Friday, 14 October 2016

Peak Mountaineering: Introductory Climbing Course – A Review


As mentioned in my previous post I wanted to look at participating in an introductory climbing course. The reason is to improve my basic rope skills and climbing skills to help aid in my mountaineering course next February and, going forward, hopefully in the Alps. I chose Peak Mountaineering due to online reviews.


Booking was straight forward and easy. Communication with Paul and Cal was excellent. If you have any questions or issues they are on the ball and get back to you within a day or two. I got the impression that they are very people and do their best to keep in touch.

The location

The location is quite large. If you have any experience of the Peak District's climbing areas, you will know that there are a lot of locations to chose from. Mandy, our instructor for the two days course chose Stanage and Upper Burbage.

The Course Structure

The course predominantly looked at the basics of the act of climbing. We spent quite a lot of time on the use of our climbing shoes, building confidence in their function of griping the rock. We did some basic bouldering to build on this training, learning some exercises we could take away to practise. We saw and experienced how to set up top anchors for the top and bottom roping. And we were able to practise the safe way to belay a climber using a couple of different belay devices.

The Twin Chimney, our first climbs.

We also covered a lot of other aspects of climbing. A major topic was safety, the single most important subject we covered the entire weekend. Mandy took us through the use of guide books so you can find your intended climb, the tying of knots and many other skills we needed to learn and practise. There was a lot of information crammed into the two days, but at a pace and quantity that it didn't cause an overload.

The Instruction

As an instructor Mandy was brilliant. She had a really great approach to how she taught us. I have had twelve years experience as a martial arts instructor and I have to say that the quality of her instruction was at a very high level. She had a lot of patience and was able to vary her instruction to the needs of the individual. For me personally, she altered my approach to my limitation with my right arm, giving me alternative ways to try and overcome what is essentially more a psychological than a physical limitation. Thank you Mandy.

The author free climbing a chimney without the use of his right hand.

The three of us on the course are looking to return to Peak Mountaineering for further rock climbing courses and would be more than happy to have Mandy as our instructor.


I have to say the I really enjoyed my two days. I found out what I can do and felt after the course that I have a lot more to find within myself. I don't think I have reached the limit of my climbing ability, but the course put in place the basics I need to start pushing further. I plan to return and do an intermediate course next year and maybe onto a lead climbers course. Highly recommended.

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