Assisting mountain leader instructor

Enjoying a lunch inside a snow cave used for emergency shelter

This February, I had the opportunity to join a UIMLA winter course, held by the Swedish Mountain Club, as a help instructor. The organization (Union of International Mountain Leaders Associations) trains and certifies mountain leaders. This was one of the courses that the future guides need to complete before their examination.

This time, I partook as a help instructor, alongside two regular instructors. We divided up the group so we could conform to the Covid regulations concerning the amount of people. Everyone had individual tents, and we were outside during most of the training. The theoretical exam was conducted in the mountain lodge, also in small groups. The rest of the time was spent in the tents. We spent several hours a day skiing with expedition pulks, most of the student needed some experience in that noble art.

Here. the group starts off the trip in Storvallen, near Storlien.

The week was great - I really appreciated the possibility to share knowledge and contribute to the development of people who will lead groups in Swedish mountains in near future. I also had great fun, as the students were constantly faced with new challenges and tricky situations. The group was great, everyone sharing experience, positive and helpful attitude, and having a good time together.

The weather was good for training - starting at -12 C, it fluctuated a few degrees up and down. The wind contributed to the chill, over 20 m/s in gusts. This meant that extra attention had to be paid to the anchoring of the tents, and building wind protection walls using the snow. During the last day, it got considerably warmer - we were lucky that we did not have to stay out there for another day, as the temperature hit above zero and it started raining!

Just another Swedish sunset... seen from my tent.

We did a whole lot of safety and rescue training, including avalanche rescue, heli evac, ice crossing, emergency shelter building using snow, navigating in a white-out and many more. 

I promptly realized that one week in Jämtland's beutiful winter landscape is not enough, and got back as soon as I could. There are many peaks to summit, with beautiful rides to the snow-clad valleys. Also, there are long nice trails for touring, and the huge wide-open space with no roads or houses outside of the trail system that is called the Jämtlands Triangle.

One of the students in my group, seen from a snow bivvy

Here's a film I compiled from the short videos from the trip. Unfortunately, due to the wind and the cold it was not appropriate to film too much - especially in the position of instructor. Hope you like it - despite the smelly socks!