/ MTS Winter ML Review - The Final Outcomes

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george mc - on 14 Oct 2013
During the review of the Winter Mountain Leader Award, Mountain Training Scotland invited feedback, comments and suggested alterations to any aspect of the Winter ML Award from interested parties. Responses were received from Winter ML or higher award holders, Providers, Course Directors, trainers and assessors involved in providing Winter ML courses and stakeholder organisations including the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, the Adventure Activities Licensing Service, Mountain Rescue of England and Wales (MREW) and the Scottish Avalanche Information Service (SAIS). As a result the Mountain Training Scotland Board (MTS) considered a series of proposals relating to amendments or changes to the Winter Mountain leader scheme. The Scottish Boards recommendations were then reviewed and agreed by all the other Mountain Training Home Nation Boards at a MTUK meeting on June 22nd 2013.

You can view the full report on the review outcomes at the following link:

http://www.mountain-training.org/latest-news/winter-ml-review-the-final-outcome

All of the Winter Mountain leader Syllabus, Guidance notes and Appendices were updated, re-written and restructured to ensure they were clearer and more accessible to candidates. You can view/download the new and revised Winter Mountain Leader Award Handbook at the following link:

http://www.mountain-training.org/award-schemes/winter-mountain-leader

The registration process now uses the new Mountain Training on-line digital logbook called DLog. At the moment only those who are registered on the either the Winter ML, Climbing Wall Leading Award or the new Coaching award will be able to view DLog on the Candidate Management System (CMS). Access to DLog will eventually be extended to all other candidates on the other schemes. In the meantime if you are registered on any of the above awards you can view DLog by going to your account on the CMS – once in your account you’ll see the ‘DLOG’ button on the left hand side. Please note you may have to first refresh your browser page to see DLog.
highclimber - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to george mc: So the only thing that has changed is the wording about certain aspects of the award in the handbook?
george mc - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to highclimber:

Ermm no. Please read the news item (on the Mountain Training website) there were changes made which is why I linked to the review outcomes there rather than re-write everything here.
top cat - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to george mc:

Interesting: since when (date) were WML not supposed to run snowhole trips then?
Summer ML = camping
Winter ML = snowholes, of course.

george mc - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to top cat:
> (In reply to george mc)
>
> Interesting: since when (date) were WML not supposed to run snowhole trips then?
> Summer ML = camping
> Winter ML = snowholes, of course.

Since the very beginning of time! :)

Winter MLs have never been validated to lead snowhole trips. People do but it is not covered by the award and never has been. Note: no requirements for Winter Ml to have first been snowholing (there is for Summer Ml as assessment).

People make all sorts of assumptions about this award none of which generally are backed up by the intent or scope of the award.
ccmm on 14 Oct 2013 - 212.219.255.65 whois?
In reply to george mc: The review mentions CPD possibly including snow holes. Any details or dates yet.

Well done getting this review published.

I'm having a wee look at the updated WML handbook now. As someone who still thumbs through Langmuir regularly (the book not the man) I find the general trand to gloss-up technical manuals with nice photos a tad disconcerting.

The reasons for doing so appears sound but if folk cannae read a few paragraphs about a course they have invested heavily in before they present themselves for training or assessment they need to ask what they're playing at.

And what's wrong with "neve" as a word?
george mc - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to Craig Mc:

Hi Craig
Thanks for the feedback. The handbook is not a technical manual as such e.g. like Langmuir or Winter Skills. It should contain guidance for candidates about the competences rather than the actual detail. The plan is though (and it is the 21st Century) to embed technical video clips within the handbook - that will help increase the potential technical info without it becoming too prescriptive i.e. if we recommend a specific technique it very quickly becomes the 'Mountain Training Scotland recommended technique'.

I empathise with your sentiments about reading! However the feedback about the older manuals was they were often a bit too wordy without adding anything to what had been said. Mostly what has been done is some heavy editing. The guidance notes for trainers and assessors are going to be available in another document. candidates will be free to access them if they wish. I just got them back from the proof reader so they will be completed by the end of the week and available on-line. Again I'll post to direct any interested parties to them.

Thanks again Craig :)

Cheery!
ccmm on 14 Oct 2013 - 212.219.255.65 whois?
In reply to george mc: Ta for the reply George.

I was going to ask about Trainer and Assessor guidance so thanks for clearing that up. I hope there will be clear links between the candidate doc and the trainer/assessor one as I think that the old format worked well in that all three appeared together in the relevant sections. This made it clear what was expected of folk so there could be no surprises come assessment.

Do you have any info on the proposed CPD workshops?
AlH - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to Craig Mc: I stand to be corrected by George don't think MTS will be providing CPD for Award Holders but the MTA do each year. There is a CPD weekend at Glenmore Lodge on the weekend of the 25,26th Jan (contact Belinda at MTA if you have a specific want for the program) and if that weekend doesn't suit PM me (Scottish MTA Co-ordinator) if you have a specific want and I'll try to find a suitable provider, venue and dates. These wont be 'bolt ons' or 'modules' that in any way extend the remit of the Award. Just CPD Workshops to increase the range of your personal experience.
ccmm on 14 Oct 2013 - 212.219.255.65 whois?
In reply to AlH: Cheers for that Al.

