Winter climbing for young people…RGS Style
In this sanitised, risk adversed world it is increasingly difficult to expose young people to well managed, controlled risk. Society, understandably, is concerned with the level to which we expose young people to real danger. As a parent I am too, and I assume most parents are. Children are frequently encouraged to take the easy path where the outcome is certain.
I have just finished working with RGS and a remarkable teacher, Rob Berry. With infectious enthusiasm, he runs organises a winter skills course run by Rich Link and myself. It’s my job to farm off two students each day and have a mega ice climbing adventure somewhere in the Cairngorm wilderness. This week, in my opinion, is visionary and totally unique in its nature. The RGS students experience and come to terms with real risk and consequence. Students are encouraged to rise to challenges presented. Rob deliberately gets super experienced guides and instructors to work on the week who not only understand the mountains but also young people (as best one can!).
The vast majority of students come to us with no prior knowledge or appreciation of the huge reward and potential suffering involved. To accept risks that you dont fully understand is incredibly difficult. The students are so amazingly adaptive! RGS organise a course once a year in February and I relish the chance to contribute towards the course.
On a personal level I find it deeply inspiring to watch these amazing young people rise to the challenges presented to them. The path presented is not an easy one. For those not willing to take a step into the unknown themselves it is very difficult to understand the benefits of doing so. It is my opinion that children not given chance to spread their wings will never achieve their true potential.