Going through the system of qualifications to work as a mountaineering instructor or mountain guide is a long process. All aspects of mountaineering judgement, instructional capability and guiding skills are thouroughly tested. The best way to perfect these skills after the training courses is of course by doing the job but this brings its own challenges. So, along with other experienced mountain guides and instructors, I help a few MIC trainees through the process by working with them as a mentor.
Before we let any trainee instructors look after our clients by themselves we go through a few days of training and shadowing. Today Sally and I were out with Matt, Rob and Caspar on Douglas Boulder and Tower Ridge to see them in action and talk through all sorts of things to help them on the road to their final assessment. They are all very talented climbers and instructors so these are small things that might help them go from being good at what they do to being great at it.
The rock was bone dry making a big change from yesterday! It was also much colder and ice was forming quickly. The turf was half frozen as well so any concerns about the ground warming up over the last couple of weeks do not seem to be right. When the snow arrives over the next few days the ground will be ready for it and climbing conditions will form rapidly I think. Very strong winds and lots of precipitation will make climbing or walking very difficult until after Christmas. However the gullies will fill up quickly and we will see a return to wintry climbing conditions like we had a few weeks ago on Tower Ridge.
Self reliance is a fundamental principle of mountaineering. By participating we accept this and take responsibility for the decisions we make. These blog posts and conditions reports are intended to help you make good decisions. They do not remove the need for you to make your own judgements when out in the hills.