Saturday 28 June 2014

5 days 1 summer

Its been a busy week. On monday and tuesday I was revalidating my First Aid qualification with BASP based at Nevis Range. As I've come to expect from them it was a very practical course, well tailored to those present and a rest chance to update and ensure confidence from those attending in their ability to del with simple first aid situations in the mountains and other similar environments.
Jeff and some injured bananas
Tuesday night I headed to Skye to meet 6 RAF personnel in Broadford. 'Sausage' their 1 man support team cooked us a great meal and on wednesday we used the drizzly day to cache some food and equipment along the Cuillin Ridge. This mean that we didn't have to start too early on thursday for our traverse. It was a lovely day but really hot. We spotted the octocopter of Hotaches doing some filming of an amazing performance along the way (you'll have to wait to find out what they were filming but it will be spectacular from the little we saw). We were gasping for more water by the time we dropped down into Coire na Banachdich for dinner and fluids. Then we enjoyed a stunning evening pressing on to our divvy site at An Dorus. Day 2 was dry but with a very chilly wind that staved off dehydration but after a show summit celebration and descent from Sgurr nan Gillean there were some weary legs heading down the seemingly endless walk to the Sligachan for a well earned beer. Top craic with the lads and well done to all on a successful completion of the UK's finest summer mountaineering challenge.

Friday 20 June 2014

Happy customers!

I've come back from a sojourn south for a meeting about possibly supplying a range of courses and advice to a College to find some nice emails giving feedback from recent folk I've been out with:

This was from Ron on my day out with him on the Aonach Eagach working for Steve Fallon.
"Excellent day with an excellent guide Alan Halewood.
From the start you had full confidence in Alan and his experience was evident as soon as the scrambling began; he didn't take long to assess the groups capabilities and focus attention on their individual needs.
His general knowledge, particularly of plants was very informative.
Alan is a very affable and I really enjoyed the day. I would recommend him and "Steven Fallon Mountain Guides" without any hesitation."

Here is a picture courtesy of Ron on the day:

And this is from Jo on a day's multi pitch trad lead coaching:
"Thanks again for the help, as for the day we both found it really useful and enjoyable,  we'll certainly be recommending you."

Positive feedback makes my day!

Tuesday 17 June 2014

FUNdamentals of Climbing at IFL

Today I was running a FUNdamentals 1 looking at the 'what' to coach of climbing movement at a beginners level. The venue was The Ice Factor were we worked both indoors and on the slabby walls on their outside tower. There were 8 keen staff who soon got to grips with basic climbing movement principles, common errors beginners make and different options for coaching depending on who we are working with. I was trialling a slightly modified version of the F1 Syllabus today as discussed at the meeting I was at in Sheffield last week which went well and is in keeping I feel with the base level of knowledge of many aspiring climbing coaches these days.
Roasting hot again today!
 Balance and agility exercises
 Spot the ball!
 'Walk ins'
 Centre of mass awareness
 Observation. But what is best seen from where?
 Follow the marker on Coaches Eye
 Accuracy and precision
 Foot swap AND hairy legs!
 Name that handhold
Handhold traverse

Monday 16 June 2014

Sunny Lochaber Rock. Too hot for midges!

Today i was out with Jo and Ian who have been taking their indoor rock outside recently. We climbed Pinnacle Ridge with me leading them up one behind the other to get the hang of multi pitch stance management. Then the led the Gutter and Styx Buttress Right Wall in style with an abseil off of each.
There were a few midges around early on but a very gentle breeze and scorching hot weather seemed to dispel them later on for the most part!
 Warming up
 Series ropework
 Ian on top
 Lochaber looking green
 Jo on the sharp end
 Nearly there

Sunday 15 June 2014

Slippery when wet on the Aonach Eagach

Today I was working for Steve Fallon on the Aonach Eagach. Ron, Dave, Carl and I drove through Glencoe with a low cloud base and high humidity and near the top of Am Bodach we met Heather's team who had decided to save the Ridge for a drier day. we pressed on in hope of the forecast coming true and brighter weather. The rock was greasy but the guys coped well and not long after the pinnacles the cloud began to lift to give us some views. A good day out with 3 great guys… and the pint in the Clachaig was as welcome as ever at the end (cheers Ron)!
 Carl in the squeeze
 Passing the pinnacles
 Views behind
 Pressing on
 Last big pull uphill
A lone figure looking out over Glencoe

Friday 13 June 2014

A last meeting and Stanage

Very productive meeting with our southern colleagues on the future of the FUNdamentals awards. Longer blog post on all that but thanks to Dave Binney, Katherine Schirmacher, Jon Garside of the BMC, Dave Evans from PYB, Guy Jarvis from Undercover Rock and of course Jon Jones from Glenmore Lodge who I was representing the MCofS with. It was great to spend a couple of days at the (relatively) new Awesome Walls in Sheffield a great facility with a very friendly, helpful staff team.
AND we managed to grab 3 very quick routes for me at Stanage. It was about 24 Degrees and I was feeling baked so we grabbed April Crack, Trinity Right Hand and Flying Buttress from amongst the crowds. Definitely all a bit easier than Millstone yesterday. Then it was off to Kendal for an overnight with friends and now back to Scotland. Mountaineering and climbing work to come from Sunday!
Flying Buttress 

Thursday 12 June 2014

FUNdamentals 3 and Gritting my teeth

A great day on the second pilot of the FUNdamentals 3 'Advanced' Technique pilot. Not just because I think it'll be a great day but because it challenged me mentally to make sure I have a solid enough grasp of the components to coach them to others. More on FUNdas and its future in another blog post….
And then we went to Millstone. JJ and I headed out yesterday evening for me to get another humbling on the grit. We climbed Embankment 2 (I should have kept my approach shoe on my left foot) and I furthered my jamming education. Embankment 3 was my Waterloo however- with screaming toes and wracked shoulder I abandoned ship at the tat. Then we went to Great North Road… finally a climb I can understand straight away! Bridging, lay backing, holds that aren't just the same crack my feet was in. A superb soaring corner of good length for a single pitch route and the roof isn't as bad as looks because there are footholds on the wall! After a second evening's spanking we retired to the excellent Fox House Inn for food (served until 10- good on you!).
1 last day of meetings and climbing in Sheffield today.
 Getting a little more dynamic...
 Lets talk about heel hooks
 Joby on his bicycle
 And clamping it on the wall
 Jon getting lost in the LH crack of Embankment 2
Great North Road