Tuesday 28 February 2017

Last week catchup

OK its actually more like 9 days but most folk following me will have seen it drip fed on social media:
The weekend of the 18,19th I was running a Trainee Workshop for the Association of Mountaineering Instructors. 2 wet pants days one looking at short roping and apron approaches to climbs with a little ice trickery thrown in the second day was more interesting. We did find a climb and get the things done we needed to but in hindsight with the thaw, potential for loose rock and ice fall we'd probably been better not going up there and that's the message I decided to leave the team with at the end:

Then it was a CWA Training for the School of Adventure Studies at the Ice Factor and Three Wise Monkeys assisted by Dave. Sooo lucky to have 2 good facilities like this in Lochaber now. Interesting to observe Kate working with Sally on her dissertation research too:

Wednesday saw me in Glasgow providing a FUNdamentals 2 for Mountaineering Scotland at Glasgow Climbing Centre. The course looks at movement on vertical/slightly overhung ground, observing climbers and opposing forces techniques such as laybacking:

Thursday was day 1 of a Development Coach Training for 4 experienced wall coaches. Mike Mullins came along to observe but there was no way I was going to leave someone with his experience of youth coaching in walls on the sidelines and he contributed a lot to the course. Day 1 was at Glasgow Climbing Centre and day two at TCA Glasgow- thanks to both walls for the warm welcome:

Saturday and it was day working with staff from GCC on how to coach lead climbing. These are always fun courses looking at progressions for hard and soft skills to build confidence and competence in students:

And on Sunday I was back at the great new wall in Perth working with some of their new staff team looking at making the wall a safe and welcoming place for visitors through considered floor walking as wells as worst case scenarios for customers needing assistance:

Now I'm at home and with a few days work cancelled this week owing to the particular winter conditions I'm enjoying a break!

Friday 17 February 2017

2 days with Mac and Sam

Yesterday it rained... really quite a lot. Rather than go and take our licks on Ben Nevis we went to Polldubh where first the guys took themselves up Scimitar Ridge using a variety of mountaineering rope work. Then it was across to The Gutter to slow things down with some more pitched, climbing style rope work.
Today we got the reward with a nice steady ascent by Mac and Sam of Ledge Route doing the ropework for themselves (very thinly iced first slab and quite a bit of loose rock just above this). We took off crampons at the top of the gully and moved on rock until the last 50m of ascent where the spikes went back on again. After a sunny lunch break we headed over to No.4 Gully which I belayed them down for a pitch before we walked down and out.
More ice than expected has hung in high up... now if some of t can just survive the next few days...

Sunday to Wednesday with Pete

Pete is a happy lad and rightly so. He got 4 of the better days this winter to go out on. Sunday was 'shakedown day' as he got into the swing of winter again. We went to the Dragon's Tooth above Ballachulish (my first time too- been meaning to go here for a while) and very good it was too. The weather was better than forecast and both we and Matt who came to observe for the day had a grand day out.
Monday was milder but we went to the East Ridge of the North Buttress of Stob Ban which was well frozen and had enough snow for it to be wintery. Pete was loving some of the climbing on the lower pitches.
Tuesday was a great day. We were on Curved Ridge in the sunshine and rime. The winds dropped as forecast, the ice pitch in Easy Gully was in great condition and all was well with the world!
Wednesday and the legs were weary so we stayed low and went to Fawlty Towers as it had been reported as fine the day before. The thaw had struck hard and some creative route finding was needed up booming ice and teetery rock but we got 3 more good pitches of climbing to end Pete's time here. For someone with no real experience of 2 axe climbing Pete did great this week with some tricky moves and some big mountaineering routes.