Sunday, 18 January 2015

Why Use a Qualified Guide in The Mountains?

Why Use a Qualified Guide in The Mountains outside the U.K.?

That’s it, I’ve submitted my logbook of CPD training to the “training officer” and been passed as current satisfying the training requirements to continue as an InternationalMountain Leader!  It takes effort to stay qualified…………

IML's Practicing Navigation at Night
The only British qualifications valid for taking people into the mountains outside the U.K. are either the International Mountain Leader (IML) or the Mountain Guide (IFMGA). Those holding these qualifications are members of professional associations who issue their guides carnets to operate on an annual basis.

Assessing People in The Mountains Course, PyB
Overseeing these qualifications in the U.K. are:
i.   BMG         British Mountain Guides;     and
ii.  BAIML    British Association of International Mountain Leaders.

IFMGA Guides can operate on terrain where the use of ropes and technical mountaineering will be necessary.

IML’s operate on terrain where ropes and technical equipment are not routinely required, though are trained in their use (just in case).

IML’s have to be able to demonstrate that their skills are current through CPD training and hold a current wilderness 1st aid certificate along with appropriate liability insurance.


My Carnet (front and back)
At the point of renewing my carnet on January 1st this year, I was asked to demonstrate that I had enough current and relevant training. This I duly did and “passed muster.” My carnet has been reissued allowing me to continuepractising as an IML.

Since qualifying as an IML in March 2010 I have undertaken 10 days of (CPD) training including the following:

Teaching Navigation (2 courses);
Altitude Sickness;
The Mountain Environment;
Assessing People in The Mountains;  and
Teaching Hill and Mountain Skills.

All of this CPD is in addition to the rigorous training and assessment both summer and winter to obtain the qualification in the first place.

Nasty Leg Wound! Wilderness 1st Aid Course
The one thing that I am confident in saying is that you not only get a qualified guide when you hire an IML, but you get someone who is “current” and the added value bought with the volume of CPD opportunities. By hiring an International Mountain Leader to guide you in the mountains not only should you be safe, but the level of environmental interpretation should be 1st Class.

Working overseas for much of the year, mainly in Spain, I am amazed at the increasing number of Brits who set up walking businesses, call themselves guides and proceed to operate illegally (as unlike the U.K., you need to hold a qualification to lead people for money in Spain). Unfortunately it will take a fatality before these people are investigated.

So there you have it!  When booking your walking holidays in the hills or mountains ask if your guide will be qualified (and insured).  A qualified guidecarries a “carnet” and their website and advertising should display the correct logo.

IML Ropework Refresher Course