It's been quite a busy start to 2015. In January I was working with the trainee instructors on the Land and Wave Accelerated Instructor Training Course, teaching some lead climbing skills. The Land and Wave staff did a great job giving them the skills so they were ready to go for their first lead with me. We went to cattle troughs, a great crag on the Swanage coast. The easy angled abseil to the base and the collection of good quality diff’s and v diff’s makes it a great location for your first leads. It has the added advantage of solid top outs and non-tidal, large belay ledges. (Tip: Always check the swell and tides as a big swell and high tide will wash out the ledges).
The students climbed ‘Chockney’, a great v diff 4a corner with excellent gear but with a tricky move off the ground. Even trickier if greasy! We also used a great variation just to the left at the same grade on excellent rock and some unusual gear placements. The route isn’t in the Rockfax guide but most likely included in the climber’s club guide. Some more confident students led ‘Consolation’ a severe just to the left. It’s more of a face climb on great rock and positive crimpy holds. I find students who have climbed indoors a lot find this style of climbing easier than corners or crack climbing as it’s more representative of routes you find indoors. Luckily the weatherman was on our side with almost a dry week and some great Swanage sunshine. I’m constantly surprised with the climate around Swanage, we had some days of t-shirt climbing; I can’t think of many places in the country you could do that in January!
February we were busy with web development and marketing. Freeborn is a new company and getting the name out there is not a simple or fast process. We started by completely redesigning the website and rebranding the logo. My web development and design skills are almost none existent so we brought in some help from Beardy Boy Design, a brilliant and innovative Bristol based company. Two weeks of hard work later we had something we were happy with. New website, new logo and shiny marketing materials ready to go. World domination here we come…well, maybe Dorset first! We set out to create a professional, clear and engaging look for customers and I think we have achieved this well.
I’ve also been working on behalf of Vertex Training delivering ERCA ropes course training. I became a trainer last year and will be working with Vertex more in the coming months. Vertex are the leading rope course and adventure park trainers in Europe. They have a great team of extremely knowledgeable and inspiring trainers and I really look forward to learning from and working with them in the future. I’ve been all over the southwest recently training instructors on behalf of Vertex. We’ve been training on climbing walls and high rope courses ready for Easter opening.