaying techniques before enjoying a final scramble up Pinnacle Ridge to the top of Great Gable from where photo four was taken. It was certainly a stunning view down Wasdale!

Darren paid £160 for his Scrambling Skills Training Day in The Lake District with us and if you want to learn scrambling Skills techniques then we can run a similar course for you. The fee of £160:00 can be split between two persons making it only £80 each and that fee includes the provision  of helmets, harnesses, rope and rack as well as coaching or guiding from a qualified Mountaineering Instructor. Contact us here at Kendal Mountaineering Services to book your Guided Scrambling or Scrambling Skills Training Course in The Lake District, Wales or Scotland. We look forward to working with you!

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