/ Mountain guide qualifications in spain

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ethan109 on 08 Nov 2012
Anyone got any info on the qualification system in spain. Like what is the system for becoming a guide and could a brit do this system. Also are qualifications set by the MLTE such as ML, SPA, MIA and MIC recognised over there, and is there a spanish equivalent of these? Any info would be very much appreciated.

Ethan
biscuit - on 08 Nov 2012
In reply to ethan109:

I've got a friend who is just going through it at the moment.

Basics from what i've gathered are that it is a combination of SPA, ML and MIA all in one. It takes a couple of years, with building experience between training courses, the last of which is 40 days long in the Pyrenees. There also seems to be a lot of emphasis on book reading with physiology, psychology and coaching all read into in depth.

It's certainly not a minor undertaking and there is no quarter given for non fluent SPanish speakers.

I forget the name of the organisation now but yes it is an equivalent ( ish ) to the MLTUK.

Or of you have Uk quals they are generally accepted by employers over here or you can get insured by UK insurance companies for working abroad.

If you need any more info i can ask my mate. I didn't get that much info as i don't have the time to go away for the residentials so i stopped looking into it.
biscuit - on 08 Nov 2012
In reply to biscuit:

Bit more info i just remembered.

There's no module way of doing it. i.e. the equivalent of CWA first and then SPA and then ML then MIA.

Also you are expected to onsight 7a+ sport. Not sure about the trad side of it.
Ron Walker - on 08 Nov 2012
In reply to ethan109:

I did my IML training at Benasque in the Pyennees which from what I understood at the time was the Spanish National Centre, if that is of any help?
biscuit - on 08 Nov 2012
In reply to Ron Walker:

That's the one !

It's worth bearing in mind my friend is going for the 'full' award and we were talking in Spanish so there may be lower levels available.

Good luck with finding any info out via the net but if you do find anything it may be worth posting a link.
AdrianC - on 08 Nov 2012
In reply to ethan109: Unless you only want to work in Spain, it might pay to see if whoever administers the scheme is affiliated to the UIAGM.
andyathome - on 08 Nov 2012
In reply to ethan109:
A holder of the UK IML can apply to become a member of the Spanish Guides Association. They include 'guides' and 'accompanateurs' within the one organisation.

In some circumstances the regional guide organisations will recognise SPA and MIA as a route to equivalence.
andyathome - on 08 Nov 2012
ethan109 on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to ethan109: Thanks for all the info everyone. From what I can gather the IML is probably the best bet. It qualifies you to lead groups in international mountain ranges summer and winter walking, seems a bit like the equivalent to an ML summer and ML winter in the UK. Though to do it you have to already have an ML summer qualy. It doesn't however qualify you to lead groups on glaciers or any terrain where the use of a rope is necessary. It seems the only qualification to teach rock climbing and alpinism abroad is the BMG. To me it seems a bit silly that to lead groups in a place like the Picos de Europa (Which apart from its scale isn't a whole lot different from the conditions you might get in Scotland) an MIC stands less chance of getting work out there then an IML. And more importantly the only way to instruct rock climbing out there is to have your BMG which costs thousands of pounds and years and years of training, when in Britain an MIA qualy would cost around £1600 for training and assessment and would qualify you to teach all activities in a summer mountain environment including multi-pitch climbing. Does anyone know of any ways to teaching rock climbing in the Picos other than BMG? Has anyone instructed over there with an MIA or MIC? All feedback so far has been very helpful and any further advice is much appreciated.
biscuit - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to ethan109:

Yes that's what i am doing and it's going alright so far.

I think you would struggle to find work with a Spanish company but if you were to go self employed just speak to your insurance company. It's technically out of remit work ( SPA, MIA etc are all for UK only )so they bump up your premium but it could be worse.

I work for someone who also has UK quals so they know all about them and what they mean. Getting what they are all about translated into SPanish would be a good move if you were to approach a Spanish company looking for work or going for equivalence with a federation.

