Coventry Mountaineering Club applied for, and received, funding from the BMC for its members to get some skills training from a Mountaineering Instructor. This is what they did with the grant from the BMC.
A total of 13 members completed training over 2 days in Mid Wales this weekend, 3/4 December 2011.
Saturday was spent at Barmouth Slabs and the day was spent climbing and looking at anchor selection, belay set ups and simple solutions to common problems. We also ran through some training on escaping from the system and assisted rescues, practising under the supervision of Pete Stacey, Mountaineering Instructor (and coincidentally Chair of Mountain Leader Training UK).
Pete put us into real situations and after lunch had us carrying out some rescues on each other to reinforce the morning session which had been ground based practice – always a good idea to get it right before the real thing!
Sunday was a different day with winds up to 35mph, low cloud, driving rain sleet and hail as we spent the day on the South Moelwyns looking at navigation strategies, getting lost and relocating our position.
The temperature was down to a chilly 3 or 4 degrees Celsius all day and the group were challenged by some interesting navigation country in poor visibility. Pacing and compass work was made real by some squally showers as the visibility was down to 70 or 80 metres. The weather continued to deteriorate and a slightly early finish meant that we could head for a café and review the learning from the weekend.
We also looked at what kit perhaps a group on a day walk might carry between them. Overall, a good couple of days and people's skills enhanced by the opportunity of being put into situations where they had to navigate in unfamiliar territory, or tie off a rope and escape the system to rescue their partner.
Thanks to the BMC for their funding, to Pete for his time and energy in running the weekend, and to all the participants for their enthusiasm and commitment to their own learning – Club members are now better equipped to look after each other and introduce newer club members to the sport.
The BMC will again be offering similar grants next year. Information about this will be posted on the BMC website in the New Year.
Additionally, there are also some training weekends available to affiliated clubs. Info here
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