Enough is enough... What qualities would you look for in a mountain leader? It’s a simple question and maybe a complex one to answer, but perhaps some of the key ones are relevant in everyday life, whatever your role. First and foremost we need to keep to be able to keep people safe, it sounds a simple function, however there are lots of fluid parts and absorbing the information around us at all times is essential to allow effective decisions to be made. Preparation is the key, we don’t just manage the day on the ‘back of a fag packet’, it isn’t good enough, nor is not having a plan, it’s not acceptable, spending some time prior considering all the elements is crucial. There are considerable factors involved in the planning stage, spending time considering what may do us harm and how we can protect the group, anticipating what may go wrong and building it in to our plan, building in some flex - no plan survives first contact with the North Wales weather, don’t be on the ‘back foot’ all day, it will truly catch us out one day and so on… Part of the success of the outcome will depend on our plan and sharing it with our group, it’s part of building a relationship with them, over time forming a deeper bond of trust. Trust is earnt, it’s not a right and it’s not a given because we’re a Mountain Leader, we earn it through offering support, clarity, being honest and keeping people safe. It’s a significant turning point in our client relationships, but it takes time to foster. People welcome honesty, it’s crucial, although sometimes it can be disappointing to hear, but when folk have been kept informed of the plan and progress, it’s easier to accept. We don’t offer false promises, that’s a slippery slide to breaking the trust…and hard to recover! We never lie. Honesty is expected from our clients, we listen, perhaps together with observing people, these are 2 of our greatest tools. There are always ‘speed bumps’ in a day, that’s normal, we’re experienced, we react, we adapt, we work with people to support them through, we achieve the outcome together. I’m sure that whichever Mountain Leader you used, there would be similar themes of how we operate, consistency. We don’t always get it right, we’re human, we get tired, we feel the pressure, but we’ll always acknowledge it, take it on the chin so to speak, focus on correcting it and keeping our group safe. We don’t blame others when it goes wrong, we accept our responsibility. Reflection is natural, it will take place when appropriate and lessons carried forward, it’s called experience. A lot of what we do will seem like common sense, it is, but based on experience and knowledge in our field. C.S Lewis once said ‘Experience, that most brutal of teachers, but you learn, my God, do you learn.’ Just a flavour of some of the qualities that we offer…. I can’t help but think that in current times, these basic good qualities are missing in our ‘Mountain Leaders’, I won’t be recommending them…..