Spring Shoots

17th Apr 2013


Every year the grassy area outside Peak Mountaineering's office fills with snowdrops.  I should point out that I mean the flower variety rather the type that falls from the sky.....although if I'd been writing this only a week ago there'd have been plenty of that kind too!  It's a beautiful time of year.  Despite a late show of force the Winter is slowly waving goodbye for another year as our little planet tilts once more to position us closer to the sun.  It's a time to reflect on the winter that's just gone as well as get excited for the host of Spring, Summer and Autumn adventures that await........

It's been a great winter.  Our best guiding winter ever.  We've had a host of clients enjoying some amazing conditions in the Scottish mountains.  As usual our ever popular winter mountaineering course has been the top seller, which is no surprise to us as it's a belter.  It combines essential winter skills with easier graded climbs allowing participants to get right off the beaten track and learn some essential skills to enjoy their own mountaineering adventures.  Second in popularity is our 3 day winter skills course.  2 days of key skills and then a chance to put it all into practice on the third 'mountain journey' day.  We also, of course, have our winter climbing adventures.  It seems to us that winter climbing is more popular than ever and there has certainly been more clients than ever seeking some vertical action and, luckily, enjoying some stunning winter conditions.  This winter we've had people on ascents from grade 2 to 5 routes and everything in between.  
As I write this winter is only just losing it's a grip on the mountains and there are still some options for clients wanting winter guiding despite our last scheduled winter mountaineering course having run a couple of weekend's ago.  As always at this time of year we are evaluating what we could do differently next year and we'll be scheduling in the 2014 course dates over the next few weeks for any early birds that want to book well in advance.  
One important piece of feedback has been that many clients would like accommodation to be provided on courses so we'll be offering that option next year.  We have found the perfect base right in the middle of the Lochaber winter action.  This means we can offer evening lectures as well as an on-site bar and very comfortable facilities.  It will make life much easier for clients and provide a more cohesive package.  But, and this is very exciting news for us, we will also be aiming to keep our prices the same as 2013...even with accommodation!  More details to follow soon. 
But as well as looking back our attention now turns towards warmer weather activities.  Here's a roundup of some of the great opportunities on offer this year…….
Envirotrek and the Peak District Outdoor & Walking Festival 
We have some very special events that we really hope you can join us for.  We are joining forces again with Active Peak for the Peak District Outdoor and Walking Festival.  This is a brilliant way to celebrate the beauty and opportunity of Britain's first and most popular national park.  As usual Peak Mountaineering is offering a host of climbing, biking, navigation and walking options suitable for beginners, intermediates and families - and all at discounted prices.  
For the second consecutive year we are also hosting the Peak District Envirotrek.  This unique event is a collective celebration of environmental activism combined with some great outdoor activities.  It's suitable for all the family and offers a full day's activity at very minimal cost and even includes a delicious barbecue lunch and Keen Footwear goody bag. What a brilliant way to enjoy the park and give something back at the same time.  We really hope you can get involved.
Peak District Courses
Our activities in the Peak District have always been the life blood of Peak Mountaineering.  Climbing, biking, walking, navigation, first aid courses, NGB qualifications, corporate and stag and hen events.  We are perfectly positioned to offer it all.  Whether you are new to an activity or looking to further develop your skills.  There is something in our schedule for everyone.
One example of our more specialist courses is our extremely popular Learn to Lead course.  So popular, in fact, that last year we ran more of these 2 day development courses than ever and we expect 2013 to be just as, or more, popular (we've already run 4 this year and there are several more over the coming weeks).  When we started climbing we learnt by trial and error.  This worked (we are still here after all!) but we had plenty of scary moments along the way and it took a while to pick up the skills.  Getting some high quality instruction for your lead climbing journey is money very well spent.  Full details of our 2013 courses are available here although we can also always offer bespoke private courses for groups of 2 or more people.  Even better, all Learn to Lead course participants are eligible for a FREE Climbers Self Rescue course.  A great deal even if say so ourselves.  Full details on the offer are available here.
Our mountain biking provision continues to grow.  We've been exploring the trails of the UK for decades and we love sharing our knowledge and passion with clients.  A popular option is our Introductory and Intermediate skills courses although we actually sell as many places to stag and hen groups and small groups or individuals wanting a private guide.  There are some stunning trails in the Peak District (and beyond).  We can certainly help you get the best from them.  
