Petestack Blog

21 February 2010

WML Training

Filed under: Climbing,Walking — admin @ 9:33 am

Just back (last night) from Winter Mountain Leader Training at Glenmore Lodge with instructors Eric Pirie, David Haygarth and (for one day) John Armstrong. Don’t know when I last saw (or dug!) so much snow, but there was plenty to play with in conditions ranging from spectacularly clear to total whiteout, the standard of instruction was (as always with the Lodge) top class and the crack from instructors and fellow trainees alike was great.

Hard to summarise it all in a short post (and I do want to keep this short), but…

  • I’m thinking some further self-arrest practice (a skill I’d maybe started taking for granted) might be good after taking an awkward knock to my ribs on my first or second (deliberate!) slide on the first day.
  • It was a nice wee bonus to pick up a new Corbett I should have done before (Meall a’ Bhuachaille, where there’s a popular hill race I’ve never run) during some ‘pea soup’ navigation on the second day.
  • I was looking forward to going over all those snow anchors (bucket seats, bollards, buried/reinforced/T-axes, stompers etc.) that I should be using more as a winter climber, so particularly enjoyed the sessions where we worked with these (imagine John Armstrong hurling ice axes off the side of the Fiacaill Ridge with a ‘whoops, he’s dropped his axe, what are you going to do about that?’).
  • Having speculated whether the snow saw I carried to our snow hole site at the top of the Garbh Uisge Beag (shadowy cleft above red rucksack/below North Top of Ben Macdui in final photo) might prove to be the most/least useful thing I’d taken up a mountain, I have to say it was most certainly worth its weight and can’t now see myself heading out for some planned snow-holing (is anyone really daft enough for that?) without one!
  • Despite really enjoying the course, it was a huge relief to finally be able to extract my van from the Lodge car park and get off down the road (returning to find a much lower-lying Kinlochleven also under snow) without any real difficulty.
  • Having got used to courses where you come out of the final interview thankful to have passed, something feels ‘missing’ on finishing one where that’s not the final (hoped-for) outcome and I’m really fired up to keep getting out, working at things and return for Assessment this time next year.

Must also thank John McGilp for letting me take two in-service days and two teaching days to do this, and state my hope that those further in-service days following next year’s February break will produce a qualified Winter ML ready to start bringing winter skills to the school.

1 Comment

  1. Nicely summarised Pete :) can still hear those squirrels :S haha

    Comment by tom — 22 February 2010 @ 1:36 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Blog powered by WordPress. Feedback to