/ snow hole tuition
There is a great online search facility at http://www.ami.org.uk/find-an-instructor - just select North West England and MIC and you will get a comprehensive list of suitable and qualified instructors working in the Lake District.
There isn't an actual snow hole qualification. It doesn't need to be an MIC, Winter mountain leaders have to build and spend 2 nights in a snow hole on assessment, whereas an MIC doesn't (they have gone through the wml process though). Either would be of use.
I know you mean to be helpful, but this is an area where there is some confusion and unfortunately what you've just said is wrong.
First, MICs are fully qualified to conduct snow-holing expeditions.
Second, Winter MLs are categorically NOT qualified to conduct snow-holing expeditions.
The issue of snow-holing is explicitly addressed in the Winter ML Handbook 2011 (downloadable from http://www.mountain-training.org/award-schemes/ml-winter ).
From section 2.1:
The aim is not to teach the Winter Mountain Leader how to conduct expeditions using snow holes as the base or main form of accommodation.
The inclusion of snowholing in the Winter ML scheme is not to prepare candidates to lead expeditions to potentially remote and serious locations, but for the reasons outlined in the previous paragraph.
And most importantly from section 2.2
It is not within the remit of the Winter Mountain Leader to lead expeditions using snowholes as expedition bases.
I hope that clarifies matters in terms of official qualifications, both for you and the OP.
However unlike in other countries, there is obviously nothing to stop anyone, regardless of qualifications from instructing snow-holing, just as there is nothing stopping anyone from instructing any other aspect of climbing or mountaineering professionally.
someone has two much time on their hands....
An MIC will not have necessarily built anymore of these than a WML (and indeed both may have not built any!). I was under the impression that NO qualification specifically covers the building of snow shelters. Ex-engineer may shed further light on this.....
Mountaineering Instructor Certificate (MIC) - for instructors working in winter conditions. Additional skills required for winter mountaineering and winter climbing are covered. Also included are elements of training and assessment that are necessary for those directing and working on schemes such as Winter ML.
Since a major part of Winter ML courses is a snow hole expedition, that clearly implies to me that MICs are trained and assessed as to whether they are competent to conduct them. That has also been my understanding of the issue based on working with various MICs over the years.
However, I can't comment first hand on what exactly is covered on an MIC training course in relation to snow shelters - at least until next month!
Also there are many WML holders who actively offer and conduct snow holing trips on a regular basis who will have a great deal more experience than many MICs (that's no comment on the quality of that experience however- I see some right abortions of snow holes in the Cairngorms in winter and there is no telling who built them)!
Award holders who are working on WML Trainings and Assessments under experienced course directors will have a greater understanding of the issues involved in selecting a snow hole site and keeping it safe.
As ever there is no legal requirement to have any qualification to do this but It would be wise if hiring someone to enquire about how often the award holder holder has been running such trips and what, if any training they have had.
Is it really that complicated?
I'm with EeByGum on this. Absolutely not need for a 'guide' or MLC, MIC, UIAA or similar.
Just find a deep drift and start digging.
Failing imagination or the ability to locate snow, then find someone whose spent the odd night in one. Many winter climbers have, so it shouldn't be too difficult.
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