A PostGrad’s guide to all things Conville!

Want to get involved in all things Alpine? Sam Huguet, one of your wonderful postgrad officers gives you the low-down!

Putting our skills into practice – photo Ben Steel

On a fine summer evening, John Naish, Ben Steel and I started our intrepid journey to Chamonix, where we were to partake in the Conville course. ‘What is the Conville course?’ I hear you say! Well dearest readers, the Conville course is available to those aged 18-30 to teach the skills and safe practice associated with Alpinism, a type of mountaineering which uses an excess of sharp metal pointy things in really high places, to give you some of the most exciting experiences and defined friendships of your life.

Practising moving together – Photo Ben Steel

Many consider this form of education to be vital prior to any Alpine excursions, and for good reason. When in the Alps, close friends of mine have almost disappeared into crevasses, been squished by rocks and almost fallen off abseils. Thus, given that Conville applies so much focus on safety, one might also argue that ‘safe practice’ could be achieved by simply staying home and going to Bloc, instead of teaching innocent students to climb in testing environments – which will literally blind them without use of expensive sunglasses. However, you must have noticed the logical fallacy within my last argument; climbing, and all of it’s variations, are exciting, invigorating, and engaging, partly because there is an element of risk. In turn, this risk is enjoyed (and minimised) in it’s own right, for it defines our sport.

Moving across the glacier – photo Jono Hawkins

Our Conville course was fantastic. Our mountain guide (a chap called Tim Neil) taught us how to avoid dangerous situations and manage them should theyoccur. During the course, we climbed routes such as the L’arete Laurence and L’arete des Cosmiques. In doing so, we explored one of the most beautiful places on earth. Everything for miles and miles is inundated with an endless carpet of snow, which is only broken by huge peaks of inspiring Alpine granite. Ominous crevasses lurk beneath hidden snow bridges, and so everyone in a team works together at the best of their ability to keep each other safe. In fact, this sense of teamwork and clockwork efficiency with your friends is probably one of the best parts of visiting the Alps. You protect each other and help form these amazing experiences. In doing so, you form and consolidate incredible friendships. Here’s a link to the Conville courses, enjoy! http://www.jcmt.org.uk/courses/

 

Megan Clark

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