References and a big fat logbook help too.


Ron Walker - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to ethan109:

AFAIK unless it has changed drastically the IML is more similar to the UK summer ML and does not cover using ice axes and crampons or Via Ferrata with clients...
Doug on 10 Nov 2012
In reply to ethan109: don't know about Spain but in France there is a qualification for climbing instructor (monitor d'escalade) which I guess is similar to a MIC or MIA (may not cover ice climbing). Would have thought Spain had something similar
ethan109 on 10 Nov 2012
In reply to Ron Walker: Thanks for that Ron. How long did it take you to do the whole course and what did the winter section of it involve? Cheers.
Ron Walker - on 10 Nov 2012
In reply to ethan109:

The IML is a trekking qualification for leading walking parties on non glacier terrain in the middle mountain.
It does not cover, via ferrata, technical mountaineering, rock climbing, ice climbing or alpine climbing.
I did the training in the 1990's in Benasque, Spain with PYB. At that time you needed to already have your summer and winter ML. It was later changed to just winter ML training and has again been changed several times with lots of extra modules...!

The winter bit is a bit strange in that it covers snowshoeing and avalanche awareness but not the use of an ice axe and crampons and so is inappropriate for winter hillwalking away from the pisted ski areas or marked trails. It doesn't cover crossing glaciers or using ropes and harnesses.

On the plus side the IML is now recognised in most of Europe and in many parts of the world.

For full details see http://www.mountain-training.org/award-schemes/international-mountain-leader-award

From the website:
International Mountain Leader Award Overview
This award trains and assesses candidates in the skills required to lead parties in mountainous areas,including snow-covered Nordic type terrain of the “middle” mountains but excluding via ferrata, glaciers and terrain requiring alpine techniques. The IML builds on the Mountain Leader Award, which candidates must hold. To operate professionally outside the UK, IML-holders must be a member of an association such as BAIML...

Ron Walker - on 10 Nov 2012
In reply to ethan109:

The IML is a trekking qualification for leading walking parties on non glacier terrain in the middle mountain.
It does not cover, via ferrata, technical mountaineering, rock climbing, ice climbing or alpine climbing.
I did the training in the 1990's in Benasque, Spain with PYB. At that time you needed to already have your summer and winter ML. It was later changed to just winter ML training and has again been changed several times with lots of extra modules... The course was fun in that it took us to all the areas we shouldn't really be going to, though few folk got the wrong idea and thought these are the areas we should be going to!

The winter bit is a bit strange in that it covers snowshoeing and avalanche awareness but not the use of an ice axe and crampons. It's inappropriate for winter hillwalking away from the pisted ski areas or marked trails. It doesn't cover crossing glaciers or using ropes and harnesses.

On the plus side the IML is now recognised in most of Europe and in many parts of the world.

As for how long will it take, my case was different as I never bothered going for assessment until several years later.
Starting from scratch if you go through the UK system and gain the required log book experience it'll take several years at least. I know several people working in the industry full-time who have flown through the schemes. It's taken them at least three or more years and an awful lot of money.

For full details see http://www.mountain-training.org/award-schemes/international-mountain-leader-award

From the MTA website:

"International Mountain Leader Award Overview
This award trains and assesses candidates in the skills required to lead parties in mountainous areas,including snow-covered Nordic type terrain of the “middle” mountains but excluding via ferrata, glaciers and terrain requiring alpine techniques. The IML builds on the Mountain Leader Award, which candidates must hold. To operate professionally outside the UK, IML-holders must be a member of an association such as BAIML..."

