The Alpine skills courses run throughout the summer, with 6 persons hand picked by the trust's members to attend each one. Currently the courses are based in Argentiere just north of Chamonix and normally take place on part of the Mont Blanc range. The course lasts three days, in which such skills as moving on ice and snow, crevasse rescue, snow anchors and dealing with altitude are taught. On the final day my group was lucky enough to be able to exploit a gap in some otherwise unsettled weather to summit Aiguille du Tour (3,544m) via its normal route from Refuge Albert Premier. Several groups that had preceded us had been less fortunate.
For any young, or youngish, aspiring British Alpinists out there I thoroughly recommend you apply for this course next time it comes around. I personally, and I think I can speak for my fellow course attendees too, had a great time and learnt a lot. Application forms are usually available in early spring and can be found on the Plas y Brenin or BMC websites.
I would obviously like to extend my thanks to the Jonathan Conville Trust for running the course, and also to the two guides/instructors Phil and Dave who were able to dispense zen-like mountain wisdom and complete nonsense in equal measure. I would also like to thank everyone who attended the course with me - Andy, Tom, Che, Janet and John – the experience wouldn't have been the same without you.
Finally I would like to offer my apologies to Eleanor and Paul who's wedding I missed to attend the course – I'm really sorry guys, I wish you all the luck in the world!
External LinksJonathan Conville Memorial Trust
Plas y Brenin
British Mountaineering Council
Mountaineering Council of Scotland
Trip report by Che Gannarelli
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