Russia has its first UIAA-certified climbing instructors

Safety, Training

In the following report, Anna Stolbova of the Russian Mountaineering Federation (RMF) describes the successful conclusion of the first UIAA-certified course for Russian climbing instructors:

Nine candidates successfully completed the training course on Rock Climbing Instructor programme which took place in the Mountaineering Camp Bezengi in the Caucasus region in June 2010.

Organization of the Rock Climbing Instructor Course became possible thanks to the programme of cooperation between the RMF and the UIAA.

The long-term aim of the RMF activities is the development and implementation of the new Russian standard of Mountaineering Instructors’ Training in view of the international requirements.

In spring of 2009 the RMF and the UIAA achieved the agreement on international certification of the Central Instructors’ School (CIS) to meet the UIAA Training Standards requirements.

Ronald Whitehead, the President of the Quebec national mountaineering school in Canada (ENEQ) was appointed to be the curator of the CIS from the UIAA. In summer 2009 Ronald Whitehead took part in the CIS work as a moderator. And at the beginning of June 2010 he ran Rock Climbing Instructor Course for CIS trainers on rock climbing technique.

The Course had the following aims:
– training and graduating the first instructors in Russia to be certified in full equivalence to a UIAA-accredited programme
– development of the Russian standards on training rock climbing technique in CIS on the basis of the UIAA Course
– training young instructors for the future work in the Russian School
– exchange of experience

The course trainers:
Ronald Whitehead is the member of the Training Standards Commission UIAA, ENEQ President
Benoit Waller is ENEQ trainer, Rock Climbing guide by the Canadian system.

During the training process the following aspects were focused on:
1. UIAA Training Standard
2. practical training
3. teaching methodology
4. course feedback

Roman Bryk, a candidate of the course comments on the training process:

“From the very beginning the Canadian trainers precisely stated their position: there are a lot of methods and techniques, but the training will be based only on the UIAA Standards. Russian techniques are different from the UIAA standards in details and peculiarities. So the candidates had to retrain to do many technical elements.
Separately we were taught skills of work with carabiners, ropes, knots, fall factors with their characteristics and etc. Every day from early morning till evening the candidates perfected new techniques, in the evening they made presentations on definite topics, and so it lasted for nine days.”

The final examination consisted of three parts:
1. The written examination
2. The practical examination on methodology (teaching session). Each candidate was asked to teach six beginners one of the techniques: multi-pitch rappel, rope ascent and etc. As the beginners there were women working in the kitchen in the Base Camp.
3. The practical examination on multi-pitch climbing (5b, 5c)

Nine candidates successfully passed the examination.

In 2011 the modules on snow and ice techniques, bolting climbing routes, ski-mountaineering are planned for CIS trainers with the participation of the UIAA experts.

The questions of CIS international certification will also be discussed at the Meeting of Mountaineering Commission UIAA which will be held in Moscow in November 2010.

The RMF thanks Ronald Whitehead and Benoit Waller for their professionalism, proper administration of the project, attentive attitude to the candidates as well as it thanks the UIAA for the assistance in organizing this course.