October is Mountain Leader month for us at Abacus Mountain Guides. We have been training and assessing Mountain Leaders for very many years and it's a real treat to be able to work on these courses. Helping new leaders through their qualifications and setting them off on the right path (please excuse the pun!) is so rewarding for us.
Our courses have developed over the years as well, with the new leadership model from Mountain Training adding great depth and structure to this aspect of the course, and many things that we have found work well for people in the delivery and content of the courses.
The Mountain Leader syllabus includes leadership and decision making, route planning, navigation, meteorology, group management and security on steep ground, emergency rope work, stream crossings, hazards such as rockfall, flash floods and lightning, dealing with incidents and emergencies and improvised self-rescue.
There's also expedition skills including camping, cooking and everything to do with looking after people at a remote wild camp.
We often do some night navigation but that's just to do some poor visibility navigation. On assessment, if it is misty all day we don't need to do any night navigation!
There's a strong input on environmental knowledge on our courses, everything from geology and geomorphology, to botany, land management, history, Gaelic in the landscape and the physical, mental and spiritual benefits of walking in mountains for us all.
To help people prepare for their assessment we have put together a range of resources for candidates to utilise. These are available for everyone and there are resources on navigation, the weather and route planning, as well as blogs that we have written on all sorts of environmental topics and a short video about the rope work.
It's all here - https://www.abacusmountainguides.com/smlresources.html
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.