It’s been quite a month in the Alps! After a July dominated by rainfall only previously seen on the West Coast of Scotland, August finally stepped up to the mark in terms of weather and the sun and rock lizards came out to play once more. Normal service has been resumed and it’s been a full-on month in terms of outdoor activity in the mountains .
Peppered with some serious road biking involving numerous ascents of the notorious Col de Joux Plane, most of the fun has been had on the rock and ice here in the Haute Savoie. August has revaled a whole host of firsts for me in terms of mountaineering experience – my first ‘girls only’ climbing day on the Chamonix crag of Les Gaillands in France, my first total meltdown on the multipitch Vipere au Pied at Barberine, and now I am the proud owner of my first set of stitches as a result of a crampon/leg combo whilst descending the Petite Aiguille Verte last week.
All have been fantastic learning experiences and I have loved every bit of them all. Ok, ok…. perhaps losing my composure at altitude wasn’t exactly my proudest hour but what it did teach me is that I’m really going to have to work on my steep rock climbing technique if I’m ever going to be a complete climber! Some guy called Einstein did once say ‘in the midst of difficulty lies opportunity’ and as he’s considered to be quite clever, I think I’ll take his advice.
Well it’s been a wee whiley since my last post but an absence of information certainly is not an indication of a lack of activity! Since I last blogged, I’ve started something that is shaping up to absorb my life for the next couple of years. What I’m talking about is working towards my International Mountain Leader qualification.
I started the process 2 weeks ago at Glenmore Lodge in Scotland. I completed the first of many stages that will be required to gaining the qualification that I hope will enable me to share my love of the mountains with other wannabe mountain goats. It was an amazing and intense week of learning but perhaps the biggest revelation of all was the realization of exactly just how much commitment this is all going to require.
The journey to becoming an IML requires that first you get your Mountain Leader qualification. This involves the week of training that I’ve just finished, then a year of consolidation of the necessary skills and experience, and after that a week long assessment. Should you be successful you are then eligible to join the IML scheme which is structured in the same way – a week of training, a year of consolidation and only then can you put yourself forward for the assessment week which takes place here in the Alps.
Just over a year and a half ago I jacked in my comfortable yet rather benign life in West Sussex and embarked upon a journey into the unknown. I had no clear idea of what it was that I wanted, just a gut feeling that this was not where I was supposed to be. I left with just one clear goal in mind – to follow my love of the outdoors and in particular, mountains.
The adventure since has been one wild ride and over the course of the last 18 months I have ski toured in the Canadian Rockies, trad climbed in the wilderness of Scotland, trekked high into the Himalayas, stood on top a 4,000m Alpine peak at sunrise and ice climbed in the Vallee du Giffre.
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