Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor FAQs

1/ There are places on an upcoming Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor training course, can I book on?

If you have not received an email from Mountain Training confirming that you have been accepted on the scheme, you should not book onto a training course. For more information on how to apply to register for this award please visit this page Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor.

2/ I've been climbing for years, does all of my experience count?

Yes, although at least 10 of your multi-pitch routes at VS 4C or above should have been within the last 12 months.

3/ Why do I need to have climbed sport routes?

This came as part of a review of the Mountaineering Instructor scheme in 2009. It was felt that candidates should have a broad knowledge of all aspects of UK rock climbing, of which sport climbing is a major part.

4/ Gaining Quality Mountain Days as a qualified Mountain Leader

The Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor requires experience to be gained as a leader after you have qualified as a Mountain Leader. In terms of leading experience, the quality of a mountain day lies in such things as the conditions experienced both overhead and underfoot, the exploration of new areas, the terrain covered plus the safe and effective management of a group. Such days make a positive contribution towards a leader’s development.

The day should include some or all of the following:
  • The leader is responsible for the planning and decision-making
  • Ascent of a substantial peak would normally be included in the day
  • Five hours or more journey time
  • Navigation skills are required and/or taught away from marked paths
  • Knowledge is increased and skills practised and/or taught
  • Steep ground or easy (grade I) scrambling terrain
  • Attention is paid to safety
  • Adverse conditions may be encountered and managed safely
  • Experience must be in terrain and weather comparable to that found in UK and Irish hills
These criteria mean that days as an assistant leader, shadowing, undertaking remote supervision or days spent repeating familiar routes are unlikely to meet the requirements of a leader’s Quality Mountain Day.

5/ Is the application fee refundable?

The registration fee is refundable in line with our standard terms and conditions, unless you have submitted your DLOG for review and administration work has been undertaken.

6/ Can I apply for exemption from Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor training?

No. There is no exemption from training.

7/ How many referees do I need for my registration application? Who can I use as a referee?

You will need to include a reference from at least 1 referee. The ideal referee will be someone who is prepared to endorse the registration application, preferably a Mountaineering Instructor, Guide or training board approved provider. A long term climbing partner or suitable employer would also be considered as an appropriate referee. To request a referee go to your DLOG, click on the Referees tab and then the Request Referee button. Enter the individuals email address or candidate number and they will be sent an email asking them to provide you with a reference. Please note they must hold an award with us.

8/ How do I become a Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor if I have qualifications from outside the UK and Ireland?

We can offer direct entry without having to go through the UK’s Mountain Leader scheme for the following conditions:
  • Direct entry for UIMLA members as the International Mountain Leader qualification is clearly beyond Mountain Leader standard.
  • Direct entry for individuals whose qualification is accredited by the UIAA for summer walking, for example the Spanish "guia de montanya”.
Check whether your walking leadership qualification(s) are accredited by the UIAA here:

If they are, you can apply for exemption from the Mountain Leader aspect of the Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor scheme by contacting the office at You will also need to send proof of certificates and supporting documents such as a disclosure from your national association to confirm that there are no convictions pending. Our technical officers for Mountain Training UK & Ireland will then review these documents and inform the customer service team whether they are happy that the qualification(s) from a different country is acceptable to our standards.

If they are not, you should register for the Mountain Leader scheme and apply for exemption from training. If this exemption is successful you can then proceed directly to a Mountain Leader assessment. If it is not successful you will need to attend a Mountain Leader training course first. Once you’ve completed your UK or Ireland Mountain Leader assessment you can then register for the Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor scheme.

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