I was in the Lake District last week for the first part of my guides summer training. We started the week off up at Raven Crag in Langdale for a day of multi pitch guided climbing. The aim was to look at all the skills for getting the maximum climbing out of a day with 2 clients. We covered all the various options, one rope, two ropes, climbing in series and parallel. As well as the going up we also looked at and put into practice various way to safely and efficiently get the clients down.
On Tuesday we headed up to Dow crag above Coniston for a day of short roping. This is a skill that is completely new to me, when climbing with mates you either have the rope on, off or you’re moving together with varying amounts of rope out and gear between you. Short roping is used to safe guard clients when going up and down on easy ground. My first round of guiding Andy up and down the side of Dow crag was a complete shambles, there’s just so much to think about all at the same time. Slowly as the day progressed things started to click, I started to get my systems sorted and the whole thing seemed to run a lot smoother. It’s definitely one of the more difficult skills to learn and as a guide is one of the times you are most exposed to risk and danger. Anyway I finished the day having learnt a lot in a short space of time but knowing I’m going to have to put a lot of time in over the summer to get it dialled.
For the final day we drove up to Borrowdale and had a split day between Shephards crag and Black crag. Andy and I headed off with Tim Neil to spend a day looking at coaching techniques for multi pitch climbing. Unlike the first day which was looking at pure guiding techniques to get as much climbing in as possible the final day was aimed at clients who want to gain the skills necessary to go multi-pitch climbing themselves. The emphasis was about building a good teaching progression into the day and getting the clients involved in everything; building their own anchor once they arrive at the stance, belaying the second client up and just generally chatting through everything.
I spent all last week wearing the new Orion softshell, I’ve found this jacket a great choice for cragging in the UK when you’re not too sure what the weathers going to do as you set off up a multi-pitch route. Its over to North Wales next week for the second part of the summer training and hopefully a few days climbing after.