Youth Alpine Initiative
Supporting the next generation of mountaineers is very important to Mountaineering Ireland. Over the years we have run several formal and informal ventures aimed at our younger members. 2015 saw the culmination of this effort in the first Youth Alpine Initiative ( YAI) in recent years. The YAI saw twenty four 16 to 19 year olds attend five training weekends around the country during the first half of the year. Participants chose either a walking or climbing pathway depending on where their main interest and previous experience lay. Regardless of the chosen pathway, all participants were trained in the key mountaineering skills including navigation, ropework and expedition skills. July saw the group travel to the Swiss Alps for a week of climbing and trekking in the Saas Grund area. Here they put all they had learned into practice and also continued their training under the guidance of several guides and instructors. The participants summited several 4000ft + peaks both as part of the group and also independently. Since July, members of the group have met up independently on occasion to walk and climb in different areas of the country and continue to learn from each other and build on the skills they have learned and honed during the year.
The YAI is a largely volunteer led initiative and it is hoped that it will run every two years with the next one in 2017. Details on the selection and application process will be available here in Autumn 2016.
Women With Altitude
Approximately 50% of Mountaineering Ireland’s total membership is made up of women however research and feedback showed that a disproportionately low percentage of our female members took on leadership roles on the hills, walked and climbed independently or progressed to complete our awards. The Women With Altitude initiative was started in 2012 with the aim of increasing the skills and so the confidence of women on the hills. The initiative is centred around one annual weekend event which is based in a different part of Ireland each time. This weekend is focused on increasing participants’ levels of confidence both through trying out new activities and also consolidating existing skills. The weekend consists of both instructional and self-directed activities and also includes a number of talks and workshops. In addition to learning and improving hard skills, Women With Altitude provides a platform for the many female mountaineering role models we have in Ireland and is an ideal opportunity to meet like-minded women. The flagship weekends have resulted in smaller groups meeting up periodically during the year to enjoy the hills and crags.
Click here to go to the Women With Altitude website
Helping the Hills
With the ever increasing popularity of our upland areas for recreational use, it has long been recognised that our hills and mountains struggle to sustain current footfall and aren't prepared for the increased usage which the near future will undoubtedly bring. This Mountaineering Ireland initiative brings together key stakeholders, recreational users, landowners and other interested parties to protect our upland areas both now and into the future. The initiative looks at providing access to expert advice on upland path development and maintenance and building awareness of the challenges which face our unique upland environment.
Click here to visit the Helping the Hills website
Mountaineering Ireland run two weekend workshops for aspirant mountaineers each year. These workshops are geared towards MI members who are between 18 and 24 years of age. The workshop is ideal for those interested in the outdoors and in developing their mountaineering skills and cover the key skills needed for safe adventures in the mountains in both Summer and Winter conditions. Where there is demand, we also run youth meets in conjunction with the Scottish Winter Meet and Summer Alpine Meet. See our events page for upcoming workshop dates and booking details.