Tuesday 11 April 2017

Rock Climbing Skills Training Courses in The Lake District. Friday & Saturday 7th & 8th April, 2017.

Nigel Brown from North Yorkshire booked a two day Rock Climbing Course in The Lake District with us some time ago.

In our discussions, he told me that he used to climb quite a long time ago and now was getting out more & more to nearby Harrogate Climbing centre with his teenage daughter - Georgia.

They had spent quite a few sessions at the climbing wall and were now keen to make the next step to "Trad leading" outdoors.

Iain felt that the best way to approach this would be to provide the pair with a Guided Rock Climbing Day in The Lake District, so that Nigel & Georgia could see how climbing systems work.

Photo one sees Georgia at the third stance on Middlefell Buttress (Diff) at Raven Crag in Langdale with Dad - Nigel, about to join us there.

Middlefell Buttress was a good place to start. The route is a pleasant if not a somewhat "polished" climb, but it allows novice rock climbers to see lots of anchor placements and lots of stance management on it's five pitches (there's a sixth pitch if you want to do it too!). We used the abseil retreat into the gully to the left of the crag so that the pair could have a go at this as well.

They both absolutely loved their first rock climbing route!

Photo two sees Georgia sat again waiting for Dad to join us at the head of Savernake (MS). Climbing this 3 pitch rock climb is a good step up from Middlefell Buttress, it is also polished but the 2nd & 3rd pitches are a good deal harder than anything on Middlefell Buttress. Neither of them had any difficulty with this climb which was great; and again, they both really enjoyed it!
The quickest way to get down from from the top of the final pitch of Savernake is to abseil off. Is it? Well probably not as by the time you've set up the abseil, you could have walked off down the descent route from the top of Raven Crag which passes close by.

However a long abseil is much more challenging and when you are at that top stance on Savernake, the foot of the crag looks a long way below - a single 50 or 60 metre rope wouldn't get you anywhere near the foot of the crag - but two 60 metre ropes does it with loads to spare!

Iain set up a stacked abseil having used the Oak tree at the top of the route as an anchor for the two ropes that he tied together. Georgia and Nigel were attached to both ropes using slings and their belay plates and everything was checked; and double checked before Iain abseiled down; and then beckoned Georgia to follow. In photo three Georgia is down and is holding both ropes to safeguard Dad - just in case he let go of the controlling rope and started to plummet! Good skills!

Having spent the day seeing how Iain guided on Multi-pitch Rock Climbs as a Mountaineering Instructor, day two was all about Georgia and Nigel doing it for themselves whilst being coached by Iain.

In photo four, Georgia has led up the first pitch of Route 1, Upper Scout Crag, arranged two anchors and then equalised them to a central attachment point using a long sling.

On the way up the first pitch Georgia placed four very good ("Bomber" as the saying goes..) anchors and extended them well. Iain placed a camming device in an appropriate crack so that Georgia could see how these work and also how to clip into such a device (you NEVER clip one karabiner into another where a serious shock-load could take place!) Georgia performed well in every aspect of climbing on this pitch. Well done!

After Georgia belayed her Dad up to the first stance, he took over the lead up the second crux pitch of the climb. The Crux basically means the hardest part of the climbing route.

Nigel led on up making good decisions and also placing some excellent anchors and running belays along the way. He also dealt with the crux of the route (just below where Georgia is in photo five) with no problem at all!

We were lucky with both days for climbing; and Saturday in particular really was perfect, warm and calm. No breeze, just blues skies, sunshine and warm dry rock. Just the job!

At the second stance, Iain got Nigel to tie into the anchors using the climbing rope rather than slings - after all, this is what you should do if you are leading alternate pitches on any multi-pitch rock climb!

Our final photo of the day sees Georgia and Nigel at the top of Route 1. Georgia is practising the skill of coiling the climbing wall - something she had learnt at Harrogate Climbing Centre, but wanted to practice some more.

We then dropped back down to the base of the crag and had some lunch before starting up Route 2. We climbed two pitches of this four pitch rock climb and upon arriving at another Oak tree, Iain asked the pair to arrange their own abseil retreat to see if they could remember how we had done it each time, the previous day.

As you might imagine, they both needed a bit of help to remember, but once we had the set-up arranged and they were both safely attached, we were all soon at the foot of the crag again.

Both Nigel & Georgia were extremely satisfied with their two day Multi-Pitch Rock Climbing Course in The Lake District run by Iain; and are keen to get some equipment and get out climbing - that's exactly what we would recommend and we wish them the best of luck! They also intend to come back later in the Summer to us for an appraisal of their climbing skills and a bit more coaching if necessary. This sounds good to us!

Nigel paid just £80 per person per day for the pairs Rock Climbing Skills Training Course with us. Helmets, harnesses, climbing ropes, rack and coaching/guiding by an experienced Mountaineering Instructor are all included in your fee but you can bring along and use your own equipment as long as we deem it fit for purpose.

We have a lot of experience in delivering Multi-pitch Rock Climbing Skills Training Courses in The Lake District, so if you are looking to get out and develop your skills on real Lake District rock - then contact us!

We look forward to working with you.

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