The Seventh Days the Charm!

Well its been a hectic week for me, but I have successfully finished my seven day stint of work. I finished with what could have been a nightmare of a single pitch day for 10 yoofs from Newcastle. Instead they had nearly all done the NICAS (National Indoor Climbing Achievement Scheme), so could all tie in, belay and climb. The weather was way better than promised, and a deteriorating weather system turn out to be a dry and sunny day.

We hit the pinnacles, and climbed there until 3pm, when we headed back to PYB for some steep bouldering on the indoor wall. A great day with a great bunch of kids. It was almost too easy. It does however make me remember what all the stuff we teach on the SPA and CWA (See Instructor Awards demystified).

On top of this I had a couple of pictures used by UKC on a story about Caff and Pete tearing down the crags in North Wales. Good effort to both of them. Full story is here.

Anyway, I have some serious relaxation and drinking to accomplish so by for now.

Lead Climb Coaching

Well I have just finished another two days lead climb coaching with a couple of guys up from london. Rather funny as one of them not only works 20m away from the guy who I was instructing over the weekend. Even more freaky was he went to the same school as me as a kid, although a few years younger than me!

We spent yesterday looking at movement and tactics of lead climbing on some easy slate routes near Looning the Tube. I also got one of the team to lead Looning the Tube, which he did very well on. We then headed up the pass and did the first two pitches on Nea, before heading back down to the village.

After a nice sunny day the weather crapped out over night, and faced with a choice of climbing in the rain, or spending some time looking at gear placements and belays in the beacon, the team decided that the climbing wall was the best option. We also did a lot of movement coaching so that when they head outside the climbing should be easier for them.

Anyway, I now have one day of single pitch climbing left for the brenin, before I have a well deserved break.

I would offer a link to my  Lead Climb Coaching Courses, however it is probably going to be a long time before I have the time available to run my own courses.

Sport to Trad Conversion Course

I had some great work with a couple of climbers this weekend, who were basically outdoor sports and indoor climbers who wanted to turn themselves into Trad climbers. As such movement and climbing wasn’t a problem but the different tactical approach and of course placing gear and extending it was. We spent Saturday at Tremadog and climbed Oberon, Boo Boo and Christmas Curry with a micah finish.

Bruce got four good leads in, and curbing his immense enthusiasm and trying to get him to slow everything down was the goal for the day. He quickly got an eye for gear placements and made great progress. We headed back and met back up for a beer and a chat at the Gallt Y Glyn. I left just in the nick of time, as the boys seemed to be ‘badly drawn’ the morning after. The 8am start soon faded into 9am.

We then spent the rest of the day at Little Tryfan, mainly because it would allow for loads of practice in placing gear, and extending it just right. I made them climb various eliminates, as it made it harder to plan where to extend gear and where not to. The pleasant easy climbing also allowed them to work off the pizzas from the night before.

I dropped them off at the train station, and they had the appearance of people who had both enjoyed themselves, yet rather exhausted. Anyway early night for me as I have two more clients turning up in the morning for two more days coaching, after that only one day of single pitch work for PYB, then I have some time off.

New Horizons

Well I have been itch to tell you about a new job offer I got last month, but didn’t want to jinks the deal so kept quiet on the subject. The story goes about a month ago I was approached by a representative of an american company who want to employ me as a Instructor. As the detail unfolded this job offer just got more and more bizarre to be honest. It got to be an almost dream job if I am honest.

It turns out that they not only wanted me to work on a course teaching american climbing instructors but head up the course, and help implement a new syllabus. So new the governing body is still signing off the final section syllabus for the company I am employed by to deliver.

It all was waiting on the company director coming back from the field to OK the decision to employ me. He got back on Sunday, and we finally caught up on Thursday Night over the phone, and the final OK given. The company sounds as excited as me.

The job gets even better though, as whilst the company is american, they deliver there rock climbing courses in the Chilean Patagonia. So I now have a very busy few months lined up. With a trip to climb the Nose in September before a few days at home before jetting off to Chile to recce the climbing sites for a couple of weeks. I have already been exploring the area via google earth.

As for Life in the vertical. I hope to update this site as regularly as possible, as the centre is hoping to have a satellite internet connection, if not it will be weekly trips to the closest inter-web cafe in the town. I am hoping the summer in chile isn’t as bad as the welsh one I am currently in, as the weather has been atrocious for the last two months.

I now need to get a span-glish phrase book.

