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Self-Rescue and Problem-Solving Courses


We offer improvised self-rescue courses for climbers, along with a range of other rock climbing courses, in the Lake District and Eryri (Snowdonia), the Peak District, and Yorkshire.


In general, we do not schedule these in advance, as we like to make each one bespoke. This is how we adapt them to cater for different levels of ability and experience. However, we do have a limited number of  ‘open’ courses which are available to book on. These are shown in our events calendar.


The term self-rescue in rock climbing is very general and it’s probably unlikely that you will actually be rescuing yourself! However, there are numerous problems that climbers can encounter, from the mildly irritating and inconvenient (your partner drops their belay plate) to the dramatic and dangerous (trapped on a sea-cliff with an incoming tide).

These courses, of varying duration, will teach you first and foremost how to anticipate and avoid problems. But if the worst does happen, we will give you a range of tools and techniques to help extricate yourselves from tricky situations.

Instructor:client ratio

On this course there is a ratio of 1:4 (instructor:client) maximum depending on exact activities.

Other courses:

If you are not looking for a climber’s improvised self-rescue course, then have a look at some of the other courses and guiding that we offer:

…or see what our clients say about us.

A climber attaches a prussic loop to his rope during a self-rescue course in the Lake District

Course Details

Who is the course for?

This course is for experienced lead climbers who want to extend and deepen their technical knowledge so that they will be able to respond to problematic situations (or preferably avoid them in the first place), using a ‘toolbox’ of methods and techniques.

Where is it held?

Our self-rescue courses are generally held in the Lake District or Eryri (Snowdonia), but they can also be held in the Peak District and Yorkshire

How long is the course?

Courses are a minimum of one day long, but are often booked as a two-day weekend. We can also run the course for longer periods, perhaps separated by a few days to give time for you to reflect and practice, or in one longer intensive burst.

What does the course cover?

This course is completely bespoke although there is a ‘menu’ of topics that we are likely to cover. We will discuss your current climbing experience and aspirations, including the situations that you are most likely to find yourself in. Together, we will then devise a plan to give you a ‘toolbox’ of methods and techniques to deal with the problems that you are most likely to encounter.

No two courses are ever the same, but the most frequently covered techniques are probably these:

  • Dealing with a dropped/lost belay device.
  • Tying-off and releasing belay plates.
  • Lowering a climber and understanding re-direct points.
  • Setting up a personal, retrievable abseil, with a prusik as a back-up.
  • Using prusiks (or other devices) to ascend a rope.
  • Improvised hoists, perhaps to get a second over a difficult crux or get them back onto a route after a small fall.

Many people want to learn to ‘escape the system’. Our view is that it can be a good way of practising a number of skills in a logical, structured manner. This itself is of benefit and sometimes we teach this. However, ‘escaping the system’ is of no use in real-life unless you know what you are going to do next, once you have ‘escaped’. This usually means that we include it as part of a longer, or more intensive course, where these additional techniques are also covered.

What equipment is included?

As an experienced climber, you are already likely to have everything that you need including your own harness, helmet and climbing rack. However, we are able to loan certain items if required.

We will:-

  • Provide climbing ropes.
  • Discuss an appropriate kit list when you book.

What  does it cost?

Prices for one day start at £235 for one person; £260 for two people (i.e. £130 per person); £285 for three people (i.e. £95 per person); £310 for four people (i.e. £78 per person) etc.