MIA Refresher Course

Late autumn in Wales is always the time and place for waterproofs rather than sun glasses and this year was no exception. Pas y Brenin, the national mountain centre, was the venue for the course and you always know you are going to get quality training there. Students on the course were from all over the UK and Ireland. The thing we had in common, apart from our love of the hills, is that we are all working towards our Mountain Instructor Award. The MIA is the highest instructor award (apart from teaching ice climbing techniques, which is covered by the Mountain Instructor Certificate) and I have been working towards it for the last couple of years now. Day one had us divided up with a ratio of three students to each instructor. The subject was short roping, this is a fairly complicated, difficult and much misunderstood technique for a guide to get a couple of people up and down hard scrambling and fairly easy climbing terrain. We headed off to the Idwal slabs where we were working on V. Diff to Severe ground. Day two was a teaching multi pitch climbing day with the ratio now dropping to two students per instructor. We explored various ways of safely introducing people to multi pitch climbing on the Milestone Buttress. The weekend was a great success and I left Snowdonia on the Sunday evening feeling that I had learned a great deal.