Mountain Leader Assessment
The Mountain Leader is a nationally recognised qualification that is administered by Mountain Training and is the most established award in the Mountain Training course structure. It is specifically aimed at the British mountains where technical ground and the unpredictability of the weather make our beautiful mountains potentially dangerous and demand competent and confident leaders.
The five day assessment normally runs in Snowdonia and is conducted in a very supportive manner. We passionately believe that whilst it is an assessment, it should also be fun and a positive learning experience.
Who is it for ?
The Mountain Leader assessment is for those who have already completed their Mountain Leader training and will also complete the logbook requirements prior to assessment.
The qualification is held in high regard by a huge variety of both commercial and voluntary sector outdoor providers, and is seen as a benchmark for established walkers, mountaineers and for those that want one of the best jobs in the world – leading in the mountains!
Mountain Leader Assessment – Overview
Over five days the Mountain Leader assessment covers all aspects of the scheme. We emphasise decision making and giving your group a great time in the mountains.
The first day we normally head off for a mountain walk, to brush the cobwebs away and settle the nerves before hitting steep ground work on day two. Days three to five we are on an expedition exploring the majesty of Snowdonia by day and night.
To help candidates prepare thoroughly we issue a home study paper and comprehensive joining instructions with lots of suggested reading, links to videos and other material to help candidates become thoroughly conversant with all aspects of the syllabus.
Mountain Leader Assessment Course Format
The Mountain Leader assessment course is largely practical in nature although, in addition to the home study paper, we undertake several theoretical exercises. There is significant emphasis on navigation and party leadership to deliver a safe and enjoyable hill experience.
Day 1 – 09:00. Introductions you, us and the course, followed by a hill day looking at navigation and decision making / leadership skills. We aim to finish at around 17:30.
Day 2 – 09:00. Hill day concentrating on leadership and group management on steep ground, including use of the rope. We aim to finish at around 17:30.
Day 3 – 5 – Expedition. We will journey through a remote area looking at expedition skills and plenty of navigation. There will be ample opportunities for you to demonstrate your knowledge of the environment, history and mythology. On one of the evenings we will undertake a night navigation exercise.
Once we have finished and are munching a well deserved cake and celebratory cuppa we will have results and individual feedback sessions.
You will be free to depart not later than 16:00 on the last day of the course.
Detailed guidance notes on the syllabus are available here.
- Location: Snowdonia
- Cost: £400 per person
- Duration: 5 days
- Ratio: 1:4
- Level: Instructor
Bespoke Dates and Locations
If there are four or more of you that would like a Mountain Leader assessment course, and you would prefer some different dates or a different venue, please contact the office and we will arrange some dates to suit your diary.
The course will meet at 09:00 in Capel Curig (LL24 0EL).
You will need to bring all the equipment you need for multiple consecutive days walking and camping in the mountains.
A full kit list with recommendations is contained in the joining instructions.
We give a few suggestions below, but more detailed suggestions together with a host of helpful links and videos are contained in our Mountain Leader assessment Joining Instructions.
The official handbook of Mountain Training’s walking schemes is:
Mountain Training handbook – Volume 1. Hillwalking. Steve Long. Mountain Training.
Other useful reference sources are:
Nature of Snowdonia 2nd Edition. A guide to the uplands for Hillwalkers and Climbers. Mike Raine. Peseda Press
Hostile Habitats – Scotland’s Mountain Environment. A hillwalkers guide to the landscape and wildlife. Scottish Mountaineering Trust.
Mountain Training Association have some useful ELearning modules. Planning a walk is free and if you are a member, several on Mountain Geology and Mountain weather.
You require sufficient fitness to spend 5 days walking in mountainous terrain, and have plenty spare to cope with any emergencies within the group.
Three of these days will be with overnight camping equipment.
In order to attend a ML assessment course you must meet the following requirements:
- Be registered specifically for the ML scheme with Mountain Training.
- Have attended a ML training course or hold an exemption certificate from Mountain Training.
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Have completed a minimum of 40 days walking in mountains (and ideally recorded them on DLOG).
- Ideally hold an up to date 16 hour first aid certificate relevant to working away from habitation. You can attend without one, but your qualification will be deferred until you present a valid certificate.
This Beyond the Edge course is non-residential to allow you to select between a thermarest or 5 star hotel as you require. There are literally thousands of accommodation options in Snowdonia from uber luxurious 5 star Spa hotels to campsites and everything in between.
We will be on expedition wild camping on the third and fourth nights so no accommodation will be required (other than your tent).
Popular options (apart from the club huts) nearby include The Rocks hostel and the Tyn y Coed Hotel in Capel Curig. Bryn Llewellyn Guest house in Betws-y-Coed. Youth Hostels in Ogwen, Betws y Coed, Pen-y-pass, Llanberis and Nant Gwynant and the Dol Gam camp site which benefits from being within walking distance of a pub.
Other options are listed on our Accommodation page.
How do I book ?
The best way is via this webpage. Choose the date from the options above and then submit your booking and pay.
For bespoke events get in touch first so we can check diaries and if required give you a quote. Get in touch by either calling the office on 01142 631 155 or emailing us.
Does the course include accommodation ?
Not usually! We prefer to let you choose where you will be most comfortable. This may be in a tent or in a luxury hotel.
See the Accommodation options tab above for more details.
Children, Parking, Dogs, COVID and everything else...
You will find all of the most frequently asked questions and their answers on our FAQ webpage.