What does it take to become a Mountain Leader?
On the recent revamp of sister site Walk Eryri, like scouting around in the attic, we were covered in cobwebs, screaming in a girly manner at the spiders*, the dust allergy was flaring up and we found stuff we didn’t realise we had.
So here’s a heads up to a series of articles that I received permission to publish on the site that were originally published on Usenet by Paul Cummings that I think are a decent resource to anyone looking to take up the challenge of leading others in the mountains.
If you want to view my experiences of ML training, I was too exhausted to do a write up on the assessment, then click here.
Even if you have no intention of leading others on a formal basis, I think it’s still worth doing as a proof of competence both to others and yourself. Just don’t expect it to be an easy ride, you’ll feel every single minute of this and you’ll be aching after. Not physically, though there are providers who seem to think that if you can’t yomp 50km during the first morning that you shouldn’t be doing it (and need I say, you should look elsewhere). The actual walking involved in the course wasn’t much, though I think for the sake of safety that you need to have a pretty decent level of fitness. Your head will hurt from all that night nav, which is for most the most difficult part. For me, it was the rope work as I never use ropes and saw this as a purely academic exercise. If you’re a climber already, then the ropework is fairly basic.
If you do go for it then you need to register and order your logbook from the relevant Mountain Leader Training Association.
The cost is currently £35 and you can start logging your walks once you get it and even back date them. The log is rather basic though, and I adapted an excel version of the logbook and it is freely available on this page. It’s ideal even as a normal walking log. Providers shouldn’t question the fact that it isn’t on the ‘official’ format, which is quite poor in my opinion, though if you do get an awkward assessor then you can always filter the useful information away and provide just the basic columns they need. A decent assessor will however be doing the majority of their assessing on the hill to see if you’re safe, and if you’ve got all the relevant experience properly logged they shouldn’t be that petty. Send them your log book before hand if in doubt.
*As in web crawling spider. Sorry, webmaster joke. I’ll get my code…..