Navigation is seen by many as being very difficult to master. It isn't.  A progressive and structured approach from highly experienced instructors can open a whole new world.  We have our ever popular 'Right Way in a Day' courses running again along with our progressive NNAS (National Navigation Award Scheme) options.  There are even some that are discounted for the Peak District Outdoor and Walking Festival mentioned above.  Paul has helped to provide a number of courses for the British Mountaineering Council and in the Autumn we are organising another Peak District navigation course.  These unique courses include accommodation and are extremely well priced.  Full details are available.  Places for these are limited and booking needs to be done direct with the BMC.  More details on this course are available here.
NGB awards and ITC first aid
Peak Mountaineering is proud to offer SPA (Single Pitch Award) and ML (Mountain Leader) training and assessment courses (our courses are run in conjunction with local provider Craig Offless).  We have a range of course options both with and without accommodation and our extremely popular split weekend courses.
We also offer industry leading first aid training as ITC first aid course providers.  We had been on a number of first aid courses over the years (some good, some bad, some awful!) and then, some years ago, we attended an ITC course.  It was a revelation.  The progressive approach combined with plenty of practice time and clear demonstrations left us feeling more confident than ever.  When Paul decided to become a trainer some years later he had little doubt which provider to choose.  ITC are now the leading player in outdoor first aid provision and we are delighted to be able to offer their courses.  We are also delighted to use the excellent facilities at the Hollowford Centre in Castleton to deliver the courses.  Hollowford is in a stunning location below Mamtor in the heart of the Peak District National Park and the facilities are second to none.  We even provide a FREE lunch on all our courses.  
We also regularly get asked to run bespoke courses for private groups.  These are always available if you need a course for your company, club or even a group of friends.  Just get in touch to discuss your requirements.
Activities in Snowdonia
Snowdonia is our favourite playground for scrambling and multi-pitch climbing.  Nowhere in the UK has the same concentration of possibilities at all grades and in such a small area.  There's also some coastal adventures on Gogarth or the crags of Tremadog that often offer good weather alternatives if the mountains don't play ball. We have worked and played in the Welsh mountains for many years and know the area like the back of our hands.  
Overseas Expeditions
If you have the travel bug we offer several carefully selected overseas expeditions to some of the world's most stunning adventure destinations.  We always select tried and tested destinations and for 2013 we are travelling to Morocco, Nepal and India.  Morocco is our short haul expedition although this isn't your standard 8 days in the Toubkal range.  Our ultimate aim is to summit Jebel Toubkal, the highest mountain in North Africa, but we access the mountain by a stunning circuit around the back of the range.  The trip is fully catered and we use mules to carry your equipment.  It's a mountaineering trip, a trekking adventure and a chance to visit a place that feels completely different while still being only a short flight from home.  Full details are available here.
Our medium length (and medium cost) expedition visits the north Indian region of Ladakh.  The Himalayas cuts a swathe through this tranquil paradise and the highest mountain in Ladakh's Stok range, Stok Kangri, is our target for this beautiful adventure. At 6056 metres  Stok Kangri is no lightweight, but it is within the reach of anyone who can trek for several consecutive days.  Last year we ran 2 expeditions to Ladakh and have run a number of others in previous years.  Stok Kangri feels like our 'signature' expedition and is an amazing adventure.  This trip is fully supported with a cook team and mules to carry equipment.  All you need is a sense of adventure.  Full details are available here.
Nepal is home to the Himalayas and really needs no introduction as it's the home 8 of the world's highest mountains are packed into a relatively small area.  Nepal also happens to be one of the friendliest travel destinations on the planet and our Everest Base Camp trek and Island Peak itineraries offer alternatives for both trekkers and mountaineers.  A journey through the Khumbu valley is an incredible high mountain trek that should be on everyone's must do list.  Having said that, our route is even more exciting as we do a circuit of the Gokyo valley and the high Cho La Pass before dropping down to Kala Pattar which offers a stunning viewpoint over Everest.  For our Island Peak team   Paul has written articles on both trekking in Nepal's Khumbu Valley and ascending Stok Kangri.  These will make very useful background reading for anyone considering joining us this year.....and we hope you do join  us!  Full details are available here.  Paul has written a major article on trekking in the Khumbu valley for the next edition of Trek and Mountain (our very favourite mountain magazine) which will in the shops soon.
We hope you can join us....and a super special deal.....
We know training can be expensive and we have tried to keep our 2013 prices as competitive as possible.  Infact, there have been no price increases for our 2013 and early 2014 courses. But we might not always be the very cheapest of Peak District providers and we want to do something about that.  So here's a deal you can't refuse.  Find a like for like course at a cheaper price and we'll match the price AND give you an extra 5 percent off (valid on all bookings before 31st May 2013).  In a time of financial challenge we really hope this helps you access the top quality training we can offer and the chance to enjoy the mountains with us.   
Those Spring snowdrops are precious little symbols of some great 2013 Peak Mountaineering adventures ahead.  We really hope we have given you every reason to join us.
Posted by Cal