/ ARTICLE: Becoming a British Mountain Guide

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UKC Articles - on 12 Dec 2018
Seek out the far away placesRegistrant British Mountain Guide shares some thoughts and tips that he's learnt whilst preparing for the BMG training scheme.

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alexm198 - on 12 Dec 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Great article Misha. I particularly enjoyed the list title route names...

The second photo of me is before our sufferfest bivi, not afterwards. Can't imagine I'd have been so psyched after 12 hours of scooping spindrift out of my bivi bag!

 

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Ramon Marin - on 12 Dec 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Good effort Misha, and good luck

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Misha - on 12 Dec 2018
In reply to alexm198:

Ah, of course! There was a lot more snow on that ledge by the morning and we were less cheery...

You can guess the two routes I haven’t done pretty easily (well you’d know anyway).

Should be Endolphin rather than Endorphin, can’t remember now if I changed that deliberately...

Post edited at 22:13
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Misha - on 12 Dec 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Just to clarify in case anyone gets confused about the timetable, I passed the rock induction test this September after applying this May. The bio says I’m looking forward to the rock induction test because the article was originally written before then. I’m now looking forward to the ski induction test in January!

If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask here or drop me a line.

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olddirtydoggy - on 12 Dec 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Great read, thanks for posting.

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SebCa - on 12 Dec 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Best of luck to you!

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pasbury on 13 Dec 2018
In reply to Misha:

Can you write an article about the rock climbing induction?

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Fruitbat on 13 Dec 2018
In reply to Misha:

Very interesting, an enjoyable read. Although you'll obviously be busy with everything, any more articles you write along these lines will be lapped-up by everyone on here. Best of luck for the future.

Would you mind writing a quick post giving a very general overview and order of the various stages and the rough time taken between each, please? e.g. trainee, aspirant, assesments etc. Also, is there any actual training/instruction given or is that all down to you to acquire yourself?

Thanks.

 

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Tom Ripley - on 13 Dec 2018
In reply to Fruitbat:

> Would you mind writing a quick post giving a very general overview and order of the various stages and the rough time taken between each, please? e.g. trainee, aspirant, assesments etc.

Good overview here. http://www.bmg.org.uk/become-a-guide/

 

> Also, is there any actual training/instruction given or is that all down to you to acquire yourself?

There is over one hundred days of training, assessment, over the course of the BMG training scheme.  

 

 

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Misha - on 13 Dec 2018
In reply to pasbury:

I’ll probably do something on the induction tests (and foundation training which comes with them) once I’ve completed them. Skiing in January and Scottish winter in March.

The short of it is that the rock induction involved climbing in drizzle at Gogarth (two of us did single pitch E2s on Upper Tier, the other team did Gogarth). You can see what I mean about needing to be solid at the grade...

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The Grist - on 14 Dec 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Good article Misha and good luck on the scheme. My only real question would be when are you going to start charging your mates to go climbing with you?

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Sean Kelly - on 14 Dec 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Hi Misha,

It appears that there is obviously  quite a change from the original aspirants guide requirements when leading E1 was deemed sufficient in the dim distant past. The other area to meet European climbers apart from Snells is on the BMC International meets. That was how Alex Mac met up with the Poles and they did quite well at the time. Don't forget routes on the bigger ranges isn't bad on your CV either. Good luck with the course.

Sean

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Misha - on 14 Dec 2018
In reply to The Grist:

Ha, mates are for doing stuff I wouldn’t get on with clients...

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Misha - on 14 Dec 2018
In reply to Sean Kelly:

The guidance on the BMG website is that whilst some Greater Ranges experience can be taken into account for the Alpine requirements, the majority of experience in that type of climbing needs to be in the Alps. After all, that’s where most guides would be working as far as Alpine style terrain is concerned. Of course there are BMGs working in the Greater Ranges and indeed all over the world but the Alps are a core area and that’s where the Alpine training is as well - so you do need to have decent experience of the area.

The BMC International Meets are good fun though. 

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kevin stephens - on 14 Dec 2018
In reply to Misha:

Thanks for an enjoyable and inspiring article, but I'm intrigued over what is attractive about being a Guide in modern times?  As a professional you can have the freedom and resources (if self employed) to take as many holidays, trips and adventures as you choose to match your own ambitions and goals.  Most guides I know seem to spend a lot of their working life doing the easy routes up alpine peaks, skiing the Vallee Blanche or shepherding off piste ski days, and joining crowds on the Haute Route, sure a great lifestyle but could this blunt enthusiasm for your own adventures on days off?

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jon on 14 Dec 2018
In reply to kevin stephens:

Clearly the excitement of being a chartered accountant has begun to pall

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Misha - on 14 Dec 2018
In reply to kevin stephens:

This is a fair point - ask me again in a few years’ time! For me the challenge of getting through the scheme is part of the attraction, as is the idea of becoming a better all-round climber, alpinist and ski tourer (there’s a lot to learn about being efficient when climbing, avalanche conditions and ski technique). Plus on a nice day it’s far better to be outside than in the office (not every day is blessed with nice weather of course...). I can always fall back on what I’m doing at the moment so don’t have anything to lose really. 

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Misha - on 14 Dec 2018
In reply to jon:

Never!

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kevin stephens - on 14 Dec 2018
In reply to Misha:

That seems sound, and with age I’ve come to enjoy skiing and ski touring a lot more than ice climbing. I hope it all goes well for you and you have lots of fun

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AaronJohnstone - on 27 Jan 2019

Hi Misha 

I hope you get this I'm thinking about training for the BMG. I have joined one club were I live in Aberdeen  to try to gain as much experience and fill the log book  out. But I'm finding it hard to find people who are set  at getting the correct criteria for becoming a BMG.

