Saturday, 27 October 2012

Things Alaska

You must check this link out. This gives you a fine example of the climbing to found in Alaska. Scroll down a little to the video link

Watching the lads climbing that impressive, breath taking and superb corner system made my palms sweat.  It also reminded me of my time in Alaska climbing the stunning Shaken Not Stirred route on the Moose's Tooth. 800m of pure joy, up an impressive gully splitting the mountain face.

Even better was the 20 min approach by ski, its the way to go.

Memories are either great or depressing depending on how you view them. You look back and think of the great times, the emotions, the suffering,  the victory or you just remember those trips for all those reasons whilst not actually having any plans for going anywhere exciting. Even worse you read of all the trips that other climbers are going on.

I hate lectures and very rarely go anymore.  In fact  one of the last talks I went to was back at the Birmingham Arena in the Mid 90's. Well I went to see 3 as I was working at the outdoor show.

Leo Holding I switched off, Andy K just made me cringe, wrong audience that day. However Paul Pritchard stole the show, reading from his then book captivated me and most of the audience like nothing before. Quality and inspiring.

Talking of Alaska and talks. I have been asked to do a few talks on my adventures to Alaska for mountaineering clubs in the Midlands. So November it will others who can criticise my talks and either be bored or inspired. Its a tricky game delivering to a varied audience and ticking all the boxes.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

AMI Trainee Workshop

Sunday was a cracking day, blue skies, no wind and feeling quite warm for October.

I was delivering a AMI trainee workshop and the 3 trainees who attended definitely got value out of me.

Cruising around on multi pitch ground we covered a long list of topics

  • Progression of teaching multi pitch climbing 
  • Teaching abseiling and the use of a prussic 
  • Teaching leading 
  • Simple problem solving 
  • Taking clients multi pitch climbing 
  • Looking after clients on descent paths 
  • Understanding their needs 
  • Differentiation of clients needs 
  • The bigger picture 
  • Role, ethos and standard of the MIA 
  • Setting a good and professional example 
  • Speed

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Mountain Training

 Saturday I attended the last Mountain Training UK board meeting for 2012.  I represent BMC Cymru Wales on the board.  Its’ main role is to oversee mountain training and associated national qualifications within the UK.
Approx 20 + people attend these meetings with representation from the BAIML, British Mountain Guides, Association of Mountaineering Instructors, Mountain Training Scotland, Wales, England and Ireland, National Mountain Centres, BMC and MCofS.

Meetings may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but without boards and committees, many a good thing in the outdoors would either not get of the ground or be weaker as a result.  The outdoor scene and industry is a wash with a whole host of volunteers.
If mountaineering bodies are new to you or you would like to find out more of their role and how they may be of use then click on the link.

If you hold a mountain, rock, climbing wall, walking award qualification or have attended a training course, have you enrolled on the new candidate management system. ? If not then follow this link, as it is the new way forward and very worthwhile. It does not cost either. 

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Sun and Sea and WOW

The WGL Assessment I have been directing this week delivered good weather for the candidates,  as they experienced no rain. In addition to this, they all passed. Well done.

One of my regular clients contacted me some weeks ago looking for some sea cliff action. As he is very flexible with his time, I said lets plan for a good sunny day. This I managed this week, by bringing in Jon Orr one of my  associate instructors.

Jon took Mel on a few Castle Helen classics such as Rap VS 4c and Blanco HVS 5a and then made a quick hit on Rhoscolyn where they climbed Icarus another HVS 5a.  With wall-to-wall sunshine and little wind the boys did well. 

Mel seconding  Rap ( do not forget the wow bit under the picture ! )

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Costa Del Eric's

At last, some decent weather.   Well it had to be Costa Del Tremadog today, with light Northerly winds and sun forecast where else in early October. ?  

Having spent the last two days on the couch, watching too much TV and too many DVD’s, having picked up a bug doing the rounds it was nice to be out.

I was delivering a bespoke coaching and instructing day for a group of mountaineering club members.  Six guys arrived promptly at Eric’s café for 9.00am.  Working in pairs for the day meant I hired in Berwyn and Bryn and we quickly headed of to get the day underway.

My team climbed Yogi, Xmas Curry and Grotto. Looking at belay set ups, stance management, gear, abseils, hoists, escaping the system, direct belays, leading tips and use of magic plates the day was busy.  But it was grand hanging out in the sun.

The other teams also got plenty done with an assortment of topics covered. Everyone was quite upbeat having packed a lot into the day and a gained good dose of the sun.

Sunday evening I start a Walking Group Leader Assessment that I am directing for Blue Peris Mountain Centre.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Its only The Orme !!!

Sitting in the van about to get ready, got me thinking! This is just a race around the Orme, well 6.5 laps, but lets face it, nothing like an Alpine Route. If that is the case why do I feel like I am about to embark on a North Face.  A knock on the widow distracts me; a mate has arrived who is also competing. Upon opening the door, he mutters the word, why do I feel I am about to climb an Alpine route its only a bike race around the Orme !!!!!

Sunday 30th September 2012 has arrived. The day I compete in my first official road race and with 6.5 laps of the Orme, high winds and heavy rain forecast then something tells me it’s going to be tough.

The front car drops the flap and the bunch is off, that pace is far to fast for me and I settle into my own tempo. Hitting the top of the final climb just before the Rest and Thankful Café progress slowed, a v strong head wind, which got stronger on each lap. That wind gave a battle around the tip of the Orme and down the descent the other side, blowing you all over the road at times. Into and through town one was able to get a move on and it was great knowing that plenty of marshals meant you could just peddle and make up time.

On the way up the Orme , I was surprised on how much difference the spectators made cheering you on. Something you see on the TV, but having not experienced it before it certainly gives you a lift.

Heading back to the Orme

Picture courtesy of Rhos Cyling Club and P A Photography.

Lap 3 and the rain came, but I tagged up with another rider and we started to work together.  This meant that by lap 4 things were not hurting as much (maybe I should have been trying harder!).  Lap 5 and the lead car passed and told us the front bunch were on their way.  Once on Orme again, the front bunch went storming passed, then an official pulled up beside us and said race over when you get to the Rest and Be Thankful café. Reason because we had been lapped.  Quite a kick in the teeth to hear this, I was handling my own personal battle and felt disappointed to be told I could not finish.  Rules will be rules. But when you have some top category 2 rides and I am a cat 4 on my first race, then I am never going to match their pace in this lifetime.

So upon reaching the café, my race ended and my first road race was over, 32 mies and 3000 ft climbing,  it felt longer.  By this time the weather was grim and really wished I could complete the course, not one for giving up. Well there is always next time.

The race was organised by Rhos on Sea Cycling club. Full road closure, marshals, a tough route made for a great race.  

The peleton heading up the Orme