Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Learning to Rock Climb in Donegal

 It was an extremely busy and varied week of outdoor activities in Donegal, all in glorious blue skies and toasty sunshine! :-)
 On Sunday took the wee dingy for a paddle around Cruit Island and took the last of the sea face cliff pictures to update the current Cruit climbers guide, discovered approx 50 more potential new lines and thus the quest continues. Back ashore climbed 6 new routes on New Dawn Wall including a rather scary E1 4c "Strangeness," not wishing to under sell the route but a 15m fall into the sea from the crux move is a distinct possibility.
 On Monday the troops arrived for week seven of the FAS Donegal Outdoor Instructor course and so we began the learn to lead component of this year long course. In pairs the happy troops led a selection of routes in fine style utilising all the techniques they had been shown over the previous two months. I am unsure who was more psyched, the happy troopers topping out on their first leads or me witnessing the transformation of 18 students into rock climbers, anyways it was outstanding to see and major props to all 18 troopers!

Busy Rock Climbing in Donegal

Learning to lead

Learning the ropes at the sharp end

 Of course, there were a few moments of peturbment/mild amusement which I thought I'd share.

 Whilst racking up for their first led one of our gallant troopers asked if it was okay to place rubbish gear on lead "for quickness?" Internally I wept! :-)

 A few days later whist topping out on their first lead another wide eyed trooper remarked "top roping seems a bit boring now!" Excellent Mish Moneypenny!

 Come Thursday morning and one of the troops who had been leading since Tuesday went off and climbed a new route! 

 But the yellow jersey goes to the gentleman who dropped his climbing helmet into the sea, ran to his car for a wet suit and a BA, thus suited and booted ran back and swam out to save his helmet. A true multi-disciplined outdoor instructor.     

A wee swim

 In the evenings once the troops had departed and on a much quieter Cruit Island filled in a few blank spaces in the current guide, climbing a couple of new lines a night and of course discovering many more unclimbed lines in the process. :-)

Pulling through the blankness

 The week finished with a weekend trip to Wicklow to work on a Walking Group Leader assessment and so, in the at times howling winds and hints of torrential rain trekked across the Wicklow uplands looking for single contour features. 

A difference of opinion?

Night Navigation

 An altogether excellent and varied week as a Mountain Instructor from new routing on sea cliffs to micro navigation in a swift 3 hour drive.  

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