Learning the ropes

There are field trips … and then there are field trips Tai Poutini style!

As part of their rock climbing elective, students on the Diploma of Outdoor Instruction and Guiding recently spent three weeks at Mt Arapiles in the Australian outback.

A world-class rock climbing site, hundreds of climbing routes suitable for all skill levels weave up and around Mt Arapiles, which makes it, according to programme leader Paula Roberts, the perfect place for students to practice traditional techniques.

‘Mt Arapiles has it all,’ says Roberts. ‘There’s quite a structured progression in teaching rock climbing. Safety is paramount and we [the tutors] need to be sure the students are taking the right steps as they build their skills. On Mt Arapiles they learn safe climbing essentials such as how to lead climb, place protection correctly, establish anchor systems and the techniques of multi-pitching – as well as having plenty of opportunities to put theory into practice and just climb.’

The group camps at the base of the mountain and students have to be prepared to work together, look after themselves and look out for each other, be organised and keep all their equipment in order and ready to go.

‘We’re teaching our students to be self-reliant,’ says Roberts. ‘After their Mt Arapiles experience we know they’re equipped to go to any rock climbing area anywhere in the world and climb safely. We also know they’ve got a good skills base if they choose to work as instructors or guides in industry.’

pic 2