/ Mountain leader award (summer) in 5 months?

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gerrym6 - on 21 Aug 2018

I'm on a quest to start training & complete the ML (summer) in less than a year. ALSO to log my walking routes prior to training, starting at the beginning of October. After logging routes (20+), I will attend the training when its available.

The biggest factors I believe are the oncoming autumn/winter conditions that will make it harder but also, will ML trainers accept logged routes during this period?

Thoughts & opinions welcome!

SebCa - on 21 Aug 2018
In reply to gerrym6:

Provided this is not a case of trolling (forgive me its not uncommon) I would suggest the following, but others may be better placed...

It is certainly possible, you can gain exemption from training if you deem yourself competent enough and MT agree with your logbook.

If you turn up with 20 walks for training and 40 walks for assessment you will defer on your logbook (most likely)...The minimums are just that, minimums... bear in mind these people are signing you off to lead groups in the mountains in summer conditions. Just because its summer doesn't mean its any less dangerous than winter.

Winter walking will give you log book a good foundation and show a wider depth of experience, as would rock climbing etc so by all means put it in the DLOG but it won't count towards the days. (Winter is when snow/ice on the ground) if its just rain then thats a given for British summer any way.

Its been over ten years since I did mine, I loved the training and assessment but mostly I loved the logbook building because it was being out walking in different areas and trying to nail down the skills I had been taught on the training.

Good luck, work hard, please don't think its a given and enjoy every minute of it.

The other side is to lead groups in the mountains you don't need any awards....but thats a whole new chapter

Welsh Kate - on 21 Aug 2018
In reply to gerrym6:

My Summer ML logbook contained walks done in winter - there's not always snow on the ground! It also included winter walks which would qualify as a Winter Mountain Leader QMD. They're included in my DLOG because I logged all my walks, but I didn't need to count them towards my ML logbook when I went for assessment, because I had more than enough 'summer' QMDs. Having a varied logbook with walks from all over the British Isles helped to make my assessment a lot more straightforward - the experience showed.

The more you rush it, the harder it's going to be. You can include historic QMDs in your logbook, you don't have to count from the point you register with Mountain Training, but if you don't have any QMDs at this point and genuinely are starting from scratch, a five month target might be pushing it.

bonebag - on 21 Aug 2018
In reply to gerrym6:

Doing it in five months is pushing it. Take longer and get some more QMD's. I recently did a couple of ML  CPD days with an MIA in North Wales and during those days he recommended to all of us to put everything in our log books as it gave a more rounded impression of our experiences rather than this person only has the minimum requirement and has done little else. If you don't add it they have to guess as an assessor.

Even if it's not all ML stuff it shows if you are a well rounded mountaineer. So I'd say take your time a bit and do some rock climbing if you are a climber and some winter days too. Don't forget the overseas stuff too if you've done any eg. alpine days, via ferrata, European walking. It all creates a good impression.

Post edited at 23:58
Fiona Reid - on 22 Aug 2018
In reply to gerrym6:think)

You can log summer ML days at any time of year as it's the conditions on the ground that matter.  If you need ice axe crampons etc you can't count that as summer conditions.  If you are walking on snow all day that's probably pushing it somewhat too. If there's lots of snow then you might have to stick to lower lying ground and thus may not be able to count a day as a summer QMD.

FWIW, I did my summer ML training in June 2013 and assessment in September 2013 so it is possible to do them both in a year. However, I wasn't starting from scratch. Prior to doing the training I had  hillwalked for about 9 years,  done a full round of Munros and almost all the Corbetts and thus had something like 120 QMDs in summer (plus loads in winter if I ever decide to do the winter ML) before doing the training. 

I did mine pre DLOG days (it was introduced in autumn 2013 for MIA folks I think). In my logbook I included all the walks I'd done with summer & winter on separate sheets and the QMDs clearly marked. After the training, I spent the summer practising micro navigation (having walked up one or two hills I already knew how to navigate to a reasonable level but the micro stuff was new) and a little ropework before doing the assessment. 

At my assessment there was another person from my training course. He had 20 odd years of walking experience so also did the training and assessment the same year.  He knew all the navigation stuff but as a non climber found the rope stuff hard. However we both passed

My advice for what it's worth would be,  don't try and cram everything in. You need time to gain experience,  to learn from that experience and to experience different types of weather, hills, mountain areas etc. Try to get more than the bare minimum QMDs if you can, the more hill time you do the more you learn, the more conditions you experience and the better leader it will make as you can share your experience with others.

Good luck

Post edited at 08:39
Harrison_Connie - on 22 Aug 2018
In reply to gerrym6:

Take your time to enjoy the scheme, its an amazing journey and rushing it will only put you under pressure. 

I have been walking for about 5 years now and done my training last summer and passed my assessment this summer. I found it worth while taking the time to consolidate, it could mean the difference between a pass or fail. 

Regarding logbooks, obviously you need to hit the requirements and the bulk of your experience logged must be in summer. I was always told that 15% of the full 40 QMD's could be winter ones. 

The logbook is just a gauge of experience, it doesn't necessarily mean you are ready for the assessment and it works the other way too. Make sure you feel ready and are happy with your abilities. 

Take your time and enjoy it, experience rubs off so take the time to build it up. Give me a shout if you want anymore info.





gerrym6 - on 22 Aug 2018

Thank you everyone for the advice. This isn’t a troll I can assure you despite the question being very vague, so if I may add some more context perhaps further opinions can appear. 

