Sunday 7 December 2014

A weekend at Plas-Y-Brenin. The Jagged Globe 2014 Leaders Forum. December 6th 2014.

It is quite a while since Iain has been in North Wales. Kendal Mountaineering Services doesn't get much call for Skills Training Courses in Snowdonia which is a shame, as for mountaineering and climbing, the area has more to offer than our native Lake District.

However, Iain recently received and invite to attend the Jagged Globe Leader Forum which was to be based at Plas Y Brenin - the UK's leading Mountain Training Centre. Photo one is a view of the lake to the west of Plas Y Brenin - the Llynnau Mymbyr. Crib Goch can be seen beyond the head of the lake and there is snow on the south side of "The Glyders" to the right. Plas Y Brenin is set right within the heart of some of Snowdonia's most striking mountain terrain and has a very long history as a centre providing training courses for Outdoor Pursuits.

The second photo is looking in the opposite direction - east along the Nant Gwryd. Plas y Brenin has great facilities of all types and great access to watersports on site as well as the mountains.

Iain well remembers a Level 3 Open Boat Training Course that he attended here in 2003 that started on the slipway to the left in this view. We all headed out on to Llynnau Mymbryr where we very quickly discovered just how unmanagable an Open Canoe, paddled solo, becomes - in anything more than a force 3 wind!

The Brenin has also long been famous for its dry Ski slope which gets used all year round in addition to its other facilities. The main building has a bar in addition to accommodation & dining facilities, a conference room and a climbing wall. There is plenty to do here for the outdoor enthusiast both indoors and out.

Jagged Globe were here to use the Brenins facilities as a venue for their Annual Leader Forum. The day spent in the Conference Room was very interesting - more in that in a moment!

Photo four is a view from the bar looking across to Moel Siabod - one of the biggest hills in the area and as you can see - in Winter Garb yesterday morning.

Iain, along with a number of other people had arrived at the Brenin the previous evening having booked the weekend package of two nights B & B and breakfast. The first evening was spent "networking"!
Photo five - another view from the bar looking along Llynnau Mymbyr yesterday morning. So who are Jagged Globe? Well, for 27 years, Jagged Globe has been at the forefront of organising mountaineering expeditions, mountaineering courses, adventurous skiing and high-altitude treks from within the UK. The company specialises in organising logistics and travel intineraries to the world biggest mountains including Mera Peak and Aconcagua which Iain has already climbed.

Business tends to quieten down for us here at KMS over winter and Iain hopes to get on to Jagged Globe's books as an Expedition Leader. With that in mind, the company invited him to attend their leader Forum which was great fun. As regards working for them? Well - watch this space!

Photo six sees some of the organisations many Expedition Leaders as we all prepared to enter the Conference Room. Topics were diverse but centred around mountaineering and altitude. First up was a discussion around the tragedy of trekker - Rachel Burke who died from Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) in 2011 on the Everest Base Camp Trek. The discussion centred around the events leading up to her death; and how this could have been avoided.

Second up was Kay Mitchell from Xtreme Everest telling us all  about the effects of high altitude on human physiology and what can be done to prevent AMS. This organisation recently set up camps on the route up Everest from the Nepal side with the support of Jagged Globe and a number of other organisations and here trekkers & mountaineers underwent significant physiological testing for the effects of altitude. The results made for very interesting reading.

After Lunch, Iain Sherrington from Glenmore Lodge told us all about the steps the organisation has taken following their avalanche tragedy in 2013. Glenmore Lodge subsequently invested heavily in Avalanche Tranceivers and other equipment and now provide avalanche training to clients as part of all their winter courses. A three year trial programme will lead them to conclude whether or not to coninue with this course of action beyond that point.

Photo seven looks towards the bunkhouse accommodation at Plas Y Brenin from outside of the conference room.

After Ian Sherrington's presentation there followed a rather moving presentation by Paul Sheridan - a trekker who survived a snowstorm on the Thorung La in Nepal during October in which a large number of others lost their lives. The presentation only served to strengthen the view of a need for education with regards to the importance of proper mountaineering clothing being carried by trekkers and their guides and the putting in place of a strategy to deal with the effects of bad weather on this and other high mountain passes.

The final photo is of the front of Plas Y Brenin on the A4086 at Capel Curig.

To finish off the day, we heard, from a well known local instructor, about his recent experience on Ama Dablam when, due to an impending turn in the weather, some clients decided to ignore a carefully planned acclimatization programme for ascending the mountain and climb too high, too quickly! The result nearly led to the death of one of the trekkers when other members had to go to his rescue. Lessons were learned!!

After an most interesting day, all those attending the forum adjourned to the dining room at Plas Y Brenin for a pre-arranged Christmas Dinner. What followed was a merry occasion which continued into the small hours.

Thank you to Plas Y Brenin for hosting the event and for providing great facilities and a great setting in which to conduct this forum. For Iain, it was great to be back at a place from where he has many great memories - as he prepared to gain his Mountaineering Instructor Award over ten years ago.

And also thank you to Jagged Globe for arranging a fantastic and informative forum which was a great deal of fun to attend. Looking forward to the next one.........

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