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Course instruction, training & briefings
Skills and techniques training sessions off the mountain, & trip briefings
Extra: We aim to provide more than just guiding, and to achieve a balance of learning skills & techniques.
Training: On some courses, in UK Lakes or Chamonix, there are optional instruction / briefing sessions.
Flexible: These are either to teach extra skills or brief you on objectives for the next day, upon demand.
Optional: Attendance at the sessions is totally optional, and is not on every evening or when in huts.
Format: These are operated in person / online / pre-recorded, as best fits with the logistics of the week.
Included: Instruction sessions are run on scheduled (non-bespoke) trips, where specified in inclusions.
At these flexible and optional sessions, there is a wide range of instructional content that could be covered, or specific route and equipment briefings requested by the guiding team, or often a more informal social meeting to discuss that days activities and to look at maps / guidebooks to chat about the plans for the next day. Below is an outline of instruction sessions for a typical week long course in summer or winter.

The exact topics may be varied, to cater for conditions / course content / your knowledge, and if we've had to use the session time for briefings and logistics for the following day, we'll always offer an online / pre-recorded instruction session for those who are super keen! Use the plans below to give you an idea of the types of training that may be requested, not the specific topics you are taught.
Summer season Winter season
Sun 16:00 Check-in
17:00 Briefings
18:00 Hire kit
16:00 - Arrive to check in / be shown into your course accommodation for the trip
17:00 - Course itinerary and safety briefing, and any kit checks / advice requests
18:00 - Equipment hire kit allocation & fitting
& briefing
Climbing ropework
Rope choice, fall factors, knots, and
key shortroping safety techniques

Mountain weather systems
Interpretation of synoptic charts, and
adapting them for mountain weather

Crevasse rescue hoists
Snow anchors for climbers crevasse
rescue, and emergency rescue hoists

Maps & guidebooks
Look at resources to see where you have been, and are going next

Route / equipment briefing
Specific breifing about plans for next day(s) and the equipment to take
Avalanche awareness
Presentation on the key risk areas, the
types of avalanche, and how to avoid

Crevasse rescue hoists
Skiers and climbers crevasse rescue
emergency hoist ropework systems

Mountain weather systems
Interpretation of synoptic charts, and
adapting them for mountain weather

Maps & guidebooks
Look at resources to see where you have been, and are going next

Route / equipment briefing
Specific breifing about plans for next day(s) and the equipment to take
Thu 18:00-18:30
Evening off
Many itineraries have a night scheduled in a mountain hut on Thursday, but if you are in town, the hosts will meet / message you to share plans for the next day
Fri 18:00-18:30
19:30 Meal
Return any Icicle hire kit to the host at the briefing point, between 18:00 & 18:30
Attend optional social drinks before dinner
, in a local bar close to accommodation
Optional group celebratory evening meal in a restaurant in the centre of town
Sat 10:00 Depart Accommodation check out, and return keys. End of course. Return home
The list of topics above is non-exhaustive and we make them season specific to be as relevant as possible. You'll note that there are more topics than there are sessions, and we cannot cover everything, so your input is vital during the week. If you don't ask, you may not get, so pipe up and request specific instruction sessions.

Where time permits, the guides and instructors may elect to cover some of the topics during the daytime, rather than during the evening, so we are as flexible as possible. If no topic is requested, as a default, our priority will always to to brief those in attendance about plans for the next day.

If you finish your daytime guiding after any in person instruction session time-slot, we are very aware that after a long day, you'll have learnt and experienced lots, and be keener for a shower / beer / food / bed, but recorded sessions can be viewed online. We cannot stress enough these evening sessions are optional, and that there is nothing taught during them which you will require as essential for the next guided days.

They are for general interest, for those wanting to learn that bit more. If you speak up and request a topic, the optional sessions are there to nurture your inner geek, and provide extra. It's up to you how to use them.
As you can see from the schedule above, we offer a different schedule in summer and winter, where the instruction is tailored to the skills used in that season.
We are aware that you are also on a holiday, and we strictly limit the sessions to a maximum of 45 minutes long, to allow you time to go out and relax too.
We are the only course provider to offer our clients these evening instruction sessions to help provide a different dimension and method of learning.
Clients are provided with a PDF copy of the 36 page Course Instruction Booklet as a FREE download once you have booked (see the cover on left).
The location for these evening instruction sessions or talks, is varied depending on the weather and content, held inside (e.g. UK office), online, or outside.
We keep these instruction sessions informal and flexible, and where possible to allow you input into what sessions you wish to cover on your course.
Pre-course ropework
If you wish to practise any ropework or knots before your trip, you can watch the video below, and for more skills and ropework, please visit our key safety knots & ropework page; click here.
Icicle open evenings
Our shop and office in Windermere, is a brilliant resource in which we organise all the course logistics, and at which we host organised meetings with trip advisers, and also a growing series of open evenings with presentations and Q&A sessions with our key team. Click for more details). E-mail us to reserve space(s) and confirm availability.
Instruction eve alternatives
Some groups opt for a more relaxed approach, to meet in a pub to chat about plans and activites.
Others use these times to look at maps, so they can see where they have been, and are going next.
Sometimes used by guides to brief their groups on what to take for a specific route, e.g. Matterhorn.
We hope you'll have got the idea that this time is flexible, and we are very aware it is your holiday time!
Any further questions?
A key part of choosing a company is being able to come and talk about your plans with an experienced course advisor face to face. In an increasingly virtual world, we know our clients value speaking to real people, getting open and honest advice. The vast majority of our clients are British, and our office and outdoor store is based in Windermere in the English Lake District.

Get in contact to arrange a meeting, and come in for a coffee to discuss your course in person with a trip advisor.

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