Sunday, 23 June 2013

SPA Day 2, new stakes at Auchinstarry and Edelrid Mega-Jul

Its always nice when the forecast is wrong in your favour (yesterday), its even nicer when it happens 2 days running (more dry weather today) and its EVEN nicer than that when you get a clean sweep of passes on an NGB you are working on. Well done to the 4 candidates who all passed their SPA Assessment today.
 Mike Jeans needing rescuing from a VS.... don't see that every day :-)
Someone has placed a couple of new stakes beside the path at the very top of the crag. The first is on the outer side of the path just near the junction with the track to the closed gate leading to the 'poolside' crags (pictured) and the second is just beside the path between the obvious 2 trees. Both are the same material and show the same amount of material protruding above the ground. The first (slightly harder to see in long grass) is well bedded in but can be pulled out easily and you can see how much metal is in the ground (second picture below). There was a third I'm told but no sign of it today.

I've been playing with an Edelrid Mega Jul recently. This belay device looks like a slightly quirky belay plate but functions as an assisted braking device (one with no moving parts, like a Mammut Smart rather than Grigri). It also functions as a guide plate like a Reverso/ATC Guide. I let the candidates from the last 2 days have a little play with it and they soon got to grips with paying out to a leader and tested its ability to lock up in response to a sudden load (worked fine). Today when abseiling with it we all found it quite jerky (you have to keep the device tilted- usually with a thumb in the green loop- just visible in second pic below), more so on steeper ground and even more so when abseiling on a doubled rope. It does lock up well in descent when you go 'hands free' on it (see pic 1 and 2 below with slack dead rope). More playing needed.