Peak Mountaineering - The saviours of Christmas!

24th Dec 2014

Today we ran Peak Mountaineering’s last climbing course of 2014.  As it happened, it also turned out to be arguably this year’s most important training event. …..
A few days ago we got an email from a Mr S Claus (more perceptive office staff may have noticed some clues in this name…but it has been a busy few weeks!).  Mr Claus explained that he wanted a private day of rock climbing instruction at Stanage Edge.  He also needed it to be on Christmas Eve and finishing by 4pm because he had, as he described it, ‘a busy night ahead.’
So, we arrived at Stanage’s Popular End this morning to wait for Mr Claus.  Luckily the parking area was quiet because we were soon joined by a swishing of reindeer tails and a ringing of bells as a large sleigh skidded to a halt in front of us.
Before we’ve had time to collect our thoughts out climbed a jolly looking chap with a white beard, a well-padded midriff and a gravelly voice (not, despite the description, Sir Chris Bonington!).  We’ve seen some lurid clothing colour combinations this year but his bright red head to toe suit with white detailing (maybe Rab should take note of this colour option for the 2015 range?) wasn’t one we’ve come across before.  We made our introductions and finally the penny dropped.  ‘Ho, Ho, Ho’,  says the old fella, ‘I’m Santa’.  Clearly this wasn’t going to be a normal course!
As we headed to the crag we discussed our objectives for the day.  Santa said he was finding it tricky to deal with some of the more difficult chimney designs he faced last year and he was keen to get some input on ways some trad climbing skills might help.  Not a problem.  I explained that trad instruction is our speciality and we headed for the obvious Stanage choice….Christmas Crack (see the photo of Santa leading the route below).
What a great day.  Mr Claus picked up skills quickly, listened to instructions carefully, seemed completely unaffected by the biting wind whistling across the crag and, due to his intensive yoga training and year round exercise regime,  it turned out he could crank it out on gritstone like Pete Whittaker (who is also prone to wearing ridiculous fake beards!).
It wasn’t long before 4pm arrived and Santa had to leave to start his important Christmas Eve duties.  If you get a visit from the man in red tonight please spare a thought for the part we’ve played in him being able to safely bridge his way around your multi-fuel stove and  layback your chimney stack to avoid your wobbly roof slates.  Peak Mountaineering has, we humbly suggest, saved everyone’s Christmas!
We are now retiring for some well-earned mince pies and mulled wine but we’d really like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a fantastic Christmas and we hope to see lots of you in the mountains in 2015.
Best wishes from Paul and Cal and the Peak Mountaineering team.
*Please note our office will be closed until January 5th but, if you need to contact us in the meantime, please message our mobile on 07840187735 and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.