I had the opportunity to be participate in the activities around Condor Safety’s 10 anniversary in Menen, Belgium a couple of weeks ago.

Patsy, Vally, Wouter and the rest of the Condor crew have been incredibly supportive of the Belgian arb community, who in turn have supplied a cohort of stalwart supporters for various European arb events, not to mention the Treemagicbeers! So it was nice to have an opportunity to give back to them.

The Condor building is impressive, large open spaces, lots of height and structure to play in and on, not to mention loads of shiny gear to fondle. As opposed to last time I was there five years ago, when the space was new, now it had a well-used and lived-in feel about it.

I did two sessions, one considering the use of connectors when working at height. In 45 minutes? Whew. Where to start?! Talk about a broad topic to fit into a limited amount of time. However, I do find this kind of challenge interesting, as it forces you to focus on the essence of what you are trying to convey. Bit annoyed with myself in hindsight, the space did not feel very large and there were not so many people there when we started at three o’clock, so I decided not to use the headset and PA system… talk about a rookie mistake. Of course the space filled up, was slightly echo-y, which made it hard for people in the back to understand what was being said. Ho-hum. Another memo to self…

The second talk was on balancers. With headset and PA, let it not be said that I do not learn from my mistakes! This time the space was packed… we rigged up the big metal limb I use to run this session, discussing procedures, tools and means to balance unwieldy limbs. I enjoy this session, it is lively, plenty of points to talk about and lots of movement. Mind you, the situation was not entirely straight-forward: as the space was a bit limited, people were sitting right up close to the demo area. Right behind us was the high glass facade. Not exactly ideal when you are balancing a heavy metal limb on a pivot… as I was rattling along, the foot slipped out from underneath the straps we had used to attach it to a lump of wood. There ensued a hectic bit of problem-solving… thanks to Lucas and Vito for lending a hand.

Mind you, I am actually not too fussed about things like this: I would never maintained of myself that I never make mistakes, things sometimes do go wrong. It would not occur to me to judge someone on this, however, what is interesting is how problem-solving skills are applied. Are you capable of overcoming an unforeseen hiccup, remedy it and push on? We concluded the workshop with no further drama, did not whack anyone in the face and did not smash a glass window pane. All good. 😊

Then big outdoor feed, wood-fire pizza, wrapped up by Treemagicbeers doing their thing. Oh, that, and an eight-hour drive back to Basel…

Thanks to all involved and for Condor Safety for all the contribute they have in the past and continue to make to the climbing scene in Belgium and beyond.

All pictures courtesy of Condor Safety.