Thursday, September 29, 2011

Stoney Middleton..

I was out briefly today with Rich Cross and Neil Johnson at Stoney Middleton.

Keen to escape the heat at the moment we opted to climb in the roadside bays, benefiting from some shade and a cool breeze exiting Carlswark Cavern.

Over the course of the afternoon we managed to tick our way through some Stoney classics including: St Peter E1 5c, Dead Banana Crack E1 5c, Double Scotch E2 5b, Bubbles Wall E3 5c, Bingo Wall E2 5b and Mani E1 5b.

Looking forward to getting out on the grit tomorrow with regular client and friend Peter, but might need to consider the venue carefully...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

SPA Refresher, Stanage Edge...

I was out at Stanage Edge for the majority of the day with Guy.  The aim was to do a mini refresher of the skills required for the Single Pitch Award and set some targets for assessment.

We spent the day at Stanage doing some personal climbing, group and personal belay set ups etc before moving to Millstone for a quick group abseil.

Details about the Single Pitch Award here at http://www.peakmountaintraining.co.uk/awards/single-pitch-award/

It appears that the promised 'Indian Summer' conditions have arrived with some good weather forecast into next week.  Probably best to make the most of it as I am sure that winter isn't far around the corner... 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Association of Mountaineering Instructors CPD Workshops...

It's been a couple of busy days in the Peak District delivering two specialist Continuing Professional Development (CPD) workshops for the Association of Mountaineering Instructors (AMI).

First up was 'Critical Incident Analysis'.  This was a review of the accident satistics on single pitch crags along the Eastern Edges, and an opportunity to spot any trends with the aim of focusing Mountaineering Instructors teaching to the areas of greatest risk.

Following a fairly intensive morning looking at the statistics, we decided to head to Froggatt to look at the practical aspects associated with the coaching of protection placement.  This was the main focus given that "protection failure" and "anchor failure" where two of the greatest primary causes of lead climbing incidents in 2010.

Thanks to Caroline, Simon, Jon, Chris, and Andrew for attending.

Despite a damp start to the day on Sunday Jon, Clive and myself made our way down to Wildcat Crags in Matlock.  The aim being an opportunity to refresh our skills at 'Problem Solving and Improvised Rescue' for Instructors.  All being well we rarely, if ever, use these skills as instructors so it was a welcome opportunity to ensure that not only do they remain but we can build on them for the future.  All in all an interesting day of hauling, lowering, traversing, and abseiling our way out of trouble...

Rockcity Climbing Centre....

On Friday I spent the day at Rockcity Climbing Centre in Hull training and assessing staff for site specific accrediation.

The main event was the assessment of folk coaching leading.  Tony, Tony, Lydia, Max and Josh are all experienced wall staff as well as active climbers which made my job relatively easy!  Tony Holdsworth is pictured here practising what he preaches by pushing out a new 6b+ set by Mark Pretty (Zippy)...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Stoney Middelton...

With blustery and gusty conditions on the higher crags I managed to do an hour or so with Simon at Stoney Middelton.

We kicked off with an ascent of Double Scotch E2 5b, a classic steep pitch on the Minus Ten Wall.  Simon opted to second in his 'trainers', which frankly was a very bad idea.  Leaving him with a sickening pump and an inability to pull onto the start of Dead Banana Crack E1 5c.

Eventually I managed to stop laughing and made it back to the car.

Feel free to post you comments below!...

Stanage Edge...

I was out at Stanage Edge today for a Single Pitch Award Reassessment with Will.

We spent the day looking at personal climbing skills and leading at Severe standard.  Conditions were good although it felt cold in the stiff breeze.  This later strengthened to communication quite difficult, and many parties decided to opt for more sheltered venues...

More details of SPA Training, Assessment and Reassessment courses can be found at http://www.peakmountaintraining.co.uk/

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Scottish Winter 2011/2012...

Last winter was perhaps one of the best in recent years with significant snowfall and prolonged cold temperatures early on.  There is already some speculation that this winter could again be a great one, with low solar activity and volcanic eruptions over the last year.

From January onwards I will be making the annual pilgrimage north for the winter.  This year I will be available for private instruction and guiding on dates to suit.  I also have some availability in December for early season action.

For details of suggested instructional or guided itineraries please visit: http://www.jamesthacker-mountaineering.co.uk/index.php/scottish-winter/winter-climbing/
http://www.jamesthacker-mountaineering.co.uk/index.php/scottish-winter/winter-mountaineering/


For the winter weather watchers have a look at the http://www.netweather.tv/index.cgi?action=longrange;sess=

If you fancy discussing just how great this winter could be, then please feel free to add a comment below....



