MIC training at the Brenin

By Paul Swail>

It has been a pretty unsuccessful winter for many, but lucky for me mine has been very productive! I managed to get my Winter Mountain Leader finished off (7 years after doing my training) and was lucky enough for conditions just to hold so I could do my Mountain Instructor Certificate (MIC) training.
The MIC is the highest level of qualification in the UK for climbing and mountaineering instruction. I decided to do my training on the west of Scotland at the Brenin because… well there was no snow on the east! This is the first winter course I have done at the Brenin and I was very impressed.
The MIC training is 5 days long and has to take place in winter conditions. The training looks at topics associated with working in Scotland and particularly climbing related. This is because the prerequisites to undertake the MIC training cover many foundations skills, so this made for an extremely enjoyable course!
Winter climbers ascending a snow slope
The first day we headed over to the Nib on the side of Aonach Mor - my work schedule had been pretty mental the week before the training started so it meant I had to travel through the night to get there on time, so with 2hrs sleep I was pretty relieved that we went to Aonach Mor, the only venue on the west with 650m of lift access! We looked at different snow anchors, snow conditions, abseiling from Alpin bars, and some short rope techniques in ascent and decent.
With the lack of snow up high, Ben Nevis was the only option for the next 3 days! I got to climb 3 routes; White Line, SW Ridge on Douglas Boulder and Ledge Route. The last day was back on Aonach Mor consolidating the previous 4 days of information, and a good round up to the course.
Overall I really enjoyed my 5 days with the Brenin and got me pretty psyched to get back onto the paper trail! It will be interesting to see what next winter brings in the way of conditions so I can hopefully get the MIC finished!
How to make a snow anchor at the top of a climb

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