22 October 2020

Climbing Ropes

There Are Two Types Of Climbing Rope; Dynamic & Static.

Dynamic Rope has stretch in it, to absorb the impact of a falling climber. Dynamic rope is used for actual climbing.

Static Rope has no stretch, or very little stretch, in it. It is technically not safe for actual climbing. It is technically not safe for falling on. Static rope is used for abseiling, ascending, rigging and hauling.

Dynamic Rope Then Divides Into Three Types:
1. Dynamic Single Rope (Single Rope)
2. Dynamic Half Rope (Half Rope/Double Rope)
3. Dynamic Twin Rope (Twin Rope)

1. Dynamic Single Rope (Single Rope)
This rope is designed to be used by itself as a 'single rope', fit for climbing.
Single ropes are marked with a circled 1 at each end.

2. Dynamic Half Rope (Half Rope/Double Rope)
Two half ropes, or double ropes, are used on zig-zag/wandering climbs, especially multi pitch climbing or winter climbing. As ascending you clip one rope into all protection on your left hand side, and one rope into all protection on your right hand side. This allows the ropes to run pretty straight upward, minimising rope drag on long zig-zag/wandering climbs.
Half ropes are marked with a circled 1/2 symbol at each end.

3. Dynamic Twin Rope (Twin Rope)
Twin ropes are smaller in diameter, therefore lighter and smaller to pack. You treat them as a single rope, in terms of clipping both always together into each piece of protection.
Twin ropes are marked with a circled ∞ symbol at each end.

More Reading Here
More Reading Here

21 October 2020

Lightning On A Mountain

It takes the sound of thunder five seconds to travel one mile. Count the seconds between the flash of lightning and the sound of thunder.

If you count ten seconds between the flash of lightning and the sound of thunder; then lightning is two miles from your location.

5 Seconds = 1 Mile
10 Seconds = 2 Miles
15 Seconds = 3 Miles
20 Seconds = 4 Miles
25 Seconds = 5 Miles
30 Seconds = 6 Miles

Once lightning is six miles or closer; thirty seconds or less; from your location - you are in danger. Especially on an exposed mountain.

We have a 30/30 Rule. When lightning is thirty seconds or closer, take shelter/take precaution for thirty minutes.

What To Do On A Mountain:
1. Move off anywhere exposed (if possible) and take the best shelter you can. A hollow/gully/re-entrant/saddle can be good. You want to move off any peak/ridge/spur.

2. Move off wet/boggy/swampy ground.

3. Sheltering in a cave is fine, once you are deep in the very back. You do not want to be in a cave entrance, a shallow cave, or sheltering under an overhanging rock.

4. Separate your party by 50 meters apart. Lightning can jump from person to person if you are too close together. You see this happen with cows, where several are killed as that one lightning strike jumps from cow to cow.

5. Get rid of anything metal, anything with batteries, and your gps/phone.

6. Insulate yourself off the ground by sitting on your backpack. Your feet should also be pulled up onto your backpack. Head tucked down, eyes closed, and importantly - hands firmly over your ears to prevent an eardrum rupturing.

7. If you have no backpack adopt the lightning position. This is crouching down, on the balls of your toes, feet close together. Head tucked down, eyes closed, and hands firmly over your ears.

8. If caught in woods move into a patch of smaller/shorter trees; not into the taller trees.

9. If you have a lightning casualty, they may well not be breathing. In this case you perform cpr until emergency help arrives.

8 October 2020

Direct Belay & Indirect Belay

Direct Belay & Indirect Belay - Which Is Which, And Which Is Better?

A Direct Belay is when the climber is belayed directly off an anchor system. The rope runs straight from climber to anchor system.
See Photo 1. Anchor System Needs To Be Bombproof

An Indirect Belay is when the climber is belayed off the belayer's harness. The belayer is attached to an anchor system. The rope runs from climber to belayer. See Photo 2.

Benefits Of A Direct Belay:
Belayer is not in the system; not put under any pressure; and very easy to lock off and walk away - in case of incident/accident.

Benefits Of An Indirect Belay:
Your anchor system should always be bombproof, but in real life you sometimes end up in positions where that is not fully possible. By belaying off your harness belay loop; you put your body into the system. Your harness and your body absorbs some fall-load/shock-load; therefore some fall-load/shock load does not pass into the anchor system. Where you have dubious anchors - this protects your anchor system, and therefore protects you.

7 October 2020

Mountain Skills Steep Ground Work

 Six Questions For Mountain Skills Steep Ground Work

1. Could I Do It?  (ability-wise)

2. Should I Do It?  (sensibility-wise)

3. Can I see an onward route, or am I moving into a dead end?  (one person sent scouting can be useful here)

4. If I do it, can I backtrack easily if needed?
(always be able to backtrack)

5. Likelihood Of A Slip?  (low/medium/high)

6. Consequences Of A Slip  (low/medium/high)

Three Questions For Mountain Skills Spotting

1. Am I spotting properly here; properly positioned and dug in; or am I simply putting myself and the other person at risk?

2. Can we backtrack whatever I am spotting?

3. Am I happy with the amount of time that will be lost by spotting?

29 September 2020

Requirements Before Completing A Rock Climbing Instructor Course

Once you are a safe, competent, self sufficient climber; able to Bottom Rope, Top Rope, Abseil and Lead Climb - including all associated anchor placement, setup, rope work; here are the requirements you need to log before completing an RCI Course / Rock Climbing Instructor Course:


27 July 2020

Mountain Skills 3 Syllabus

Mountain Skills 3 Syllabus
This is a non-official training course, only approved and certified by Outdoors Ireland and not Mountaineering Ireland. Course Directed By Nathan Kingerlee. This can follow on from Mountain Skills 1 and Mountain Skills 2; or can be completed as a stand alone course.

