What Should You Expect On Your Mountain Leader Training Course?

Ideas by Chris, words by Anne

In 1990 I set off on my journey to becoming a British Mountain Guide. I had an idea of the outline of the course programme, and I had talked to other people who were further along in the scheme. But I still had unanswered questions, and I wasn’t totally sure what to expect. That is true for anyone on any course, whatever the subject or level of learning. And it will be true for you when you sign up for a Mountain Leader training course.

 All the photos in this post were taken during our training course last week

All the photos in this post were taken during our training course last week

Here are some pointers about what to expect:

1. It is a six-day course...

...packed with learning and fun in the mountains. Our programme is designed to maximise the amount of time out in the mountains, and minimise time indoors. It is a challenging but rewarding experience, where you will meet like-minded mountain-lovers and form long-lasting friendships.

2. It is a training course...

...so you are not expected to know everything. However, you do need to meet the minimum requirements - 20 quality mountain days logged in the UK. If you have done a good deal more than the minimum, you will be able to learn more than if you are struggling to keep up with learning the basics.

3. Questions are welcomed

We like lots of questions! There is only one silly question – the one you didn’t ask.

 Near Raise

Near Raise

4. People come from many different backgrounds...

...and bring lots of different experiences to the course. Some might be teachers wanting to take their pupils out of the classroom or do the Duke of Edinburgh award. Some are doing it to skill up for taking friends in the mountains, others are pursuing a career in the outdoors – they may be happy to stick with the Mountain Leader award, or they may progress higher up the qualification ladder

5. There are guidelines that we have to work within... 

...but at the same time we are given a lot of freedom as to how we present the course syllabus. We can adapt it to the needs of the group, as described in this feedback from Alex Massie after our training course in August 2016:

"Chris took us beyond the syllabus where he felt that we would become better leaders if we did so - this is very much appreciated and led to a much more engaging experience. It was great not to have a box ticking exercise, and to have something that reflected the nature of the group. Chris is clearly a highly intelligent, knowledgeable, and experienced instructor. His ability to engage with people is truly excellent - I am so glad that I chose to take this course with him"

Read more client testimonials.

 Striding Edge

Striding Edge

6. An overview of a typical training course programme

Day one: mountain day
We usually meet in the Stickle Ghyll car park in the Langdale valley at 9am or 9.30am, ready and kitted up for a full day in the mountains. We have a quick chat, with introductions to each other and an outline of the week. Then we’re off up the hill to look at navigation, route selection and group leadership. In the early evening we have a mountain weather lecture delivered using a Powerpoint.

Day two: security on steep ground
Route choices on steep ground and appropriate rope work. This is one of the areas of the syllabus that many people find most challenging, so there are lots of opportunities to practice. In the early evening we have a discussion about access and conservation in the mountains.

 Near Three Tarns, Bowfell

Near Three Tarns, Bowfell

Day three: bits & bobs day
This day usually includes a search and rescue exercise, and emergency procedures such as river crossing. The evening is self-programmed time for preparing for the expedition.

Days four, five & six: a three-day two-night expedition, wild camping in the high mountains
We’ll put into practice everything already learnt during days 1-3, and add in campcraft and night navigation. We finish off with the expedition debrief, course debrief and goal setting for the assessment. When we run a training course in the colder months, we usually do an extra mountain day followed by a two-day one-night expedition.

 The team: Tom, Helen, Phil, Richard and Ryan

The team: Tom, Helen, Phil, Richard and Ryan

If you still have unanswered questions, don't hesitate to ask - email us and we'll do our best to answer them. We're looking forward to hearing from you soon!