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Mountaincraft and Leadership, fourth edition Paperback – 10 Jan 2013
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This text is a must for everyone around the world planning any type of expedition. It is composed very articulately, easy to read, easy to understand, easy to learn and in a very pleasant font.
It is packed full with essential information to help the novice such as me, but also a perfect reference text for the seasoned professional.
I am still reading this, not quite finished but I absolutely love this. It is my almost definitive source for planning my expeditions.
Its chapter on navigation is first class. I think the bit on compass use is slightly long, and I'm not sure it fully gets to grips with the pros and cons of GPS systems which are coming more into use these days. I still like its old fashioned, but entirely correct assertion that accurate use of the map is the key ability for safe hill walking.
Issues of speed and accuracy are well covered. How fast can you cover the ground? How fast do groups move? How fast will your particular group go?
Issues of dealing with mountain hazards such as stream crossings are well covered. Techniques for support and assistance are well described- but I couldn't help feeling that the basic message coming through was "better still, avoid the hazard- go round it, anticipate it...walk upstream a bit...etc"
Issues about group leadership are well covered. the context is very much about leading groups of children and teenagers- but I think its basic rules of party discipline and management are very helpful and sensible, and adaptable to other leadership age ranges and contexts. The key point is that leadership is about the others you are leading, not the leader's own personal growth and development. If the leader is learning anything it's about how to lead the group, not primary knowledge of a new mountain. The leader's basic mountain skills need to be so well honed that they can reliably be taken for granted, and the focus can be on leading the group.
This is a classic hillwalking text, obviously aimed at mountain leaders- but with much in it for all of us who enjoy walking the hills. With this book we will know how to do this with more safety and accuracy.
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