New to Mountain Training?

Welcome! Here’s a brief overview of how things work at Mountain Training including a glossary of some words and phrases we use a lot.

Who are we?

Mountain Training is the collection of awarding bodies for skills courses and qualifications in walking, climbing and mountaineering across the UK and Ireland.

Our qualifications and skills courses

We administer 16 qualifications to support people who want to lead, coach or instruct others and six skills courses which are all about helping people become more independent in the outdoors.

Our qualifications have universal recognition from the mountaineering councils and training boards of the UK and Ireland, and are recognised by the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and other government organisations. A number of our qualifications also have international recognition and applicability.

Our skills courses focus on developing your confidence and skill level in walking and rock climbing, not on how to look after other people.

Find out more about Mountain Training.

Which scheme is right for me?

If you choose the right place to start, you're more likely to finish. But it can be difficult to work out where the best starting point is, so we've put together a guide to choosing the right scheme: Which scheme is right for me

Why is so much experience required to get qualified?

All of our qualifications are based on experience because 59 years of administering qualifications has shown us that people develop good judgement and decision making skills, along with all the other skills required to be an effective and safe leader, instructor or coach, through practice. Being responsible for others is a big deal, especially when the hazards involved in our activities are real and dynamic. So we build in experience requirements in the form of a number of 'quality days', routes climbed and/or sessions spend observing others.

There's no real short cut to getting this experience unless you're able to commit a chunk of time to getting it, which some people are able to do. For everyone else, it's important to choose the right qualification and be realistic with yourself about how much time you can spend getting experience and what you ultimately want to do with the qualification.

How long does it take to get a qualification?

The time it takes to complete each of our qualifications varies depending on how much experience you have before you start and how easy it is for you to gain more experience prior to training and assessment.


Walking pathway infographic with time to completion

The average (median) time to completion for walking qualifications from registration to successfull assessment is: Camping Leader involves an optional online training course and a one day assessment.

Both Hill Skills and Mountain Skills courses are two days each.


Climbing pathway infographic with time to completion

The average (median) time to completion for climbing qualifications from registration to successfull assessment is: Indoor Climbing Assistant is a one day combined training and assessment course. Performace Coach has completed a pilot and more information will be available in due course.

Rock Skills Introduction is a one day course. Rock Skills Intermediate, Learn to Lead Sport Climbs and Learn to Lead Trad Climbs are all two day courses.

Our providers

We approve course providers across the UK and Ireland to deliver our qualifications and skills courses. They do not all include the same 'extras' like accommodation and food, so you can find one that offers a course or package that works for you, or book a bespoke course.

The process

If you’re interested in undertaking one of our qualifications, here’s what to do:
  • Read all the information about the qualification on the appropriate web page.
  • Register for the qualification and pay the registration fee on our candidate management system (this will involve creating an account if you are new to us).
  • Use DLOG (our digital logbook) to record the required experience.
  • Book and attend a training course with an approved provider.
  • Consolidate your experience and practise in a variety of contexts.
  • Book and attend an assessment course with an approved Mountain Training provider.
If you’re interested in undertaking one of our skills courses, here’s what to do:

Candidate management system (CMS) & DLOG

Your journey with us is recorded using our candidate management system (CMS). After creating an account you will be able to register on our schemes and access a digital logbook (DLOG) to record your experience. Our approved providers use the system to record your attendance on a course and to give you a result, including feedback if you were not successful. Read our frequently asked questions about CMS and DLOG.

Mountain Training glossary (click to view)

AMI (Association of Mountaineering Instructors)

The professional membership association that supports candidates who hold or are working towards the Mountaineering Instructor Award or Mountaineering Instructor Certificate.
Joining the association is optional.

APL (accredited prior learning)

Recognition of previous experience and training to enable advancement through a scheme.
This is used to facilitate candidates entering the Coaching Scheme at the most appropriate point for them. It involves paying a fee and presenting a record of experience and training.


A coordinated group of people with similar interests and development needs. There are four associations connected to Mountain Training. Each one supports a different group of people, based on the qualifications they hold or are working towards. Their role is to provide development and training opportunities both pre- and post-assessment and to represent their members.

BAIML (British Association of International Mountain Leaders)

BAIML supports aspirant and qualified International Mountain Leaders in the UK and represents them at the Union of International Mountain Leader Associations (UIMLA).
Joining the association is optional. Qualified International Mountain Leaders who want to work outside the UK are required to have a UIMLA sticker, which can be gained by joining BAIML as a Full Member.

