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New Role as Coaching Columnist in Climber Magazine

New Role as Coaching Columnist in Climber Magazine

I was really please to found out that a proposal I submitted to Climber Magazine was accepted and I am now the Coaching Columnist for the only UK based climbing magazine, Climber. You can get the magazine easiest by subscribing to it for just £24 […]

Busman’s Holiday to Chulilla

Busman’s Holiday to Chulilla

So the last week has seen me meet up with my regular climbing partner Si and a colleague of his Dan to head to Chulilla rock climbing. We have been planning this rock climbing holiday for a while and have had it earmarked for ‘big […]

Back in Costa Blanca

Back in Costa Blanca

So having spent another month back in the UK trying to avoid getting washed away in the rain or buried in the occasional snow has meant that I have most been climbing indoors. Over that time I managed to do some pretty good route at the Beacon Climbing Centre, with routes up to 7b. 

This week I headed back to the sunshine to work with a long-term client and friend Simon on a short climbing course in Costa Blanca. It was his first time in Spain, but I have already converted him to the ways of hot rock climbing over the winter. I am thinking of starting a cult of hot rock, to be honest.

We had a great day climbing at Toix on Sunday, then got a couple of routes done at Alcalali on Monday before the rain stopped play. We finish the three days off with a day at Guadalest, where Simon kindly offered me a catch on a couple of routes, so I nipped up a 7a and then a 7b. Although they were probably overgraded!!

It is great to be out here again and I really want to start planning for next years courses out here and across Spain. As I love it here. The question is how to go about making next year better than this year?

Check out The Hot Rock Holidays Page for what we are offering next year so far.

ITV – Top 100 Walks

ITV – Top 100 Walks

If you were lucky enough to catch ITV’s top 100 walks last night you will know that Snowdon narrowly missed out on being the number one walk in the UK. There is a full list on the OS website, or watch the 2.5 hour ITV […]

Back Home on the Range

Back Home on the Range

Well, this weekend I was out suffering in the name of Winter Skills at Plas Y Brenin. It was a typical welsh winter with double-figure temperatures, rain and strong winds. As a result, we spent some time on the infamous Plas Y Brenin Glacier, a […]

Costa Blanca Christmas

Costa Blanca Christmas

So yet again I have been lucky enough to spend another 3 weeks rock climbing and generally hanging out with my partner and her family and friends in Costa Blanca. We have been holed up in a lovely villa near Moraira, just north of Calpe. We had a lovely Christmas dinner sat outside in the sun and a great new year. As well as family and friends we have also managed to get out rock climbing.

Both Lynne and I have been doing really well, with Lynne managing to follow around 5 now, which given the last two years is an incredible achievement for her. She continued to get stronger until the last day of the trip. Sadly though we had to return to get back to the grindstone. For me, that is booking up adventures for people with us here and her it is counting beans for climbing walls.

For me, the trip help reinforce the fact that I now feel like a 7a rock climbing, which for me comes hard, as I don’t consider myself the climber of the grade until I on-sight it regularly. That I have done with several routes of 7a or 7a+ under my belt this trip. As well as some embarrassing failures one on a 6b+! All in all I have spent my time ticking off lovely easy routes at new areas so Lynne can follow me, this sounds like a chore, but it seems to serve as the best warm up you can do, as it means when I do one or two hard routes at the end of the day I seem to run up them.

We also met some inspirational people out in the Costa Blanca, Mike and Chris Simpkins but having had their bus passes a while amazed me with their enthusiasm for sports climbing and getting out on their tandem for bike rides that would kill me. They took us to a ‘crag x’ where we met a load of other let us just say, senior climbers. Again truly inspiring to watch and Lynne was blown away by Angela Soper’s climbing that day. Coming away really determined to get fit again.

Sadly the van broke down but is now repaired but we need one more trip before the season is finished to collect the beast and drive it and Lynne’s mum’s cats back to the UK for the spring.

App-guide to Spanish Rock Climbing

App-guide to Spanish Rock Climbing

So over the last couple of years I have been lucky enough to climb across Spain as part of my job. As I do this I like to really get to know an area and as I do I collect data and images in order […]

Winter mountain day on Parsons Nose

Winter mountain day on Parsons Nose

A fantastic day out on Snowdon today. A quick solo of Parsons Nose and then along Crib Coch in really amazing still, crisp and clear conditions. I am so lucky to be able to do this in such amazing conditions, although much prefer those sunny […]

Rope Matters

Rope Matters

So I went to the Brenin last night and attended a lecture by Daniel Gebel on Rope Matters, this guy really is the ulimate geek when it comes to haning on a rope. His presetation was both  entertaining and eye opening. In aprticular I think as a guide I will have to reconsider a few of what used to be common practices, like lowering two people on a rope when scrambling.

His approach to the topic was to show his research, result and conclusions before offering his recommednations. Until the BMC it seems that teh DAV (German Alpine Club) is much more active when it comes to changing educartion practices in light of new evidence. Whether this is a cultural thing or something to do with the set up the the DAV it was an interesting observarion that the acted on some ofn the data they collected from climbing wall and then researched a solution.

Anyway I have written a breif overview of the findings, I have a more indepth review of the talk but essentially the take home messages are laid out below.

 

Rope Breakage

 

  • Don’t have two clients on one rope unless on a uniform snow slope or slab.
  • Lower clients individually.
  • Use parallel ropes systems in ascent with two clients
  • Use Abseils to descend rather than lowers.
  • Be careful of climbers who weigh 100kg or more.
  • Have a back-up rope when practicing rescues techniques.
  • Use 10mm+ Ropes for work (Although an extra 1.1mm of rope only gives you and extra 11% of strength.)
  • Acid damaged ropes are likely to sanp
  • Sharp edged in -situ carabiners can cut ropes.

Half Ropes and Hard falls

 

Take Home Messages:-

  • Do you need to use half ropes?
  • Is the belay device compatible to the diameter of ropes.
  • Using belay gloves make a real difference.
  • Explain the problem and expect the distance to stop to the fall to be great.
  • Place early runners (Jesus Piece)
  • Take great care when leaving the belay until a 6m+ up the pitch.
  • Consider increasing the friction of the belay device by using two carabiners with people up to 90kg.
  • If the climber is greater than 90kg consider not using half or skinny full ropes.
  • Teach clipping both ropes to the first few runners (like twin ropes) as an effective way to prevent the climber being dropped.

Lanyards

Take Home Message

  • Ropes lanyards are the only way to go.
  • If you improvise a lanyard with a sling nylon is preferable
  • If you have to use an improvised dyneema sling keep it under tension

Climbing Wall Accidents and Belay Devices

Take Home Messages:-

  • Teach and use assisted braking devices on indoor and sports climbing courses.
  • In work as a technical advisor pass on this knowledge to wall owners
  • Keep an eye open for guidance from BMC/MT

Belayer – Climber Weight Differential 

Take Home Messages:-

  • Use ground anchors with light belayers where possible
  • Consider using Z-clip or Ohm device with light belayers
  • Train light belayers about the potential of being pull off feet into wall and having a climber land on them.
  • Teach dynamic belaying and ‘Sansa Hand Technique’ to coaches, adult and parents.
New website

New website

If you are here you have found the new website and the news section. Hopefully, over the coming months we will keep you up to date with what we are up to by posting our news here. At the moment we are full steam ahead […]


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