Multi-Pitch Climbing Courses
Multi-pitch rock climbing is for many the ultimate goal in climbing; the main event! Sport Climbing, Bouldering, and all other disciplines of climbing are simply used as training and seen as a necessary step to get better at multipitch climbing.
Being able to multi-pitch climb in Snowdonia opens up a whole new world of climbing. In the Llanberis Pass alone there are 10 major crags and 20 smaller crags. A little further up this same road and you'll find Lliwedd, the tallest cliff in all of England and Wales. In this small selection alone, there are hundreds of climbs which are only accessible to the multi-pitch rock climber.
What is Multi-Pitch Climbing?
The term multi-pitch comes from the fact that there are multiple "pitches" - a "pitch" being considered as one rope length.
As you climb, you trail a climbing rope behind you, clipping the rope into the protection you’ve placed as you go. In the event of a fall, your partner, holding the opposite end of the rope, “catches” the fall as your weight comes onto the placed protection).
In single-pitch climbing, the height of the cliff must be shorter than the length of the rope you are using (usually 50-60m). Multipitch climbing however enables you climb far bigger cliffs. When the climber reaches the end of the rope, they place protection to make themselves safe, at which point their climbing partner climbs up to join them. They then proceed to climb the next pitch, usually taking it in turns to climb the next pitch first.
Climbing in this way means that there is no limit to the height of the cliff you can climb and leads to all day, and even multiple day ascents.
Is Multi-Pitch Climbing Right for Me?
These rock climbing courses have been designed in such a way that each course builds on the skills developed during the course before it. Depending on your experience and/or confidence, you could jump straight into, for example, sea cliff or multi-pitch climbing, however, we recommend completing our rock climbing courses in the following sequence:
- Introduction to Climbing or Climbing Indoors
- Learning to Lead Sport Climbs
- Single Pitch Traditional Climbing
- Multi-pitch Rock Climbing
- Sea Cliff Climbing
- Improvised Rescue
This sequence of climbing courses gives a natural progression, each course building on the skills developed in the one before it. We do not stipulate this as a requirement, but completing the courses in this order will give you more time to absorb and develop the skills learnt before progressing onto something more challenging. Rather than being put into a situation you are not comfortable with, you will instead gradually develop confidence and proficiency and as result develop into a more well-rounded climber.
What will I Learn?
The list below explains the main learning objectives for this Multi-Pitch Climbing course.
Abseiling is the act of descending a rope, usually to get back down a cliff, or to get to the bottom of a sea cliff in order to start a climb. A friction device, commonly a belay device, is used to control the descent speed. On this course you will learn how to abseil safely, taking into consideration what happens in the event of an emergency such as the rope getting jammed in the belay device or a rock falling on you mid abseil.[ Hide ]
The risks in climbing are numerous and each climbing discipline has its own hazards. Falling is the obvious risk, but you will also learn about other hazards relevant to the course. This could be warming up the muscles effectively, keeping out of the path of falling rocks, or prevent carabiners from being cross-loaded.[ Hide ]
Belaying is the act of holding a rope for a climbing partner. So that a climber doesn't hit the ground when they fall, they attach themselves to a rope. When they fall, they fall onto the rope and the rope takes their weight. Climbing is done in pairs as there needs to be somebody at the opposite end of the rope to keep hold of it. The person holding the rope is known as the belayer.
Rather than holding the rope directly, the belayer uses a belay device attached to their climbing harness to add friction and make it easier to hold the rope. A belay device makes it possible to hold the weight of a falling climber.
