News from Sierra Nevada Guides

Latest news from the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Southern Spain

Sunday, 27 January 2013

International Mountain Leaders in Spain's Sierra Nevada

International Mountain Leaders in Spain's Sierra Nevada

It’s great being able to work as an International Mountain Leader, meeting like minded people and using our local knowledge of the Sierra Nevada and Alpujarra to ensure that they enjoy the very best walks in the safest possible way.

Martin enjoying being the patient on a Wilderness 1st aid course

However there’s more to being an International Mountain Leader than holding a qualification. Once qualified we can only practice if we are in possession of a valid “wilderness” 1st aid certificate, have appropriate insurance cover and undertake a minimum of 2 days additional training each year known as Continuous Professional Development (CPD). And that’s in addition to getting the qualification in the first place!

In the last year we have attended 4 days of CPD at both Plas y Brenin the National Mountaineering Centre and whilst attending the BAIML annual conference in Fort William. Subjects have included: Geology, Glaciation, The Mountain Environment, Ecology and Assessing People in the Mountains.
(BAIML = The British Association of International Mountain Leaders).

"Refresher" ropework training organised by BAIML

The purpose of CPD is both to demonstrate that we are keeping our skills current and also to expand our knowledge to share with clients in the mountains. It’s these “soft skills” that give an added extra to the experience of hiring a qualified guide.

Sierra Nevada guides have also been involved in organising and delivering CPD training for both BAIML members and the Mountain Leader Training Association (MTA).

Night Navigation Training for BAIML organised by Sierra Nevada Guides
To become an IML through the British scheme, you first need to hold a British Mountain Leader qualification. Then with substantial experience in the larger mountains of the alps and further afield you can apply to join the IML scheme. This involves: a summer training course in Wales with a speed navigation test; a summer assessment in the alps that includes a fitness test; a winter training course in the alps; and finally a winter assessment in either the alps or Pyrenees.

It’s quite a long and expensive route to become a qualified IML, which is a qualification recognised throughout Europe (including Spain). 

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