This week I ran a training session for all the full time staff at Bowles outdoor centre. This was quite a hard task as all the staff at Bowles are excellent outdoor instructors. There is a huge amount of experience between all the team. Bowles is very different from many other outdoor centres as it places a great deal of importance on quality and educational value of its outdoor sessions. A large amount of time and money is spent training and developing the staff - hence my input on the training day.
I decided the aim for the day should not only be technical input such as ‘how to rescueâ€™ and different ways of teaching belaying but some of the session was also spent looking at ‘information processingâ€™ and how this can effect how we run our climbing sessions.
All the staff at Bowles recently had a training on Autism, although this is not new to us, we all gained a further insight on some of the difficulties that Autistic people could face whilst at Bowles. I decided to continue with this theme at explore how people we can pass complex information (such as all the safety information needed for climbing) to students who have difficulties dealing with large amounts of information.
As a warm up, we played a game where all the staff had one minute to remember as many objects as they can. Once the staff had written down all they could remember they then found out that each object represented a different instruction that can given as part of our climbing sessions. There are a possible 36 bits of information that can be included in a climbing brief and therefore there where 36 objects to remember. Each person then had to look at what they had remembered and write down what sections of the climbing brief they represented. Each staff member then had to decide whether they had gathered enough information for the climbing session to be safe!
Half the staff did remember enough information for the session to be safe but all the other staff released that they had not retained enough information. This then lead to a group discussion and it was quickly agreed that we only need to give out three pieces of information to make our climbing sessions safe. All the other bits of the brief can be added once the 3 main parts have been understood.
Click on this image to see some of the notes from this section.
Later during the day we looked at possible rescue practices. Firstly it was decided that there are not many situations where pulling hard on the ‘liveâ€™ end of the rope will not solve. Everyone was very surprised how effective a simple prussic on the live end can be.
We also practiced something known as a ‘counter balanced rescueâ€™. I am not going to explain this here as I feel it is something that needs proper training. The photos below are only meant to remind people who attended the course.
Adding value to climbing
The final part of the training day was a discussion on how we all add extra value to the climbing session. All climbing sessions will have elements of team work/goal setting/ communication and confidence. The Bowles staff are very good at bringing these out during the session. We took it for granted that we are able to do this so we focused on how we can add extra value by teaching students about the geology of the rocks, history of rock climbing and plants and animals. We all agreed that this ‘valueâ€™ should be added without distracting from the rock climbing session. We looked at games we can play whilst climbing that also teaches the students about the rocks.
Although I donâ€™t normally run courses through the winter, this Monday I was at Bowles Rocks teaching some advanced rope work skills.
One of my roles when working for Bowles Outdoor Centre is staff training. It is my job the train all the instructional staff in rock climbing, canoeing and all rope based activities. I was asked by one of the Bowles staff to teach her some skills such as ‘Yâ€™ hangs, group belays and linking anchors. We spent the morning using the bolts and practicing personal belay systems and group belay systems. Luckily the weather was dry and not too cold!
This weekend was my last climbing course for 2012. New dates will be set in Jan 2013. If anyone still has a voucher, I will be able to arrange a course for you as long as I am given 6 weeks notice.
This climbing course was working with a couple of experienced indoor rock climbers who wanted to learn how to set up ropes so they are able to climb without instruction.
The photos from this course are below.
Today I ran a climbing course for a small group of people, all of which wnated to learn how to climb without instruction.
Here are the photos.
The last couple of days was spent in Snowdonia teaching multipitch lead climbing. The 1st day was in Ogwen Valley and the second spent climbing near Ffestiniog.
The photos are below.
For the last 5 weeks I have been working at full throttle for ‘The Challengeâ€™. This is a new government scheme that takes people from all walks of life and throws them together for three weeks. Each week has a different aim such as personal challenge, educational challenge and a social challenge (such as helping their local community.
I have only been working with the 1st week - personal challenge. These weeks have been spent taking the young people for a two day hike and full day canoe trip and a rock climbing day.
The hike was on a small section of the South Downs Way, which we finished at Birling Gap.
Over the last couple of days I have been working for Stringer School in North Wales.
I was employed as an instructor to take groups rock climbing and scrambling in Snowdonia. We had great weather which allowed us to lead a group up the North Ridge of Tryfan as well a some great climbing days at Lion Rock near Llanberis.
I spent the evenings scrambling with friends in Cwm Idwal as well as taking some photos in order to make some more topoâ€™s of the scrambles we did.
This bank holiday weekend was spent teaching multipitch climbing in North Wales. The cliffs were very quiet and we managed to climb a classic route called Charity on the Idwal Slabs. This is a great 5 pitch climb that works it way up one of the cliffs in Cwm Idwal, it is just under 150m of rock climbing followed by another 150 of scrambling!
This weekend was spent teaching leading in the Peak District. Day one was at Stanage Edge where the two clients learnt leading and seconding skills such as lead belaying, belaying the second, placing and removing gear as well as building belay stances. We climbed a number of routes including Mantlepiece Crack (Diff 4a), Zip Crack (Mod), Small Crack (V Diff), Hollybush Crack (V Diff) and Martillo Cracks (Mod). As the day was much better weather than expected, we did not finish at the normal time but carried on until 6.30, just incase the weather the next day was poor.
The second day was at Burbage North, as well was spending some time placing gear and learning how to link anchors we also climbed a couple of routes. These were Ash Tree Crack (V diff) and Bilberry Crack (V Diff).
A great time was had on this scrambling course in Snowdonia. The first day was spent in Cwm Idwal (part of the Ogwen Valley) where we ascended a grade 2 scramble called North West Route. After the top of the first section of this route we moved across to a second grade 2 route called Idwal Stair Case Continuation. This route is not a staircase - we encountered the hardest part of the day on this route but this was quickly dispatched and we soon found our selves underneath the peak of Glyder Fawr the Nameless Cwm (around 650m in height).
The second day we ascended Tryfan (915m high) via Milestone Gully (grade 2). This was a huge day out in which we encountered snow, hail and ice. The sun soon came out and we quickly made our way to the summit where we enjoyed amazing views. The photos of the two days can be seen by clicking on the slideshow below.