West Highland College, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands, has two new degree courses to go along with the Adventure Tourism Management course that has been running for a few years now. Adventure Performance and Coaching is a B.Sc. course and Marine and Coastal Tourism. With more students studying in Fort William there are more coaching days for local providers and more people getting out onto the crags in Glen Nevis. Today was a great day at Poldubh with several teams of student climbers out having fun and a few coaching teams.
Jenny and Bala'sz have done quite a lot of indoor climbing and sport climbing before but little lead climbing outdoors so we got down to the nuts and bolts (well, cams) of climbing. We practised placing nuts, hexes, slings and cams at ground level and chatted through the pros and cons of each. We then climbed Pinnacle Ridge to consider the mechanics of placing protection on the lead.
Up at Pine Wall Crag we covered belay set ups before going up The Gutter in four pitches. This is a fantastic climb for your first lead. There are lots of protection placements and good belay stances, and the climbing is straightforward so you can concentrate on the gear. The guys soaked it all up very well and we went on to do a quick abseil using a prussic as a safety back up. It was nice to see a baby Scots Pine growing out of Pine Wall too!