Walking guides - see all our background pages
The International Mountain Leader award (the IML) is the qualification needed to lead treks in the Alps. Alpine Exploratory's guided treks are led by our superb IMLs, who bring their skills and charm to the group. Please join us.
The Alpine winter; wind effects (Les Diablerets, Switzerland)
Mountain leadership awards in the UK
The UK's system is built up of many awards. The Walking Group Leader (WGL) covers valleys and lower hills. The key award is the Mountain Leader (ML) which covers hillwalking in summer conditions. The ML is a prerequisite for the higher awards. The Winter Mountain Leader covers hillwalking in winter conditions. All three awards (WGL, ML and Winter ML) have as their professional body the Mountain Leader Training Association (MLTA).
The Mountain Instructor Award (MIA) adds rock climbing and the higher Mountain Instructor Certificate (MIC) adds winter climbing. MIA and MIC holders have the Association of Mountaineering Instructors (AMI) as their professional body.
The International Mountain Leader (IML) has an international remit as well as being valid in the UK. The IML covers hillwalking in both summer and winter. The British Association of International Mountain Leaders (BAIML) is the professional body for British IMLs.
The Guide (IFMGA/UIAGM) covers the lot, up to Alpine mountaineering and ski touring. Like the IML is also has an international remit. The Guide's training and assessment courses stand alone instead of being based on lower courses as above. The professional body for British Guides is British Mountain Guides (BMG).
Confused? You should be. Many other countries including the US and Canada have their own schemes, but in the Alps the two awards of note are the IML and the Guide, for their respective activities.
Alpine Exploratory's leaders
Meet our IMLs Allan, Joy, Kathy, Keith, Pete, Rob and Tim: