Let's catch up with Caroline as they complete week one of climbing:
As twelve sleepy heads piled into our van and made the journey home from Wanaka to Queenstown there was a general consensus in the car. Week one of rock climbing was absolutely ace, but it also had us all ready for a pretty massive nap.
There is a huge range of experience and abilities on this program. It’s awesome. We all have something to learn from one and other. I myself fall into the lesser experienced category when it comes to rock climbing. Part of the reason I joined the program was to gain access and have the time to commit to learning the new skill. With that in mind, I came into the course very aware that the learning curve I was going to be up against may be significantly steeper than some of my peers.
Our instructors made it clear most of the information we were given regarding our NZOIA Rock Leader qualification would be relayed to us in the first two weeks of teaching. It became increasingly apparent that for myself, as someone relatively new to outdoor climbing, just how much I had to learn. As much as that may be true, as long as you’re up for the challenge and can manage your time effectively, it can be completely doable!
One of the key things we learned was the concept of resultant force and the critical angle when setting anchors and placing top ropes. This essentially means you’re trying to place the anchors that hold the rope with an angle which will not put excess strain on either of the bolts holding the gear. The further away you get from the critical angle it begins to put more and more unnecessary strain on the equipment.
As well as working hard to grasp the basics of rock climbing this week, it was also an opportunity to find the ‘critical angle’ whilst off the wall. Working out a way to find the balance for the work load of the course alongside leaving time for self care and continuing to get to know the other awesome people who are undergoing the program alongside you. Doing all of this while trying not to put excess strain on yourself.
It is important to try work within the critical angle to ensure all of your needs are met and you don’t find yourself burning out. Setting aside appropriate amounts of time to recharge. To study. To learn. To laugh. To reflect. To get to know the person beside you. When all of this is taken into account and everything given the adequate amount of attention, this is when the most can be taken away from the amazing AGP experience.