/ Scrambling training.
Hi, I'm after a bit of advice regarding training courses for taking on harder scrambles. I've done a fair amount of the easier scrambles around (striding edge, crib goch etc) but now want to take it up a notch and learn the skills needed to tackle harder routes with the assistance of ropes and placing gear. I do a fair bit of indoor climbing and would also like to progress this to outdoor eventually. My question is,how similar would a outdoor climbing course and a scrambling course be? Am I likely to learn all I need to know regarding gear placement and rope work in say a climbing course which would leave me able to climb outdoors and also transfer the skills over to some harder scrambles? Or are the skills very different? Thanks in advance.
Hard to say without seeing the course but as a gut feel would probably suggest an outdoor climbing course provided it covers multi-pitch, abseiling, setting up belays, and possibly moving together since you'll get more time spent on the actual rope work part.
The key to scrambling is moving fast, so you'll be aiming to solo wherever the ground is easier and less exposed and then roping up for any sections you personally feel you need to based on your judgement of yours or your partners ability and/or the potential risks involved. If you're well practiced in the climbing part then you can embark on some more difficult scrambles safe in the knowledge that you can always get the rope out of your rucksack and use it confidently if things get a little tricky.
A lot of people, myself included, run two day scrambling courses.
Day one for me, is often actually very similar to an intro to trad lead climbing course before focusing more on the scrambling specific stuff on day 2. Although all my courses are pretty bespoke.
The skills needed are pretty similar.
It’s worth noting that hard scrambling is more risky and less predictable than easy climbing. You might use the same gear on both but the techniques on a hard scramble are more ad hoc.
I would advise learning conventional climbing techniques on safe easy rock climbs first.
Yes to this. I spent too many days spent slithering about on slimy, protectionless choss-fests in the lakes in the rain, courtesy of the Brian Evans guidebooks, wondering if I would survive long enough to progress beyond ‘novice’... I think it is definitely worth getting competent, and confident, on easy multi pitch routes before trying grade 3 scrambles
As above, you need to learn to trad climb to safely protect harder scrambles. It's kind of counter-intuitive but in many ways roped scrambling is more dangerous than pitching low-grade rock climbs.
Bringing protection gear other than helmet to a scramble really turns in into a trad climbing. Many hard scrambles in UK are technically equal to M - VD climbing grades.
Beauty of scrambling is in speed and adventure. Pitching or simul climbing slows you down and makes it complicated. For starters you need to be able to put protection because none of scrambles in UK are bolted, so you need to be confident in the gear you are putting. And that requires a lot of practice. I would bet money that you can get fit to solo any scramble faster than learn how to put protection you will be comfortable falling on.
I am pretty much in agreement here. Scrambling is all about moving. I have happily done a large number of the Lakes scrambles in the Cicerone guides including the classic grade 3s and usually solo. On occasions when I have gone paired and taken my rope and minimal gear it’s never been used, even with novices. I think you just need to get out and start building up experience, look on it as an activity in its own right. Definitely not a wet weather climbing substitute.
i'm far too much of a coward to do that....!
but with practice, and a similarly experienced partner, the rope doesn't have to slow down movement much- i remember doing the clogwyn y person arete, moving together and taking direct belays on a couple off short steeper steps, and keeping pace with the unroped party ahead of us; also a similar experience on curved ridge
(efficient movement didn't come every day though- I also remember making a mess of the upper section of dolmen ridge; after the angle eased off, the rope should have come off, instead a snail's pace faff-fest ensued...!)
> [...] you need to be confident in the gear you are putting. And that requires a lot of practice.[...]
Mostly agree with you apart from the sentence above. If you have a reasonably 'mechanical' brain* then placing nuts is not hard, threading a chockstone is easy and dropping a sling over a spike is even easier.
* I'd say 'able to build flat pack furniture' level rather than 'able to rebuild a Mk2 Jag. differential from a bag of parts' level.
You need to go to Skye as the scrambling there is like nowhere else in the UK and on a scale unsurpassed on the mainland. If necessary hire a guide to learn the skills.
> look on it as an activity in its own right. Definitely not a wet weather climbing substitute.
No better place than Skye to show why it is an activity that stands on its own!
I'v emailed you a suggestion
Don't overthink it just get out and do it. Buy a guide book then work your way up the grades. 1 then 2 then 3 then 3s. Basic ML rope work would be more useful in my opinion than a climbing course as its very rare that you will need to place gear scrambling. If in doubt I am sure there will be some one at your climbing wall who could show you the basics failing that buy an instructional book and practice the rope work on your stair case. Just remember scrambling is graded for dry perfect conditions and the same scramble in the wet can be very different.
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