Monday, September 19, 2011

Resin to Rock, Froggatt and Stanage Edge...

I joined Charlie and Ash for a two days climbing in the Peak District over the weekend.  The aim was to aid the transition from the use of indoor walls to the single pitch crags of the Peak District.

We spent a varied couple of days visiting both Froggatt and Stanage Edges, getting plenty of climbing in (up to VS) along with a grounding in basic ropework.  This will hopefully allow Charlie and Ash to carry on climbing independantly.

As experienced tree surgeons they are used to being out in all conditions, which was a useful attribute for the showery weather over the weekend.  Despite the odd shower, the crags remained largely dry and we were rewarded with some excellent climbing...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Chapelle de la Gliere...

Dave Hollinger, Si and I decided on some classic "trainer" alpinism today.  Heading into the Aiguille Rouge we made the straight forward approach to the South Ridge of the Chapelle de la Gliere in our approach shoes.

We had this Chamonix classic to ourselves, enjoying some fine pitched climbing up to and over the "Rasoir".  Finally, we also climbed to the summit of the Clocher before starting the descent to L'Index.

I actually failed to put the battery back in my camera today, a particularly daft thing to do by even my standards!  Here is a picture from the yesterday and thanks to Dave and Si for a good couple of days...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cosmiques Arete...

Today's visit into the Mont Blanc Massif had a slightly social feel to it, as both Dave Hollinger and I joined Si for an ascent of the Cosmiques Arete.

Si heads up the team at Hammer Design, being responsible for Peak Mountain Training's website.

Catching an early lift this morning we made our way around to the base of the Cosmiques, which was busy as usual.  Part way up we seemed to find ourselves alone on the ridge by chance more than design, but savored climbing the top pitches alone.

Si and Dave are pictured in the chimney section, on the north flank just below the top...

Orpierre..

I have just returned from embracing the sport climbing ethic for a couple of days in Orpierre.

This fantastic location sports some great single and multi pitch crags a short distance from the road.  Rich is pictured here on the four pitch 'Voyage' 5b,5c+,5b,6a on the Quiquillon - West Face.

I was particularly keen to visit this area as John Lewis Climbing and Mountaineering Club have expressed an interest in visiting in spring 2012...

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Chamonix...

I had a rare opportunity to catch up with my good friend Martin over the last couple of days, as he has ventured north from his usual home in the Pyrenees.

As he is just about to head over to Arolla in Switzerland to work on the Diploma of Mountain Medicine (DiMM) Alpine course - we decided that taking a robust approach to acclimatisation was important.

With some high winds for most of the day we opted to head through the Mont Blanc Tunnel, sample some great Italian coffee, and take the lifts to Punta Helbronner.  From here we made the traverse of the Aiguille d'Entreves, a great ridge traverse with a Patagonian feel today!...

Check out Martin's site: Gite de la Borde for accommodation in the Pyrenees...

Monday, September 05, 2011

Haglofs Endo Jacket....

During the summer in the Alps I had the chance to try out the new Haglofs Endo Jacket (Gore Tex Active Shell).

I have to admit that I was a little worried as I shunned my favorite softshell jacket in favour of a lightweight shell.  The bottom line is that I need not have worried, the Endo coping with conditions that would have been challenging for any other Jacket.

For a more detailed review check out OUTDOORSmagic http://www.outdoorsmagic.com/gear-blog/haglofs-endo-jacket-hits-the-alps/8704.html 

Alternatively you can also win one here at http://www.outdoorsmagic.com/comp/comp.asp?c=285

SPA Assessment, WGL Assessment and Turbo SPA......

Apologies for the lack of updates, it's been a busy few days of continual work here in the Peak.

First up was a Single Pitch Award (SPA) Assessment with the guys from the RAF Regiment Training Wing at RAF Honington.  We spent a busy few days at Lawrencefield Quarry, Millstone and Windgather along with a visit to the Climbing Works.

Following this it was straight into a joint Walking Group Leader Assessment course run by Peak Mountain Training and Adventure Expeditions.

During this time Peak Mountain Training also ran two continuing professional development workshops at Thornbridge Outdoors.  Turbo SPA and "Lumps, Bumps and Overuse Needles" aka Coaching Navigation were well received as usual. Mark is pictured above during some lead coaching practice at Froggatt Edge...