Mountain Guide Training Report Kyrgyzstan, October 2011 A. Schlunegger
Mammut Sports Group AG (initiator and main sponsor), SBC and IFMGA, Fritschi AG (Swiss Bindings) and Tödi Sport AG (Colltex detention skins)
For the KMGA and the course participants, I would like to thank all the sponsors, primarily at Mammut Sports Group AG, for the indispensable and much appreciated support!
Second summer course aspirants Training Course
The loud crowing of the cock in the garden next door tore me from my sleep. I rubbed my eyes and slowly I realized that I was back in the capital Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Terry and I had arrived early in the early morning and after two hours of sleep, it was our task to pack for the 14 days mountain guide training and ascend to the Ak-Say-hut the same day.
After a hearty breakfast, we bought a gas cooker for lunch and our personal needs. Pavel Vorobiev then chauffeured us to the "Alpläger" at 2150m in the Ala-Archa National Park. Interestingly, the Russians also have this German word as a term for the starting point for the Ak-Say taken refuge. The entry fee for the national park last year was reduced from 200com 60com on what is in the generally rising prices, a nice gesture to the tourists.
In just under four hours we reached the Ak-Say-hut on 3380m which is the so-called Ratsek stop. Over the last two days the students had carried up a total of four hundred kilograms food and gas which would sustain us all on the aspirant mountain guide course and the subsequent mountain guide course. At the hut we were met by Vadim, the chef, who greeted us with tea and "Salianka," a Kyrgyz meat soup. We had an meeting in the evening to open the course and to give the aspirants the information about the program and the final exam for the next fortnight.
Kiosk in Bishkek Ak-Say-hut at 3380m Ratsek-stop
We split the group into two so that Terry and I could worked independently with each class and alongside a Kyrgyz mountaineering instructor. These instructors had already participated in training courses from the summer of 2010 and spring 2011, they had also attended the Swiss mountain aspirant guide training course. This would help them gain further experience so that they can in future work as instructors for the Kyrgyz Mountain Guides Association.
The weather was remarkably fine and stable; the mountains despite the fresh snow conditions were in pretty good condition. We had a day to review rope work and the rope team management before we engage in our first mountain excursion. For my class, this was the climbing of the Bock-peak (4300m.ü.M) on the route 3B. Terry's class made an ascent of Uchitel (4500m.ü.M) with the subsequent "Traverse of Love."
In the next few days, we were lucky enough to have the conditions to climb the peaks Ratsek north ridge 3980m, 4270m Olega Koshovoy, Izyskatel 4570m and second corona Tower-4790m. In between there was one each day of training in ice rescue techniques. We have also made a change to the class participants by swapping instructors so that all will benefit from both experts and their personal experiences. This also helped us assess the level of all the aspirants.
After the training and mountain routes completed we had a practical examination for the candidates in the rock and ice. Of the 16 participants, 14 passed the required parts of the examination. In the oral language test, participants had to demonstrate that they can express themselves in English. Of the 16 participants 11 have passed the language test.
The course was then concluded with a private feedback to each participant along with a translator. All graduate students in training will now compete in March 2012 for the winter part of the touring skis.
Final exam aspirant "short roping practice" Stop Ratsek-3380m
Final summer Mountain Guide Training Course
With the end of the course candidates of 2 Training course, there was a change in weather with snow and winter temperatures.
Terry departed together with the candidates and went back to Bishkek.
I stayed in the Ak-Say-hut at around 13:30 we opened the Mountain Guide course. In spite of new snow the weather for the next two days was still going well. Unfortunately the conditions were quite critical regarding avalanche danger, so this had stopped trips to the larger peaks.
After opening with the course objectives and information we started with a review of "short roping."
Then each participant was given two themes to present a lesson to each group. Topics: climbing techniques, dangers in the mountains, risk management, tour preparation 3x3, ice axes and their applications, self-rescue, rope techniques, client care, rappelling and lowering, short roping, walking on snow-covered glaciers, climbing techniques, crevasse rescue, navigation, weather, first aid, transportation of a casualty.
These future Mountain Guides must learn how to give a structured lessons and to teach the guests and future guides.
From Sunday 23 October until the end on Tuesday evening, November 1 (9 days) unfortunately, we were not able to make any strenuous mountain tours due to the bad weather. But we made the best use of this time and used this time for detailed training in rope techniques with guests climbing, and using climbing facility in vicinity of the hut and also looking at client care. Also on the glacier we held lessons in ice techniques despite blowing snow and low temperatures using the excellent facilities
The day after we made an impromptu rescue this was extremely interesting. We made a rappel with an injured person, with “injuries” of head and collar bone so we looked at ways to support and improvise.
The aim now was to descend to the climbing on the cliff "Chonkutschak" at 1480m
Mon 31st Climbing test in October "Chonkutschak" following routes were climbing:
two routes with mountain boots 5a and 5c
two routes with climbing shoes 5b and 6a
All seven participants have passed the final exam guides.
The President of KMGA, Vladimir Komissarov was on November 1, 2011 and the seven Kyrgyz mountain guides, had hearty congratulations on their success and all good wishes for the future.
The mountain guide training in Kyrgyzstan is on track to achieve the goal for international recognition. There are still some challenges to overcome which will need time and support. The issues are to do with the general training in dealing with guests, the optimization of management skills, and especially the support for the future Kyrgyz trainers which is needed.
The third training course will start next year. The KMGA will run this themselves and perform without assistance from Mammut. This is an opportunity for the KMGA put their skills to use and then make an application as a member country in the IFMGA.
The motivation of the participants and the fact that in these courses there were participants from three Central Asian countries shows that the project and ideas of the Mammut Sports Group AG has had a lasting effect in the countries in the Pamirs.
Two Kyrgyz climbing experts!
I have the impression that the participants have alot of motivation to practice and really want to achieve our goals.
The sustainability of this training project seems assured and I am confident that we will succeed in forming a Mountain Guide training school to the educate guides, build clientele and to perform on an international standard in Central Asian mountains.
The important thing is that above all international safety standards and leadership skills could be established.
Also this summer, whilst studying the area I was convinced that even more potential that exists around the Ak-Say-hut. Right next to the hut is a rock gym with the best conditions for a good rock for rescue training and exercises. 20 minutes above the hut with a south-facing aspect perfect granite can be found up to several to four lengths for rock climbing routes. Also several striking ridges give perfect ground to practice alpine ridge techniques. 30 minutes above the hut reveals the Ak-Say glacier which is a perfect resource for ice technique.
Dima, one of Kyrgyzstan's mountain guides reported that he could successfully apply these new techniques, learnt of the Mountain Guide project, during an ascent of Pobeda (7500), - a sign that the alpine guide technology and high-altitude mountaineering in the Tien-Shan is applicable.
The KMGA has had the occasion to train in the Ala Archa area and the ski area on the to-Ashu Pass. They have custom maps, which are ideally suited for navigation.
We managed to build a good reputation of trust and acceptance in the mountain climbers in Central Asia. This is an essential, necessary foundation for the success of this project. That I can support the training and assessment work on a long experience in the SBC is very helpful.
Item: 8 November 2011 Adolf Schlunegger, Photos: AS
Photo reportage and aspirant mountain guide course in October 2011