After a 2 year wait for some candidates, the International Mountain Leader winter assessments have begun in the Swiss Alps.

The global Covid pandemic has made overseas travel problematic for many candidates wanting to progress through the IML qualification.  They have encountered the challenge of not gaining valuable experience out on the hill due to local and national lockdowns or have been faced with course cancellations due to last minute travel restrictions.

Meeting the 16 candidates in Morgins, Switzerland on Monday morning to start their 5-day winter assessment was a combination of pleasure and relief that it is finally happening.

Over the next 2 weeks, Plas y Brenin Guides and IML’s will be working with more than 30 candidates assessing their skills to navigate, environmental knowledge, plan safe routes, manage clients in the winter environment, and emergency procedures including the use of a transceiver, probe, and shovel.

Many of the candidates will qualify as an IML this winter and will hopefully will put this award to good use this summer while inspiring future generations of mountaineers.  Other candidates will join PYB again this summer for the summer assessment course in Villars, Switzerland – and after a long hiatus, I can’t wait!

Helen Barnard, Chief Instructor