These days the only navigational decisions I make are in my local supermarket and the only time I’ve found myself at altitude has been on a stepladder in my attic (dizzying!). How do you consolidate for a Mountain Training assessment under these conditions?
Whilst there’s no substitute for immersing yourself in your activity when preparing for a rock climbing, mountaineering or hillwalking assessment, there are many things we need to do as well as that to prepare for our assessments. Happily, we can do many of these from home!
I seem to time all of my consolidation with national lockdowns, so allow me to share how I consolidated for my Rock Climbing Instructor and Hill and Moorland Leader assessments from the comfort of my home.
Catch up on your DLOG
I don’t go outdoors for the admin, so logging is usually at the bottom of my list. DLOGs aren’t so glamourous, but they are your first impression to your assessor so they’re worth taking time over. The last thing you want is to be nagged about your DLOG the day before your assessment (or worst – during!)
If your DLOG is baffling you, the Mountain Training FAQs may have some answers.
Complete your homepaper
This is an insight into everything your assessor expects you to know. Treat it as a basis for your research and read widely round the area rather than doing the bare minimum. The Mountain Training coursebooks will often provide the answers you’re looking for, so make sure you read these.
Practice your technical skills
If this means rigging a group abseil on your bedframe, doing resections in your local park or practicing pacings on your road, so be it! You may not have the necessary terrain, but you can practice technical skills locally and at home so that you’re slick and fluent when we’re allowed back out again.
Plan sessions for imaginary groups
I’m currently consolidating for Development Coach and find it hard to get back into the swing of coaching after each lockdown. Continuing to plan has helped me to hit the ground running. Take some imaginary group scenarios and plan days out to meet their needs using the map/guidebook. For MTA members the Planning a Walk E-Module is a good basis for planning any group activity outdoors.
Plan some real days out for you
Use those maps and guidebooks to plan some of personal outings too to keep the psyche high as you wait for freedom.
Read about the outdoors
Your assessor will expect you to know more than just what direction you’re walking in or the name of your route. Read and learn widely about the outdoors in general, as well as the area where you will be assessed. If you’re not sure where to start, Alex’s latest book blog should point you in the right direction. If your access to books is limited, scroll to the bottom for our list of online zines.
If you’re a member of the MTA, I highly recommend the MTA webinars to keep your brain working during lockdown. There’s a huge range across the activities, even including my favourite: Liverworts and Lichens. The webinars are presented by experts who participate in climbing, mountaineering and hillwalking, so they’re really relevant too.
Watch some outdoor films
There are many films available for free online as well as films you can pay for. Although it sounds like you’re just enjoying yourself, watching outdoor films is a great way to gain insight into other outdoor communities, learn about environmental/social issues and be inspired!
I’m currently working my way through UKC/UKH’s Hill running films for when you can’t go Hill running. Highly recommended!
Clean your gear
Has your waterproof been letting you down during the recent deluge? Are your cams sticking after being shoved into a sandy limestone crack? (Mine certainly are). Now is the time to care for your gear! Go through your inventory, give it clean and make sure you have everything you need for assessment.
Check you’ve got all the prerequisites.
Have you logged enough experience? Is your First Aid certificate correct and in-date? Make a checklist and keep an eye on where you’re up to.
How have you been preparing for your Mountain Training assessment over lockdown? Let us know in the comments!
Feeling ready to book your assessment? Click here to explore dates for our assessment courses.
Feeling rusty? Contact us about booking a post-lockdown refresher.
Websites for immersing yourself in the outdoors without actually going outdoors.
- UKClimbing.com: climbing news, articles and videos; crag information.
- UKHillwalking: hill and mountain walking-related news, articles, videos and routecards.
- BMC.co.uk: films, news, articles, skills videos and more. You’re likely to be asked about the BMC in your assessment, so it’s worth exloring what they do.
- Mountain Training Association: Membership is £36 per year. Resource library (webinars, e-learning modules, articles), CPD, magazine subscription, mentoring scheme, gear discounts.