Monday, May 31, 2010

Multi Pitch Climbing in the Lakes..

Darren, Luke and John were out at the weekend climbing with members of the Marylebone Mountaineering Club (MMC) in the Lake District.

The club had a climbing meet for all members in Eskdale. With the aid of some funding from the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) they were also able to combine this with some training for members in multi pitch climbing.

Despite some wet and chilly weather on Saturday Goat Crag and Wallowbarrow were visited, and with better conditions on Sunday teams visited Wallowbarrow and Raven Crag.

Wallowbarrow is a great crag famous, in part, for the route 'Thomas' which sports a small "John Thomas" spike which is essential to negotiate the crux.


Walking Group Leader Training..

Ruth Taylor and I finished Peak Mountain Training's Walking Group Leader course yesterday with a traverse from Mam Tor to Lose Hill.

This linear route gave us an ideal opportunity to explore aspects of navigation, remote supervision and emergency procedures. Despite being a sunny day it felt bitterly cold in the strong north westerly wind and it must have felt cold at the more exposed crags.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Walking Group Leader Training...

Ruth Taylor and I have spent the last few days delivering a Walking Group Leader Training course, based from Edale Mountain Rescue Team's base in Hope.

There are three common threads that run through the course; navigation, group management and environmental knowledge.

On Friday we visited Kinder Scout concentrating on the navigational aspects, while the sessions today had a strong emphasis on group management and the environment. There was persistent light rain for the majority of the day today in the Burbage Valley.

Despite this the weather is due to improve on Sunday and Monday with a transient ridge of high pressure moving in. This should give some good climbing and walking conditions in the Peak District..

For more details about the Walking Group Leader (WGL) visit

Friday, May 28, 2010

British Mountain Guides Training at Plas Y Brenin..

For the last few days I have been over at Plas Y Brenin on the British Mountain Guides Summer Two Training.

We spent four days covering some theoretical subjects such as the psychology of client care, the coaching process, guiding at altitude etc delivered by folk who are leaders in their respective fields. Thanks to Martin Chester, Tim Neill, Rob Spencer, John Cousins, Prof Lew Hardy, Tim Jepson and Steve Long.

The final day gave us an opportunity to put some our learning into context, by planning and delivering a days alpine preparation course for some aspiring alpinists. The aim being to incorporate some fairly advanced coaching models.

Andy Houseman is pictured above talking through glacier travel (thanks to Andy Townsend for the image).

The weather in Wales has been fine with a cold northerly wind. Despite this there have been plenty of folk out on the crag with 'Right Wall' E5 6a seeing an ascent from Dave Evans..

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Problem Solving at Wild Cat...

Today was the second of two days of problem solving and improvised rescue for members of the Not So Trad Climbing Club.

Jules Barrett joined Kim, Thea, Patrick, Loic and I at Wild Cat, to make a more effective coaching ratio of 1:2. We spent the day putting into practice many of the techniques practiced yesterday, along with some stance management and an ascent of 'Golden Yardstick' VS 4b,5a,4a.

Thea is pictured on the left recovering an "unconscious" Kim who was stuck on a free hanging abseil. The classic test piece "The Catcuss Furballs Connection" E5 6b lies above - climbed by local Belper lads Darran Hawkins and Malc Taylor back in the 80's....

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Problem Solving at Millstone..

Kim, Patrick, Thea and Loic joined me today for a day of "Problem Solving" training at Millstone Edge.

This was a meet organised by the Not So Trad climbing club to aid the acquisition of slightly more advanced skills.

We spent the day looking at belays suitable for single and multi pitch routes combined with escaping the system, lowering past knots, abseiling past knots, prussiking etc.

The aim tomorrow is to put some of these skills into practice, and more importantly look at strategies for dealing with problems on a larger crag.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Lead Climbing at Idwal Slabs..

Paul Knowles and I were at Idwal Slabs yesterday along with the team from MMU.

We made an ascent of the slabs before scrambling off and looking at scrambling ropework on the descent.

The weather was excellent, with warm largely windless conditions which look set to continue into next week..

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Holyhead Mountain....

Paul Knowles and I were at Holyhead Mountain today along with the team from MMU.

We did a variety of routes on the right hand side of the crag before heading to the RAC Boulders for a bouldering session.

The RAF Mountain Rescue Service were also at the crag doing an exercise..

Monday, May 17, 2010

Developing Outdoor Performance..

I was out with Paul Knowles and his team from Manchester Metropolitan University today at Little Tryfan.

This was the first of five days skills training for the Developing Outdoor Performance Module. In the next couple of days we should be building on these basic multi pitch climbing skills to develop students ability to operate independantly.

For more details of the course visit

Keith Ball is pictured above making light work of 'SS Special' at Clogwyn Y Grochan.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Holyhead Mountain...

Ian (Yan) Boorman and I visited Holyhead Mountain today to get in some cragging mileage.

