I am very happy that this winter I was able to participate as a IFMGA Mountain Guide in setting up, first in Greece the IML (International Mountain Leader), under its supervision of UIMLA (Union of International Mountain Leader Associations). 18 participants in the training successfully completed the winter training course in snow covered terrain and will be the first IML in Greece.
The training took place in three different mountain areas Kissavos, Metsovo and Parnassos. The IML must have a good knowledge of snow covered terrain, the additional hazards present and the techniques and equipment needed to travel safely an to intervene in case of avalanche.
· Appropriate use of snowshoes and poles, on various terrain, including ascending, crossing and descending steep slopes.
· Understanding of snow and avalanches hazards including basic avalanche forecasting.
· To obtain and to interpret an avalanche bulletin.
· To plan an appropriate route.
· Navigation off track using a map only.
· Navigation off track by very poor visibility, at night and in difficult conditions
, using map, compass and altimeter only.
· To lead a group in difficult conditions (cold, high winds, darkness).
· To select and to use personal equipment, for both the leader and the group, appropriate to terrain and conditions.
· To assess snow conditions and avalanche hazards.
· To take safety measures for the group, in relation with avalanche hazards.
· To undertake a search using an avalanche transceiver.
· To undertake the location and rescue of a buried casualty.
· To be able to pass the knowledges of snow covered terrain to the group, including the use of transceiver, probe and shovel.
Theoretical and practical elements, including 3 days self-sufficient expedition on snow covered terrain in the winter season, including a snow hole planned bivouac, (2) transceiver search individual assessment (location with transceiver and probe on a 50mx50m area of 2 transceivers inside rucksack buried at 0,5m, under 8 minutes; transceivers are +/- 5 m apart; candidates start at least at 50m from the targets).
UIMLA is an international governing body which is representing International Mountain Leaders across the world. One of the most important targets for UIMLA is to represent the profession at the international level as well as setting equal standards of qualifications for all International Mountain Leaders (IMLs). UIMLA promotes the profession and supports the cooperation between IMLs from different countries.
The principal aims of UIMLA are:
To promote the profession of International Mountain Leader (IML) and to reinforce its identity beyond Europe. To develop relationships between the professionals of various nationalities and to take part in the evolution of the IML training and qualifications.
To represent the profession at a European and international level. The UIMLA International Mountain Leader and the IFMGA Mountain Guide are the only internationally recognised qualifications for those leading groups in the mountains.
The International Mountain Leader Award is the professional qualification for individuals who wish to lead trekking parties to all mountain areas, summer and winter, where the techniques or equipment of alpinism are not required. On successful completion of the full training and assessment programme, and by belonging to their recognised National Body, the individual will gain the full IML Award, a professional Carnet and Internationally recognised badge, giving them comparability with other IMLs worldwide.
UIMLA is a member of the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA) and the International Commission for Alpine Rescue.
An International Mountain Leader (IML) is a person that has been trained and assessed against the challenging requirements of UIMLA. These requirements are specified in a document called “A common platform standard”.
The IML qualification lets the holder lead groups in different mountains all over the world, where the skills and equipment of alpinism are not required. IMLs cannot provide tours on glaciers and permanent snow, and where the planned use of a rope is necessary. However, IMLs can work with groups on high altitude treks as well as lead groups on snowshoes.
IML’s, from every member country, have to maintain International Continuing Professional Development (ICPD) to ensure that members are kept up-to-date with the latest developments in mountain leadership.
Only a qualified International Mountain Leader has the badge and the carnet of The UIMLA organization.