Monday, 5 January 2015

Walking like Gimli. A day of reflection and taking a step back to move forward in my short roping.

After a great festive family holiday and far to much port and stilton it was back to hill today. I was booked onto a CPD day with British Mountain Guide, Chris Ensol . The days subject was short roping. Some [ myself included I guess ] have questioned CPD and it's relevance to us as instructors but days such as today highlight the importance of CPD. I was intrigued about today as I had heard that some of the techniques taught by Chris are perhaps a little radical. But there is nothing more positive than allowing students to think freely and question what we do on a daily basis. After nearly 30 years of short roping I now have some new techniques and concepts to employ [ when the situation is correct for me.] Being able to adapt through having a variety of new methods of using the rope in the challenging mountaineering ground we work in, is I think very positive. It was marvellous to be observed and coached to improve my technique and ultimately to be safer whilst guiding and instructing. Chris individualised his feedback. His observation skills were never assumed. I say this as a Level 5 Coach, and it was fantastic to hear so much transfer of knwolegde of body position and core use coming into mountaineering. The only differenc in this context, was the three B's according to Chris are Body, Body, Body! Discussion and coaching was given on how to walk, yes how to walk. How basic is that, well very complicated actually. And posture [ using the core ]. I always thought I walked like Legolas but I walk like Gimli apparently! A completly new way of holding the rope was introduced to me and this challenged my habits, a wee step back before feeling comfortable was required. I can now employ this and my stance is so much better. Got to keep my bum in! Another potentially contentious concept was that of not having your ice axe in your hand all the time. In reality it made perfect sense, again it's knowing when to employ the technique and when it's right for you! And I had to consider the distance between myself and my clients, the concertina approach works well. Holding falls on steep ground was developed into some pretty realistic scenarios, we stopped when required! The final light bulb suggestion is that of not locking off the coils in the hand. Simple, but counter to what I have done for all these years. It just makes change overs and feeding rope out more flowing. Chris explained it alot better than I have written it here, but I do recommend if you are a MIC or Trainee to attend one of his training days. If nothing else thinking out of the box and challenging yourslf is essential. Mountaineering requires a huge range of ability to adpat to situations and as the greatest enduarnce animal on the planet we can go a little slower to, which made me pause for thought. Thanks Chris.