We managed to climb a number of routes from VS to E1 on the steep and unusual Quartzite.

The crag was busy due to the slightly unfavourable spring tides and damp start to the day. I'm sure that people also managed to knock out plenty of product on Gogarths bigger crags...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Alpine prep in the Glyders...

Peter and I were in North Wales today with the intention of doing some alpine preparation.

With good weather forecast, we decided to string a couple of multi pitch routes together to make a slightly longer day out.

Starting on the Ogwen Valley we opted for 'Rowan Route' D on the Milestone Buttress before traversing around to 'First Pinnacle Rib' D, taking us to the summit of Tryfan.

Along the way we found time to look at runners, belays, moving together, taking coils, and a few special little tricks for moving at a steady pace.

Looks like a damp start for tomorrow...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Navigation, Kinder Scout..

Tim and I were out on Kinder Scout today as part of a navigation refresher.

We spent the day looking at the essential elements of micro and macro navigation including contour interpretation, timing, and pacing etc.

There was a cold feel to the day on the moors, with light snow flurries for the majority of the day. Despite this the peat is surprisingly dry for the time of year..

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Single Pitch Award Assessment, Burbage and Millstone..

I was again out on a Single Pitch Award Assessment today with Jack, Ben, James and Pete.

We decided to visit Burbage North and Millstone to fully explore the skills required to supervise climbing groups on the crag.

The weather for the most part was very good, with cloudier and colder in the late afternoon. A trend that is likely to continue into next week. It could skill be ideal conditions for climbing on the grit, so keep an eye on MWIS...

For more details about the Single Pitch Award Assessment visit

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Single Pitch Award Assessment, Stanage..

Dave Hollinger and I were out at Stanage Edge again today, this time for the first of two days Single Pitch Award (SPA) Assessment.

Jack, Ben, Pete, Sam, and James spent the day doing some personal climbing and solving various problems.

The weather was ok with just some slight showers, despite the sky looking continually threatening. The stiff north easterly breeze made for a cold feel to the crag, but fast drying rock.

Friday, May 07, 2010

"Turbo SPA" at Stanage..

Stanage Edge was the venue again today for a Peak Mountain Training Turbo SPA Workshop.

This "Turbo SPA" workshop, run for the Mountain Leader Training Association (MLTA), is for existing Single Pitch Award holders who are keen to use their award to the max.

We spent the day looking at various teaching methods at this popular single pitch venue as well as coaching progressions and leading (without leading!).

Dave Hollinger was also out with Rene finishing the second of two days Single Pitch Award Training. For more details of these workshops and courses visit

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Single Pitch Award Training..

Dave Hollinger and I were out at Lawrencefield Quarry today for, the first of two days, Single Pitch Award Training.

Lawrencefield aka Bole Hill Quarry was the obvious choice this morning due to the heavy persistent drizzle over the Eastern Edges. Despite the dull start to the day things gradually improved producing some good conditions.

Dave will be out again tomorrow while I will be delivering a "Turbo SPA" Workshop for the Mountain Leader Training Association (MLTA). For details of these and other continuing professional development workshops of leaders and instructors visit

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Lead Climbing at Froggatt Edge..

Tammie, Ben and I decided to visit Froggatt Edge this morning for the second of two days Lead Climbing.

The day had dawned slightly overcast and appeared threatening. Despite the initial worry of incoming rain, the day quickly cleared giving some good climbing conditions.

Both Tammie and Ben did a variety of routes leading independently including 'Gamma' VD, 'Slab Recess' Diff, 'Nursery Slab' M, and 'Trapeze' VD...

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Lead Climbing at Stanage..

I was out with Ben and Tammie today for an introduction to lead climbing at Stanage Edge.

We spent the day looking at belays, gear placement, guidebook interpretation and psychological preparation. Having put the ground work in today we should be in a good position to do plenty of leading tomorrow.

It was chilly in the wind today, but it was much drier than of late. All in all it felt like a great gritstone day with good friction...

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Site Specific Assessments..

Another day up at Rockcity Climbing Centre in Hull today, this time for site specific assessments for visiting staff.

Well done to Max, Jemma, LJ and Andy.

Slightly further away, Darren and Dave were out with yesterday's team at the Roaches doing some leading and top roped climbing. It's been a cooler and overcast day in the Peak District today, and looks set to be similar for the rest of the week..

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Climbing at Birchens..

Darren Saxton and I visited Birchen Edge today along with Emma, Linda, Karen, Dawn, Vince, Nathan and Jack.

This group of friends had varying climbing experience, with some making their first ascents on the rock to others learning to lead. Birchen Edge was an obvious choice with plenty of varied routes.

Despite a poor forecast the weather was fine today with heavy rain showers only arriving late in the day. With North Easterly winds forecast tomorrow it will feel cooler on the edges with the possibility of some showers for the Eastern Edges..