Mountain Guide Training

On March 20, 2017 by Tim Neill

Back in late January I was privileged to run a couple of training courses up in Scotland for 10 very talented trainee Mountain Guides and so help them towards their upcoming exams later in the season. Probably the most challenging set of courses I’ve ever had to run due to the lack of useful winter conditions and sub optimal forecast. Fortunately I had Paul Warnock and Matt Stygal as co pilots and of course 10 confident, fit and talented candidates who wouldn’t blink at hiking high onto the Ben probably everyday if need be.

Over the 2×5 day courses we climbed all the great ridges on the Ben numerous times and lapped the classic snow gullies up and down on short ropes. We only endured 2 days of dreaded high pressure west coast drizzle and mostly enjoyed settled calm weather. My day on the NE Buttress with Gareth and Calum would’ve been a dream day in the Alps for sure!

Both courses had a day of big boot climbing on the Buachaille without any contact with snow or ice which was retrospectively bloody useful and hilarious at the same time ( given that on one day you could’ve climbed as hard as ever on the Rannoch Wall in the sun)…and even a day of ok winter climbing on Aonach Mor’s east Face. After seeing the east side of the NE Buttress from the top of the Buachaille it was clear that’d be the best chance of real winter climbing. A tip off from my friend Lou confirmed decent ice climbing and so a couple of days of good ice routes returned the efforts of a longer than normal walk.

As ever, thanks to the talents and professionalism of the whole team. And of course, the very best of luck towards fully qualifying as Guides!

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