Thursday, 22 November 2012

How to become a Snowshoe Guide

Many snowshoe guides in Europe hold the International Mountain Leader (IML) qualification. This article is a guide on how to become an IML. If starting from scratch it is quite a long road, certainly a number of years, but it is a lot of fun! First of all you need your Mountain Leader (summer) qualification. For this you need to gain as much  experience as possible walking in different mountainous areas of the UK, some climbing and scrambling would also help. Joining a mountaineering club is probably the best way of meeting like-minded people.

 You then need to be trained and assessed for the ML, a high standard of navigation skill is needed for this. Go to the MLTUK website for further info

Once you have your ML you need to build up your international mountain walking experience  in Europe and further afield, ( in summer conditions) and also winter walking in either the UK or abroad. Once again being part of a club can help you find someone to go with. If you can add scrambling, rock climbing and overnight stays in mountain huts to your experience, then all the better. Also some experience leading groups is essential either as a volunteer or in your club or even with friends.

To then become an IML you have to go on a series of training and assessment courses (see MLTUK). To start on the first stage of this ladder you need to have gained 20 quality summer walking days abroad and 20 quality winter days which can be in the UK or abroad.

It obviously takes a long time to achieve all this but it is an exciting and adventurous road so don’t be put off, get going!

Further information on the IML qualification.

To be an IML you must have completed the training and assessment for the International Mountain Leader qualification as set down by UIMLA (Union of International Mountain Leader Associations).  This is an international association made up of a number of European countries with non-European nations from around the world starting to show an interest in joining. All countries agree to a common training and assessment platform, therefore ensuring that IML’s from any country all share the same high standard of skills. Each country has their own national association, this is a professional association and IML’s have to be members to be able to work, in Britain this is BAIML

"The IML qualification covers the competence, knowledge, skills and abilities needed for leading groups on any mountaineering activities where the techniques of alpinism are not required."

The aim of the qualification is to provide qualified professionals to lead walking parties on high altitude treks and mountain expeditions. IMLs can lead walking groups anywhere in the world. The qualification is now divided into a summer and winter section. To be able to lead people on snowshoe excursions you need the winter qualification.  IMLs can guide in mountainous areas that are not technically difficult and may only lead excursions on routes where it would not normally be expected to proceed roped together for safety, they  carry a rope for emergency use only. Routes that involve technical equipment such as ice axes and crampons or involve crossing glaciers are the province of the Mountain Guide.

In Britain IML training is carried out and governed by the MLTUK (Mountain Leader Training UK) if you would like further information get directly in touch with them.

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