About a dozen climbing instructors, including myself, descended on the Adventure Rope Course near Shrewsbury today for an advanced rope work training session. Steph Williams from the Adventure Rope Course hosted the event , while Joby Davis ran the actual training side of things. Although I’ve heard very positive things about Joby in the past, I’ve never met him before but was impressed with his balance of knowledge and realistic approach to things.
The day was geared as an update for those that perhaps had not used their climbing qualifications for a while, and an opportunity to learn more advanced techniques. A short while was spent looking at new courses and qualifications that have been developed in recent years, before getting hands on ropes. The rest of the morning was ground based, looking at ways of securing a climber and escaping a climbing system in case of needing to run off and get help. In principle, we all knew how to do this already, but the old method we would have used involved ‘loosing’ our harnesses with them stuck in the rope system, making it harder to perform a rescue. Although a more involved technique, it enables us to escape the system with the harness – very useful.
The afternoon was spent putting this into practice at height with real people dangling on the end of the rope in mid air. This definitely focussed the mind! It was also useful to realise how much harder the procedure is when the whole system is fully loaded. I’ve done similar before, but when the ‘casualty’ has at least been able to take some of the weight off the rope .Having had a play with this, we moved on to a variety of hoisting techniques – both assisted and unassisted.
My thanks go to both Steph Williams and Joby Davis for putting on a great day. It was well structured and perfectly pitched. I just hope I never have to actually use any of these things in a real situation!