UKCG single pitch canyon guide assessment
 
G2 sent three intepid staff to Kinlochleven on the west coast to be eaten my midges and be tested as canyon guides. Bastien, Conner and Kevin attended a UK Canyon guide “single pitch guide” assessment run by Ben Starkie. Involving two days testing personal and leadership skills in enclosed steep rivers.
Day one was a personal skills day and started with a speed test tying knots and zip line making (guided abseils). Once proving themselves not to be total numpties they headed off to do the awesome “Van Halen” canyon followed by Bob the canyon dog barking for stones. After they proved how little time they could hold their breaths diving deep down for lost kit, they were whisked off to the much more committing and scary “Grey mares tail” canyon. A much more enclosed canyon with more serious problem solving and a two pitch 80 metre abseil out of the water fall it self.
Back to base for our exam paper with much whispering….then dinner, beer, pool, AC-DC and drone destruction.
Day two was the group leadership test day with real live clients…….well, volunteers.
They elected to do the Nathrach canyon. A fun adventurous trip which an be spilt into three separate sections. With big fat rain drops coming down they started to move quicker until the final 45 mins got huge and they evacuated out before the end but not before some hairy situations and high flows.
In the end it was a great test of leadership for the boys and everyone passed with a cool new UKCG tee shirt which they haven’t taken off since.
Below are some pictures of the course. The guys rated it as one of the best delivered and most testing assessments they have yet done. Well done Ben.
Conner and Bastien check out Inshree falls on the night before the assessment
The speed knot test!!

 

Guided abseil, beast!
The final abseil at Grey mares tail.
Bob the canyon dog, buying shots
The poor volunteer clients at the start of Nathrach canyon.

 

Bastien gets a sketchy multi pitch abseil for this first leader section and nailed it!
Patient clients, thanks guys
Double bum slide abseils are not graceful
“1…2…..push!!!”
Watch the fear in his eyes abseil after a 10 meter (30ft) jump and then abseil, notice a tiny Frenchman over his shoulder, keeping things metric.
The innocent smile of someone who doesn’t realise the river is rising…. fast!
We all jumped from the tree on the left into the pool above the falls, had to catch clients and then abseil them down the falls. A very exciting section!

 

Looks like an innocent wee slide
Watch while people spin round and round till they are roped out. Our Guide Kevin went round eight times, saw his life flash before his eyes and finally swam out under water……scary.

 

Legends……..and Ben….

 

The final section had a sting in the tail. A tensioned diagonal was used to escape the flooding canyon. Poor Kevin feared for his life again trying to swim across with the rope.

 

10 minutes later they were out and looking at the torrent below!

 

Back to Vertical descents in time for tea and medals. Even the toilets are positive thinking kind of places thanks to inspirational posters.

 

Thanks to Ben Starkie our canyon guru, Mike Gale our lifestyle guru at G2 Outdoors, Bob the canyon dog for slimy balls and all at Vertical descents.

Big congrats to Bastien “Non” Demange, Conner “Beast” Black and Kevin “fear of death” Maule on becoming canyon Ninjas……..now get to work!!!

Remember……….Danger never sleeps and Drones and tequila don’t mix!

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