Saturday, 18 August 2012

Learning to lead. Rock Climbing Skills Training courses in The Lake District. August 13th & 14th 2012.

Last Monday & Tuesday, Iain was joined by Matt & Tim Simpson from Norwich who were on holiday in the Lake District for a week of outdoor adventures.

Matt had spent a considerable amount of time climbing at an indoor wall in Norwich and wanted to make the transition to traditional rock climbing out of doors; although unfortunately the opportunities for outdoor rock climbing do not exist in Norfolk.

Matts mum had gone online and found the Kendal Mountaineering Services website and noted that we ran skills training courses for people wishing to learn to become rock climbing leaders. After a telephone conversation with Iain, she subsequently booked one of our two day learning to lead multi-pitch rock climbing courses in The Lake District for Matt.

Iain took the pair to Upper Scout Crag in Langdale - one if his favourite teaching rock climbing  venues and in photo one, Matt can be seen at the first stance of Route One belaying his dad - Tim who agreed to act as Matts second for the duration of the course.

When Jane had booked the course for Matt, it was clearly to be for Matts benefit. Iain felt that the best way for Matt to get the most out of his learning to lead multi-pitch rock climbing course would be to have a second who would belay Matt whilst Iain coached alongside Matt as he climbed.

Mountaineering instructors do this by rigging a rope down the length of a climb on which we can move up or down, keep ourselves and our clients safe and be alongside to coach anchor placements, anchor equalisation techniques and belay techniques. This is the best possible approach for anyone who wants to learn about rock climbing. In photo two, Matt, having set up an equalised system is belaying Tim who is on the Crux pitch of Route one.

In photo three Tim is pictured as he tackles the crux on the second pitch of Route Two at Upper Scout. Undoubtedly, the course was a steep learning curve for Matt as there is a great deal of information to be absorbed on a two day learning to lead multi-pitch rock climbing course - but it was an even steeper learning curve for Tim who is not a climber.

However, despite this, it was clear that Tim had also enjoyed himself and he had clearly absorbed a lot of what was taught over the two days. Having come along to support his son as per Iains recommendations, it is reckoned that he had a thoroughly exhilarating time and he certainly worked extremely well as a second for Matt. He also climbed well too. Well done Tim!

Day one and two were spent at Upper Scout Crag. We started off by looking at anchor placements and equalising anchors, using slings to equalise anchors to a central attachment point and when to tie into the anchors at a stance with ropes rather than using slings.

We then climbed route One in 3 pitches with Matt leading, placing running belays and setting up the anchors at each stance. It is surprising how long it can take to climb a multi-pitch route when you are learning along the way, but having finished Route One, we only had part of the afternoon to do a second climb. So, Matt led off up Route Two, the plan being that we would finish at the second stance and abseil off the route from there so that the pair could see abseil retreat techniques; and that is exactly what we did.

For day two of Matts learning to lead multi-pitch rock climbing skills training course in The Lake District, we returned to Upper Scout once again.

It was a very wet start to the day and wet rock is not an ideal medium to climb on. Iain had felt that the pair were at about the limit of their abilities on Upper Scout and often we may consider going to Middlefell Buttress on day two and if people are really going well - finish on Revelation on Raven Crag.

However, Iain felt that to return to Upper Scout and finish off Route two - linking it with Route One via Route 1.5 might be more appropriate, so that was what we did. A very heavy shower came in whilst we were at the 1st stance on Route one which soaked the rock and meant that Tim felt unable to make the crux move on the first pitch of that route. So, Iain showed Matt the Improvised Rescue Technique of hoisting to help his dad overcome the difficulty.

Photo four shows Matt belaying Tim from the 3rd stance of Route Two whilst Tim tackles the crux of the pitch below. By this time the sun had come out and the rock was drying up nicely, the weather for the rest of the day was perfect.

After completing their 3rd multi-pitch climbing route we spent a little time revisiting techniques required for equalising anchors at stances before calling it a day, a little early, but the pair had climbed well, absorbed the techniques for climbing multi-pitch routes in safety and were very happy with what they had achieved over the two day course.

If you would like to learn how to climb on outdoor rock in The Lake District then do it with one of our experienced mountaineering Instructors at Kendal Mountaineering Services. You will be in safe hands with experienced and appropriately qualified people who will ensure you have a great course. Further photos from Matt & Tims climbing course complete with detailled descriptions can be viewed here. To book your rock climbing skills training course in The Lake District contact us here. We look forward to working with you.

1 comment:

Tim Simpson said...

Both me and my 15 yr old son Matt had a great time with Iain Gallagher as a very attentive and expert instructor. We learned a great deal over a short period and both felt completely safe and secure throughout. Moving from indoor climbing wall to outside rock is a significant step and safety is of course the priority but the climbing was also great fun. The intermediate indoor wall course taken earlier in Norwich was a helpful foundation for Matt. I can wholly recommend Iain and Kendal Mountaineering Services to anyone else in a similar position as us. I also think the 2 days were very good value when you consider the level of attention we were given and that all the equipment was provided for you. Thanks again Iain for your help.

Tim