Sunday 3 February 2013

Whistle Stop Weekend

After Fawlty Towers on Friday I headed down to Glasgow for the night. Then on Saturday morning I heded down to Plas Y Brenin for the NICAS seminar.
For anyone not familiar with it NICAS is a scheme that introduces young people to indoor climbing and lets them record their progress it has become hugely popular in the UK and has been so successful that it has attracted a lot of a international interest at the UIAA too.
I pitched up at lunch time and observed a couple of the workshops put on for providers (I was at John Kettle’s climbing movement workshop and Leo Nathan from the Beacon’s Routesetting workshop other sessions included Coaching from Martin Chester of PYB, Psychology of climbing by Smart Climbing, Equipment by DMM, child protection, providing NICAS level 1 and 2 and skill acquisition and the list goes on).
I was invited as a speaker at an debate entitled “The Technical Advisor: Fit For Purpose?” The discussion addressed the issues of who makes a good TA for Indoor Climbing Centres. There were those questioning the relevance of the MIA as a minimum award for TAs given the specialised nature of Indoor Climbing these days. There was a general acceptance that ‘competence’ was more important that just ‘qualification’ and that this could be reached through several routes but should include extensive knowledge and experience of the climbing wall environment. Also it was pointed out that whilst TAs would be wise to only act in areas where they have genuine expertise that employers should ensure that they hire an appropriate person. This of course is harder where the employer has little experience of climbing (e.g. many leisure centre walls / school walls). There were some people in favour of a new bolt on to an NGB or workshop to assist in demonstrating/improving competence whilst others were interested in someone (NICAS? ABC? MT?) creating a list of TAs with such experience.
After dinner NICAS Ambassadors Kenton Cool discussed his climbing pathway from an indoor wall to Guiding Everest and then Hazel Findlay did an excellent, honest talk on what her pursuit of hard trad has taught her about herself linking it well to the opportunities the NICAS scheme provides.
NICAS Poster
 Pete from The Peak in motion
 Leo from The Beacon on Routesetting
John Kettle Climbing Coach
Thanks to PYB for the hospitality… now I’ve a bit of a journey ahead to make it back to Glenmore Lodge tonight!

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