The two-day course covers the skills and techniques for scrambling ropework in the Irish and UK mountains.

Harness & Helmet
Rope Carrying
Rope Flaking
Rope Coiling
Tying In
Body Belaying From Above
Body Belaying From Below
Leading A Step
Seconding A Step
Placing Runners
Removing Runners

Safe Start
Safe Wrap
Safe Communication

Sling Anchor
Hex Anchor
Wire Anchor
Moving Together
Emergency Lower
Emergency Abseil

Route Card - Escape Route

Click Here To See Course Dates
Click Here To Book A Course

12 July 2020

Coronavirus - From A Practical Survival Approach (12)

Coronavirus - From A Practical Survival Approach (12)

Tip 1. Plan For The Future

While coronavirus was not the pure apocalyptic scenario - it did give a valuable insight into a potential complete emergency survival situation. It made us very aware of how reliant we can be on things like going to the supermarket for our food.

Some people laugh at the thought of a large scale emergency survival situation; others believe it very much to be on the cards. Now is the time, with the benefit of real experience and hindsight, to assess and re-plan for the future.

Plan, stock-up, build, train, practice for when something far more serious hits.

Even if it never hits - for some people - it can be such a great feeling, and such a great lifestyle, to be partially or fully self-sufficient, out of the matrix and off the grid. Or as much as you realistically can while holding down a full time job, supporting a family, paying a mortgage.

I hope these posts have been of interest. I am finished with them for now. In fact there has been a big gap recently as I took my own advice and started spending much more time gardening, training, fishing and foraging.

I run Bushcraft Survival Training Courses in Glengarriff/Cork if you are interested in upskilling; and if you are interested in survival gear I can recommend Prepper & Bushcraft Store in Macroom/Cork.

Asses and re-plan

12 April 2020

Coronavirus - From A Practical Survival Approach (11)

Tip 1. Kindling

Use dry days and dry weeks to stockpile kindling into boxes or bags. 2/3 pieces of proper newspaper, plus a large double handful of kindling will get your fire started; instead of being dependent on fire lighters.

Fire is really important for sterilizing water, cooking, heat, cleaning and morale. If fire lighters become scarce, or you decide you have more important things to spend your money on, then having dry kindling stockpiled makes lighting your fire/stove painless.

If missing newspaper then a handful of dead dry grass or reeds will take a flame from a match.

Kindling needs to be dead, lying on the ground, and dry; so pick your dry days.

Find some boxes or bags and get collecting kindling

3 April 2020

Coronavirus - From A Practical Survival Approach (10)

Tip 1. Gardening
Do you have a vegetable garden to supply some, or most, of your food? If things were far worse than where we currently find ourselves, with food becoming scarce, imagine the peace of mind if you could simply walk into your back garden and harvest your own vegetables...

Apart from the practical element of providing food, veg gardening can be great exercise, very therapeutic, incredibly satisfying, and keeps you right in touch with nature.

1. You probably do not have an acre of land to garden, but you probably have a back garden, a front lawn, a flower bed, window boxes, a flat roof, a balcony, an indoor sunroom, or something! Dig it up and plant it up!

2. Do you need the pavement or driveway that wraps around your house? Do you need the tarmac driveway that leads up to your house? Can you build veg boxes or throw down some topsoil on the tarmac and create a garden? Park the car at the bottom of your driveway.

3. People; sometimes individually, sometimes collectively; plant up areas of waste ground/common ground/park land. This is grey area - as you do not own the land - but it is being done. You become veg squatters.

4. Make a deal with someone nearby who owns land that is not being used. Perhaps you garden their field and in return you give them a percentage of your crops.

Good veg gardening is an awesome skill and a real art form. However in it's basic form it can also be pretty simple - just do it, make mistakes, learn, grow and harvest. Be organized, plan ahead, save seeds for the following year, and most of all wage war on slugs!

Getting started - advice from an experienced gardener is best of all, or a good book, or a good website.

You can dig a bed (photo 1). You can mulch the lawn with rotten hay/silage, seaweed, grass cuttings, old carpet, plastic sheeting; and plant down through the mulch (photo 2). You can build a raised bed (photo 3). You can build a veg box (photo 4).

Scrape back a circle in the mulch for each plant. Avoid seaweed touching the plant as the salt will burn. Make an x cut in the carpet or plastic sheeting and plant through the cut. The benefit of mulching is very little digging and prevents weeds. Beware of plastic sheeting flapping in the wind and uprooting your plants.

Potatoes are a nice crop to begin with and this is the time for planting.

Although you do not want to be dependent on a single crop, apparently in the 1800s one acre of potatoes could feed a large Irish family for a year.

I strongly recommend to buy organic seeds/plants, be organic, don't use pesticides, look after the soil and the earth - which is nurturing you.

I have always found the main pest to be slugs. They can be devastating. The only cure I have found personally for slugs is to hit the garden at night, pick them off, drop them into a container of boiling water to kill them, then into the compost heap where they can do some good, or feed them (dead) to the hens/ducks.

Convert your space for veg gardening
Get composting, digging, planting
Start small, keep it simple
Think ahead to winter and spring crops

Be vigilant for slugs