The British Mountaineering Council does a great job representing the interests of climbers, hillwalkers and mountaineers and helps to ensure that we can continue to enjoy free access to wild and beautiful places in the UK.
Amongst other things, BMC membership provides discounts on gear and clothing in many shops in the UK. There is a BMC travel and activity insurance package to suit everyone’s needs, and there are a host of other useful benefits including reciprocal rights cards which provide discounts on overnight stays in many Alpine huts.
The BMC’s new online video platform is full of interesting and useful content. There’s a great video of Ben Bransby repeating Parthian Shot, a clip from “Distilled” with Andy Cave (“Distilled” won the People’s Choice Film Award at Kendal Mountain Film Festival), along with loads more exciting stuff and plenty of useful skills clips.
At KragRags we wholeheartedly endorse the BMC’s participation statement which “recognises that climbing, hill walking and mountaineering are activities with a danger of personal injury or death. Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept the risks and be responsible for their own actions and involvement.”
In other words, enjoy your time in the hills but if it all goes horribly wrong, don’t look for someone else to blame. We all have our own ideas about “acceptable risk”. Some people are bolder than others but it is always worth taking the time to learn and continue to practice mountain skills.
They say “advice is cheap” but with mountain sports, it really pays to get advice from people with genuine experience and expertise, particularly when you have gained some experience yourself but are considering moving on to new territory. Like when making the transition from:
- climbing walls, to traditional cragging
- seconding climbs to leading
- single pitch to multi pitch climbing
- summer to winter mountaineering
- rock climbing to ice climbing
- UK to Alpine or Greater Ranges mountaineering
- big wall, aid climbing
- skiing on-piste to off-piste and touring etc etc.
It is definitely worth avoiding learning lessons the hard way – because it can really hurt!
A good place to start is on a relevant course at Plas y Brenin – The National Mountain Sports Centre in Snowdonia, or Glenmore Lodge – national outdoor training centre in Scotland. At either of these centres of excellence, you will meet a wide range of like-minded people and receive expert instruction at a level to suit your experience and objectives.
Alternatively, British Mountain Guides (BMG) are members of the International Federation of Mountain Guides (IFMGA) who are the most qualified and experienced professionals to lead people in the mountains. Their training and assessment takes many years and exceptional skills to achieve. Guides are not just leaders, they can also train you in any of the disciplines covered by their qualification. Only IFMGA guides are allowed to work in the high mountains and on glaciers in most Alpine countries.
You can follow on Twitter @Brit_Mt_Guides and find out more about British Mountain Guides in this BMG online leaflet
KragRags is a family run business dedicated to making ethically produced clothes for climbers. When we’re not out climbing, we’re busy creating comfortable, high quality, eco-friendly clothing, from 100% organic cotton, using green renewable energy, ethical Fair Wear employment and ecologically friendly farming and manufacturing practices. Click these links to see our unique designs for men and women.