Beginner Climbing Courses

 

1. Rock Climbing Skills Course – MDT certified!

If you want to learn the basics of rock climbing then these are the climbing courses for you! Learn the skills of moving over near vertical rock using the roping skills and techniques of a climber.

The Rock Climbing Skills Course is an introductory personal recreational training course, which provides training for those who wish to be introduced to the sport of rock climbing. The course covers both Traditional and Sport climbing skills. The two days are spent enjoying easy to moderate climbs in a safe and non threatening environment.

The course is run under the syllabus of the Mountain Development Trust and a Certificate of Attendance is issued after the course.

Duration: 2 days

Monteseel. Republic Left Break during our outdoor climbing courses

Monteseel. Republic Left Break

The course covers:
Equipment care and usage
Seconding of Traditional and Sport climbs
Types of climbing activities
Terminology and communication in climbing
Anchors, knots and tying in
Movement on rock
Belay skills
Personal abseiling
Solving common rock climbing related problems
Emergency Procedures
MDT and NQF training and qualification structure and skills

And either of the following:
Leading single-pitch sport climbs
Further Trad seconding skills

2. Beginner Mountaineering Course

Duration: 3 Days

Venue: Monteseel, near Durban or Eagle Rock, near Harrismith, and the final day climbing Sentinel Peak in the northern Drakensberg.

This course is specifically designed to give a beginner a basic grounding and introduction to mountaineering. It covers the basics of rock climbing and abseiling and then goes on to train clients in techniques which are often used on higher mountains outside of South Africa. These include jummaring, short-roping and simul-climbing. These last three techniques are often employed by guiding companies on such mountains as Mt Blanc, Mt. Elbrus and Mt. Everest. It is therefore especially useful for people who intend to climb outside of South Africa, but who have done little or no technical mountaineering.

How the course happens:

Day 1
Introduction to equipment and clothing
Rock climbing technique and style
Belaying and seconding of climb
Abseiling
This day includes several actual rock climbs and abseils

Day 2
Simul climbing
Ascending a fixed rope with single and double jummars
Moving together: simul climbing and short-roping
Self-rescue: prusiking

Day 3
Accent of Sentinel Peak, northern Drakensberg. Either by the North Face Route (also called the Angus-Leppan Route) or via the easier Standard Route. The North Face route consists of 7 pitches and is easy to moderate rock-climbing. The climbing is never very difficult, but clients must have a good head for heights.

Angus Leppan Route on the Sentinel during our outdoor climbing courses

Angus Leppan Route on the Sentinel

The first 2 days are either run at Monteseel near to Durban or at Eagle Rock near Harrismith. Either way towards the end of the second day we drive to Witsieshoek Hotel near to Sentinel Peak. Spend the night and then do the main climb the next day. The Eagle Rock venue will suit Gauteng-based clients more. There are different options in price depending on the venue used and the standard of accommodation. A decision will be made on the second day about whether the North Face or the easier Standard Route gets climbed on the Sentinel, this depends on how fit the clients are and their rock-climbing ability.

Accommodation:
If run at Monteseel, clients need to find their own accommodation in the Durban or Pietermaritzburg area. The last night is at Witsieshoek Hotel and this is included in the course fee.

If run at Eagle Rock near Harrismith, we sleep in tents at Eagle Rock for 1 night (the camping here is self-catering) and the second night is at Witsieshoek Hotel and both these nights are included in the course fee.

Note this course is not MDT certified.

3. Ice Climbing Skills – MDT Certified!

Ice climbing is a sport of good balance, good weight to strength ratio and good technique.

Water-ice climbs form every year in the Drakensberg and the routes are usually climbable from mid June to late August.

The roping skills are similar to rock-climbing and the protection points are from special screws inserted into the ice. The Ice Climbing Skills Course is a personal recreational training course, providing training for those who wish to learn to climb single and multi pitch water-ice routes. The Drakensberg is the perfect venue for this and this course takes place at Sani Pass or at Bokong in Lesotho. Accommodation is included in the price.

How the course happens:

There are two possible venues:
Sani Pass: We usually stay in Sani Top Backpackers for 2 nights and hike out to the climbs each morning. The Backpackers is situated at the top of the Sani Pass 4×4 road. There is bedding, a self-catering kitchen area and a lounge. The pub is 5 minutes away. Valid passports are needed. If clients do not have 4×4 vehicles we usually make a plan to get a lift up the pass.

Bokong in northern Lesotho, near the Katse Dam: We stay in small huts about 30 minutes walk from the car and 5 minutes from the climbs. There is a good tar road all the way. Valid passports are needed. There is bedding and a self catering kitchen area.

We provide all the boots, crampons, rope, helmets, harnesses and ice axes. But food is not included in the fee – all self catering.

The course is run under the syllabus of the Mountain Development Trust and a Certificate of Attendance is issued after the course.

Duration: 3 days

Climbing French Wench during our outdoor climbing courses

Climbing French Wench

The course covers:
Equipment care and usage
Ice climbing equipment and care
Introduction to placing ice protection equipment, including multi-point anchors
Route finding
Ice climbing grading systems
Seconding ice climbs
Introduction to lead ice climbing
Easy multi pitch climbing, including single and double rope techniques
Escape / retreat / V threads from multi-pitch ice routes
Emergency procedures
MDT and NQF training and qualification structure and skills

4. Snow Climbing Skills – MDT certified!

Planning on climbing in the greater rangers of the world? Then you need to know the skills of moving up, down and across steep snow in the high mountains.

The Snow Climbing Skills Course is a personal recreational training course which provides training for those who wish to learn to climb snow climbs and snow gullies on the African continent. It is also the perfect way to learn the skills needed to climb in the greater ranges of the world. If climbing Elbrus or Aconcagua or similar peaks, this is also the course for you.

How the course happens:
The course usually takes place at Garden Castle in the southern Drakensberg near Underberg town. We usually stay in Pillar Cave for 2 nights and hike out to the climbs each morning. Pillar Cave is an easy 1.5 hour hike from the road-head. We provide all the boots, crampons, rope, helmets, harnesses and ice axes.

The course is run under the syllabus of the Mountain Development Trust and a Certificate of Attendance is issued after the course.

Duration: 3 days

Mweni snow hike during our outdoor climbing courses

Mweni snow hike

The course covers:

Snow climbing equipment care and usage
Weather patterns
Introduction to placing and building snow belays
Properties of the snow pack
Snow climbing grading systems
Introduction to lead snow climbing
Moving together in a roped party
Escape / retreat from snow climbs
Snow hole shelters and bivvies
Avalanche awareness
Crevasse awareness
Emergency procedures
Introduction to high altitude health problems and their avoidance
MDT and NQF training and qualification structure and skills

Gavin Raubenheimer

Gavin is the owner & operator of Peak High Mountaineering. He is a certified Mountaineering Instructor (M.I.A.) endorsed by the Mountain Development Trust of SA. He is a NQF National Mountaineering (level 7), Cultural and Nature Guide (level 4). Gavin is a past President of the KwaZulu-Natal Section of the Mountain Club of SA. He has been involved in mountain rescue since 1992 and since 2005 has been the Convener of Mountain Rescue in the province. Want Gavin and his team at Peak High to guide you on a hike? Put yourself in the hands of the certified and experienced experts in mountain hiking, guiding and climbing. See Gavin's Google + profile