With a super sunny day more than welcome we are happy to be outside once again. We have just finish delivering a NICAS session with a super group of year seven children from Catmose College and is part of the colleges elective scheme. For both climbers and instructor’s the conditions have been challenging over the past few weeks due to the weather however this doesn’t seem to cause too many issues for the candidates but where possible we stay indoors to deliver part of the sessions before heading out onto the wall.
All wrapped up and taking on board instructions from previous sessions candidates are now fitting their own safety equipment, helmets and climbing harnesses under the careful supervision of the Rockblok instructor’s before moving on, climbers tie in to the rope with the appropriate knot – re – woven figure of eight and stopper knot. Alongside the climber his partner patiently waits (the belayer) before fitting his belay device and alongside the belayer stands the tailor, this person tails the rope and is there to back up the belayer (peer belaying). Before the climber sets of on their attempt to reach the top harnesses, knots and belay device are checked, climber checking belayer, belayer checking climber. With a tight rope to the climber the climber sets off, looking and locating the coloured holds and natural features on the wall, nervous the climber makes steady progress in the knowledge that his climbing partner below, the belayer is taking in the slack rope that develops with each move upwards, keeping the climber safe and secure, anchored to the wall. The belayer looks on busy from below taking the slack rope in through the belay device, pulling the rope up through the device round and down, this is ongoing as the climber makes their way up the wall. At the same time the belayer must be vigilant and alert, if the climber slips or becomes too tired to hold on the belayer must be ready to lock the rope down, this effectively employs the break this in turn anchors the climber to the wall until they are ready to continue or make their way down.
Once the climber has reached the top or are ready to descend the belayer once again locks the rope down, with the climber ready to make their way down climber must communicate to belayer and belayer to climber, the two working closely together, with communication the key to safety. With the climber sitting secure into the harness with the descent position taken up, the belayer can now slowly lower the climber down, slowly and skilfully the belayer passes the rope through the belay device, in turn lowering the climber safely to the ground. With a busy schedule to complete over several weeks – at least four hours of instruction – 10 climbs and 10 belays along with all of the level 1 assessment criteria ticked and signed off our climbing partners change roles climber becomes belayer, belayer becomes climber.
For more information regarding the NICAS scheme and or NICAS sessions that we deliver please follow the links below.