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Vertical Survival Skills Course
26 May 2016

Self-Rescue 1 with Simon and Monique

Simon and Monique are back again with stories from their Self Rescue 1 Course…

Not long after the Indoor to Outdoor Conversion course, we scrounged up some money and invested in some outdoor climbing gear. Between our uni and work commitments, days at the crag were less frequent than we’d hoped. I’m sure we are not alone in this sentiment – I think most get to the crag less frequently than they’d like. We made the most of our time we had though, squeezing in afternoon climbs at Mt Keira and escaping to Nowra or the Blue Mountains when a free day opened.

After a year of climbing, we were pretty confident with the basics of sport climbing we’d learnt from the Indoor to Outdoor Conversion course. However, we both wanted to continue to improve both our climbing abilities and knowledge.  We were pretty keen for a few extra climbing skills to set ourselves up for future projects involving multi-pitch, top-belays, and abseil-access climbs. So we decided to enrol in the Self Rescue 1 Course: a two-day course, which was the perfect progression to learn new techniques to get more out of our climbing. It was really about feeling safe on the rope and learning how to maneuver ourselves out of sticky situations if they arose.

For day one, we had a quick refresher of knots and learnt how to abseil using different devices. With our knots and abseil technique sorted, we learnt the art of the prusik. We were a small group of 5 and each had an anchor point set up side by side.  We consecutively abseiled down our rope with an abseil device of our choosing. Once down on the ground it was time to ascend the rope by prusiking back up. Naturally, after around 30 seconds of maneuvering up the rope and trying to find our own points of efficiency, the prusiking turned into a silent race, the type of race where no one admits that they’re actually racing but everyone secretly wants to reach the top first. After the self-induced high-speed intensity of prusiking, we had plenty of time left to learn a range of lock-off techniques.

Cloudy abseil

Due to the stormy weather, the second day of our Self Rescue Course was rescheduled for a couple weeks later. Day two built upon the abseil, prusiking and safe lock offs, using all three newly learnt skills to transition from ascending and descending a rope. We problem-solved our way out of hypothetical situations like bypassing knots. Really useful for our kit of climbing related skills. The weather held out for us most of the day, however the clouds rolled in late afternoon, sealing the awesome two-day course with some epic abseiling and rock climbing in the rain.

Misty abseil

Luck was on our side and the following couple of days were blue skies. Making Mt York our base, we explored Dam Cliffs and Mezzaluna on good recommendation from our guide Marty, practicing and weaving in skills learnt over the two-day course.

Once again we had an amazing time and learnt lots with Climbing School! Next stop, multi-pitch climbing 🙂

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