When the going gets tough the tough get going. It’s always been one of our favourite sayings at C2S and never more appropriate than when in the mountains.
Being able to endure is a necessary skill for every mountaineer and hill walker. Both physical and mental endurance are key.
Being tired isn’t an excuse in the hills your body can go through alot more effort than you think it can. Keep pushing through those barriers and you’ll surprise yourself at what you can do. Going uphill.. take smaller steps but take them more often and you’ll be surprised at the energy you can save. Going downhill… dont fight your body, find a comfortable pace and keep at that speed, all you have to do is keep up with your feet.
Mental endurance is alot different. To be an effective team member in the hills you’ve got to be mentally active. Keeping your brain working effectively when you are physically tired is a hard skill to master but its essential when in the hills. There are so many small things to pay attention to, especially when doing activities like navigating. Having a rough idea of where you are, where you’ve been, the direction you’re travelling, the abilities of your group and the route you chose, any one of these can be taxing mentally but you should be able to do all of this and more, especially in adverse weather conditions.
City to Summit can help advise ways to train both your body and your mind to prepare you for the hills and be a safety framework when you are practicing these skills in real life.
The mountains are an amazing leveller. Everyone has skills that are useful in the hills and everyone has weaknesses they need to train in and improve.
Bad judgement leads to experience, experience becomes knowledge if you learn and improve so that the chances of it or something similar happening again are lowered.
You’re navigating out in the hills and something goes wrong and you’re not sure where you are. You stop, check your map and realise you took a bearing wrong a while ago. What do you do? You go back the way you came and start again from the last place you knew where you were right? You then take a new bearing, make it to your next point and finish your hill day.
That’s knowledge and experience gain right there. Now to capitalise on this you take the opportunity when you get home to refresh yourself on how to take and follow a bearing.
This is another of those teachable moments weve spoke so much about before. Every time we’re out in the hills theres always lessons to be learnt for those that want to.
A hill day with City to Summit will broaden your horizons in the hills, and give you a new idea of what is and isnt possible if you put your mind to it.
One of our favourite mountains here at City to Summit is Cadair Idris.
We see Cadair as one of the best mountains in terms of training value. Sheer cliff faces, scrambles, little to no footpaths, boulder fields, very questionable weather conditions. Cadair Idris has it all.
Chances are, if you were to come on some of our courses, and we had the opportunity to plan it for you, you would see Cadair a few times.
From a teaching perspective Cadair gives us endless possibilities for learning.
Navigation can be difficult due both to the lack of footpaths and obvious signs, but also due to the inclement weather that is very common.
Rope work and technical skills, cadair has alot of crags and cliffs, something for us to offer in terms of climbing or abseiling.
From a military point of view it is a very good hill day with lots of teachable moments for everyone to learn from. Tactically there are lots of chances for point men to practice their navigation and route selection for their patrol. Lots of challenging moments for patrol commanders to control the movement of their men.
Something a little more sobering today. Something a little less happy bit none the less just as important.
Today City to Summit remembers Rifleman William Aldridge who sadly lost his life on this day in 2009 in Afghanistan.
The following was taken from the Government website written about a very dear friend:
Rifleman Will Aldridge joined C Company 2 RIFLES in Ballykinler, Northern Ireland, in December 2008 at seventeen years of age, after attending The Army Foundation College at Harrogate and completing his Infantry Training in Catterick. Rifleman Aldridge completed pre-deployment training for Afghanistan with his Platoon but was unable to deploy on tour until he turned 18 on 23 May 2009. Rifleman Aldridge played a key role with the Battalion’s Rear Party in Ballykinler, guarding the families of those already in Afghanistan until he was old enough to deploy himself. Rifleman Aldridge was fiercely proud of being one of the very youngest British soldiers in Helmand.
Rifleman Aldridge was killed by an IED blast in Sangin on 10 July 2009 whilst helping to extract casualties from a previous explosion in which he too had been injured.
Here at City to Summit we’re hugely into respect in a mountain environment.
Respect for others, whether those others are on your climbing team or are just other people that will be sharing the mountains with you.
