After a number of years umming and ahhing last year I put an application into the British Mountain Guides, which thankfully, was accepted. Things started off last September with the Rock Induction day at Tremadog followed by two days of initial training on single and multi pitch climbing guiding as well as a full day on rescue techniques.
Carrying on this winter we had two weeks based in the Alps. The first a three day ski technique course in Leysin, Switzerland with top swiss ski instructors working on personal ski technique. This followed by the ski induction day, like the rock induction a chance for the training committee to assess and make sure your skiing standard is at an acceptable level to start the training and as with the rock we all passed. Finishing off the week was the cascade guiding training day, looking at all aspects of safety, client care and coaching methods involved in continental ice climbing guiding.
Not coming from an instructional back ground it’s all very new to me and there’s a lot to take on all at once. Running up 1000m alpine north faces is seeming quite simple now compared to looking after two clients, keeping the ropes organised and efficient belay stance management. Maybe I could pass some rope management skills onto Nick...
Nick trying to sort the ropes out on the North Face of the Droites
The last of the two weeks was the avalanche course based down in La Grave. A mixture of class room based sessions and time spent out on the hill digging snow profiles, looking at stability, recording data, discussing safe travel through avalanche terrain whilst getting a few good turns in ourselves. We also had an intensive training session on transceiver search method. It was quite interesting and scary to see how unorganised six fairly competent people are when thrown into an unexpected emergency situation! Modern transceivers are getting very clever but as was discovered they still don’t do the job for you, to be efficient you really need to know how your transceiver works and not just relying on the arrows pointing you in the right direction.
Andy Nelson and Steve Jones looking at a full depth snow profile
Next up is the winter induction day at the end of February up in the Cairngorms, if successful in passing we will become trainees and then the hard work really starts! Its a great group of people starting the scheme this year so hopefully mixed in with the hard work over the next few years there should be a few good days out on the hill too.