Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Climbing - Return to Duty

Just before the break
As some of you may or may not know I broke my scaphoid a few months ago whilst doing a slalom race taking part in a charity ski to raise money for Dementia Friends. Making it almost impossible to climb. After numerous xrays, a cast that was forever causing my thumb to go numb and physiotherapy I’m back in business.

 Me and the Electronic Mountain Leader took a small group of cadets from the Air Training Corps Squadron (235 Squadron) that we volunteer at out to the Roaches, with the aim of getting some group experience towards my SPA with my training dates quickly approaching.

It was a really enjoyable day with a good group of lads. We did various climbs ranging from Diff – Severe 4a. I really enjoy personal climbing, but it’s a completely different type of enjoyment that I get out of climbing with groups. To be able to see people who have little climbing experience develop to the standard of being able to tie themselves into a top rope system, and be competent climbing these grades within the space of a day is amazing. This also relates to my previous article “children at the crag –ethics in climbing”. I know the lads that came out with us were high school age so they can barely be classed as children, but anything that we can be doing to encourage the younger generation to get out of the house, off their games consoles and outside surely should be done.

The group
I couldn’t just stand back and watch, obviously I ended up leading a few routes. After a while though my wrist started to get sore so I just joined in going up the top ropes and belaying the others. This gave me the confidence to carry on as if my wrist decided that it had had enough it was preventing me from taking a potentially nasty lead fall. 

Taking it slow in my walking boots
For a while me and Chris have been talking about developing an ATC Rock Climbing Proficiency scheme, well it was Chris’s idea and then I jumped onto the boat. After this climbing session it was confirmed as an attainable target and it has now gone live within our squadron. Once we have developed it within our squadron and ironed out any beginning glitches we will roll it out to the whole wing (Staffs wing) and then hopefully one day the whole Air Training Corps. The purpose of this scheme is to get cadets used to filling in log books of climbs and hill days, so that when they’re old enough, if they want to they can easily transfer these dates into any other logbooks for awards such as SPA or ML. For now I’ll keep you all updated and let you know how it goes.

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