A couple of weeks ago we finished off the last of our summer training for the guides course, four full days over in North Wales based out of Plas y Brenin in pretty much perfect weather. Compared with a lot of the other courses there was a lot more 'classroom' time with a number of talks and discussions of all aspects of guiding from client psychology, to making the most out of the internet for marketing.
However the main program for the week was looking at coaching methods. The first morning was spent inside discussing how people learn and looking at teaching/coaching methods, for such a vast subject we only had a short time to briefly touch on it but learnt a lot nevertheless. Putting it all into practise that afternoon we ran a mock fundamental of climbing workshop in the sun at the RAC boulders. Tuesday was a day out on the hill to look at how to teach and assess navigation. Assessment isn't common role for a guide but once qualified there is always the chance of working on ML, MIA etc mountain qualifications where you will be assessing navigational and various other mountain skills. This turned into more of a day of navigation training for me. I knew before hand that it’s a skill I’m weak at (bit of a recurring theme here!)...even though I’ve spent a lot of time in the mountains in Europe it's usually only when you get caught out in bad weather when ski touring that the map comes out, so lots of night nav and days out in crap weather for me this summer.
It was back inside for a full day on Wednesday for a very varied day of talks and many coffee breaks. We finished the day off by putting together a full program for an alpine preparation course we were going to be giving the next day. Working with Andy and James we put together a program that was based around the centre in the morning and going to a local crag in the afternoon. Our students were the new centre assistants from Plas y Brenin and it was good to be working with genuine students rather than mock students where it feels a bit strange and hard to teach people things that you know they are very experienced at already.
Neither Nic, Oli or Lawrance had any alpine experience but all three had aspirations to visit the alps soon and most importantly were really psyched to learn the necessary skills. Through the morning, using various areas of the centre, we covered how to take coils, moving on a glacier and prusiking practise. Over a coffee break we spent a good while flicking through guide books and maps whilst chatting about a typical alpine day and the differences between climbing in the UK and the Alps. After lunch we headed down the road to the small crag of The Pinnacles right in Capel Curig where we practised crevasse rescue and how to move together on classic alpine ground.