On the this page you will find details of the syllabus and a sample course

programme. The latter gives an outline of each talk/lecture session on the course. A
primary objective is given for each talk or practical exercise as well as essential
elements of content.

It is up to each ‘Provider’ to compile their own lecture notes,
practical exercises etc. to reflect the syllabus and course notes. It is important that
providers adhere to this framework so that students are not at a disadvantage if
they change trainers, or when they attend assessments. This also helps students
and providers if the student progresses to Mountain Leader training.
The development of the course programme is ongoing and revisions will be made if
necessary, in line with trainers’ and students’ suggestions. Comments should be
addressed to Mountain Skills Course, c/o MI Training Officer.



Climatic hazards
• Temperature, precipitation, wind, lightning, humidity and snow.
• Reference to causes of mountain hypothermia.

Topographic hazards
• Steepness, ruggedness, special emphasis on remoteness.
• Reference to falls and drownings in hillwalking situations.
• Ability with reference to terrain and conditions.

Human hazards
• Health and fitness.
• Poor/lack of equipment.
• Poor route choice.

Mountain Environment
• Access and land ownership
• Introduction to the mountain environment
• Introduction to the Leave No Trace programme
• Map scales/symbols/conventional signs.
• Ordnance Survey maps/history, reliability, suitability, comparison of different
• Terminology /features (e.g. corries, spurs, ridges, aretes etc.)
• Relief depiction including contours, crags.
• Orienteering maps.
• Grid references.NAVIGATION
• Methods of calculating distance travelled and height climbed (Naismith’s Rule).
• Methods of measuring distances on ground (timing, pacing).
• Simple navigational techniques (aiming off, handrails, attack points etc.).
• Methods of location, cardinal points (solar, astral).
• Feature recognition (distant and near), self-location.
• Navigating across country using map alone.
• Theory of navigational tools including Silva-type compass, altimeters, and GPS.
• Map setting by compass: following bearing, backbearing and simple resection.
• Navigating across country using both map and compass.
• Slope aspect.
• Re-location techniques.

• Route planning (choice of route, route card, bad weather alternatives, escape
• Guidebooks and sources of information.


  • Equipment for hillwalking with reference to weight, bulk, and cost.
  • Comparison and contrast of: footwear, outer clothing, headgear, gloves, middle
  • layer garments, base layers.
  • Bivouac bags and Bivouac tents.
  • Rucksacks, torches, care of maps, whistle and other emergency signalling devices.
  • First aid kits
  • Additional equipment for winter conditions.

• Procedure in event of an accident.
• Prevention, diagnosis and treatment of mountain hypothermia, sprains, blisters,
fatigue, and other typical ailments.
• Mountain rescue organisation in Ireland, including location of posts and teams.
• Call-out procedures