Yoof! Climbing Course

Well, I have just finished a two day spell on the Plas Y Brenin Young Persons climbing week. These courses for young climbers run twice a year, and the centre is closed to adults and the whole place is over run by yoofs. I had a great couple of days after spending the best part of yestreday driving from PYB to Tremadog and then round via C’fon and passing nearly every supermarket to finally arrive at a sunny and dry Castle Inn Quarry. The group ticked the crag and were rather tired by the end of the day.

Today we were in the Pass, and managed to climb Crackstone Rib and Shadow Wall before the heavens opened, and we ran back to the cromlech boulders and got the Sherpa Bus to Pen Y Pass Cafe, for early pre-tea and cakes, cake.

Noe rest for the wicked as far as I am concerned, as I have to meet two clients on the 8.30 train in Bangor, ready for more climbing tomorrow. The weather looks Ok to the west, so fingers crossed!

Rock Climbing Tower

I thought i’d share this image found courtsey of google images search. I thought it a rather ingeniuous structure, although not too sure about actually abseiling off it. I can’t imagine trying to risk assess this beast, top of the list ‘structural collapse’, probability well if a kid tied those knots it is probably quite high! Risk of impalement high. Anchor failure – high. Death or serious injury almost certain, no wonder I found it on a scouting website!

Rope Rescue for Rock Climbers Course: 28th & 29th August

Imagine you are caught out by a storm high up on a mountain cliff, or you are stuck at the bottom of a sea cliff. How are you going to get out of that situation? Well the Rope Rescue Course for Rock Climbers is the answer. During this course we will cover many of the basic skills you need to know to help you self rescue yourself from many situations when rock climbing.

Of course the situation might not be a small incident, but a minor or worse still a major accident, during the course we will help you to identify these potential hazards and pitfalls and help you to avoid them, as well as give you some skills to get to a casualty quickly and safely to administer immediate first aid.

The course looks at teaching you in a progressive fashion, building up the skills in bite sized chunks until by the end of the course you will have a variety of skills and techniques to help you rescue yourself.

The course content typically includes:

Tying off a belay Plate

Escaping the system

Basic Hoists

Snatch and counter balances rescues

Ascending a rope

Traversing problems

The Rope Rescue for Rock Climbers Course is running on the weekend of the 28th & 29th August and costs £150 per person. This includes instruction and a small selection of specialist equipment. It is expected that the climbers will have there own personal climbing equipment.

For detail contact Mark here. For the mean time here is a short piece on escaping sea cliffs that I wrote for PYB.

Admin and Prep

I forget how much time it takes to do the behind the scenes parts of the running ones life. A simple trip into bangor to go to the bank and tesco’s and half a day is gone. Washing, another half a day gone. Its incredible really, and thats before I even get started on reading email, mostly junk, and now the growing bind of having to delelte such rubbish off my blackberry as well as my computor!

Anyway, today I have been packing a rucsac that is going to be put into overdrive for the next few days as I have a seven day stint of work instructing a variety of people on both my own courses and a few days working for Plas Y Brenin. So time to rack up and get ready to hit the rocks. I can only hope that the weather stays dry, but having not looked at the weather, I am probably living in a dream world.

I get the feeling that I will get my fair amount of Jumaring practice done over the next few days!

Bangor Student in Fatal Zip Wire Accident

I have just read several breaking news reports that has named the Young lady from Bangor University, who recently died in a Zip Wire incident in Saas-fee. Reports seem to say that she opted to not use the breaking system that is recommended. I guess life is a story of choices we make, be they good or in this case very bad.

I did some work with the SSHES courses earlier in the year, and may well have taught this young lady how to climb. Many of the Bangor Uni degree’s in Sport Science, have fairly large element of Outdoor Activities. The second year is often seen as a use of the rope in a variety of outdoor settings. It was through this that I worked on the last couple of weeks of the course, taking those students that possessed the knowledge, experience and desire to make their first easy lead climbs.

As well as this death, there was another tragic accident early this year, from another Bangor University Student, who fell off whilst climbing in Llanberis Pass and severely injured her foot to the extent that I don’t know whether this girl kept her foot, as the last time I heard it was touch and go.

Personally I doubt it is a case of a problem of the teaching at the school, but one of students attitude towards climbing and risk, which can often be one of a do or die approach. More often it is the men who get fired up in a game of one upmanship competed in their minds for superiority. I guess it is a human trait that during adolesence we can, just like our primate ancestors jockey to be the Alpha Male.

However it seems that in these cases it was young women who knocked at the door of adventure, and got a nasty surprise when it opened. It is a total waste of a life, and a sad time for all at SSHES.

Interestingly BUMS has the tag line ‘Having Epics since 1952’.