Monday 11 April 2016

Guided Rock Climbing Sessions in The Lake District. Sunday 10th April 2016

Yesterday, Iain was out in the afternoon sun - rock climbing in Langdale with  returning clients Andy Craggs and his mate Sean.

We first worked with this pair along with their mate Phil whose birthday it was on that occasion during last October. Then, we organised an introductory Rock Climbing Session for the three followed by an afternoon kayaking session on Coniston Water.

These guys are all long standing mates - having grown up in the same street together and they still get together now on regular occasions. Rock climbing wasn't really Phil's gambit, but Andy & Sean had enjoyed their previous session with Iain and wanted to try something more challenging.

So, Iain organised a half day of guided multi-pitch rock climbing for the pair. On photo one, we are about to start up the first pitch of Route 1 on Upper Scout Crag.

We were lucky here today. The previous evening, it had been snowing even in Kendal and Iain was sure that climbing would be a chilly prospect, but the day was cloudless and the sun melted the snow and warmed the rock and there was only the slightest of breeze. By early afternoon conditions were great for rock climbing, but where were all the climbers?

We had Route 1 to ourselves for most of the afternoon. After getting the lads tied on, Iain set off up the first pitch to the first stance, set up a belay and brought Sean and  Andy up to join him.

We had spent a bit of time before stating discussing how to remove anchors and deal with running belays and slings. It all went fine until Andy got to the last runner just below our stance and couldn't extract it, so Iain had to descend to retrieve it. There he snapped Photo two looking up at Andy & Phil securely attached at the top of the first pitch.

Photo three sees Sean & Andy arriving at the top of Route 1.

This fine little multi-pitch rock climb has three pitches, with good stances inbetween and lots of good anchor placements. The route is graded V Diff (Very Difficult) but in  terms of rock climbing grades V Diff lies almost at the easy end of the spectrum. There are a few interesting bits on the route- the rather smooth slab on the first pitch; and the arete (the hardest part - also known as the Crux) on the second pitch. After that, the third pitch is really, an easy scramble to the top of the route.

The route was enough to get the lads "juices flowing" though, with the exposure & challenge just right to keep them talking about it!

Photo four is a snap from  the top of the crag and one that Iain can't resist taking time & time again - particularly on such a lovely day.

There are many beautiful places in the world and many are more beautiful than here (try Patagonia!) but on a nice day, the Lake District is hard to beat with its rugged mountains,  beautiful wooded valleys and pretty lakes. The area also abounds with rock faces, there is rock climbing to be found in every valley and there area is steeped in climbing history.
In a half day (four hour) session, any Mountaineering Instructor would do well to guide two clients up a couple of multi-pitch rock climbs and Iain is no exception. How fast you get up a route depends on the conditions, the confidence of the climbers and how well they have absorbed the information given to help them follow you up a rock climb.

Sean and Andy had climbed Route 1 with confidence; and we put this climb behind us in three hours giving us time to get part way up another rock climb - Route 2 before abseiling down to the foot of the cliff as in an "abseil retreat".

Iain wanted the lads to experience the different way in which you abseil from a multi-pitch rock climb where you actually control your own descent using a belay device. Last time they had climbed with Iain,  they were merely lowered back down the route by their belayer as part of their introductory rock climbing session. Today's method was very different!

This time, having climbed up to the second stance on Route 2, they were actually going to have to untie from the climbing rope, but first, we all had to secure ourselves to something else for safety.

At the top of pitch two on Route 2 sits a conveniently sited Oak tree around which Iain attached a sling and then he got Sean & Andy to attach to this sling each with another sling larksfooted through their harnesses.  In the middle of each sling an overhand knot was tied and once they had done this and clipped into the anchor sling, it was then safe to untie from the ends of the rope.

Iain threaded the rope around the Oak tree until he reached the mid point of the rope and then threw both ends down to the foot of the crag. We all attached our belay devices into the slings between the harnesses and the overhand knot and attached them to the climbing rope. We could now disconnect from the anchor and remove it. Photo five shows the arrangement for each of us at this point.

It was now simply a case of abseiling down one after the other. Iain went first and coached Andy down  whilst protecting him by holding the trailing (dead) rope in case he let go.

Andy then did the same for Sean (photo six). Once both were down, that was the end of their Guided Rock Climbing half day Session in The Lake District.

You can experience Rock Climbing in The Lake District with us for just £45 per person for a half day (four hour) Introductory Rock Climbing Session (minimum of two persons). We'd recommend doing that before trying what these two did with Iain yesterday,  Rock Climbing is challenging, but fun and safe when the sessions are run by one of our qualified & experienced Mountaineering Instructors. Rock climbing is ideal for families with children, groups of friends, people attending a Stag or Hen Event or corporate groups looking for a team building session.

Contact us here to book your session now, We look forward to working with you!

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