The reasoning for the short time frame & period of year is simple; contract at current work is coming to an end and I have the ability of a lot of free time to concentrate on mountain walking. In the past my training has worked best when I focus on a subject for a solid amount of time.

My background is roughly this and I’m not trying to brag/boost but I would assume some of this stuff is relevant.

I’m no stranger to the outdoors with three years of mountain biking around the UK. 30-40km routes off road with a lot of hiking involved just to reach the summits. All with OS maps, I’m not a fan of gps devices (unless in an emergency) map reading skills are confident. I’m not a trail centre junkie, big routes with mountains are my area. The Lake District being my main venue. I’ve done that both business & pleasure.

Three years as a guide of the Ardeche river, UKCC level 2 canoe & kayak. Working on outdoor centres with ropes, lots of ropes. Day hikes with NCS kids. Lots more stuff wrapped up over the last 7-8 years.

Any of this experience relevant/useful to put forward? Admittedly most of it I cannot log on DLOG however the MTB side is so simulair as far as conditions, hazards, group control, theory, Day preparation & planning. To put it simply, I carry what most walkers would in their rucksacks apart from tents, sleeping bags & walking poles. Instead it’s tooks & kit to fix bikes anywhere in the mountains.

Thank you again for the feedback, would appreciate anything else with the information I’ve given.

Welsh Kate - on 22 Aug 2018
In reply to gerrym6:

Sounds like you've got skills and experience that'd stand you in good stead along the ML journey - travelling off piste, supervising and leading walking groups (which is of course what the qualification's aimed at) and the rope work, so you'll probably find things more straightforward than others. Is it feasible though to get enough QMDs in in that time frame though?

I'll note that when I did my ML training course at Plas y Brenin in 2010, there were a couple of lads on the course who patently hadn't done 20 QMDs before training!

There's a Facebook group - UK Trainee Mountain Leaders. If you're on FB, it's a useful place to pick up info and get input from ML trainers and assessors as well as meet other trainees.

Good luck!

Fiona Reid - on 22 Aug 2018
In reply to gerrym6:

It sounds like you've a fair bit of relevant experience there with leading/looking after groups and navigating on the mountain bike in the hills. 

Whilst you can't log these days on DLOG you **can** upload a file (or more) of supporting info. When logged into CMS it's under DLOG then the Files tab. Here you could add some details of the stuff you've done emphasising the navigation and group management side of things. 

I suspect you'll likely still need the 20 QMDs to attend the training but if some of your QMDs are marginal adding in this extra info to your DLOG may well help. 

As Welsh Kate says pre DLOG, plenty folks have managed to do the training without having done all 20 QMDs. Certainly I'm aware of folks that were pretty borderline (as in had barely set foot on a hill, let alone done a single real QMD!) when I went through the process.

Whether DLOG has tightened this up or not I don't know. I guess in the past providers had to rely on the honesty of candidates as you'd turn up with a paper logbook and thus the provider wouldn't know what your QMDs etc were until the course was underway. With DLOG you'd hope the provider checks the logbook in advance to make sure the correct level of experience has been gained. However, as I didn't use the DLOG system I've no idea what actually happens these days.  

connor on 22 Aug 2018
In reply to gerrym6:

Why the rush? Take your time, enjoy the process, then smash the assessment. 


I'm speaking from past mistakes personally. As soon as you walk through the door on day one you should have already passed.

You should be confident in your abilities, and ready to lead groups, on multi day trips ,in the middle of nowhere, in the crappest of weather, at night, 62 paces at a time and boss it. 


Post edited at 17:07
GrahamUney - on 22 Aug 2018
In reply to connor:

There are two Facebook groups that trainees find useful, UK Trainee Mountain Leaders, which has a trainee as admin and is useful for finding other trainees to walk with but not so good for real advice from experienced MLs, and Trainee Mountain Leaders, which has ML course directors and providers as admins and is really useful for info on all aspects of the ML training and assessment courses from those who run the courses.

Billhook - on 22 Aug 2018
In reply to gerrym6:

Doing the training does two things.

a)  Shows you the standard of what to know, understand & be skilled in at assessment

b)  Shows you what and how to get there.

Your QMD can be gained under any conditions on foot.  Mine included winter mountaineering I'm sure - but mountain biking??  That won't count as others have said.

I'd been climbing, walking & mountaineering for years before I took my assessment without the training !  I found it tough because I had no idea of the standards required.

The number one skill is the ability to navigate in the dark under any conditions in a place you've never been too before and get it right!.   The assessor is unlikely to ask you to "navigate to the top of Ben this or that", nor "OK take us to this col".  More likely:-

"Take us to that tiny ring contour", this being nowhere near any big features and in ground where you can't see much ahead.  So pace counting, timing, the ability to follow a compass and know where you are at all times is essential.

3patallen - on 06 Sep 2018
In reply to gerrym6:

if you want less wintery conditions in the British Isles winter months consider getting yourself over to the Kerry mountains. It tends to be a wetter and warmer than the UK mountain areas. Carrauntoohil is a beautiful mountain and at 3500ft its a decent slog. 

Gwilymstarks on 08 Sep 2018
In reply to gerrym6:

The prerequisites for registration are as follows:

You must be at least 18 years old

You should have at least a year’s worth of experience of mountain walking

You should have an interest in leading groups in the mountains

You must be a member of a mountaineering council: BMC, Mountaineering Scotland or Mountaineering Ireland (you can join one when you register if you're not already a member) - find out why




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