Respect for your team comes in many different ways, knowing your fellow climbers limits of ability, means if you’re navigating for the group you know the best route to take to achieve your objective. From a military standpoint you’ve got to ensure the safety of the blokes following you, take them on the best route, on the route least likely to meet enemy resistance of any kind.
Respect for other people on the mountains comes in other, smaller, gestures. Taking your litter home with you, not vandalising areas of climbable rock, little things like that make the mountain so much more enjoyable for those that climb the hills after you.
Lastly comes respect for the mountain itself. Some of this crosses over on what was mentioned before, things like leaving nothing but footprints, taking nothing but memories. Any rubbish you take up the hills with you, take it home dont leave it behind. Keep your dogs and pets under control especially around live stock and other wild animals.
Mountaineering is a strange passion. It’s both incredibly selfish and incredibly selfless at the same time.
Sure you can be away for days, weeks or even months at a time tackling your next big mountain dream.
But you very rarely climb anything of note on your own. Most good mountains are a team effort, and as such you are responsible not just for your own safety but for theirs to.
Nothing is as selfless as having the power to look after other people.
Here at City to Summit we not only have the selfless commitment to ensure your safety out on the hills, no matter what we are teaching we are always ready to step in and take over if necessary. But we can also teach you the skills that will enable you to selflessly help and assist other members of your team.
Navigation, so you can get yourself and your team off the hills in any weather or at the very least be able to accurately tell others where you are in an emergency.
Rope skills, we can give you a taster of the skills required in other difficult terrain to help each other reach the summit, or help get each other down safely.
For both civilians and military personnel alike these skills can be essential but for different things and delivered in different ways.
Mountaineering is a sport that thrives on being disciplined. Mainly disciplined with yourself and disciplined with your kit and equipment.
Self discipline is a hard thing to teach and learn, it takes an inner desire to be the best at what you want to do. The C2S team can help you achieve this goal but like all of the values and standards we work by we can not give it to you, only you can give it to yourself.
Kit discipline is another entity all together. You will see from watching our instructors that we are very specific about the kit we own and use and even more specific about the kit we will take out into the mountains with us. Having a smaller packing list that allows us to do multiple things with most items is essential for us to achieve this disciple with our kit. Only taking out an item from our bag when it is needed and immediately replacing it in the same spot when we no longer require its use.
The team is also highly disciplined in its fitness routines. Climbing a mountain requires effort, the more we train and familiarise our bodies with the effort it will take the less our bodies suffer on the hills, the easier it is to keep a clear head when that is needed and not panic when things go wrong.
Loyalty in the mountains is a bit of a weird one. Its taken me a good couple of days to come up with this one.
Loyalty can be demonstrated in many ways; staying by a friend when they’re struggling with something. Doing the right thing by the group even tho it makes your life harder, not revieling a secret someone has told you.
From a mountaineering viewpoint loyalty is something else completely, things like never leaving your climbing/ walking partner to struggle alone, being loyal to the countryside and the animals that call it home by taking your rubbish home with you and doing everything within your power to get an injured or scared climber away from the mountain and back down to safety.
Loyalty is a massive part of mountaineering but it’s something that cant be taught, you’re either a loyal person ready to stand by your oppo whatever the problems you face or you’re not that kind of person.
Whether this person is you or not you can rest assured that City to Summit will stand by you and deliver a safe, fun and exciting mountain experience whatever it is you would like to do. If we can do it, we will do it.
The first of the Values of the british army. Courage is just as big and important in a mountain environment as it is on the battlefield.
So how does courage transgress onto the mountain side?
Courage appears In many different ways:
To safely lead a group of people up a mountain is a big responsibility and takes courage to carry out effectively.
To know when the time is to turn back and having the courage to stand by your decisions, especially when it effects the group.
To be able to scramble up or climb a cliff, takes a lot of both physical and mental courage.
From a military mountaineering stand point, there are many instances of courage specific to this terrain, being the first man up or down a cliff before coming face to face with a potential hostile presence. Taking point leading your patrol into potentially hostile terrain,the weather is bad, the going is tough and the enemy could be anywhere.
These are just a few examples of the types of courage that a course with City to Summit can help you improve.
With an increase in experience comes an increase in skills, comes an increase in self belief leading to an increase in the courage you have in yourself.