Wednesday 13 July 2016

Learning to Lead Rock Climbing Skills Training Courses in The Lake District. July 5th & 6th 2016.

Last Tuesday & Wednesday, Iain was out on Lake District Rock with Stuart Freeman & his partner Dee. The couple were in the area on a holiday from the South East and had booked two days of "Trad" Rock Climbing Skills Training with us as part of their stay.

Fortunately, despite having been rather unsettled of late, the Lake District weather smiled on us all providing  two largely fine, dry days - just what you need when rock climbing!

We started Stuart & Dee's Rock Climbing Skills Training Course at Upper Scout Crag in Langdale where "Route One" proved to be a good choice of climbing terrain with three fine pitches of V-Diff with good stances and good anchor placements.

In photo one, Dee Joins Stuart at the first stance of the route after he had led the first pitch placing good running belays along the way and employing correct techniques throughout at the first stance. Good stuff!

Stuart & Dee climbed fast and with competence - so much so in fact that  the usual plan of climbing all of Route One & half of Route Two before executing an abseil retreat would have seen us finish dayone several hours early. So, instead, we continued all the way up to the top of Route Two before finishing.

Photo two sees Stuart just coming over "the crux" (the hardest part) of Route Two which is a polished an awkward move into the base of a chimney. Dee looks on  from the Oak Tree which forms the stance and the place of our usual "abseil retreat" from this rock climb.

Stuart is lead climbing, but at the place where he is now, a lead fall would have serious consequences if it were not for the fact that he has just clipped in to a running belay pre-placed  by Iain. Iain had protected Stuart up to that point by means of a long sling attached between himself and Stuart's harness. Learning the skills and getting on with rock climbing are all important parts of a Mountaineering Instructor's remit - however, the student's safety has to be our top priority at all times!

Day two would see us a little further up Langdale; and climbing  the easy multi-pitch classic rock climb of Middlefell Buttress (Diff). This great route has the feel of a big  mountain route, again, with great protection and up to six pitches to be done - depending on how you want to climb it.

The base of the route has three possible variants; and as the pair had climbed so well the previous day, Iain chose the severe chimney crack as their start with Stu leading - again protected by Iain en route. Above here, the route is easier & less sustained, so Dee led up two pitches and then Stuart finished off up the final super easy pitch to the top (photo three)

The weather was now looking like it was going to break with clouds lowering over Crinkle Crags and light showers breaking out all around us. It was decided to finish early after an abseil retreat from the Rowan tree into the gully forming the western boundary of the buttress just opposite the top of the climb.

Firstly, we untied from the rope and then Iain threaded it through the anchor (a Maillon attached to a rope sling) to the rope's mid point before dropping either side down the crag. Then we each attached a cowstail to our harnesses with a larksfoot and an overhand knot mid sling before attaching a karabiner to the end of the sling, clipping to the anchor and then suspending ourselves from that.  Below the overhand knot - mid sling, we attached our belay devices and then attached the belay devices to the rope allowing us to safely set up for a "stacked abseil" whilst still being attached to the anchor.

Once we were all attached by our belay plates to both sides of the climbing rope, we then disconnected our cowstails from the anchor and then abseiled in order of attachment (photo four) to the base of the chimney and then scrambled back to the rucksacks for some well earned lunch before departing the crag.

Stuart & Dee learnt a lot on their two day Learning to Lead Trad Rock Climbing Skills Training Course in The Lake District with Iain and paid just £80 each per day for their course (less for day two as we finished early!).The fee includes the provision of helmets, harnesses, ropes and climbing rack as well as tuition  from an experienced Mountaineering Instructor.

Contact us here to book your Learning To lead Rock Climbing or Guided Rock Climbing Course in The Lake District with Iain who looks forward to working with you.

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