Wednesday, 20 February 2013

15-18.02.13 - Winter Skills and more!

For the past 4 days I have been working with Steve, helping him get some preparation done for his up coming trip to Denali.  We started off with some basic winter skills introduction on the first day in and around the gultch area, Ben Nevis.  This saw Steve using an ice axe and wearing crampons for the very first time.  After a mini journey over varying terrain including soft, wet slushy snow, rock and ice and discussing the differences between terrain types and footwork techniques, we focused on the use of a general mountaineering axe, looking at general use and purpose before eventually moving on to the emergency use of the axe to both prevent a slip turning into a fall, and then to arrest a fall.  The next day Steve put these newly learned skills into practise taking in his first ever Munro, Stob Dubh, on Buachaille Etive Beag.  As well as practising and developing the techniques learned on the previous day, a low, claggy cloud base provided a good environment to look at and practise some navigation in mountainous environments.  Day 3 started a bit later, giving the feet a break we decided to head to the indoor wall and do an introductory climbing day. We worked on tying into a harness, belaying and lowering climbers on bottom rope indoor walls, even touched on some basic indoor abseiling!  Day 4 was summit day, and the route chosen was Ledge Route II, which was in very nice condition and offered amazing views.  After topping out on the Summit, we descended via No4 Gully and had a leisurely walk back down to the top car park.  A great few days in which Steve learned a lot and proved himself capable of his future aspirations, well done Steve!

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