Tuesday 13 September 2016

Rock Climbing Skills Training Course in The Lake District. Scout Crags, Langdale. Saturday 10th September 2016.

Last Saturday Iain was out with Tom Hayton, his sister Becca; and friends Mustapha (Taf) and Rascheed.

All climb together at the indoor climbing wall in Kendal and have done for some time. As is often the case, these four climbers wanted to progress from Indoor Climbing to rock climbing on the real stuff. What this basically involves is gaining an understanding of the various products on the market for use as rock anchors, how to place them well and how to link them together to form a "safety chain" out of slings and rope for safe rock climbing.

In photo one, the group are practising anchor selection.

So, we spent the morning looking at how the various types of anchor products (Nuts, Hexcentrics, Camming Devices) could be used in placements (usually tapered cracks in solid rock).

The emphasis when selecting the right product for the job was what would fit best in a placement and which way (Nuts & Hexcentrics can be placed on one of two axis). Anchors were scored on the basis of 1 - 10 where 1 was rubbish and likely to fail if shock-loaded and 10 was unlikely to fail. Scoring was based on how well the anchor fitted the placement and how much of each opposing side was in contact with the rock and how deeply into the rock the anchor was placed.

Emphasis was also placed on setting in (ie shock-loading) to jam the product in the placement (this technique must NOT be applied to camming devices). We then spent time on equalising the anchors to a central attachment point using, karabinersslings (photo two), static (pre-stretched) or dynamic (climbing) rope.

Through doing all of the above, we got through three hours of time surprisingly quickly! The aim was, that in the afternoon, our group of four would split into two teams of two each to go off with a rock climbing instructor to have a go at completing a multi-pitch rock climb.

As that was due to start around 1pm, we had around 45 minutes for the group to try out some single pitch climbing at Lower Scout Crag (photo three) whilst also having the opportunity to get some lunch before the afternoon session was started.

The group were interested in setting up anchors for top rope/bottom belay systems for single pitch (Introductory) rock climbing sessions. Whilst they had done this, given the time constraints, it was quicker for them to observe Iain setting up an appropriate system to allow them to get a couple of climbs in during lunchtime. This seemed to work ok!

After lunch, Iain, Tom & Taf headed the short distance up-slope to Upper Scout Crag where the lads were given an introduction to multi-pitch |"trad" rock climbing on the 3 pitch VDiff classic - Route 1.

Becca & Rascheed, met one of our associate instructors at the National Trust car park and went off to climb on Middlefell Buttress - also an excellent "learning to lead" venue.

With the coaching that had already gone one during the morning, all were now well placed to begin multi-pitch climbing. Some coaching was required in the art of placing running belays (runners) and how to get them out again and we also looked at the pros & cons of using slings to equalise anchors to a central attachment point at a stance versus tying directly into anchors using the climbing rope. In photo four, Taf is doing a great job of belaying Tom (who has just moved above the "crux" (hardest part of the climb. We did another two pitches and then abseiled the length of the crag back to the foot of the route; and that was the day done.

The four paid just £80 each for their Rock Climbing Skills Training Course in The Lake District and they enjoyed a varied day packed full of new climbing skills and the opportunity to implement them - just as it should be! Helmets, harnesses ropes & rack were all included in the fee as well as coaching from two Mountaineering Instructors making this an excellent value skills training day.

This is what Tom thought anyway!

"Absolutely brilliant!!

I's like to start by saying what a thoroughly down to earth, decent guy, Iain is. He took me and a group of friends for a multi-pitch trad climbing course in Langdale. We had a fantastic day learning everything we needed to get started trad climbing with very clear and helpful instruction.

Iain is a very good teacher, he didn't just tell us what to do, he gave us a good understanding of why and; and how things worked. I was really surprised just how much we fit into our day and how much we all learned, so it was really worth every penny.

We will definitely be back for another course in the future.


This testimonial can be viewed on our website, here.

To book your Rock Climbing Skills Training Course or Introduction  to Rock Climbing Course in The Lake District - contact the rock climbing experts at Kendal Mountaineering Services here. We look forward to working with you!

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