MLT Logbooks for the Facebook Generation

I am not sure whether I am a digital immigrant or digital native, having been born in 1975, I very quickly came into contact with the ZX81, I was just going to universoty when the internet was invented some twenty years ago. So today there are now many candidates who are enrolling on the Mountain Training UK qualifications who are very much a part of the internet revolution.

When I did my winter ML two years ago, I made my logbook with word, as I felt it looked better than the traditional MLT logbooks. This year as I was developing iCoach Climbing, I decided to automate and create an online version of the Mountain Leader Training Logbooks, and used my experience of working on training and assessment courses and the comments I have heard from various assessors to add top tips to the system to help guide candidates to fill in their logbooks with the information that those assessors are looking for.

These logbooks are now live on the site and offer anyone a free solution to storing their logbooks online. Whilst not part of the system at the moment I will probably eventually allow coaches, leaders and instructors to opt in to publish their logbooks as a form of online CV highlighting their experience.

For the time being there is only an export option which can easily be cut and pasted into a word document to create a highly professional logbook for training and assessment courses and include as part of application.

One way that I think the iCoach Coaching logbooks will help is to have the logbook available to the growing number of people who regularly use the web for facebook and other social media on a regualr basis. So your logbook won’t be filled away and need finding everytime you need to add to it but available 24/7 at the click of a mouse whether you have your own computer or a friends.

Below is a tutorial on the coaching logbook system. To use this you need to be a registered user. However there will never be a charge for the use of this feature, only the enhanced coaching features if you want to become a registered iCoach Coach, which allows you to view your clients training data, manage coaching groups and add routes to either individual clients or whole groups.

New iCoach Facility for Coaches

I have mention my new iCoach Climbing website on here already, and have managed to programme a way that coaches can monitor clients with the platform. At present you have to register as normal for the site and then register to become a coach. This has several steps to it all of which are aimed at promoting an ethos I would like to see on the site from coaches, the second is down to child protection issues and requires you read the child protection policy and answer some simple questions on it.

I am really keen to get some beta testers who coach climbing to trail the system and give some feedback. So whilst in the future I suspect I will have to charge a small fee each year for updating coaches records and processing application part of which needs to be done via email, as I didn’t want the eCRB forms to be placed in the database for data protection issues.

At present when registered on the site you can monitor your clients training and log training for them. You can also view the performance profile exactly as the client does. Anyway if you are a coach or you know one who might be interested in a free trial of the coaching facilities then either register with icoach climbign and get started on the registration process or email me through the site and ask a few more questions.

Chris Sharma on Goals

There is a news item on UKC about Sharma’s latest climbing feats, you can follow the link to the full article. However there is a great quote about goal setting. Where chris says’

“I think it’s good to have short, medium and long term projects, things you can do in a few days, things that maybe take a few weeks and then ones that are more long term, at least that seems to be the best way for me to stay motivated and not lose psyche trying the same route over and over again. It’s important to mix it up.”

I really like that he finds this useful, it has reasonably sound scientific underpinning from research in sport that having a multitude of goals that build on each other. I have written a few things in the past if you go up to teh catogories menu and mental skils it will pull up the related post from this blog.

Winter Skills Courses

I know its only October, but given we have already had a dusting of snow and a couple of years ago we had some amazing winter conditions in November. As such I thought I’d take the time to mention a few things about the winter skills courses I run and what they include.

Essentially my winter skills courses look at taking a summer hillwalker and turning them into a winter mountaineer. I use the term mountaineer as unlike summer mountain walking or scrambling, winter requires more complete skills. A simple slope you may walk up in summer can become a 1000ft death slide if you don’t know how to look after yourself.

As such we start by teaching you about ice axe and crampons and show you how to use them to keep yourself safe. Often this involves finding a nice area and essentially playing in the snow for a day. During which we teach you how to walk in different styles with crampons, as different angles and snow types make a big difference to how you try and get you feet to stick. We also show you how to use you ice axe to both pervent a fall through either cut stepping or axe placement.

With those basic skills established we then can go on an exploration of the mountains and get you to look at the added complexities of navigation and avoiding hazards like conices or avalanches. By the end of a two or five day course you will be ready to tackle your own challenges in winter conditions.

We run our courses to meet individual needs and as such we don’t have any fixed base and instead are happy to travel around either Scotland or Wales to either find conditions or help you tackle some of the best remote peaks in the UK in winter conditions. In the past we have been to the following areas on winter skills/guided peaks.

  • Extensively across Snowdonia North Wales.
  • Glencoe
  • Fort William
  • Cairngorms
  • Torridon and the North West

In order to book on a course in Scotland you need to contact us to arrange a date and destination to suit your needs, especially if in Scotland. Sadly we can’t offer the conditons guarentee as we do in Wales.

Being based in Snowdonia it give us much more flexibility with our courses and we welcome you to provisionally book weekends or week days throughout November and December. Whilst we can’t guarentee good conditions what we will do is offer all of your 50% deposit back if the conditions aren’t suitable for a Winter Skills. Similarly we also suggest trying to contact us for last minute courses should the weather play ball and winter suddenly arrives.

Find out more about:

Welsh Winter Skills Courses

Scottish Winter Skills Courses

The hardest part of training is making the decision to train at all….

The title of course comes from the great Wolfgang Gullich, whilst he didn’t invent training for climbing, he is certainly the person who used it to skyrocket the grades of the time. I mention this as this morning a friend came round for some ‘training’ advice. Now I am not the sort of coach that often writes out a training plan for anybody. Instead I like to give people a framework that they can use to judge their own schedule.

The reason for this is so many things can get in the way of training and climbing, and for most having a 8 week program laid out is somewhat daunting experience. They feel like they should follow it to the letter, Whereas life isn’t like that. If your ill or have to have a few days off because of work/life commitments, the plan basically fails.

Instead I try to get people on board with finding there weaknesses and spending 4 weeks focusing on developing those weaknesses before reassessing them and moving on. There is a performance profiling system on my icoach climbing website for this exact purpose.

When training those weakness I also recommend that you either mentally or physically record each session. The sole purpose of this is that going to a wall and doing the same session over and over will not result in any change. We have to push ourselves at every oppotunity to improve. That could be through more routes, the same number of routes but harder grades, a greater number of route per hour, more trainign days a week and a whole host of other factors that can overload the body and make us build muscle for strength, power endurance or stamina.

Far more important in my mind is apply overload to every single session you go to the wall. If your not feeling strong go for more easy routes. If your feeling good go for difficulty. If you haven’t got long focus on bouldering. Having a piece of paper with a strict program to follow will soon become dull to most, mix it up, remember your there for fun as well as training and adjust what you do dependant on how you feel or even who you are climbing with will help you stay motivate and focused on small gains between every session.