The Mountain Leader scheme is designed for people who want to lead groups in the mountains, hills and moorlands of the UK and Ireland. If you love being out in the mountains and want to share your enthusiasm with others, become a Mountain Leader and you’ll never look back.

    In addition to our experience of delivering the Mountain Leader award scheme, we are active and current Mountain Leaders doing all sorts of work, from Duke of Edinburgh expeditions, charity challenge events, taking young people for their first hill walks, right through to top level navigation coaching. The Mountain Leader is an awesome award that opens up a wealth of work opportunities to kick-start your outdoor career.


    The Mountain Leader Training covers the following main syllabus areas:

    • Group management – responsbilities of the leader and leadership styles in the outdoors.
    • Navigation – map & compass work, and selecting appropriate strategies.
    • Access and the environment – our responsibilities and instilling respect for the mountain environment, as well as enthusing and inspiring groups.
    • Hazards and emergency procedures – managing groups in tricky and steep ground, environmental hazards such as animals, weather, water hazards and managing incidents.
    • Equipment – general knowledge of suitable kit for walking and camping.
    • Expedition skills – selecting kit and packing, food selection, cooking, and general campcraft.
    • Weather – sources for weather forecasts, understanding impact on groups and planning.
    • Background knowledge – having a general knowledge of hill walking and the wider mountain landscape, clubs, bodies, information sources etc.


Course Details

Before booking, you should ensure you meet the prerequisites set out by Mountain Training before the course;

  • You must be registered on the scheme – details here
  • You should have recorded a minimum of 20 Quality Mountain Days (ideally on DLOG) which can have taken place at any point (pre- or post-registration)

What if I don’t have all the prerequisites yet?

All our course programs as ever are flexible to adapt to the specific needs of clients and individual experiences. The Mountain Leader award is, by it's nature, more at the mercy of the elements. We'll do our best to shift things around to escape truly awful weather.

Expedition - we try not to move this due to the headache of arranging accommodation though we may need to be flexible to avoid extreme weather. We recommend booking accommodation for the first 4 nights of your course (5 if travelling up the evening before). Any changes to the planned scheduling of the expedition will be discussed and taken as a group decision to help coordinate logistics.

Day 1

Navigation Day

  • Course Start - we'll meet at Basecamp at 08:30 for introductions, discussion of your experience, aims & aspirations.
  • Scheme Introduction - stages of the award, Mountain Training, scope of the scheme and course outline.
  • Leader and Group Kit - equipment considerations for group members and leaders.
  • Travel to Venue - we’ll organise lift-shares to reduce impact and ease parking. There’s walking right from our door-step; though we may drive up to 30 mins to escape poor weather.
  • Navigation and Leadership - focus on personal navigation skills, map and compass work, planning legs, strategy, relocation and contours. Top tips for leading groups and varying management styles.
  • Environmental Knowledge - covered throughout the day, flora, fauna, history, myths and geology.
  • Return to Basecamp - return to Basecamp for around 16:00, grab a well-earned brew and review the day.
  • Evening session - access legislation, environmental impact and mountain stewardship.

Day 2

Mountain Journey

  • Morning Briefing - we'll meet at Basecamp at 08:30 for weather forecasts and plan for the day.
  • Mountain Journey -macro nav, route selection, party management, coaching walking skills.
  • Managing Steep Ground - route choice, risk assessment, briefings, mitigating falls.
  • Return to Basecamp - return to Basecamp for around 16:00, grab a well-earned brew and review the day.
  • Evening Session - ropework introduction.

Day 3

Ropework Day

  • Morning Brief - we'll meet at Basecamp at 08:30 for weather brief and plan the day as a group.
  • Scope of the Award - role of the Mountain Leader, use of the rope, legal considerations, group paperwork and legislation.
  • Ropework - knots, anchor selection, belay systems, personal security, context of use in ascent and descent.
  • Water Hazards - river crossing avoidance, understanding flow and hazards, route choice, risk assessment, briefing groups and tactics for crossing. Change out of wet kit!
  • Return to Basecamp - return to Basecamp for around 16:00, grab a well-earned brew and review the day.
  • Evening Session - mountain and weather hazards, prevention and management.

Day 4

Mountain Hazards

  • Morning Brief - we'll meet at Basecamp at 08:30 for weather brief and plan the day as a group.
  • Poor Visibiliy Navigation - a detailed look at navigation, small contour features, pacing, gps etc.
  • Emergency Procedures - prevention, mountain rescue, managing incidents and moving casualties.
  • Return to Basecamp - return to Basecamp for around 16:00, grab a well-earned brew and review the day.
  • Evening session - expedition equipment packing, route planning, wild camp legislation and considerations.

