Finding Shelter

I took no photos this week, despite dragging my camera with me everywhere i went, so in the interests of making this a little nicer on the reader, i’ve included some old ones that you may have seen and that are relevant. 


Okay so the last post ended with me sat contented under The Witch enjoying a smoke and a biscuit. So what happened next?

In my previous post, i’d been a little higher and found a small cluster of problems not previously explored, near Lotus. As it turns out, Lotus is an extension to another problem, Meadow Roof 6c+ and there are a few other excellent options there, so i trotted up the hill to see if i can get a few more ticks in my guidebook.

After deciphering the problems of Meadow Crack 6c and Killer Weed 6c+, they were quickly dispatched, sadly not as a flash but done nonetheless. Meadow Crack was actually one of the problems i’d completed last time, albeit adjusting the finish slightly to avoid foliage and dampness.

Then it was up to Meadow Roof and a bit of an ethical conundrum: i’d done the first move already while trying Lotus so was the flash still on? I reasoned that as it wasn’t hard, it probably was and i had flashed that move the previous time. The point became moot very quickly though when i bottled it, the pad being behind me, and fluffed said move on the first go… Second go and despite a mildly sketchy topout, the problem was done and i was back down on the pad, enjoying a drink and eating biscuits.

It did cross my mind to spend some time getting on something else but i felt done to be honest; a convenient time to call it a day as it were. While not as successful as i’d hoped after ticking off The Witches Knickers, it was a good session regardless and i walked down smiling at my own good fortune.

Once down in the valley floor, i quickly checked out two potential projects: Jerry’s Wall 7a (7b sit start) and Twilight of the Idols 7c+. The former required a spotter, the latter more pads so i quickly had a look at the holds and called it a day, heading back for a bit of a rest before that evenings coaching session at the Beacon.

I’ve suddenly been coaching quite a lot, after completing the Foundation Coach Training at the back end of last year. There was nothing for about two months and then i seem to be doing at least two sessions a week! This particular one was with a Rock Chicks group at the Beacon, helping out a friend of mine and was the second session with the same group. It did not go well…

I’m learning as i go along with coaching, refining my skills and learning the best teaching methods for each type of student. With this group, as i’d already met them, i wanted to try putting some structure in place. The problem was that i hadn’t met them before – only some of them – and the ability level ranged from someone with fantastic technique and great ability to some who were just learning to belay…

I won’t go into a big analysis here, i’ve done that elsewhere but leave it to say my mind was on something else, and it just didn’t work. And it was coming: a first bad session will always come eventually. The group didn’t seem phased and thanked me greatly for my help, Clare (who runs the group) was very pleased and i left to think through how to move forward from it. And you get your biggest lessons from the sessions that didn’t work!

It’s led to me coining the phrase Snippet Coaching – a type of coaching where you allow the group to climb as they normally would, maybe choosing the discipline, and dip in and out with tips, tricks and refinements to improve small aspects of technique. [There is probably already a term for this but i like my own one if i’m honest.] For a large or varied group, it seems to be the most effective way to coach, albeit with a large potential to lead people down the wrong path. i’ll sit down soon and write down some guiding principles to keep things on track.

It works as well, as Wednesday i did my first dedicated Snippet Coaching session with Gerwyn and his social group. It was spot on and i climbed with a youngster called Cian, tweaking and suggesting as we both went along. It allowed for a much more flowing session, allowing us to just take the path that seemed most natural at the time. It also means there’s much less prep involved…

So you throw all these things into the mix – a successful outdoor session, a great learning experience from a shit coaching session and a great coaching session to show me i’m on the right idea – and then include a fantastic indoor session at the climbing wall at Plas y Brenin, where i ticked two long standing projects, and a happy personal life as well, and right now, there’s not really much else you could add into the mix to make me much happier. I seem to be on a roll and long may it continue!

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