More Powerpoint and New Coaching Bogs Post

I am still clicking away trying to put together my talks for later on in the week, as well as planning the weekend coaching workshops at LLAMFF. SO I am suffering from death through powerpoint at the moment, although hoping to step outside in teh sun shine later today.

I have also put up a couple of posts on my coaching blog, that might be of interest to coaches and instructors.

Sun and Games!

Llion prepares to do battle with the Barbarian! E1 Pant ifan Tremadog

Well today went according to plan. A plan so cunning that it was hatched on thursday, when Llion had to decide a day to climb, so we skip saturday and the ming fest, and decided on Sunday. When a small team of us headed to Pant Ifan at tremadog. The sun was out and all look amazing at the crag.

Furst route was Barbarian, I forgot how tough the top groove is coming out of teh main roof, fortunately I had Llion on teh sharp end there, and he got a little pumped trying to work it out. I did manage to drop a quickdraw with a wire on it and forgot to look for it on the abseil down. If you find it, then please keep it, if for nothing else as to punish me for my stupidity.

We then nipped up Itch, via the variation straight over the roof on teh seocnd pitch, and by follow Scratch to get to the second pitch. Mainly because I hate that first pitch, it always seems a bit goey. After that we ran up Scratch Arete. The sun was starting to fizzle out, and the cold wind that had been bothering us all day seem to be winning. So Llion and I managed to leave our ropes for Katie and Sarah to coil, and get down to the Eric’s Cafe before it shut, for a nice frothy coffee.

Awesome day, hopefully warmer tomorrow?!

Be warned that the infamous Tremadog Slippy feet is out in force at the moment.

The Notorious Tremadog Slippy Feet - Turns sticky rubber into teflon

Rain and Rescues

I have spent the day main trying to prepare for next weekend LLAMFF so its been a little bit of death by powerpoint, although I have also had to put together a brief history of Mountain Rescue for the Bangor Universoty students next week. So my day off really wasn’t. Its is a interesting history with a few hero’s driving the whole MR to what it is today, as well as a few unlucky people that we owe to alot to as their misfortune help drive the whole MR to what it is today.

This was brought home to me in reality today, as my phone start beeping, and the machine that is Llanberis Mountain Rescue sprang into life. All those people that were sat at home minding their business, some like me planning a trip to the wall. Others no doubt engaged in lifes challenges, suddenly brought together. First for a injured walker on the miners path, and the second a broken leg.

The first incident was completed in under an hour and the second from the call coming in, quite literally as we were about to head home to completion also in under an hour. The second job we were lucky to get the RAF in, and they quickly airlifted the casualty to Ysbyty Gwynedd, before a small team accompanied the rest of the party off the hill. Whilst I have been away, I have been away from all the work of the team, and only in the last week have I rejoined. Its quite interesting when you have time away from this group of socially very diverse group to see how well they can work together as a team.

At present the rain is pouring and the pub is calling. Hopefully it wil bright up as promised for tomorrows climbing action.

Mini Big Walling Course

The Damage to the Daisy Chain!

I was called in by the Conway Centre early on this week, after some of the students they teach from Bangor University’s School of Sport, Health and Exercise Sceince ask if they could be taught the basics of aid climbing. So I headed up the Beacon with Llion to teach these guys how to french free, aid, and jumar. Including the problems of deviations when jumaring and traversing.

During the course I was telling the group about not shockloading teh jumars, and stood up about six inches and slump back down. At first I though I had damage the rope, stripping the sheath off a rope, but no. Instead I had pulled through a few loops of the daisy chain. It went at a rediculously low load, so a good warning not to trust them across the bar tacks that make the small loops.

I have to say a massive thanks to Plas Y Brenin, as I had left my Big Walling Kit in Bournemouth, as I didn’t think i’d need it for Winter Hillwalking in Scotland. So they saved the day by lending my a few daisy chains, aiders and fifi hooks. Although I guess the fact that I always bring in my big walling kit for their Big Walling Courses. Interestingly I think there is only them, myself and Andy Kirkpatrick that offer these how to big wall courses.

Sunshine and Showers at Tremadog

Well I spent a part of the day at Tremadog with Rocio from Ibex Guides. The weather was very wet and dry. With outbreaks of light rain as we started, but never amounting to much. As such we decied on route we can quickly do, as well as more obscure possible work routes, so it was a little bit of CPD for us work wise.

To start the ball rollign I nipped up the slab start to Reinnetta on the Merlin Buttress, before head over to Rio. I did nearly make a joke about how many instructors it takes to balls up a retrievable abseil off Yogi, the answer is two by the way. So I lead Rio with one rope, and then Rocio fired up Yogi.

