Sunday, 4 October 2015

Summer Highs and Lows

It's been a while since my last blog post and as the Summer feels like it's drawing to a close, it's good to catch up with the last few months. Since then, there's been lots happening with some superb high points and some definite low points...

 I had a great week working on this years Ben Nevis North Face survey. Apart from one day, the weather was very kind to us this year which made the week great fun. Highlights included a superb day with geologist Roddy and Dave B on Observatory Ridge, Tower Ride with Gordon and Scott where we found some very rare Hare's Foot Sedge, and some 'classic'  climbing with Al after we abbed down between Tower Ridge and Tower Gully. Another highly successful year and I'm looking forward to next year already!

Abbing down Slingsby's Chimney ( a wee bit wet!)

Happy faces at 'work'!

Scott enjoying a wander around Tower Ridge

The site of our big find of the week

Hare's Foot sedge 

After the survey came my MIA assessment. This is something I've been putting a lot of work into over the past year and a bit and so I had given myself plenty pressure to want to do well. Below is a brief outline of what we covered/ where we went:

Day 1- Personal climbing/Parallel rope work at VS 4c- I climbed Whispers (VS 4c/5a) at Stac an Faraidh in the Loch A'an Basin
Day 2- Rescues at Polldubh( we climbed a V diff and 2 VS 4c's with problems of various difficulties to solve on each route)
Day 3- Teaching day at Cummingston
Day 4-Mountaineering day at Liathach, Torridon
Day 5- Navigation in the Cairngorms

The assessment process was very fair and I can't fault the instructors at Glenmore Lodge. They made the process as least stressful as possible and like all assessments, I think learning during them is a vital part, which I feel happened in abundance.
The result wasn't what I wanted, as I made a few poor decisions on my teaching day resulting in a deferral. Needless to say, it was disappointing... However,  having had a few weeks to process things, I feel pretty positive about this now for a few reasons. One, that I have completed 4 out of the 5 days of the assessment, and a one day reassessment feels very manageable compared to the five! The second reason being that I feel the assessment was great at highlighting any weak areas. Whilst I didn't really feel this at the time, the work I've done since the assessment has made me realise that there were some areas I needed to improve on with this part of the syllabus. I now feel focused regarding what I have to work on and know that whilst this has been a small stumbling block, it will make me a better Mountaineering Instructor in the future. I'm looking forward to Spring to hopefully put it to bed!

I've had some great days out with clients and friends during the last few weeks too and a big thanks to everyone I've been out with for you company on the hill. Below are a few pics from the last few weeks.
A wet but fun day on the CMD with Lorna and Jason

Birthday celebrations on the summit with Sarah and Chris

A great day on Ledge Route as part of the Carpe Diem project for Nevis Landscape Partnership
Some superb inversions this Summer
Starting work with West Highland College students is always a pleasure

Two superb days with Trev on a Hill Skills Course
 Finally, last week I had a great solo trip up Tower Ridge, making it car to car in 3 hours. Some amazing views and a reminder to me that despite some ups and downs, every bit of hard work is worth it to have the privilege to work in the mountains...