Mountaineering Instructor Certificate: everything you need to know

Posted by Nicola Jasieniecka on 19/03/2014
Working in winter. Credit Richard Cross

Fancy a life taking people ice climbing? The Mountaineering Instructor Certificate may be the qualification for you.

Who’s it for?
This is the highest level of award available in British mountaineering. It is relevant to anyone interested in teaching, coaching or guiding, anywhere in the UK and Ireland in any seasonal conditions. It also assumes a level of competence appropriate to that of a technical expert in the field of mountain education.

What’s it all about?
A great deal of knowledge and experience will already have been acquired by the time people are approaching the Mountaineering Instructor Certificate. As a result, it focuses on additional skills such as taking people scrambling and climbing in winter conditions in Scotland and the ability to teach/coach the above in a manner appropriate to each client’s ability and experience. A comprehensive understanding of prevailing weather and snow conditions is also important as this will impact on the selection of venues/routes. The Mountaineering Instructor Award and Winter Mountain Leader Award are both prerequisites for this award.

How does it work?
Pass your Winter Mountain Leader award and Mountaineering Instructor Award, get personal winter climbing experience and experience leading groups in the mountains in the winter, do a training course, consolidate your learning, go for assessment, continue developing as a Mountaineering Instructor Certificate holder. Once you have undertaken your training course you can join the Association of Mountaineering Instructors, one of the associations that will assist you both as a trainee and a qualified award holder.

Generally most people will be assessed 1-2 seasons after training, and it's probably advisable not to leave it longer than three seasons.

Where can I use it?
This award is fundamentally designed for use within the mountains of the United Kingdom and Ireland, predominantly the Scottish Highlands. People have used the qualification as a measure of competence in different areas worldwide, but the scheme is not specifically designed for this purpose.

Why do it?
Because you love the challenges of the UK’s mountains in the winter, and wish to pass this on to others. The scope of opportunities for someone holding the Mountaineering Instructor Certificate is enormous and it can also be a route into directing or providing any of Mountain Training's higher awards.

This article is part of a series of articles celebrating Mountain Training’s 50th anniversary year in 2014.



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