Doug on 10 Nov 2012
In reply to Ron Walker: "The winter bit is a bit strange in that it covers snowshoeing and avalanche awareness but not the use of an ice axe and crampons. "

Not so strange from a French point of view where 'accompagnateur de moyenne mountain' (more or less equivalent to UK MLC) often lead snowshoe excursions in gentle terrain (eg along valley bottoms, often wooded) but where there is a risk of avalanches, but from the slopes above rather than those they are on.
mike kann - on 10 Nov 2012
In reply to Ron Walker: hi Ron, do you know what the situation is with MIA and MIC in the rest of Europe? I know it used to be an absolute no, but it was relaxed a few years back and when I spoke to someone at mlte they said once you had a couple of years down in your log book you could practice over there. I presume this would be for a uk based company rather than working for a European one?
Andy Say - on 10 Nov 2012
In reply to mike kann:
> (In reply to Ron Walker) hi Ron, do you know what the situation is with MIA and MIC in the rest of Europe? I know it used to be an absolute no, but it was relaxed a few years back and when I spoke to someone at mlte they said once you had a couple of years down in your log book you could practice over there. I presume this would be for a uk based company rather than working for a European one?

Probably wasn't me you spoke to then, Ron. MIA and MIC are trained and assessed for the UK context. But that is not to say that a lot of the skills are directly transferable! Many companies use ML, SPA etc as proof of competence for staff working overseas - but almost exclusively with UK clients. Attitudes to qualifications vary from European country to European country; try and lead a trekking group round the TdMB for example and you will get loads of hassle if you are not IML qualified. And IMLs work hassle-free pretty much throughout Europe (so long as they don't wander into 'guide teritory'). Under UK law, as far as I know, you can enter into a contract with a UK client to deliver a 'service' anywhere so long as you are competent to do so. Many SPAs are competent to run climbing sessions in Ailefroide. Many MICs would be competent to work in Cogne. That is using a blend of 'Award' and personal experience/development/training to develop 'competence'. So from a UK perspective that's OK IF you can demonstrate your competence. BUT you will be working in a country with other laws (France, for example, certainly requires a 'professional' qualification to enable 'professional' work).
In some places blind eyes will be turned, in others there will be muttering. Its a grey area - as far as I know the only concrete agreement is for MICs to work in Norway in winter.

BUT base yourself in another country and start advertising for business without any form of agreement from the 'locals' is simply asking for trouble.
jon on 10 Nov 2012
In reply to mike kann:

It'd be good to hear Ron's take on this. From my experience though, it would seem that this reply is more wishful thinking - especially with regard to the MIA/MIC. Mrs J investigated equivalence for her MIA at ENSA and came up against a (very high) brick wall. More recently a friend with MIC, living here, investigated again. He was made to attend and pass various assessments alongside moniteur d'escalade candidates. It seemed that each time he did so, the ladder was pulled up. In the end he gave up. So quite why the MLTE think otherwise is rather beyond me. I'm obviously talking about France here - it's quite possible that other countries differ.
Andy Say - on 10 Nov 2012
In reply to ethan109:
Ethan. Have you bothered to follow up the suggestion above that you contact Michael and Jane at http://sierranevadaguides.co.uk ?

As people who work in the Sierra Nevada with IML qualifications they will be able to give you far more accurate and informed advice about the situation than punters like me on UKC.
Doug on 10 Nov 2012
In reply to jon: But the French have form on refusing to recognise non French qualifications - remember all the problems for BASI qualified instructors ?

They do the same with academic qualifications as well, a Slovak colleague at work had real problems getting her MSc recognised when we first employed her, despite EU legislation
Andy Say - on 10 Nov 2012
In reply to jon:
> (In reply to mike kann)
>
> From my experience though, it would seem that this reply is more wishful thinking - especially with regard to the MIA/MIC. Mrs J investigated equivalence for her MIA at ENSA and came up against a (very high) brick wall. More recently a friend with MIC, living here, investigated again. He was made to attend and pass various assessments alongside moniteur d'escalade candidates. It seemed that each time he did so, the ladder was pulled up. In the end he gave up. So quite why the MLTE think otherwise is rather beyond me. I'm obviously talking about France here - it's quite possible that other countries differ.

