Keen to keep hold and improve our hard won skills as climbing instructors, we have been making sure to spend as much time as possible in mountainous terrain of all varieties. That's all the fun stuff, having big days in the hills, going climbing or scrambling, exploring. Something that may seem more mundane are the self-rescue skills we as climbers should all be aware of and have at least a tricks at our fingertips. As instructors we need more than just a few basics in this toolbox and rest assured we take these skills very seriously.
Over recent days we have been busy working through a huge amount of rescue scenarios so that we do in fact keep these important skills sharp.
Stuck abseiler? No problem, deploy 2 prussic loops onto the weighted rope and go up or down to the person to assist.
Climber nearing the belay stance but struggling with a tricky move? An assisted hoist is rapid to set up and very effective.
Second has forgotten to remove a runner and has now climbed beyond it? No worries, just lock off the belay device and get an Italian hitch belay set up instead, using rope from the anchor end and lower a loop to the climber getting them to clip this into their harness. Lower them to the runner with the Italian hitch giving top rope level safety. Once the runner is removed all can revery back to regular belaying, or stick with the Italian if preferred, they work just as well.
So much more that can happen of course and many more skills to look at. The important thing to remember when working through any of this is to consider what result each step will bring. Is it safe and does it bring you closer to a good outcome. If so, keep going. If unsure, stop. When practicing, we recommend using a back up safety rope, just in case!
There are many manuals that cover self rescue for climbers. We own many of them. By far the very best manual is a relatively recent publication by Andy Kirkpatrick simply titled 'Down'. It's all about how to get yourself and partner out of trouble in a climbing situation. Andy has learnt these skills the hard way, so we don't have to.
We are so looking forward to welcoming you back to the Lake District and can't wait to see the towns, villages, and mountains filled with visitors.
Please do get in touch if thinking of visiting the Lakes, we'd be delighted to arrange some fun outdoor adventures. Gorge scrambling, canyoning, rock climbing, abseiling, guided walking, scrambling, and adventure days.
All the best