Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Helen's Rock Climbing Coaching Weekend

Last weekend client and good friend Helen came up from down South with the aim of having a weekend of rock climbing that would challenge her technique and hopefully increase her confidence and ability. With the forecast looking a bit ropey we headed into the slate quarries to work on her slab technique. The ability to move confidently over slabby terrain and trust your feet is essential for progressing through the grades. Many people will focus on trying to climb steeper routes on indoor walls and while this does get you stronger it will not improve your ability to climb a HVS slate slab!

We started at Bus Stop quarry and Helen warmed up by seconding Solstice VS. I got her to start thinking about placing her feet as accurately as possible and maintaining good body position. Helen then down climbed the route - an excellent way to get people to think a little more about their climbing! Being a hard task master I then got her to climb up it for a 2nd time asking Helen to get into a position where she could take both hands off the rock after every move!

Helen on Fresh Air 6a
We then walked up to the Sidings Level in Australia and had a play on a couple of the grade 5c sport routes there. We really focused on the 'rock over' move which is the standard move on harder slate slabs. Helen even managed to top rope one of the 5c's one handed demonstrating the importance of trusting your feet and using momentum to shift your centre of gravity.

Unfortunately the threatening clouds fulfilled their promise of rain so we scarpered off to the Beacon Climbing Centre for a couple of hours to focus on bridging techniques.

Helen approaching the tricky move on Looning the Tube
The rain cleared through quickly so we decided to head back into the quarries to grab a couple of routes before we finished up for the day. We climbed Fresh Air - a really nice sport climb at 6a and the classic Looning the Tube HVS/E1. A great way to end the day.

Near the top of Looning the Tube
Unfortunately in rained very hard all night and into the morning so we decided to just go for a fun climb at The Beacon and rearrange another day in June when hopefully we will get some better weather!

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