I have only ever really climbed with one mate of mine and we have been at it on and off for about 4 years, anyway recently he selfishly decided to have a baby leaving me in the lurch for our annual winter trip to the Pyrenees. Having never really taken part in any courses or climbed with anyone substantially more experienced it is fair to say we have muddled through and learnt on the job, which has to date done us proud.
Due though to my need to make sure I get out this winter I have latched onto a group of climbers who are heading out to Rjukan to do some ice climbing, so my question is what would you consider are essential skills to have, I am thinking more along the lines of rope work than anything else. I have climbed up to WI4 so before anyone says it I can put on a pair of crampons.
Silly question I know, but as climbers tend to vary from incredibly anal to incredibly lax (me falling somewhere in-between), I thought I would try my best to make sure I have all bases covered.
Overall safe, steady and reliable.
'As advertised' - if you say WI4, do you really mean that, or do you actually mean WI3
Basic ropework swift, accurate and consistent - knots, rope management at stances etc.
Belay well - accurate rope feeding without yards of slack.
Can sort an abseil quickly, including getting onto and off the rope.
Drill an abalakov pretty consistently.
Sort out a safe belay on ice quickly.
Know what happens next, without having to be told all the time.
Accommodate other people's foibles, but speak up when something's wrong.