Meet an AMI Member Part 1

In the first part of "Meet a Member", we have Cliff Lowther writing a piece about his path into being a professional Mountaineering Instructor.

There'll be more of these coming up to show what a wide variety of roles our members have in the outdoor world, from working at outdoor centres to industrial rope access and everything in between.

Having realised at an early age that my dream of becoming a professional footballer wasn’t to be (I wasn’t good enough!), I turned to my love of adventure and in particular rock climbing.

My love for the great outdoors started at school after being introduced by some very dedicated and motivated teachers and ex-pupils who enjoyed sharing their skills and knowledge with enthusiastic pupils coming through the ranks. After leaving school myself, I realised that I enjoyed sharing my skills and knowledge with others and was soon introducing others to the outdoors in the same way I had been. Little did I know this was the foundations for my whole adult career...

I gained my Mountaineering Instructor Award (MIA) in 1992 after a long apprenticeship following the usual path of gaining the Mountain Leader (ML) summer and a great excuse to go and climb some of Britain’s classic multi-pitch rock climbs (The Single Pitch Award (SPA) did not exist then). Gaining my MIA was a monumental point in not just my career but my life too and it was an honour for me to join the professional body of the Association of Mountaineering Instructors (AMI) that same year.
Cliff Lowther profile Photo resize

In January 2009 I started my own business Roxcool (it’s a play on words) which generated most of its work running national governing body (NGB) awards and offering skills based courses. I was already a Mountain Training SPA provider at that point and it was a natural development to also gain providership for the Climbing Wall Award (CWA) which had only been going for one year. Now in my seventh year of running Roxcool I am pleased to say that I am now a provider of all Mountain Training awards for walking and climbing. This work, you could say, is my bread and butter, alongside the skills based courses I run.

For the work of this sort to be effective it requires dedication to continuing professional development (CPD), being a member of the AMI we are required to keep up to date with current practices and developments, this is then passed over to our clients who get the very best instructional input.

As an individual my enthusiasm has never faltered and in fact as I get older I realise there are so many things I still want to do! My passion for winter climbing, in all its forms, is growing stronger every year. Scotland of course, is the destination most head to pursue this activity and this year I’m planning to undertake my Mountaineering Instructor Certificate (MIC) so spending more than a fair amount of time there. Other more worldly destinations are also calling!

I love the variety in work a mountaineering instructor brings; from offering technical advice to climbing walls to sharing fantastic memories with individuals high up on multi-pitch rock climbs. It’s not all fun, we are constantly making decisions that are potentially life threatening and we will never become millionaires.

However, the job satisfaction knowing you are doing a good job, sharing knowledge and experience, and arming clients with skills to become self reliant mountaineers, goes a long way. To sum it up I believe my company strap line says it all; giving people ‘adventures of a lifetime’.

Cliff Lowther MIA, (MIC Trainee), BA Hons in Education and Training

Cliff Lowther Mountaineering Instructor

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