MOUNTAIN LEADER FOR LONG EATON SQUADRON
Jack at the top during his training
Air Cadets in Long Eaton can now look forward to climbing to the top now that their Leader has gained a qualification allowing him to take cadets to the heights.
Flight Lieutenant Jack Stepanian, Officer Commanding 2195 (Long Eaton) Squadron, has qualified as a Mountain Leader after a gruelling week in the Lake District.
The Mountain Leader (Summer) Award requires candidates to complete at least 40 days of personal experience in the British mountain environment as well as a 5 day training course and 5 day assessment. The award now allows Jack to take groups of all ages into the UK mountains.
The culmination of the award is the assessment which consists of 5 full days working in the mountains under assessment from multiple staff. Day 1 required Jack to demonstrate his party management and ropework skills in guiding a group across steep ground 600 m up a mountain.
Day 2 consisted of micro navigation skills and incident management working in poor visibility and heavy rain throughout the day. The group of candidates under assessment were then required to demonstrate a number of safe techniques for completing an emergency river crossing which involved all group members crossing a fast flowing section of water with and without a rope.
The final three days of assessment took the form of a group expedition. The first day of the expedition saw candidates travelling across an open mountain environment whilst constantly being able to locate themselves to within 10 m in poor weather. After a full day on the hills the group selected a wild camp site, cooked dinner and then proceeded to complete a night navigation exercise to reach a number of predetermined points in the pitch black during a storm. The second and third expedition days continued the assessment of group navigation as well as knowledge of plants and animals within the mountain environment as well as another wild camp.
Now a fully qualified ML, Jack plans to use his qualification to train cadets and staff at Long Eaton Squadron as well as continuing to assist in the training and assessment for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award at all levels across the South and East Midlands.
The ML qualification is just one of the many qualifications and award courses available to staff of the Air Cadet Organisation and run from the two National Air Cadet Adventure Training Centres located in Windermere, Cumbria and Llanbedr, Snowdonia.