To the side of us was Tim and Jez, I hadn’t seen Jez fro what seemed like years and it reminded me of those days working at the Beacon Climbing Centre. They did inspire me to have a go at the rotue they were on. Although I tried the route to the left, only to remember that I am about 6 inches too short to make the crux reach for a good pinch, although I did reach the pinch, at this point is was raining hard, and my foot slipped off the hold it was on, so I quickly engage reverse gear, and down climbed to the junction with the HVS they were climbing.

I tussled up this, making it look harder than ot was, mainly because my eye for gear was a littel rusty, so took me an age to find a poor runner, where I should have got a bomber wire. We abseiled off this and headed home, ironically just as the sun was taken over the day!

Was good to get out though, so cheers Rocio for making me go out today. Although it wasn’t a hard sell, “Mark do you want to go out climbing”, “yes!”

All Work and No Play….

…..makes mark a dull boy!

All work and no play makes mark a dull boy. All work and no play makes mark a dull boy. All work and no play makes mark a dull boy. All work and no play makes mark a dull boy. All work and no play makes mark a dull boy. All work and no play makes mark a dull boy. All work and no play makes mark a dull boy.

I’ll be screaming redrum before long if this keeps up. I sat down last night exhausted from another day at work trying to think of why I was knackered. It then dawned on me that since my epic Winter ML assessment I have only had three days off work. Despite planning to have some time off, work has just kept coming in. Which isn’t a bad thing, take this week I was due a whole week off, but on monday i was called into work for a friend over at the Tanrallt Mountain Centre near Pen Y Groes for a couple of days. When finishing the next day I was called by PYB to cover illness there but was otherwised employed already. I then had thursday and friday to look forward to for relaxing, but I am now heading out with the Conway centre on Friday, I think teching some big wall skills to the Sports Science Outdoor Activities course.

Whilst its all money in the bank, I can’t help think that I should be outside climbing though! Although I also need at least a day off so I can do some washing!

MLT: Training and Assessment Courses

Whilst I am not a provider of Mountain Leader Training Courses, I work a lot with Andy Newton, who is a registered course provider with the MLT, and as such offers a variety of National Governing Body Award Courses. These include Climbing Wall Award (Trainging & Assessment), Single Pitch Award (Training and Assessment) and Summer Mountain Leader Award (Training and Assessment).

If you are interested in going on any of these awards then you can contact Andy via his homepage.

Single Pitch Award Training Courses are two days in length, based in Northern Snowdonia and are non-residential. Candidates should be registered with the SPA scheme and have gained the required experience. The fee is £125.

Single Pitch Award Assessment Courses are two days in length, based in Northern Snowdonia and are non-residential. Candidates should have completed the requirements to attend the course. The fee is £125.

Mountain Leader Award Training Courses are six days in length (two three-day modules), based in Northern Snowdonia and are non-residential. Candidates should have registered with the ML scheme and have gained the required experience. The fee is £325.

Mountain Leader Award Assessment Courses are five days in length, based in Northern Snowdonia and are non-residential. One trial course is split over two weekends; the rest are of a continuous block. Candidates should have completed the requirements to attend the course. The fee is £325.

Climbing Wall Award Training Courses are two days in duration, based at both an indoor climbing wall and an outdoor climbing wall, and are non-residential. Candidates should have registered the CWA scheme and have gained the required experience. The fee is £125.

Climbing Wall Award Assessment Courses are one day in duration, based at an indoor climbing wall and is non-residential. Candidates should have completed the requirements to attend the course. The fee for the standard assessment is £85 (£95 including the abseil & top access module).

Single Pitch Award Training 2011

29th and 30th March                                                T1

28th and 29th April                                                T2

24th and 25th May                                                T3

28th and 29th June                                                T4

26th and 27th July                                                T5

23rd and 24th August                                                T6

27th and 28th September                                    T7

1st and 2nd November                                                T8

29th and 30th November                                    T9

Single Pitch Award Assessment 2011

4th & 5th May                                                            A2

26th and 27th May                                                A3

30th June & 1st July                                                A4

28th and 29th July                                                A5

25th and 26th August                                                A7

29th and 30th September                                    A8

3rd and 4th November                                                A9

1st and 2nd December                                                A10

Mountain Leader Award Training 2011

4th to 6th and 25th to 27th March            ML.T1

15th to 17th April & 6th to 8th May            ML.T2

8th to 10th & 22nd to 24th July                        ML.T3

2nd to 4th & 23rd to 25th September            ML.T4

11th to 13th & 25th to 27th November            ML.T5

Mountain Leader Award Assessment 2011

14th to 18th March                                    ML.A1

9th to 13th April                                    ML.A5

14th & 15th May and 3rd to 5th June            ML.A2

17th to 21st October                                    ML.A3

14th to 18th November                                    ML.A4

Climbing Wall Award Assessment 2011

7th April                                                 CWA1.11

Nylon: The Greatest Inventions in the History of Climbing?

