Learning how to plan and prepare for a day in the mountains, what kit to take and wear and how to navigate your way from A to B are the basic, vital skills for a day in the hills. That is what we cover in the Mountain Training 2 day Mountain Skills course as well as enjoying 2 great days in the hills.
This last weekend I was joined by Sam, Nicky, Mark, James and Joshua and over a coffee in Moel Siabod Cafe looked at how we might start planning a day out, what to consider, choosing a route and reviewing the day's weather. After that we had a quick look at the kit that I take with me and how I pack my bag then headed off for our walk. The plan was to head over Crimpiau and on to Creigiau Gleision, the range of small hills at the eastern end of the Carneddau. Although small in height they offer some good navigation terrain and with the poor visibility we were blessed with made for some excellent conditions to practice navigation - using the map and compass.
Despite the lack of any views (until we reached Llyn Cowlyd) we stayed dry and got a lot of nav done.
Day 2 we once again met at the cafe, looked at the weather and made a plan. Everyone was keen to do a bit of scrambling and put the skills into practice over the course of a bigger mountain day. We opted for the Daear Ddu ridge on Moel Siabod. This is a great grade 1 scramble and a good introduction to scrambling. We navigated our way to the base of the ridge, just in time for the clouds to clear and then made our way up. Along the way we looked at route finding - choosing the best line - and some basic movement skills.
It turned into a stunning day, sprinkling of snow about and occasionally above the clouds. from the top we navigated our way down to the road at the Pen Y Gwryd hotel.