Looking like a mountain pro

Posted by Jonathan Garside on 06/03/2014
Tower Ridge, Ben Nevis. Credit: Mark Walker

If you want to look more Ueli Steck and less Eddie the Eagle, then take some top tips from Mountain Training's new Development Officer Mark Walker.

With buffed karabiners and a polished ice axe, the soft-shell-clad mountain warrior launches off towards his peak with his clients.

This was my image of a mountain professional…when I tried to pull off this persona the illusion was shattered by me falling head long into a huge bog. So what are the key considerations when operating as and looking like a mountain professional?

Be good at what you do!
The skills and knowledge you have is what your clients wish to tap into. You need to be good at your job and being good at it makes you look like a pro. Losing control of situations is not professional. Operating smoothly in complex environments whilst demonstrating key skills with confidence and conviction ensures your clients will feel happy to follow your lead. Confidence is key.

Honesty
Clients love to be associated with their ‘all knowledgeable’ mountain professional but sooner or later you won’t have the answer! Honesty then becomes very important. Clients are intelligent individuals and you won’t pull the wool over their eyes. To admit you don’t know the answer is not only honest but finding a solution demonstrates how well connected, diligent and confident in your abilities you are. 

Be organised
It’s hugely important to turn up on time, with the right stuff in the right place. You will be taking your group into challenging environments to have real adventures, and they need to have confidence in you. It’s a classic cliché but first impressions really do count! A new client may only have email correspondence to base their opinion of you on. If you meet them looking like you've just fallen out of a bush then you may not be seeing them (or their mates) again.

Show respect for others and be supportive
Cooperation is the key to sharing advice and good practice. Outdoor professionals frequently work in isolation but the best have a network of links to draw from.  Showing respect for others in being open and courteous enables you to tap into their knowledge. A smile goes a long way towards engaging with others and demonstrates a relaxed, professional image. Pushing past or ignoring others is not professional!

Be positive
The jaded, grumpy mountain professional is uninspiring and a terrible educator. For your clients this might be their only holiday of the year. It really matters to them and they have parted with cash to have a great experience. It matters not, that your waterproofs are funneling a torrent of rainwater into your underpants. Manage expectations and stay positive. Everyone loves a problem solver and let’s face it, the environment we work in gives no shortage of problems! Dealing with issues is a critical part of looking like a professional on the hill.

Stay current
You don’t have to have the latest ‘all singing…’ kit but currency is important. Continually evaluate your working practice and review what you are doing, with what and why. People also appreciate a current, considered relevant response when dealing with issues.

A great way to demonstrate currency is through continual personal development, available through membership of the Mountain Training Association, the Association of Mountaineering Instructors and the British Association of International Mountain Leaders.  As well as access to training, gear discounts and the association's joint membership magazine, you'll be tapping into a network of over 4500 mountain professionals and volunteers.

This article is part of a series of articles celebrating Mountain Training’s 50th anniversary year in 2014.



« Back

Post a comment Print this article

This article has been read 1848 times

TAGS

Click on the tags to explore more

RELATED ARTICLES

The latest climbing, hill walking, coronavirus update: 3 August
4
The latest climbing, hill walking, coronavirus update: 3 August

The latest climbing, hill walking and coronavirus update provided by Mountain Training.
Read more »

Trad tips: how to lead Severe
1
Trad tips: how to lead Severe

With spring coming, it'll soon be time to dust off the trad rack and get out on some real rock. This year could be the year you lead Severe! Whether you’ve been stuck at VDiff for a while, you’re keen to push on after last year’s development or you’re preparing for Mountain Training’s Rock Climbing Instructor qualification, let's find out how to progress to that grade:
Read more »

Qualifications explained
32
Qualifications explained

An introduction to the qualifications administered by Mountain Training for walking, climbing and mountaineering leaders, instructors and coaches.
Read more »

Post a Comment

Posting as Anonymous Community Standards
3000 characters remaining
Submit
Your comment has been posted below, click here to view it
Comments are currently on | Turn off comments
0

There are currently no comments, why not add your own?

RELATED ARTICLES

The latest climbing, hill walking, coronavirus update: 3 August
4

The latest climbing, hill walking and coronavirus update provided by Mountain Training.
Read more »

Trad tips: how to lead Severe
1

With spring coming, it'll soon be time to dust off the trad rack and get out on some real rock. This year could be the year you lead Severe! Whether you’ve been stuck at VDiff for a while, you’re keen to push on after last year’s development or you’re preparing for Mountain Training’s Rock Climbing Instructor qualification, let's find out how to progress to that grade:
Read more »

Qualifications explained
32

An introduction to the qualifications administered by Mountain Training for walking, climbing and mountaineering leaders, instructors and coaches.
Read more »

BMC MEMBERSHIP
Join 82,000 BMC members and support British climbing, walking and mountaineering. Membership only £16.97.
Read more »
BMC SHOP
Great range of guidebooks, DVDs, books, calendars and maps.
All with discounts for members.
Read more »
TRAVEL INSURANCE
Get covered with BMC Insurance. Our five policies take you from the beach to Everest.
Read more »