October 2021 – ‘Biblical’ rain!
We kicked off with a four-day adventure Scrambling course: more information – Here
The work had come from a colleague who runs his own guiding business and this is sometimes how it goes in our industry. As well as running courses yourself, sometimes there is a limit of how many you can do time wise and physically wise as your on the go from the minute you meet the client until you get back into your car and head home.
The four-day scrambling course is a great opportunity to consolidate your learning. Firstly on day one there can be quite an overwhelming amount of information to take in. For example when to use the rope, and more importantly how to use it. So to have it spread over four days things start to sink in. adventure
To add to the adventure of it all, the weather forecast for the week wasn’t great. In fact on two of the days there was ‘biblical’ rain forecast! Day one we were unable to cross the stream below Pavey Ark and so had to detour and consider an alternative to Jack’s Rake – A classic grade 1 scramble in the Lake District. Picture showing this above with Stickle tarn in the foreground. Indeed we did come back later in the week and get the tick when there was a break in the weather. It was the sort of weather where no waterproofs would be…waterproof if you know what I mean? But this adds to the realism and adventure of it all, and definitely makes you a stronger overall mountaineer.
Over the four days some ground was covered. I thought the weather was marginally looking better in the northern Lakes but this was too good to be true. But we did manage to climb the famous Cam Crag ridge, again a classic Lakeland scramble. As we topped out in the wild weather with visibility down to about ten metres, we covered some navigation tips and tricks, as this is an essential part of scrambling in the UK Mountains. It’s also equally important to be able to navigate to your start location too. As pin pointing exactly where a scramble starts can be very tricky. The second day wasn’t how I had planned it, but being the best weather of the week made it fit. Was an ascent of Middlefell Buttress in Langdale, quite probably one of the, if not thee best adventures and easy rock climbs in the valley. Furthermore it is topped off with a 40m abseil down the gully back to the start, a textbook way to end the scramble.
Scrambling Course – Rock Climbing Course
After the scrambling course, it was on to a four-day adventure rock climbing course. Fraser wanted to learn more about the art of climbing and how to go about doing things correctly. Again, the same as the scrambling course, this is super essential to get the grounding in so that you don’t learn bad habits that can stick with you for years.
For example I remember when I started, I was shown to make yourself safe at the top of a climb, you put a figure of eight in the rope on a bight and clipped it to your harness. Now although not unsafe, it’s just a time consuming knot to do in that situation. So therefore not appropriate. On the other hand, a clove hitch for example is adjustable, therefore saving time equalising yourself near the edge. adventure
Top roping/Bottom roping
Another topic he wanted to cover was bottom roping. This is where you rig a rope up at the top of a climb and belay your climbing partner at the base of the climb. Its advantages are the belayer can help the climber with tips and tricks on how to climb their chosen climb. We looked at some of the most common set up’s and ‘how to’ rig your ropes safely and efficiently.
This skill was slowly feathered in over the four days. Belay building can be confusing so a slow build (no pun intended) I find is best. Every situation is different but if you know the main principles, you can then use it when building belays in different situations, and different types of rock.
Hill walking for confidence
The back end of October was a booking I had taken earlier on in the year. Andrea wanted to become more confident and independent in the hills, so she can have her own safe adventures. She had, had various aches and injuries over the years, which had knocked her confidence.
Originally we had planned a two-day course to cover various topics. For example, moving on steeper terrain. Crossing scree and lose rock. Light scrambling and techniques for this. Navigation for bad weather, were the main points to cover. Sadly we both decided to put the other day on ice and come back when better weather is here. In fact the day we postponed was again ‘biblical’ but this time caused many floods in the area, and some bridge damage! Definitely a good call to postpone. She was extremely grateful and although not the preferred option, sometimes it’s the best plan of attack, especially when you are trying to build confidence.
Scrambling advice/rack – Here
Advice on Rock Climbing rack etc – Here