There are many types of belay devices available. Some are specific to different types of climbing, some accommodate one rope, some are intended for use with two ropes, and there are many specialist devices available. Knowing which one to use, and how to use it correctly, in any given situation is fundamental to climbing safely.[ Hide ]
As part of this course you will learn belay stance organisation. Keeping your belay stance organised is extremely important to efficient climbing. Without a well organised belay stance you could inadvertently force a fall because the rope has become stuck. We look at the most efficient belay setups to facilitate a smooth transition to climbing the next pitch, as well as how to organise your belay stance depending on who is going to be climbing next.[ Hide ]
Building a Belay
In traditional climbing, where a climber places their own protection rather than relying on pre-placed bolts, when reaching the top of the climb a climber must construct a belay stance. This is usually a combination of equipment types which provide a single point in which to clip the rope. This makes it safe for their climbing partner to then start climbing up to the belay stance, retrieving any placed protection on their way. In order for this to be safe, the belay needs to be correctly equalised and have redundancy. On this course you will learn how to build a safe and efficient belay.[ Hide ]
Good communication is imperative when climbing as a miscommunication could prove fatal. The biggest risk is usually the person on the ground letting go of the rope when the climber is attempting a difficult section. For example, a climber psychologically preparing themselves by saying "let's go" could easily be misinterpreted by their partner as "let go". On this course you will learn a set of standardised communication phrases which are intended to avoid such scenarios.[ Hide ]
At Climb Wales we take conservation seriously and this is embedded in all of the climbing and mountaineering courses that we offer. One of the many great things about climbing is interaction with nature. During the course we will look at how to minimise impact and ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy the same luxuries as we do.[ Hide ]
During the course you will learn to use a variety of climbing equipment. There are some aspects of equipment which are universal to all disciplines of climbing, such as climbing shoes, harness, helmet, ropes, belay devices and carabiners. Some items are specific to a particular discipline though and won't be the focus of other climbing courses, for example, during our multipitch climbing courses we will look at twin and half ropes but it's unlikely that these will be the focus of any of our other courses. On the sea cliff climbing course you will learn to use jumars and prusiks. And on the single pitch trad climbing course you will learn to place nuts, cams and hexes.[ Hide ]
Ethics has played an incredibly important part in shaping UK climbing, perhaps more so than in any other country. During this course you will learn about ethics in climbing and how it impacts what we do.[ Hide ]
"I've got no friends and my nuts are too small" is a phrase that many climbers have found themselves shouting down to their climbing partners. Snatch the Gaston, Undercling the flatty, Flag into an Egyptian, Dyno to the Crimper, Mantle on the Sloper and get ready to Dog the Flash... By the end of this course you will speak climbing lingo with the best of them.[ Hide ]
Knots are an integral part of climbing and an extremely important link in a chain intended to keep us alive. For sport climbing the most important knot is the figure-eight, for multipitch and trad we extend the use of knots further with clove and Italian hitches, prusiks, bowlines and more. As part of this climbing course you will learn to tie and inspect knots appropriate to the discipline of climbing and how to ensure their safety.[ Hide ]
For some, lead climbing is climbing. That is to say that lead climbing is the pure essence of climbing. You can arrive at a climber wall and find that some kind person has already left a rope hanging from the ceiling. You tie into one end and your belay partner takes the other. In this scenario you can fall off the wall safe int he knowledge that you have a rope above you. But what happens when you climb outdoors and there is no kind person to set up a rope for you? In this instance you have to lead climb, that is, to climb whilst trailing the rope below you. As you climb you clip the rope into runners (pieces of protection), in sport climbing this will be a purpose-built bolt which might be drilled and glued into the rock, in traditional climbing you will have to create your own protection using the natural features of the rock. In the event of a fall, you no longer have the rope to catch you immediately, and instead will fall part your last runner and keep falling until the rope becomes taut. Lead climbing is essential to climbing outdoors, and as was said earlier, to climb is to lead climb, but there are numerous mistakes which can be made and which you will learn to avoid as part of this course. You will learn to lead climb in a safe environment under the watchful eye of our experienced instructors and slowly gain in confidence your first "live" lead climb.[ Hide ]
During this climbing course you will learn about the legislation surrounding climbing, such as access permission, bird bans, and insurance.[ Hide ]
An irrational fear of falling is one of the biggest inhibitors in climbing. During this course you will learn how to manage fear as well as develop mental tactics to leverage your ability and ensure a good performance on the rock.[ Hide ]
To prevent a falling climber from hitting the floor, climbers periodically place climbing equipment into natural rock features as they climb. In the event of a fall, the equipment catches the rope and minimise the distance of a fall. On this course you will learn about how to place a variety or protection in different scenarios, the types of placements to avoid, and how to get creative when it seems like there is no way of protecting the next part of the climb.[ Hide ]
Protecting a second
When leading a climb it is easy to focus too much on protecting yourself and not enough on making the climb safe for your partner who will climb behind you. On this climbing course you will learn about the situations where problems arise and how to avoid them.[ Hide ]
Prusiks are an important part of the equipment arsenal and as they weigh so little so be present on almost any rack. On this course you will learn about the different types of prusiks and how to protect an abseil, to ascend a rope, to assist a belay and a host of other uses for prusiks.[ Hide ]
There are many types of ropes used in climbing; dynamic ropes, static ropes, single ropes, twin ropes, half ropes, hybrids, and many different weights and thicknesses from a number of manufacturers. During this climbing course you will learn to decide which rope to use for ta particular type of climbing.[ Hide ]
Top-Roping is often confused with Bottom-Roping, so much so that the two terms have almost become interchangeable. Top roping is where the person holding the rope, the belayer, is situated above the climber. Top roping is most often used in traditional climbing where a climbing partner will follow a climber and retrieve all of the pieces of protection which were placed by the climber.[ Hide ]
Traversing is the name given to climbing sideways. Often in climbing you will find that the way above is bared, perhaps by a large overhanging obstacle, and the climber will therefore having to climb sideways to avoid the obstacle. Doing so can create a number of problems if it isn't managed correctly both for the lead climber and their climbing partner. On this climbing course you will learn how to traverse safely and avoid the problems which can arise.[ Hide ]
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