Friday, 2 December 2016

Doing penance on Ben Nevis

Dear Lord thank you for... 
The sweaty hike and bike from Torlundy to the top car park
The time lost helping 'Angie' find 'Max' the black lab
The new boots overtightened at the stile
The greasy boulders on the way into Coire na Ciste
The snow that needed 4 steps to kick into for a step
The snow that I plunged through to my crotch (usually one step after that referred to above)
The unconsolidated scree heading up to the left of the Comb
The 10m sheet of ice that split horizontally from my upper axe
The gully that looked complete from below
The snow overhang with the water behind it
The thin moss with the centimetre of bobbly water ice above it
The gently overhung chockstone with no footholds 
The rotten snow at the narrows
The end of the old snow and ice and the beginning of the frozen choss at the top of the gully
The collection of wedged chockstones to be bridged around before safety was reached
The long walk down in the new stiff (but at least now well slackened) boots
I know you aren't supposed to be big on bargains but if this penance could be considered when deciding whether I can enter some future winter climbing heaven I'd be most grateful. 

I've been working almost exclusively in climbing walls for a couple of weeks and whilst my bouldering is coming nicely my legs aren't getting any stronger for winter. Today was the only day I had free to get out for myself in the next 2 weeks and with a heavy thaw forecast for midweek I thought I'd go an exert myself. I pushed the bike from Torlundy to the top car park and after some dog hunting antics sweated my way to near the Hut. A fine cosmetic dusting has come down and sits at a level above the Basin/Little Tower/Traverse on No.3 Gully Buttress. There are various smears of ice around one of which I climbed below Raeburns Easy Route. I then let myself be sucked in by No.2 Gully little realising that the big 'flume' at the base is where all the snow from the upper half has avalanched down. I climbed on ever thinner ice with a couple of big pulls on tools and some sketchy bridging. Type 3 fun... glad I'm down but wouldn't recommend it... be smarter than me and wait for a return to winter!
The push uphill
 Nice light over Fort William
 Looks a tad lean
 Looks only marginally better
 Is No.2 complete?

 This snow patch was 50% brick hard and 50% bottomless!
 Ice smears abound but very small- I climbed the one level with the base of the Comb
 Here it is
 The 'flume' where No.2 has avalanched
 Looking up at Raeburns Easy and the Cascade-very patchy
 Hmmm- so far so good
 Ah-a little different up there
 Yes... that was 'interesting...'
 Not quite done either
 Pleased to plateau
 Inversion over Loch Eil
Home is under that lot- best get moving

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Driven up the wall!!

Its turned into a fantastically busy Autumn for me with work educating coaches, climbing wall staff and providing NGBs in walls from Queensferry (the one on the Welsh border) to Glasgow to Perth (great new wall that) and Orkney. There has been some advice for wall mangers, CWA Trainings, FUNdamentals of Climbing and Foundation Coach Training. Great fun and now the snow has taken a short holiday I have no regrets about being indoors!!
More pictures and captions on my Facebook Page:

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Climbing Wall Award Training

Dave and I were working on a Climbing Wall Award Training with students from West Highland College's School of Adventure Studies. On the first day we went to The Ice Factor and on the second it was Three Wise Monkeys. Its great to have 2 good walls so close to use now!
Earlier in the week I was down at The Boardroom as part of my role on the ABC Training Committee where I also got a chance to try out the new Wild Country Revo belay device.
 The Revo
 Jimmy thinking about good practise in belaying
 Talking tying in
 Low hands
 Pen passing
 Draw an Instructor
 Can you see the likeness?

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Developing Climbing Coaches

 Catch this!
 Climbers' journeys
Getting Tactical-Route reading
 Route reading 2
 Routereading 3
 Not going to win a Turner Prize
 Following the Route
Psychological aspects-better desensitisation to falling
I just spent the last 2 days running a Development Coach Training Course at Glasgow Climbing Centre. It was great to work with Kristie from GCC and Rob of Climb Scotland to draw on their extensive personal coaching experience and help them understand and recognise why much of what they do already works so well. At the same time I was able to feed a few useful ideas to them on where they might develop further. Climbing Coaching is really starting to reach a stage where there is a varied and interesting body of knowledge behind it now. There is so much for to coaching climbing than physical training and i'm always fascinated to see some of the technical, tactical and psychological concepts at work. Over the last days I got the guys to coach me and each other in some areas of our climbing performance and I learnt a few things about both my climbing and some ideas I can use in coach education- as well as helping K and R develop too- a triple win!