- Written by Andy
For four days last week I was working in the Peak District for Lupine Adventure for whom I am a freelance leader/instructor. The job was to work with a group of young indoor climbers from Crawley & Brighton as they sample outdoor rock climbing.
Monday – I chose to take the group to Birchen Edge as I regard it as a ‘friendly’ crag with a wide range of routes at across grades whilst the height of the routes isn’t overly intimidating, it is also a good crag to rig for top ropes. With most of the group being repeat clients from their trip last year we ran through the safety information, kit and crag etiquette before getting to the important subject climbing!
The day gave me the chance to check and assess belay technique, standard and ability of climbing and then make plans for the remaining days.
Climbs included – Sail Buttress HS, Right Ladder Chimney HVD, Captains Bunk HS, Captains Prerogative HS, Blind Eye S.
Tuesday – After seeing the group climb at Birchen Edge I decided to take them to Stanage High Neb. A higher crag with much more exposure but I was sure the group could handle it and would enjoy it.
During the day I also set up a ‘Top Out’ route which allowed some of the group to climb the route completely then walk back down to the bottom of the crag instead of being lowered back down the route.
Young Jess at 9yrs old managed to climb a Stanage E1!Climbs included – Limbo S, Following On VS, Boyds Crack VD, Cent E1, Neb Corner VD.
Wednesday – with a couple of the group keen to push themselves on rock I again took them to High Neb where I rigged a couple of slabby routes, and also an E2 route which involved climbing a roof for those feeling strong.
Unfortunately the weather decided to deliver some wind and rain later in the day but not before some exceptional effort had seen a number of the group reach the top of the E2!
Climbs included – Eric’s Eliminate S, Straight Crack HS, Sogines HVS, Kelly’s Variation S, Quietus E2.
Thursday – with the forecast predicting showers during the day we made an early start and headed for Lawrencefield Quarry where we could seek some shelter if the showers arrived.
As the day went it was fine and we stayed at the quarry in good conditions with plenty of climbing done to make up for the slightly early finish the day previous.
The day saw everyone making the most of their time and committed to their climbing.
Climbs included – Bole Hill VD, Limpopo Groove VS, Morning Glory E2, Tyrone VS, Nova HS, Chilly Days and Purple Acorns E1.
Overall – I have to admit that at the end of the four days I was physically and mentally tired, but that was outweighed by the enjoyment of it also being extremely rewarding due to the commitment shown by the group.
Their behaviour and crag etiquette are exemplary and the job probably wouldn’t work if it wasn’t.
It’s scary how good and how strong some of these climbers are for their age, moving up technical and difficult routes like rock spiders!
The assistance given by Katy (who organises the trip), James & John is also invaluable and a big thanks to them
N.B Single Pitch climbing is described as climbs that – are described as single pitch in the guide books, climbers can be lowered back to the ground from, is at a non tidal/ non serious/ presents little objective danger, presents no difficulties on approach or retreat, is climbed without an intermediate stance.
Charlie is a freelance Mountain Leader, Rock Climbing instructor and International Mountain Leader.