Monday, 15 February 2010

Rock Climbing Articles


The number of articles I have written for my site seems to continue to grow and so I decided to put a list of them in one place. The articles are normally below the main course information towards the bottom of the page.

Rock Climbing Articles:

1. How to Start Rock Climbing.

A short article that offers information on how to start climbing and lists the best reference sites and books.

2. Choosing Climbing Equipment and building a rack of hardware.

A general overview of what to look for in carabiners, nuts/wires, cams and slings

3. Building a Rack of Climbing Equipment.

A more detailed view of what you need for specific types of climbing and the composition of different climbing racks.

4. Climbing Carabiners

A more detailed of what to look for when choosing rock climbing carabiners

5. Choosing Rock Climbing shoes

A short article on choosing your first pair of climbing shoes with some recommendation.

6. Choosing and Placing Nuts, Wires and Hexes (Hexcentrics) for Climbing ( Part 1)

A look at how to choose and place nuts effectively, especially hexes (Torque Nuts and Rockcentrics)

7. Choosing and Placing Nuts, Wires and Slings for Climbing (Part 2)

A look at how to choose slings and nuts / wires with information on the features to look for.

8. Choosing and Placing Cams / Camming Devices.

A look at how to choose and place cams (Friends, Camalots and 4CUs) with information on the features to look for.

8a. Choosing a Small Camming Unit

Information on the best micro cams on the market - CCH Aliens v Metolius Master Cams v Wild Country Zeros v Black Diamond C3s

9. Choosing a Climbing Helmet

A look at how to choose a climbing helmet with some recommendations.

10. Choosing a Climbing Harness

Information on choosing a climbing harness - different styles, features to look for and getting the best fit,

11. Abseiling and Prusic Loops

A short article on abseiling, protecting the abseil and ascending the rope using prusic loops

12. First Aid Kit - Contents for Climbers

A personal look at the contents of a climbers First Aid Kit

13. Climbing Accidents - common causes for how they happen

An analysis of common accident scenarios at climbing walls

14. Corroded Carabiners - Strength Loss

A quick look at a corroded quickdraw and how it broke when tested.

Mountain Scrambling Articles:

1. Mountain Scrambling Grades .

A short description of the scrambling grades used in the UK and a look at the territory likely to be encountered.

2. Choosing Scrambling Equipment - Ropes & Hardware.

A general overview of what to look when choosing ropes and a rack for scrambling. There is information on choosing helmets on the Advanced Scrambling Course page

3. Constructing Rope Coils

How to make rope coils, short roping and moving together. There is a direct link to the photos on how to build hard locked coils for scrambling here

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Latest Courses in Spain


A great week long course with Steve that covered aspects of climbing needed to be an climbing instructor - rope work, looking after clients, belays and lots of climbing - was followed by a quick trip down to Tarifa for a couple of days bouldering and performance coaching.

The week with Steve was largely spent in the area behind Villanueva del Rosario on El Corral, Los Pinos and Taco del Madera with a couple of trips to Villanueva del Cauche on cooler days to make the most of the sun.

The photo to the side shows the terrain behind our village - karst limestone hills that are typified by the well known crags of El Torcal that are just 15km to the north.

The big blob of rock behind Steve is El Chamizo, the highest peak in the area and the "small" diamond shaped buttress of clean rock to its left is the 250m high El Diamante.

We are actually standing on top of a 300m buttress after completing a multi-pitch trad climb.

After dropping Steve off I headed south to Tarifa and had one day on the Mosaic Walls and one days on the sea side boulders with Andy and Sarah.

The last time I went to Tarifa it was really windy, but conditions this time were perfect and I even managed to sneak in some personal bouldering as the sun went down.

Back tonight to Malaga to pick up India for a coaching course - the weather looks good for the week ahead so we will probably stay in the hill behind the house.

DMM Dragon Cams



The DMM Dragon cams were on show today at the ISPO trade show in Munich.

The cams on the DMM stand were taken from the first production batches going through the DMM factory and have evolved from the prototypes that were shown at the Friedrichshafen show in July.

The Dragons now feature an anodised 7075 aluminium thumb grip – this patented feature allows the Dragon to use a doubled 8mm dyneema sling to reduce the number of quickdraws that climbers need to carry.

The doubled 8mm dyneema sling can’t be used on a standard wire loop because under load the loop collapses and the dyneema then cuts through the wire at around 10kN (the same does not happen on the DMM 4CUs because the rear spacer stops the wire collapsing.).

The aluminium thumb grip is massively strong and lighter than the steel wire it replaced.

Other features include:

• Cam lobes that are massively strong in all positions not just the positions dictated by the CE test. DMM think that they are probably a bit too strong, but it build in some extra safety and could allow them to
• Cams have a 13.75 degree camming angle
• The cam springs are relavtively strong so the units seat well and resist movement.
• Terminations are very short so that the flexibility of the stem is maximised.
• The stem uses a specially treated zytel nylon cover that is very flexible across a massive range of temperatures and yet is very durable.
• The thumb grip is very strong in all directions and the sling resists over 14kN in any orientation.
• The doubled 8mm dyneema sling extends to form a 25cm long extender and saves a quickdraw.

There are more images below and there is a page on the Rock Climbing Company site that offers info on camming devices in general and building a climbing rack.