In looking into the greatest inventions in climbing history I first though if listing the things that make climbing safe and accessible.  I listed my top ten climbing inventions a few weeks back and when I looked back at this list it dawn on me that there was one material that without many of those individual parts of my list simply couldn’t exist, without we would still be using hemp rope and hob nail boots.

As I delved into its history I found out that the same team not only discovered Nylon but also the first synthetic rubber. This is short bringing together of that research into the history of Nylon.

It started in the 1920’s with a German chemist Herman Staudinger working in the neutral Switzerland who suggested the existence of long and complex polymers, made up by the joining together of smaller molecules. It took a long while for the scientific community to believe his theory.

It was left to an American borne scientist Wallance Hume Carothers, and his team at the DuPont research centre who proved his theories right, when in the 1930’s they discovered both Neoprene and Nylon. Two substances that are virtually omnipresent in today’s society, but before April 1930 Neoprene (The first Synthetic rubber) didn’t exist, and despite nearly giving up on the idea of long molecule polyesters due to their low melting point, but in 1934 the discovery of Nylon changed all that.

Nylon is as material that we simple take for granted nowadays, but lets take a look back at just what the pre-polymer age had for us. Parachutes and stockings were woven from the silk and natural thread from the humble silk worm, and ropes were braided from hemp.

As a modern climber, I think you need to consider the later hemp hawser laid rope. Made from essentially the husk of the hemp plant, whilst reasonable tough, the ropes which had been made this way or similarly since before 2800BC were heavy, virtually impossible to tie into knots, had little to no stretch to absorb any impact force and extremely weak. The saying the leader never fell wasn’t so much because in this age before harness, the leader might asphyxiate if they could get the weight off the rope, but more likely the rope would actually snap or just as break the climbers back.

As a natural, material hemp also was quite likely to rot if not dried properly, be eat en by vermin or succumb to any other number of deteriorations. Nylon was set to change the world in general, and then climbing. Its inventor and man seen as the discoverer of this new age was not to see the flight of suggest of this new material. As two years before Nylon went into commercial production Wallace who was like Winston church plagued by his ‘Black Dog’, succumbed to his depression shortly after the untimely death of his sister. He did not get to see the success of his mew material that was about to set the World Fair alight when it was used as an alternative material for women’s stockings.

The out break of the second world war meant that the production of nylon was moved onto more military focused products like parachutes and ropes. At first simply taking the traditional hawser laid design of three thick strands made up of many other individual twines wound round each other, and using Nylon rather than Hemp. Its better strength to weight ratio, and elasticity were instantly noticed. It was to lead to the eventual use by Edelwiess in1953, to construct the modern kernmantel rope, which was not only stronger, but more knotable and far better at absorbing impact than the older ropes.

More than that of course, as well as new ropes, the invention and use of nylon lead to taped slings and then of course the first climbing harnesses. So without Staudinger theory, and then Carothers’ team at DuPonts research, we might still be climbing with Hemp ropes and if you remember that team also synthesized the first rubber so without it we still might be in hobnailed boots as well!

So if you are reading this in the comfort of your own home and have a glass of your favorite tipple, or even if your at work with a cup of coffee then please join me raising a glass or mug to Wallace Hume Carothers and his team at DuPont. Without it the world wouldn’t have nylon stocking fetish’s or climbing rope.

Online Climbing Magazine

I was hit by a spammer on Facebook, who joined my network to post about his magazine, whilst I deleted from there, I thought thta you guys mught be interested in it. If you are consumer of online media, then here is what comes down to just another slice of that large fat cake called climbing online. Personally its not much to write home about, but these things can take time to find there feet. It reminds me a lot of Gravity Magazine, remember that free climbing mag a few years back? It didn’t last long, I assume because the idea of making your own climbing magazine is somewhat more romantic than actually putting one together on a monthly, bi-annual or even annual basis.

On the Otherside of Lightness

I have spent the day looking across at my ates tearing up the slate. There was a lot of action around Rainbow slab that looked like it was warm and pleasant. Llion was ticking through the usual circuit, and was eventually joined with Caff, getting some early time on the Rainbow Slab. Looked like he walked up Poetry from where I was stood. To add insult to injury I was bombarded by text that stop just short of stay “Suffer C*&! Sucker”, although I may well have texted it back to Llion when I saw Bella Lugosi Slab dip into the shade.

Where was I, well I was working alongside Andy Newton on the ropework day of a Summer Mountain Leader. We had the sun for about an hour this morning before we were plunged into the shade and the temperature dropped by around 5 degrees. Another good day out, however I was really feeling that it was the fifth day of a a quite demanding work schedule by the end of the day.

I must remember not to set my alarm clock tonight, and enjoy lazing around in bed, and a day chumming, although I feel I should try and get out climbing in the afternoon, if anyone is keen!