BMG (British Mountain Guides)

BMG supports trainee, aspirant and qualified British Mountain Guides and represents them at the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA). The British Mountain Guide scheme is independent of Mountain Training. People working through the British Mountain Guide scheme must become a member after they have passed all of the entrance exams. Qualified Guides working outside the UK are required to have an IFMGA sticker which is available to Full Members of BMG.


A person who has registered on one of our schemes.

CMS (candidate management system)

The website database used by Mountain Training candidates, providers, course directors and the associations to record candidate/member details and course attendance.
The software platform that powers the database is owned and operated by Tahdah Verified Limited.


A person interested in developing the performance of others in a particular activity (in our case climbing).
Three of our qualifications include the word coach in their title: Foundation Coach, Development Coach and Performance Coach.


The use, over time, of skills and knowledge acquired in training to strengthen understanding and competency.
The period of time between training and assessment.

Course director

The person in charge of practically delivering a qualification course.
Each course will have a course director who is responsible for choosing venues, managing staff and debriefing candidates. Course directors have been approved by one of the national Mountain Training organisations.

CPD (continuing personal/professional development)

Learning and training opportunities that expand your skills and abilities as a leader/coach/instructor.
All of the associations have a CPD policy which outlines what’s required of full members.

DLOG (Digital Logbook)

A digital log or record of your experience and relevant activities.
Used to ensure that the experience levels required for certain qualifications are being met.


Not having to attend a training course.
Many of our schemes have a process through which suitably experienced candidates can apply for exemption from training. It involves paying a fee and presenting a record of experience and training.

IFMGA (International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations)

The IFMGA is an international association of mountain guide associations from all over the world. They represent all mountain guides of their country, which are qualified according to the IFMGA guidelines.


A person who teaches skills to others.
Six of our qualification names include the word instructor in their title: Climbing Wall Instructor, Climbing Wall Development Instructor, Rock Climbing Instructor, Rock Climbing Development Instructor, Mountaineering Instructor Award, Mountaineering Instructor Certificate.


  • A person who leads a group, in our case in the hills/mountains.
  • A person who climbs a route and places/clips pre-placed protection as they go.
Five of our qualifications include the word leader in their title: Lowland Leader, Hill and Moorland Leader, Mountain Leader, Winter Mountain Leader, International Mountain Leader. ‘Leadership qualifications’ is an umbrella term used to describe all of our leader, coach and instructor qualifications.


A person who has chosen to join an association.
Association membership is optional, unless you are training to be a British Mountain Guide.

Mountain Training

A network of awarding organisations in the UK and Ireland, responsible for leadership qualifications and skills training in walking, climbing and mountaineering.
See also, National Mountain Training organisations.

Mountain Training Association (MTA)

MTA is the membership organisation of Mountain Training and supports candidates of all of Mountain Training’s qualifications. Anyone who is registered for one of our qualifications can join the association and benefit from ongoing peer support and the continuing personal development opportunities provided.
Joining the association is optional but recommended.

National Mountain Training organisations

Officially the awarding bodies of our qualifications and skills courses. They approve providersand course directors, assure the quality of courses and contribute to the growth and development of ‘Mountain Training’ across the UK and Ireland.
There are five national Mountain Training organisations:


A person who attends a skills course.


The requirements for entering a particular stage in the scheme.


An individual or organisation approved by one of the national Mountain Training organisations to deliver one or more of our schemes.
There are approved providers across the UK and Ireland.


A scheme which involves an assessment of a person against a syllabus to lead/coach/instruct others.
Mountain Training administers 16 qualifications including one assistant qualification (Indoor Climbing Assistant), Camping Leader and the Climbing Wall Instructor Abseil Module.


The process of entering a particular scheme.
There are often prerequisites which you must meet before you register and these are set per scheme – details can be found on the website and in the relevant candidate handbook. There is a fee to pay to register on each of our qualifications. There is no registration for our skills courses.


  • The stages of registration, training, consolidation and assessment involved in gaining a qualification.
  • A series of progressive qualifications or skills courses e.g. the Coaching Scheme involves three qualifications at three different levels.


The company that owns the software that powers our candidate management system (CMS) database.


The person in charge of practically delivering a Mountain Training skills course.
Staff delivering skills courses will all be approved tutors. One of them will have overall responsibility for choosing venues, managing staff and debriefing candidates. Tutors have been approved by one of the national Mountain Training organisations.

UIMLA (Union of International Mountain Leader Associations)

UIMLA is an international governing body based in France which represents International Mountain Leaders across the world. One of the most important targets for UIMLA is to represent the profession at the international level as well as setting equal standards of qualifications for all International Mountain Leaders (IMLs). UIMLA promotes the profession and supports the cooperation between IMLs from different countries.

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