Day 5

Overnight Expedition

  • Morning Brief - we'll meet at Basecamp at 09:30 for weather brief, kit check and depart.
  • Expedition - putting it all together, navigation, group management and leadership practice.
  • Map Scales - a look at different maps and scales, their relative merits and macro navigation.
  • Wildcamp - pitch camp for around 17:00 and grab a well-earned brew.
  • Camp craft - look at tents, stoves, water management, instructing camp craft to groups and cooking management.
  • Evening Break - a little free time to relax and enjoy the scenery or nap.
  • Night Navigation - a short circuit in the local area looking at night navigation strategies, techniques and opportunities to practice legs.

Day 6

Expedition End

  • Break camp - pack kit, check camp area and depart.
  • Expedition - further opportunities to practice navigation and party management. Relocation techniques for when it does go wrong,
  • Return to Basecamp - return to Basecamp for around 14:00, hand in kit, grab a well-earned brew and review the week.
  • What Next? - your instructor will discuss a personal Action plan and we'll email you some post course resources to help you on your Mountain Leader journey.
  • Course Finish - usually we’ll wrap up the course by around 15:00.

Llanberis, Snowdonia National Park

Basecamp – all our Snowdonia based courses start from our Basecamp, right on the high street in Llanberis. With great facilities for presentations and free tea & coffee.

Snowdonia National Park – we’re ideally placed with great hill walking to be found right on our doorstep; and a rich variety of readily accessible mountain terrain across the national park including the Snowdon group, Glyderau, Carneddau, Moelwyns, Nantlle and Rhinogs.

Accommodation – check out our Llanberis Accommodation Guide with top picks for all budgets.

We provide a detailed kit list for each of our courses so you know exactly what kit you’ll need and what we’ll provide. We appreciate outdoor kit can be pretty pricey so we’ll advise where is best to spend your money and what kit we really rate. We can provide all the group rigging kit on this course such as static ropes for rigging.
Download the Kit List
We have also set up a 15% discount for Mountain Independence clients with V12 Outdoors. They are our favorite climbing shop with an amazing range of kit, super friendly and knowledgeable staff and they’re very local – exactly 100m from our door in Llanberis!
V12 Outdoor Logo

Kit List – Mountain Leader TrainingA guide to the kit we recommend for attending the Mountain Leader Training course with Mountain Independence.

Skills Checklist – Mountain LeaderThis skills checklist is designed to enable you, as a Mountain Leader candidate, to record what you have covered as your training progresses and reflect on your development. It's a great tool for assessing where you're at, and what you might need to work on further in preparation for your assessment.

Scheme Handbook – Mountain LeaderThe handbook for the Mountain Leader scheme from Mountain Training. It details everything you need to know about the scheme itself, including the scope of the qualification, syllabus, stages of the scheme, assessment standards, guidance notes and practice points.


General FAQs

For more generalised questions please visit our FAQs page or for questions specifically relating to the Mountain Leader Training course see below.

Mountain Leader Training FAQs

We plan to head out on an overnight expedition over the final 2 days of the course. We try not to move the exped around so it's easier to plan your accommodation in advance.

We may need to be flexible to avoid potentially extreme weather. We recommend booking accommodation for the first 4 nights of your course (5 if travelling up the evening before). Any changes to the planned scheduling of the expedition will be discussed, and taken as a group decision to help coordinate logistics for everyone on the course.

Unfortunately we don't accept under-18s for Mountain Leader Training as Mountain Training specify that you must be over 18 to register for the scheme. If you're keen and motivated for a career in the outdoors consider booking some general training with us and we can help develop you

You must be registered with Mountain Training for the Mountain Leader scheme.

  • Firstly you'll need to Register an Account with Mountain Training (if you haven't already done so) and then Log In to your account.
  • In the top left corner click on Register to register for the individual schemes.
  • Click on Scheme and select Mountain Leader.
  • Select Board - essentially it doesn’t matter which board but being based in Wales I’d pick Wales (Mountain Training Cymru) as they’re who we’re a registered provider.
  • Purchase Membership or Link Existing Membership, to the British Mountaineering Council, Mountaineering Scotland, or Mountaineering Ireland.
  • Then Pay for the registration. Registration is currently £49 (June 2023).

If you're only a little short, and are planning on gaining some more experience prior to the training we will be happy to take a booking if you can outline a plan to have the required experience by the start of the course.

Mountain Training set their prerequisites for good reason, having a good base of experience and understanding on which to build the knowledge and skills is vital. Research has shown that candidates who arrive at Training courses with less than the minimum prerequisites are more likely to defer or fail assessment than other candidates.

If you'd like some more input and coaching to work toward the prerequisites consider booking some private instruction, Get in Touch.