Day 1 – Napoleonica, Italy (30 minute drive)
Vast area situated above and below a disused road. The area chosen was at the far end of the crag, situated slightly above the road. The crag was quiet, well bolted and provided adequate introductory grades for the first day.
Student feedback – “Steep terrain: difficult to sit down when not climbing”
Day 2 – Crni Kal, Slovenia (30 minute drive)
Vast area above the small village of Crni Kal. This provided a good flat area for teaching and was relatively quiet. The rock was excellent, but slightly polished. The limestone provided opportunities for climbing using traditional and sport-climbing equipment. This area provided excellent opportunities for the delivery of the foundation course.
Student feedback – “Good for beginners, nice flat admin area”
Day 3 – Vipava, Slovenia (40 minute drive)
Small Crag on the North side of the area provided good single-pitch sport routes which covered a variety of grades.
Student feedback – “In good location, good size and angle for beginners”
Day 4 – Napoleonica, Italy (Parallel Buttress) (30 minute drive)– RSF
Slightly tricky approach, down a steep track below the disused road. Excellent crag, which was less polished than the areas above the road. Good range of grades, including a challenging route up a steep wall utilising a “Tufa” rock formaton.
Doberdo, Italy (50 minute drive) – Continuation Students
Good single pitch crag which is well bolted. Can be busy with groups, so not advisable to visit with large group. Site of a very important historic WW1 battle.
Student feedback – “good mix of easy and challenging routes”
Admin day to catch up with washing and to rest aching hands and muscles. The majority of the Officer Cadets spent the afternoon on the beach and had lunch in Trieste.
Day 6 – Crni Kal, Slovenia (30 minute drive) – RSF students
Last day of the RSF course. Climb and abseil up the Turski Stolp, which was a tower with a viewpoint of the Gulf of Trieste. The majority of the day was spent catching up on teaching points to complete the syllabus. Feedback was given in the evening to all eight RSF student, who all passed the course.
Napoleonica, Italy (Parallel Buttress) – Continuation students
Day 7 – Vipava, Slovenia (40 minute drive)
Continuation and consolidation training for all. Six students were provided the opportunity to experience a multi-pitch sport route. The remainder had the opportunity to learn to lead climb on easy sport routes. Unfortunately a guide book was dropped from the path and this forced the decision to return the following day.
Day 8 – Vipava, Slovenia (40 minute drive)
Returned to search for the guidebook, but it was not to be found. Fortunately the campsite shop at the base of the crags sold some basic climbing equipment and guidebooks, so a new one was purchased. Four more students took the opportunity to experience the multi-pitch sport route.
Day 9 – Crni Kal, Slovenia (30 minute drive)
The plan was to return to the same area as on day 2 to compare the development in skills and confidence. Unfortunately, fatigue had begun to take its toll and several members of the expedition found they had not progressed as expected.
All eight participants passed the Rock Single-pitch Foundation course. All twelve Officer Cadets and two reserve staff benefitted from further continuation training that will help with valuable logbook experience to progress on to the Rock Single-pitch Supervisors course. This will help contribute to the development of a unit climbing club and will also provide a core of climbers for a future expedition big-wall climbing in 2020.
Officer cadets contributed to the expedition by keeping a daily diary, accounting for food and the expedition budget and for delivering evening lectures. A duty student was responsible for the security of the cottage and for punctuality of morning meetings.
The expedition was successful and although some found the activity and the temperatures challenging, everyone contributed fully and appeared to benefit from stretching themselves utilising the developmental models of “Challenge by Choice, Growth Mindset and Kolb’s Learning Cycle”.
Reflective Learning Points
- Plan earlier to maximise cheap flights.
- Smaller group would provide more accommodation choices
- Flying everyone would save training days, subsistence allowance, hostel fees and would reduce driver fatigue. Overnight ferry with berths proved expensive.
- Investigate accommodation with laundry facilities
“The confidence gained by seeing the change from the previous trip to this year’s one, is massive. The rewards gained from meeting challenges I never thought I’d be capable of was worth every second”.
“My climbing experience in Slovenia has given me the confidence to pursue my instructor qualification, having progressed from single pitch top roping to leading as well as basic re-threading and self-abseiling”.
“Boars Claw: It has been a great experience that has given me an opportunity to enhance my climbing skills as well as become a better leader to support junior members of the expedition. I believe that these skills are essential and will enable me to achieve RCS qualification in the near future”
“Ex boars claw was a real experience for me as I had never climbed before. I learned so much from this trip and found a real passion for climbing. I would love to continue with my development and hope to progress onto gaining my supervisor qualification in the near future”
“The climbing trip gave great opportunities for leadership and challenge, both in the primary activity and many other aspects. By giving the students responsibility for meals, accounting and the admin day, we felt more involved and invested to the expedition. Best trip I’ve ever been on!