Security on Steep Ground Day

I have spent the day working for Andy Newton, taking his group of ML trainees out on their security on steep ground day. One of the elements that is covered on the MLT Mountain Walking Leader Award Training course. These by their very nature are much more relaxed than the assessment course I was on for the last three days. Part of the day is to add some enviornmental knowledge as well as take the group through a variety of different terrain that represents what is acceptable for a Mountain Leader to reasonable take a group on.

I use Cwm Idwal a lot for this type of day, as very quickly you can access loose scree, some great environmental stuff and steep rock terrain. Whats more we can look at navigation and both ascent and descent. I really enjoy these days as it can really give the group an ideas of exactly what a ML holder needs to be able to do in terms of assessing risk and minimising it through route choice and feilding the clients up steps.

We got down off the hill and I did a wee lesson on leadership styles and how they fit into the different types of terrain thta we find ourselves on on the hills. Again its a real joy, and something that having used my Ml since 1997 I actually think I have some great experiences to bring to the learn arena and help these guys on their path to becoming the Mountain Leaders of tomorrow.

If you are intersted in becomeing a Mountain Leader for either personal or professional reasons, then I am more than happy to chat to people via email, about the path you need to take. If you are looking for a Mountain Leader, Singler Pitch Award or climbing wall award course  then you can find Andy Newtons contact details here.

Three Day Mini Break!

I have spent the last three days out on the hill on a Summer ML assessment for Plas Y Brenin, it was the first bit of assessing that I have done in this country, and I had a two hour talk through the process with the course director, about how to assess and what to look for. It was a great top up from the assessor workshop I had been on previously. I guess the best way I can describe the assessment process is through that of a detective, where through a process of eliminating all the skills we need to check through we can see whether or not someone is at the level of competence.

The real skill, and one I have to admit I am only starting to get a handle on is setting tasks or navigational legs to tease out those answers. As whilst the expedition is done over three days on the hills, the time is less than you think when you include ropework, navigation, emergency proceedures, group management and all the other skills that make up the syllabus.

It was a interesting few days, and I feel it went well from my perspective. As I came to some of the same conclusions as the assessor who had been with the group from earlier in the week. I guess that some group or another were bound to be my first. We also had a lovely few days on the hill, heading up over Lliwedd and into Cwm Tregallen to camp and night nav. It was colder that night than on my winter ML, getting down to about minus 5! After that we headed up the south ridge of snowdon to Blwch Main, before heading down towards Cwm Clogwyn, and then round into the cwm below cloggy. Another night of navigating before heading out down the Lechog ridge towards Llanberis, and the most well earnt fry up in Pete’s Eats.

I am glad to be off the hill and back home now, however I have got just about enough time to pack my bags and get ready to head out with Andy Newton on a ML training course with him tomorrow!

LLAMFF 2011: The Speakers

I have a passion for LLAMFF, mainly because it is in my backyard. I have to say though that over the years I have moved away from the film side of these festivals, and much prefer the speaker elements. The reasons for this is two fold, first in the main you can see a DVD of climbing almost anytime, although there are some noticably acceptions to this rule at nearly all film festivals, second because at LLAMFF it is often a good chance to see what my mates have been up to.

It is a testiment to the wild characters that wander the streets of Llanberis, the sort of people that operate under the radar, and can still walk dowen the street in the height of the summer without anyone realising that they are perhaps in the world elite of there given sub-sport, be it climbing, aplinism, big walling, paragliding or kayaking. To a certain extent LLAMFF can give these guys an oppotunity to allow us mortals the chance to get an idea of just what floats their boat. Often far lessed polished than the ‘Keynote’ speakers of our times like The Emmett, Kirkpatrick or The Caveman, but its a unique look into what motivates them to live in the heart of the adventure community of North Wales.

To book tickets visit there website

So the Key seakers are:

Keith Partridge – Extreme Cameraman

Andy Turner – Pro Cyclist turned Pro Winter Climber. First Ground Up Ascent of The Hurting, and a regular face in the staff room of Plas Y Brenin

Ian Parnell – Adventure climber, and extreme winter sufferer, and now the editor of CLIMB magazine.

Paul Diffley – Climbing film maker and man behind “Hot Aches Productions” talks abotu the challenges and tales of filming the climbing elite.

Olly Sanders – A total legend, this man has be there and done a lot more than most people would expect. From remote and unsupported sea kayaking/Mountaineering expeditions to the wilds of the greenland coast. To even being nominate for teh Pioloet D’or. This is a talk you should go and see if you really want to know what it is to be totally understated and totally hardcore. RECOMMENDED

Alan Hinkes – Famous for failing on the 14 peaks after a chapati incident.

Al Hughes – Local and possible one of the UK’s first modern filmmaker, he goes back to when beta-max was cool. Responsible for iconic films like stone monkey, gogarth and erm…..?

James Bingham – Is an ex-local who currently drives a desk in London, he recounts being pulled up Everest and other peaks, before heading into The ‘Stan for a first British Ascent. Probably a few AK 47 in this talk?!

Marmot Sponsored Event – the Slackers guide to climbing, by two of the least slack people in the climbing world Steve McClure and Lucy Creamer. Lots of logos and big grades!

Anni Hogan and Cathy O’Dowd – Sounds like the arty piece of the festival, with live soundscape set to a film of everest. Potentially unique!

The Twid and Stu Show – An Epic Big Wall in Baffin. In has been said that anyone planning a new route on remote big wall/apine face, describe there proposed line in grant meetings as being to the left or teh right of one of Twid’s Routes. I have also heard the Welsh Sports Council grant been called Twid’s Holiday fund. The fact is these guys went out there and destroyed the wall, unless Twid learns to write this will be totally unique, as I haven’t heard of a book deal on the horizon. RECOMMENDED

Tarka and Katie – Walk the Great Wall of China. Katie used to be a model, so I expected some men will be present!

Calum Muskett – Keen Youth from Llanberis who is rather handy, and has had a few story to tell. Probably about sandbagging people twice his age!

Snowdonia 2050 – a doomsday speech about the environment, where it could all go down the pan. Potentially alarming.

Climber Clubs Guidebooks – Past, Present and Future – Bound to be a laugh a minute, don’t forget the pins to stick in your eyes. One for the annoracks amongt us, and I know there are a few!

Zac Laraman – Moutnaineering and Climbing Injury – treatment and avoidance – I am sure there will be a queue out the door to get free advice from the local shamen.

Martin Chester – Director of Training at Plas Y Brenin, UIAGM and avid ski mountaineer. Expect fresh tracks and talk of powder, and not to mention some out there adventures in remote parts of the world.

Mike Raine – The Nature of Snowdonia – Mike talks about his book and the great nature of snowdonia. If you don’t catch him buy the book.

Lukas wacha(sic) – An extreme photographer whose name is too hard to spell without cutting and pasting, but he has worked with some of the best, including Andy Turner. He talks about the challenge and rewards of profressional photography.

Arwel Philip – A local who paddled round Wales.

George Smith – Local funny man, takes a side view of climbing and the idiosyncratic behaviour we all are guilty of!

Jocky Sanderson – A paraglider of serious note. One to watch if you are bored of all the talk of snow, ice, rock and near death falls. Although I suspect there are some rather exciting times, as he has made some how to… HD videos for paragliders. Where are the out takes?

Mark Reeves – Some total chump will bore the audience to death on rock climbing across the americas. Although he has a tendency not to focus on the climbing. The phrase, “watch you toes” will never seem the same again.