Some Q&A's for the impatient:
Can I do it?
If you enjoy strenuous mountain hiking, feel confident on steep and exposed ground with sheer drops in the immediate vicinity and are considering the next step, then yes! If you feel uncomfortable on steep ground and don't enjoy strenuous hikes then the answer is probably no.
Is there a particular technique I need to learn?
Technique comes with practice. Critically, it is about maintaining balance whilst progressing up a steep ascent (usually rock). Balance is achieved with progressing smoothly (not quickly) and keeping a safe number of contact points with the rock at all times (usually 3 out of the 4 possible with both hands and feet).
Scrambling has much in common with climbing, but unlike indoor climbing, hand and foot holds are not 100% reliable and should always be tested before you put your full weight on them.
How safe is Scrambling?
Scrambling does carry a increased risk of injury over hiking, but this risk can be minimised primarily by sensible selection of scrambling grade according to your ability. Effective group management by the walk leader(s) ensures you will not be rushed or taken out of your comfort zone by the group dynamic, but the onus is still on you as an individual to assess your own risk, and if necessary, stop. Walk leaders will be happy to guide you up, or another way round the obstacle, or (if necessary) change the route all together.
For grade selection, you should only consider scrambles of Grade 2 and above if you are an experienced scrambler with a head for heights. If you are a beginner who thinks they may experience issues with the typically greater exposure and steeper ground, consider Grade 1 (minimum exposure) scrambles only to begin with. Start at the lowest grade and work your way up. If for any reason you find yourself on the edge of your comfort zone whilst scrambling, don't be afraid to say so - the walk leader is there to help and will carry a confidence rope at all times whilst scrambling.
Group Management - unlike all our other walks, you'll notice that our scrambles have a limited number of places. Keeping the group size down allows the leader/guide(s) to more effectively work within the group and offer advice or assistance to individuals if needed. Scrambles are only run by experienced mountain leaders and the use of a confidence rope only by leaders who have received training, usually through the Mountain Leader Training England and/or Scotland approved training schemes.
The following table details the grades along with relevant examples.
Is bouldering similar to scrambling?
Bouldering is more associated with rock-climbing and requires a similar skill level, the difference being that you are rarely more than a few metres off the ground with bouldering, so you use a 'crash-mat' instead of ropes. Scrambling ends where rock-climbing begins, but bouldering can be as hard as you want it to be.
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