Thursday, 31 October 2013

A little coaching

 avery busy day at The Ice Factor today and I had 5 students with me to look at mastering some climbing movement skills.
We revised simple centre of gravity movement on slabs and then looked at some drills for steeper ground before letting the students pick a project and tie the learning into sections of their chosen climb. Grand day in.
 Climb quietly or the blind beanbag man will get you
 Looking for accuracy AND precision
 You WILL climb with straight arms
You CAN climb 7A

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Hard work and good advice paying off at Assessment

I see a real variety of candidates for Mountain Training awards on both Training and Assessment courses. In the last 5 days I've been privileged to work with some of the keenest, most motivated and brightest I've seen a while.
The 12 I had for CWA Training at the weekend were all climbers (a really good start for a climbing award!), well motivated, asked questions, entered into discussions with a will and showed the potential to be great Award holders.
Today I had Jordan and Katrina for CWA Assessment and it was soon obvious that they'd prepared the right way. Their neat logbooks showed they had done 1.5 to 2 times the minimum of required sessions with groups and many times the minimum personal climbs. The minimum numbers laid down by the Boards are just that and I find that those who want to do well at Assessment often have well above the minimum. They'd put the time practising in too. Their understanding of group work, peer belaying strategies, problem avoidance and solution and climbing movement had been developed by working with and getting feedback from a number of experienced Award holders. This is another area that is often weak; people often practise only with peer Trainees/novice mock students and don't find the opportunities to get feedback from those a little more in the know. No problems today and I was very pleased to tell them both they had passed.

A little of the white stuff visible above 1000m this morning and then I almost drowned cycling home this evening!
 Not winter yet but its thinking about it
 Green jug
 2 new CWA Holders
 The blobby pink route
Going down

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Went the day well?

(Its the title of a black and white wartime propaganda film). My day went VERY well. Full 12 folk for day 2 of a CWA Training and we had a great time at Glasgow Climbing Centre and Climbzone Braehead talking all things indoor climbing, walls, movement, games etc. Top fun group to work with and thanks to Mike Jeans for backing me up and providing his own ideas. Right now how can I make the next one EVEN BETTER!!

 Autobelay action
 My 'new thing' for the day a rock lock buckle
 Make up a game
 Playing card climbing

Saturday, 26 October 2013

FUNdamentals of Climbing 2 in Inverness

Today I was at Inverness Leisure Centre running an MCofS FUNdamentals 2 course. The FUNdas are very much based on 'what' to coach when it comes to introducing climbing movement skills. FUNdas 2 looks at recapping FUNdas 1 level movement and Long Term Participant Development followed by purposeful warmups and climbing movement on vertical and gently overhanging surfaces including style vs technique, use of hand and food holds and tools like flagging, egyptians and twist locks. A good active day and great fun to work.
 Bizarre balancey warmups
 Zen like coach listening to climbers
 Shoes on holds but no feet?
 What type of hold is this?
 Straight arming Murdo
Sam's balloon 

Friday, 25 October 2013

Problems at the wall

Torrential rain sent us indoors to The Ice Factor today for our second day of improvised rescue and problem solving. Today was about prusiking, guide plates and escaping the system.
 Group hug warmup
 Another use for your nut key

Thursday, 24 October 2013

No problems...

Out with the third years from UHI today in Glen Nevis. We were looking at problem avoidance, solving and improvised rescue. I had a strong team of 4 and we: retreated from a climb looking at abseil anchors we would and wouldn't use, conducted assisted and unassisted hoists from within the system, lowered casualties past a knot and abseiled past one too. The whole time stressing the importance of good principles of ropework management, belay construction etc. The guys did well commenting on how practising it in context on climbs was quite a different matter from classroom sessions and seeing it int textbooks.
As I cycled home through Corpach I could see just a dusting of snow on the CMD Arete and the west face of Aonach Mor.
 Going up
 Anchors for going down
 Jammed knot anchor
 Unassisted hoist
 Abseiling past a knot
 Busy on Scimitar Ridge today
A little white stuff left at the end of the day

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Slippery when wet!

Today I was working for UHI with the second years helping to develop their rock climbing. With the water overflowing the gutters at the College this morning we went east to a drier Kingussie Crag where I spent the day with Rory. We climbed half a dozen pitches including his third and fourth leads on rock that varied from clean and dry to something akin to a well greased pole! The weather was bright and sunny and warm a cold and calm and windy and wet. And that was just the first hour.
 Rory preparing the abseil
 Going down
 Coming up
 Looking back across to the crag
 Rory checking and replacing my gear
 Sunny here but look behind you
 The other teams at the crag
 Max teaching leading
Rory on the sharp end

Monday, 21 October 2013

Happy meetings, article in TGO and a nice parcel

Before the CWA Training at the weekend I was involved in a couple of interesting meetings last week. I am a member of the MCofS's Mountain and Hillwalking Advisory Group which met at Glenmore Lodge last week. There were a number of items of note on the agenda including communications both with the media and the general public (in part a response to Dorothy Grace Elder's ill informed outbursts after the multiple avalanche fatalities last year) and equipment on and content of winter courses by the MCofS in the upcoming season. Top nosh in the bar at the Lodge too!
Then I was at the Ben Nevis Inn with a number of local Instructor/Leader/Guides meeting Outdoor Capital UK and the John Muir Trust about a possible scheme  to recognise/quality assure the environmental knowledge and credentials of locals working on Ben Nevis. After the recent clean up by outdoor types on the hill there has been a lot of discussion about what else we can do to protect Ben Nevis and educate our clients and other visitors in our own small way.
Picked up a copy of The Great Outdoors Magazine's November Issue today which carries an Article Glenmore Lodge commissioned me to write on heuristics and avalanche avoidance. Pt. 2 will be published in a future issue.
And finally many thanks to Marmot who provided the ABC Training Trust with Variant Vests for the Technical Experts to wear when we are out moderating at climbing walls running the NICAS. Toasty tops that look great!

Sunday, 20 October 2013

2 Days in Glasgow

Just spent 2 days in Glasgow running a Climbing Wall Award Training for The Glasgow Academy. Yesterday we were at Glasgow Climbing Centre whilst today we were there again and made use of TCA Glasgow. Many thanks to the staff of both these excellent walls for the warm welcome.
Highlight of my weekend was cycling back to my digs and coming round a corner at the SECC I swerved to pass a band I cam upon unexpectedly and found myself about to cycle straight up the red carpet of the Mobo Awards... paparazzi to the left and screaming fans to the right! I spotted a gap in the barriers and made a swift exit on the bike.
 GCC Main lead wall
 Tim throwing shapes
 Abseil from the spire
 Using a pendulum
 Look! No hands!
Games at TCA