Sunday 30 September 2012

Something FUNdamental

 A talent for skipping
 Warming up balance and agility
 Buzz on foot placement
 The demo
 Balance exercises
 Too easy
Today I was Directing a FUNdamentals of Climbing 1 workshop for The MCofS. These days are designed to introduce those helping coach young people in climbing to the basic concepts of climbing movement and the Long Term Participant Development Model. I was working with Buzz and Stuart which was great as they both have acres of experience, ability and ideas and the practical elements of the day went very well. As my own harshest critic the 'coaching process' part of the day did not work as well as I would have liked but that is my take home learning point for next time. A great day with people involved with the Stirling Spiders Climbing Club and hosted at The Climbing Academy Glasgow who made us all very welcome. Another busy and fascinating day for me.

Saturday 29 September 2012

CWA Training

Don't fall on that belay plate!
Today Donna and I were working on a Climbing Wall Award Training for a group at The Glasgow Climbing Centre. The centre was good and busy so there was lots to observe and discuss as we worked our way through a good chunk of the syllabus.

Friday 28 September 2012

More new MIAs

 Matt leading at Dunkeld
 Matt showing a progression for his students
 Paul making quick work of Curved Ridge
 Mountaineering Instructors' work- scrambling and rock climbing (Guy Steven on Agag's Groove)
The crux of the matter
Another few days on an MIA Assessment at Glenmore Lodge. We were looking at the candidates ability to construct a climbing progression for their mock students at Polney crag at Dunkeld, to take their students on a mountain journey including some roped scrambling in Glencoe and to navigate and coach navigation in the Cairngorms. Congratulations to the 3 new MIA holders!
If you know a novice climber who would like to benefit from some free instruction as a mock student on one of these assessments please see the Glenmore Lodge website here.

Monday 24 September 2012

Have you got a problem?

Today Matt was back. After his climbing MOT back in July he wanted a day looking at avoiding and solving potential problems he might come across in his personal climbing.

Looking autumnal in the Alp (Joint Services Instructors at work)
 Matt racing up Pinnacle Ridge
Building a bomber belay 
 Topping out on Pinnacle Ridge
 Styx Buttress Right Wall
 Unassisted hoist
We were enjoying the fact that the NW of Scotland was missing the worst of the weather again. We had a little light drizzle (not enough to make the rock wet) and it was cold but it was fine for climbing. Matt led Murray up Pinncal Ridge in 3 pitches, Styx Buttress Right Wall in 2 and did 2 more pitches on the Gutter. On the way we built on his existing knowledge and looked at what to do when you drop your belay plate, when partner can't make a move or have a minor injury impacting on their ability to climb (hoists and lowering), how to use his new ATC Guide in 'guide mode' and how to release it under load, retreating from the crag and options with a jammed abseil rope and finally a worst case scenario where he needed to get to an incapacitated partner. His head must be buzzing!!

Sunday 23 September 2012

Windy way out west

Windy westernmost from Alan Halewood on Vimeo.
Davy and Heather are two of my longest running returning clients. I haven't seen Heather for a while as she has been busy having a wee boy. They came out with me today wanting to rock climb on the gabbro of the Ring Crags on Ardnamurchan.
It was dry but extremely windy today as we explored the west side of the ring climbing some pleasant single pitch routes, adding one of our own and finishing with Thor a great 50m 4b.
Good to see old pals!

 Davy on sanna Ferry Ann
 Sanna in the distance
 a wee new route
 Just above the crux of Thor
Thor takes the left facing corner from the left side of the roof

Saturday 22 September 2012

A day in the east...

Today I was working 1 day of an MIA Training course at Glenmore Lodge. The theme of the day was teaching leading and after I did a short indoor session on 'flow' and arousal and the skills needed to get our students leading Jon went through some different rope systems out on the towers. Then it was off to Kingussie for the 2 off us to get coached in our leading by the Trainees (this is an opportunity for us to demonstrate all of the errors past students have tried to get themselves in whilst learning to lead with us!).
A stunning day for the paddling, biking and NGB groups out from the Lodge today- snow on the plateau and even firm neve being reported on the upper part of Ben Nevis!
Still summer for me though- rock climbing in the west tomorrow.
 Snow on the Cairngorms
 Self lining on the towers
Sunny and busy at the Lodge

Friday 21 September 2012

Sunny cragging

A third day with students from West Highland College and we were at Polldubh cragging. Dry and sunny all day.

Thursday 20 September 2012

Skills at the Wall

Today I was working with First Year students from West Highland College on basic climbing skills. It was a damp day so we went to the Ice Factor and I was working with different students on topics as far ranging as knots, leading, climbing movement, belaying and abseiling.
Same script tomorrow but its dry and with a different group so we should be outside.

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Autumnal Hill Skills

Today I was out with students from West Highland College looking at basic mountain skills. We walked up Stob a' Choire Mheadhoin south of Fersit in  breezy showery weather. On the top the showers were falling as snow (it wasn't lying) but we had some good bright weather too. More snow visible round the rim of the Coires on Aonach Mor.

Monday 17 September 2012

Could have been wetter in Glencoe

Today Tim and I were due to do the Aonach Eagach together. Somehow an exposed high w-e ridge scramble with a forecast of heavy rain, snow, hail, thunder and 70mph westerly gusts didn't appeal. So we went to curved Ridge for a bit of shelter. We were rewarded with a bit of sun, less rain andit didn't even snow on us!

Sunday 16 September 2012

Dodging the rain to get on the rock

Yesterday I had a great day at the wedding of two old friends. It was a great chance to catch up with various circles of people I've known in the 16 years I've worked in the outdoors since leaving the Navy. Congratulations to Mr and Mrs Oxtoby!
Then this morning it was an early start from Rhu to meet Stuart and Evan for some rock climbing.

The guys have both done quite a bit themselves but wanted an MOT to see if what they were doing was good practise and could be confirmed. We crossed Scotland to flee the west coast rain and found dry rock at Traprain Law. The guys followed me, placed gear, built belays and led a pitch each before retreating from the crag as the rain arrived late afternoon.
Back in Fort William now packing a bag for a wild hill day tomorrow.

Thursday 13 September 2012

More Training

 Cool at Cummingston
 Chilly at Kingussie
 Spot the belay with no belay device?
Me as the crash test dummy
A much chillier week this week and I was back at Glenmore Lodge Directing an SPA Training and working with Sandy Paterson. On the first day we went to Cummngston and had dry if cold weather, day 2 and we were at Kingussie Crag which started dry and blustery but got seriously cold when the heavy showers hit in the afternoon. With more mixed weather forecast and having had plenty time at the crags building anchors we stayed around the Centre using the granite towers and the climbing wall for day 3. A good course with seven students including 1980s rock star Simon Nadin!