At the end of April, sixteen staff from across our five Ellis Brigham stores in London converged on The Castle Climbing Centre for an intensive day of training by Lyon Outdoor, suppliers of much of our climbing and mountaineering gear.

The day started with a detailed discussion about Petzl head torches, with staff going in-depth on the techy details of lumens, programmable output and reactive lighting (as seen in the Nao).

Next up came climbing helmets. In this session a 7kg rock was dropped onto different helmets, giving a great insight into how different constructions absorb impact. After running through the pros and cons of each model there was also a chance to get hands-on with the innovative new Petzl Sirocco.

Winter may have gone but attention was turned towards the alpine summer season, and this was an ideal opportunity to refresh knowledge on ice axes and crampons and take a look at La Sportiva’s range of mountaineering boots. Discussion points included the merits of shorter ice axe lengths and the B/C crampon rating system.

After lunch there was an in-depth session on ropes, covering every aspect of rope manufacture, selection and after care. There were some really interesting practical demonstrations to illuminate fall factors and impact forces while Neil Gresham gave some top tips on preserving the life of ropes.

Finally it was down to the walls to get to grips with Petzl rope control devices like the GriGri and Reverso 4. There’s really nothing like getting hands-on with the kit to understand how they work in a variety of different scenarios, and our staff left the Castle with an expanded, in-depth knowledge about a whole array of climbing gear.

This was an excellent day and our thanks go to the Lyon Equipment team.