Aye, I got the CPD info from the first link George provided (which was from Mountain Training) so I tought he might have info on it.

I was specifically interested in this: "George McEwan stated that there is currently an option under ‘Further Experience’ for award holders to be ‘signed off’ by a suitably experienced technical advisor within site specific schemes/further training to lead snowholes. He also mentioned that MTA are planning on running a series of winter based CPD events this coming winter 2014. One of these events could cover further training in snowholing as CPD."

I fall into the above category and would like the chance to see what current best practise is.

I did a CPD course at the Lodge for WMLs and MICs a few years ago. It was very good value.
george mc - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to Craig Mc:

What Al said above is spot on :)

MTA CPD weekend http://www.glenmorelodge.org.uk/eventsdisplay.asp?id=106

The decision was taken to split the Guidance for T and A staff stuff out as it was a/confusing to candidates b/ meant the 'voice' of the writing had to change. Also feedback was vast majority of candidates never read the handbooks in the first place. So I guess it was academic what was in it!

So the main intent of the new handbook is to encourage candidates to actually look at it. In short the older style handbooks did not work. I can only hope the new one is an improvement and does work. Time will tell.
AlH - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to Craig Mc: Aye. Health and Safety recognise 4 routes to competence- an NGB like the Winter ML, an equivalent Awards (like the Joint Services Awards or Scouts Awards), site specific training by a suitable experienced Technical Advisor or simply personal experience (demonstrable, extensive and probably documented IMHO). Under the third of these a Technical Advisor could design Training/Assessment for a Site Specific Scheme to allow an Award Holder to do something outside the realms of their NGB (e.g. many SPAs used to have schemes to teach leading on indoor walls run by suitable TAs- this has become less common since the advent of the CWLA). There are guidelines from MT on how to design SS Schemes and the TA needs to be careful to ensure its a rigorous scheme. E.g. if this was about snowholing with groups a starting point for such a TA would be MIC/Guide but additionally they should have extensive further experience or training in the selection, construction and safe use of snow holes (e.g. someone who has made a great deal of use of them themselves (probably with groups) and/or is a WML Trainer/Assessor).
AFAIK Belinda is still putting the January program together so feel free to put a bid in for something specific. If it doesn't fit that weekend we can perhaps arrange something else. If you get stuck and are looking for options drop me a line.
AlH - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to Craig Mc: There you go, take a look at that program in George's link.
ccmm on 14 Oct 2013 - 212.219.255.65 whois?
In reply to george mc: Ta for the link George. I'm working one of the days of that weekend so I'll not make it up.

Al, I'm running a snow hole trip the following Monday (27th Jan). Any chance you could pm me details of where you guys have done yer wee dig. Could save me much hard work! ;)
AlH - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to Craig Mc: PMed you
top cat - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to george mc:
> (In reply to top cat)
> [...]
>
> Since the very beginning of time! :)
>
> Winter MLs have never been validated to lead snowhole trips. People do but it is not covered by the award and never has been. Note: no requirements for Winter Ml to have first been snowholing (there is for Summer Ml as assessment).
>
> People make all sorts of assumptions about this award none of which generally are backed up by the intent or scope of the award.

Fair enough, but it seems a massive restriction and suggests that I'm better off without the award: no remit; can't be outwith remit :)
girlymonkey - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to top cat: you can work outside of remit, just clear it with your insurance!
Andrew Mallinson - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to top cat:

Hi Topcat,
Ultimately you can do whatever you want within the law.....
There are no laws in this country about who can work as a mountain guide, instructor or whatever, and long may it continue...
ANdy
In reply to george mc: Not being validated to lead snowholing trips is a major limitation of this award, and the blurb does not explain the rationale for this. What is the issue here? The JSATC MLW qualification does not have this unexplained and odd limitation.
george mc - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:

Hi Nick
I'd suggest reading the links above - in the news section. It is explained as it is in the Winter ML handbook.

Bottom line and I've been snowholing with groups for a longer than I care to recall is snow holing is dangerous and is very much experience based. You need to learn it as you go (under supervision). There is little or no margin for error.

However if you read the Further Experience section you'll see there are options to cover this.

FWIW only two people out of everyone who responded to the review specifically asked for this. But then you probably missed this:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=539143&v=1#x7229839

and this

http://www.mountain-training.org/latest-news/winter-ml-review-the-final-outcome

But just to save you the bother here is an excerpt from the paper that was discussed by the Boards when asked to consider amending the snow hole section:

"GMc stated that only two respondents had explicitly asked for Winter ML holders to be able to lead overnight snowhole expeditions, whilst one had explicitly stated they should not (all were Winter ML holders). GMc added MTS Winter ML Provider had expressly asked all his candidates (During the season 2012/2013 he trained and assessed a total of 69 Winter ML candidates) about this issue and there was little desire expressed on their part to be able to lead groups snowholing..."

That hardly sound slike the majority of Winter MLs agree it's a short coming.
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george mc - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:
> (In reply to george mc) Not being validated to lead snowholing trips is a major limitation of this award, and the blurb does not explain the rationale for this. What is the issue here? The JSATC MLW qualification does not have this unexplained and odd limitation.

The Joint Services awards operate under a very tight management structure.
'Civvie' Winter MLs are basically able to operate independently. So you are comparing apples with oranges.

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