When I found your artical I was very pleased to find people in that frame of mind as it is a long proses to train and get the  experience.

Now my question to you is would you know of anyone I could get out with to get the experience I'm need? Or perhaps yourself?

I hope the training is going wrong and I hope to hear from you soon.

I really enjoyed the article!

Thanks Aaron Johnstone 

Post edited at 19:43
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Misha - on 28 Jan 2019
In reply to AaronJohnstone:

It’s a case of getting to know people over time. The more climbing and skiing you do, the more people you will meet. If you’re based in Scotland, getting the Scottish winter routes should be easy enough and getting the summer trad experience should be fine as well (plenty to do in Scotland but would recommend spending some time in North Wales as that’s where you will be assessed so it pays to know the venues there).

Alpine climbing and ski touring will take time unless you can take the spring / summer off (and even then it  will take a while). One of my alpine climbing partners I met through the OHM book. Another was a friend of his. Another just emailed me through UKC having spotted my name in the logbooks doing similar stuff to what he was looking at. Another was a friend of friends whom I met at a campsite in Cham. Hang around long enough and you will meet people...

I will be in Scotland next winter if things go well so perhaps see you then. 

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kevin stephens - on 01 Feb 2019
In reply to Misha:

I hope the ski induction test went well? What sort of challenges and tests were involved?

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Misha - on 02 Feb 2019
In reply to kevin stephens:

Yes, went fine, thanks. We had untracked fresh powder in Les Contamines, pretty nice but could have done with a bit more as there was a hard base coming through in places to keep you on your toes! This was before the big snow falls they’ve had recently. It meant we had Cat 3 ‘minus’ avalanche risk, so it wasn’t a major issue, though we still opted for a safer ski tour option - good to think about that.

Pretty much stayed off piste all day and did a short left served ski tour (300m up, 1,000m down - col de la Cicle). All fairly mellow stuff, no more than about 30 degrees and a bit of tree skiing as well as a combat ski descent through some undergrowth!

As expected, I was told I’m good enough to get on the scheme but will need to improve loads to actually pass the ski assessment. Lots of practice and lessons needed.

Winter entrance exam in five weeks’ time.

I’ll aim to do a separate article on the inductions / entrance exams. 

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kevin stephens - on 02 Feb 2019
In reply to Misha:

Thanks that’s interesting. Col de Cicle is indeed a mellow day out. Enjoy your skiing this season

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Misha - on 02 Feb 2019
In reply to kevin stephens:

We did some off piste before the ski tour. It was a bit trickier due to trees etc but nothing significantly harder than the descent off the col de la Cicle. 

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AaronJohnstone - on 08 Mar 2019

 Hi Misha

Sorry for the delay. This is great nugget of information and very encouraging to hear this.

Thank you very much.

Meeting people will take the time. I am sub contractor so I have time to train in the Alps. 

Thanks again Aaron Johnstone 

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Misha - on 20:43 Thu
In reply to UKC Articles:

Happy to say all five of us passed the Winter Entrance Exam this week. Next up is the first summer rock training course in the Lakes in a few weeks’ time. I’ll do a post or article on the three Entrance Exams (which used to be known as inductions) when I get a chance. 

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McHeath - on 22:50 Thu
In reply to Misha:

I saw your name on the "top ascents" list (Winter), along with several others, and thought: aha, Misha's been at it again ... congrats, and keep us informed!

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Aonach on 14:22 Fri
In reply to UKC Articles:

Does being posh and male still help?

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summo on 19:13 Fri
In reply to Aonach:

> Does being posh and male still help?

Absolutely, but one must wear the right tweed on assessment. 

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Misha - on 11:49 Sat
In reply to McHeath:

Thanks. That was Bulgy but I only seconded the crux pitch. That was part of our warm up for the exam ;-) 

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Misha - on 11:55 Sat
In reply to Aonach:

No. Being a keen and competent climber does though.

Unfortunately women are still a minority among mountain guides, which reflects the fact that they are still a minority among winter and alpine climbers operating at the required level but I think this will change over time. There is a woman in our intake, which is great.

I’ve yet to meet any mountain guides who are posh.

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The Jazz Butcher on 12:34 Sat
In reply to Aonach:

I'm not sure which guides you know, but I've met quite a few, women and men, none of them posh. All extremely good climbers and mountaineers and just really keen to guide, instruct and coach and do their own personal stuff as well.

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TobyA on 14:33 Sat
In reply to Misha:.

> I’ve yet to meet any mountain guides who are posh.

UKC's very own guide-regular Jon has a surname that makes him sound like a knight of yore. That's got to be medium posh at least. ;-)

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jon on 14:21 Sun
In reply to TobyA:

Your mother is a hamster...

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AaronJohnstone - on 19:34 Mon
In reply to UKC Articles:

Thank you for this page again.

I was thinking about setting up a page on facebook that's would be dedicated for finding partners for traning for the British mountain guide scheme. Because as I said in my last comment it is quite hard to find people to train with to meet the criteria.

What do people think? I have loved reading the comment and the Article again.

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innes - on 20:18 Mon
In reply to UKC Articles:

Good article Misha.

Beyond the 'tick list' of competencies, what came across was psyche and infectious enthusiasm - which I'm sure is what in a client's experience really makes a good Guide.  Keep it up!

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