MLTE don't think otherwise, Jon. (Though we have now changed our name to MTE just to confuse people!) I only know of one MIA who has for sure achieved 'equivalence' in France - though there may be more. There ARE a few people in Spain (referring to the OP who was interested in that country) who have been adopted by the Spanish Guide Federation (who as far as I know include accompanateurs within their number) without so much hassle. It is really variable across Europe.
mike kann - on 10 Nov 2012
In reply to Andy Say: do you know what it's like in the Dolomites? I do have pretty good contacts there, but knowing the way Italy is is suspect it would be very difficult to achieve equivalence. Hence the uk based with UK clients question. It seems like you see every man and their dog "guiding" their hotel clients up and down mountains with no quals what so ever, but then they are local and there is most definitely a different set of rules for outsiders in general life...
Andy Say - on 10 Nov 2012
In reply to mike kann:
Talk to Paolo Fubini (MTE provider of this parish). http://www.arrampica.com/ It always pays to talk to those who know!

Collets seem to manage it.......
mike kann - on 10 Nov 2012
In reply to Andy Say: good tip, cheers Andy...
jon on 10 Nov 2012
In reply to Andy Say:

> MLTE don't think otherwise, Jon

Fair enough - I was just picking up on what Mike said - it would have surprised me if they did.
Andy Say - on 10 Nov 2012
In reply to jon:

'I spoke to someone who told me that they had been told that someone said that a friend of theirs had been told by someone who had been told.....'

:-)
Ron Walker - on 10 Nov 2012
In reply to jon:

Never did get the new topos or down to your neck of the woods, with the Vallorcine train tunnel being shut this summer :-(
Towards the end of our trip we ended up at the Envers des Aiguilles area a few times instead! It's a long approach but a stunning rock climbing area... :-)
We did noticed you had a wee advert in the Piola guidebook and there was another advert for the Envers des Aiguilles refuge with an IML logo on it, which intrigued us.
Considering the glacier and the long tricky via ferrata approach, we wondered if it was within the trekking remit some of the local Chamonix IML's, given the hut advert's IML logo?
jon on 10 Nov 2012
In reply to Ron Walker:

No, certainly not within the remit...!

I've only got the French version of the Envers book here with me in Provence, but I think maybe there is an advert in the English one. I can't remember the logo details though - certainly the ad in the Aiguilles Rouges one has both accompagnateur and UIAGM logos.

The new Aiguilles Rouges Vol 2 is now out, by the way.
Ron Walker - on 10 Nov 2012
In reply to mike kann:
> (In reply to Ron Walker) hi Ron, do you know what the situation is with MIA and MIC in the rest of Europe? I know it used to be an absolute no, but it was relaxed a few years back and when I spoke to someone at mlte they said once you had a couple of years down in your log book you could practice over there. I presume this would be for a uk based company rather than working for a European one?

I don't know anymore than you and what was printed on the AMI mag and website but I can't see it actually happen in my lifetime.
But interesting that ex pat Cham residents and someone like Jon's, MIA, IML partner and his MIC friend haven't had much success (almost said joy!) No hope for the rest of us!
I did notice a few AMI badges out in the Alps though....
Ron Walker - on 10 Nov 2012
In reply to jon:
> (In reply to Ron Walker)
>
> No, certainly not within the remit...!
>
> I've only got the French version of the Envers book here with me in Provence, but I think maybe there is an advert in the English one. I can't remember the logo details though - certainly the ad in the Aiguilles Rouges one has both accompagnateur and UIAGM logos.
>
> The new Aiguilles Rouges Vol 2 is now out, by the way.

That's what I thought and yes it's the English one!
Sierra Nevada Guides - on 11 Nov 2012
In reply to Andy Say:

> Ethan. Have you bothered to follow up the suggestion above that you contact Michael and Jane at http://sierranevadaguides.co.uk ?
>
> As people who work in the Sierra Nevada with IML qualifications they will be able to give you far more accurate and informed advice about the situation than punters like me on UKC.

Ethan,

Have mailed you.

mike

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