Friday 22 July 2011

Successful candidates and Gone Climbing

Well done to Donna and Alan who passed their SPA Assessment today. We soaked up the sun at a non midgey Neilston Quarry.

Adios for a while.... I'm off Guiding in Bolivia and return on 15th of August. I should have some contact with the world through my shiney new Iphone 4 but don't know If I'll be blogging. Expect a seriously good spell of weather for the next few weeks as I'm out of the country!
Bolivia should be good as I'll be guiding peaks I first climbed when I was 19. I bought a ticket and went out alone, made friends with some local climbers and that was my introduction to Alpinism- in the Andes.

Thursday 21 July 2011

SPA Assessment at the Quadrocks

First route of the day
Spot the midges (and the nutter in a t-shirt!)
Belay duty
The traverse
Last route of the day
Day 1 of the SPA Assessment I'm directing for Glasgow Climbing Centre and we went to the Quadrocks above Largs. the first hour or two the midges were horrific but then fortunately a slight breeze sprang up and then we had a perfect day. More of the same tomorrow.

If you are interested in the issues involved in taking groups Coasteering and especially if you are based in Scotland I can recommend this workshop with Andy Spink in October.

Wednesday 20 July 2011

CWA Assessment

Back to work after a wet few days in The Lakes with Jane and Sandy. A CWA Assessment at Glasgow climbing Centre with 3 successful candidates now 'licensed to thrill'. Attaining an MLT NGB Award should be likened to passing your driving test (I'm told :-). Once you've passed its time to go off and learn to do it for real. Good luck to today's 3 new CWAs as they learn to use their award.
SPA Assessment for the next 2 days and then off to Bolivia on Saturday!!

Thursday 14 July 2011

Staying ahead of the weather on Skye

Rachel and Hannah came for a day out at the beginning of the month when we did Ledge Route on Ben Nevis. Today I joined them to up the scrambling ante on Skye. I suggested Pinnacle Ridge on Sgurr nan Gillean and with the weather due to change later on we got a good early start from Sligachan.
After a pleasant walk in we geared up and enjoyed the excellent scrambling over the first 3 pinnacles including the lovely exposed abseil off of the 3rd (well done to Rachel and Hannah who refused to be intimidated despite this being quite exposed for their first abseil!). then it was over the Knights Peak and the final fifth pinnacle before joining the west ridge to pay our respects to the summit. Just as we topped out the cloud which had been cloaking Blaven and threatening all day finally swept in to hide the views and a steady all pervading drizzle set in.
We headed off down the west ridge, threading the needle and making another abseil onto the ledge running to the bealach. Then a descent of the screes on tired legs and a soggy but happy walk down to the pub!

Wednesday 13 July 2011

The Old Fox goes online!

Have a look at at Hamish MacInnes's website- talk about a full life!

Tuesday 12 July 2011

CWA Day 2

Abseiling setups
Observing climbers
Who could we help improve and how?
Problem solving
Add on... and take away...
Another busy day with the team on the CWA Training course at EICA. We looked at warm ups for groups, the abseil module, things to do between training and assessment, problem avoidance and solving, observation of climbers with a view to providing basic movement coaching and different ways of attaching people to the rope. We also visited and risk assessed a second climbing wall at the Lowport Centre. An enjoyable couple of days!

Monday 11 July 2011

CWA Training at Ratho

Moving well
Precision footwork
Sticky hands
and funky shapes
Different belay devices
Today I was directing a Climbing Wall Award Training at EICA Ratho. I was working with Tony and we had 9 candidates today. The arena was very busy with guides practising for an event this evening which made teaching quite interesting (I'm well hoarse)! Day 2 tomorrow.

Saturday 9 July 2011

Sandy's river adventure

I don't usually do water sports but Sandy loves it...

Friday 8 July 2011

Last Training day.

George demonstrating
Derek munching...
Derek gurning...
Derek belaying...
And Derek (almost) smiling!
The last of our 3 days' training with George from Glenmore Lodge today took us to Buachaille Etive Mor to discuss the 'dark art' of short roping (not confidence roping, not death roping, not moving together- short roping). George did some demonstration as we approached and ascended Lagangarbh Buttress. Then Derek and I took over and watched from different points both within and without the system to help us get to grips with observing the process at work. We then turned around and did it all in descent too. We finished the day just as the showers began to get serious and conducted our review in the bright sunshine at Crafts and Things.

Thursday 7 July 2011

SPA Assessment day 2 slightly drier

Not encouraging...
Almost dry!
After a very wet drive east we worked in between the showers at Kingussie crag on the second day of our SPA Assessment. Congratulations to the 2 candidates who despite wet rock and heavy rain demonstrated good understanding of the syllabus and passed today.

Wednesday 6 July 2011

SPA Assessment day 1.... drowning by numbers

God it was wet today. we began our 2 day SPA Assessment in Glen Nevis in heavy rain. You'ld think the midges would have drowned but the lack of wind kept them active.... the military should investigate whatever system they use to avoid all that rain- its amazing that they aren't knocked out of the air. Maybe they are? But there are just so many of them that there are always more to take their place. We also spent some time at The Ice Factor along with many other refugees from the flood- hopefully tomorrow will be a little drier.

Tuesday 5 July 2011

Training day 2

George deliberately making a hash of it
What goes up, must go down
Derek just before his next planned accident
Another of Huntly's hanging corners
Grumpy auld man
Today George, Derek and I were at Huntly's Cave doing some more training. We were looking at teaching stance management, setting scenarios for common climbing problems and taking some photos for an upcoming AMI Newsletter on protecting a personal abseil. It stayed dry and wasn't even too midgey!

Monday 4 July 2011

A little training.

Pitch 1 for George
And pitch 2 for me
2 men on a ledge
Derek on the crux
Coming down
Today Derek and I were out with George from Glenmore Lodge doing a little training for us to work some courses later in the summer. After a good chat at the Lodge we went to Creag Dubh where we were roasted as we climbed King Bee examining some of the issues we had been discussing indoors. I've got a bit of a chest infection just now but it was a pleasure to be out on warm dry rock after what seems forever with this 'excuse for a summer' we've been having!

Saturday 2 July 2011

Nice weather at last...

Today Rachel and Hannah were booked in for some navigation and hillwalking skills. We started by doing some navigation low level just outside of Fort William on orienteering maps. With the weather looking fine and eyes ever drawn to Ben Nevis I suggested we pick up some helmets and go for a wander on Ben Nevis. We navigated easily to the base of No. 5 Gully passing a pair on the first pitch of Centurion and as we started up Ledge Route another pair descended having already done the same route (the corner crack damp for the fingers as it often is but dry for bridging feet).
We topped out watching the RAF rescue Sea King hovering over Observatory Ridge. Best wishes to the lady who took a tumble, doesn't sound too bad but here's hoping for a swift recovery.
The girls and I made our way over to the pony track, down to the half way lochan and on towards Torlundy. On the way we discussed equipment and emergency procedures in case of a misfortune on the hill. All in all a lovely day out.