Thursday 21 August 2014

Transition Training

I spent the last 2 days at Transition Extreme in Aberdeen with a full keen team of staff covering some training in my role as Technical Advisor to the climbing wall.
We looked at the role of the floorwalker and how to approach customers without unnecessarily annoying or distracting them including conducting various scenarios that taxed the Instructors' acting skills as much as their soft and technical skills! A climbing wall's climbing experience is its key product. That means climbers need to feel welcome in the centre whilst at the same time the wall is comfortable that a good standard of climbing practise is on display and they are fulfilling their duty of care. Younger Instructors have a poor reputation being very rigid in what is acceptable but equally experienced climbers need to be aware of the picture they present to novices around them and that its the most experienced who are often the ones who relax, get distracted or just make a mistake and the wall staff need to strike a balance between caution and making climbers feel welcome rather than under strict scrutiny.
We also looked at the possible technical rescues a staff member might be called on to conduct. I have a list of incidents I know have happened at walls ranging from the common to the bizarre and like to give staff a toolbox of skills/experience to build up their judgement with so that they can deal with anything from a harness that isn't doubled back on a climber to a leader being lowered into space whose belayer has run out of rope or a climber detached at height. We spent a lot of time letting staff experiment with different ways of doing things and varying the situations they used tools in to let them get to grips with the limitations and advantages of techniques.
There was also some route setting rope work training to be done. For some staff this was limited to how to rescue an incapacitated setter whilst for others it was setting up an appropriate cordon, placing ropes, ascending, descending, use of bags for holds and bolts and stripping ropes afterwards.
Great to see a wall investing time and money in truing for staff. Its important not just in terms of safety of the wall but hugely beneficial for the psyche of the staff team too when they feel they are progressing and valued by the management.
I'm looking forwards to going back for more training and assessment of the staff at TE.
 Different ways of doing the same thing when things get 
technical at the end of a long process of problem solving
 Going up
 Old school works too
 Heading for the top
Darren recovering after a particularly physical problem

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