We started our Summer Mountain Leader Assessment today with six already very experienced candidates. This is just another little step towards becoming an inspirational mountain leader. Most of the skills and qualities of a leader are learned in their extensive bank of experience. The training course and assessment course direct and guide the candidates from recreational walkers towards professional mountain leaders.
We went up from Glen Nevis to the col next to Dun Deardall, the ancient hill fort that over looks the glen. From there we went up Bidean Bad na h'Iolaire and discussed the management of accidents and incidents, practiced improvised self-rescue and discussed signs and symptoms of hypothermia. Even on a modest hill like Bidean Bad you would need mountain rescue to come and help evacuate an incapacitated walker and it is possible to stumble and hurt yourself even with the best mountain leader.
Back down in Glen Nevis we also looked at stream crossings. We take this seriously in Scotland since there are many areas where a stream crossing is obligatory if you want to explore the wildest of areas. We looked at techniques to move through the water securely and to support group members as well. The water seems to be warming up slightly but there is still plenty of water in the streams from snow melt.
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.