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The Mountain Skills course plays a specific role in the BOS scheme of mountain training. Its function is to provide a general introduction to hillwalking in Ireland – to impart the necessary skills in navigation and knowledge of hazards, equipment etc., so that a person finishing the course may be in a position to pursue hillwalking as a hobby, safely.
To be run over 4 days minimum with at least two nights to allow for talks. A longer period may be desirable and necessary depending on the quality of the students. For those students attending the Mountain Skills Test, an overall period of 8 weeks (minimum) must elapse between commencement of training and the Mountain Skills Test.
Mountain Hazards - Climatic
- Temperature, Precipitation, Wind, Lightning, Humidity and snow.
- Reference to causes of Mountain Hypothermia.
Mountain Hazards - Topographic
- Steepness, Ruggedness, special emphasis on remoteness.
- Reference to falls and drownings in hillwalking situations.
- Ability with reference to terrain and conditions.
- Map Scales/Symbols/Conventional signs.
- Ordnance Survey maps/history, reliability, suitability, comparison of different scales.
- Terminology /features e.g. corries, spurs, ridges, aretes etc.
- Relief depiction including contours, crags.
- Orienteering maps.
- Grid references.
Learn essential map reading skills.
- Methods of calculating distance travelled and height climbed (Naismith’s Rule).
- Methods of measuring distances on ground (timing, pacing).
- Simple navigational techniques (aiming off, handrails, attack points etc.)
- Feature recognition (distant and near), self location.
- Navigating across country using map alone.
- Theory of Silva–type compass (grid and magnetic bearing).
- Map setting by compass – following bearing, backbearing and simple resection.
- Navigating across country using both map and compass.
Scrambling skills will give you greater confidence on the mountain.
- Route planning (choice of route, route card, bad weather alternatives, escape routes).
- Guidebooks and sources of information.
- Equipment for hillwalking with reference to weight, bulk and cost.
- Comparison and contrasting of: Footwear, Outer clothing, Headgear, Gloves, Middle layer garments, Inner garments.
- Bivouac bags and Bivouac tents.
- Rucksacks, Torches, Care of maps, Whistle and other emergency signalling devices.
- Additional equipment for winter, first aid kits.
- Procedure in event of an accident.
- Prevention, diagnosis and treatment of Mountain hypothermia, sprains, blisters, fatigue and other typical ailments.
- Mountain Rescue organisation in Ireland including location of posts and teams.
- Call–out Procedures