How to pass your Mountain Leader Assessment

Updated: May 5

How to pass your Mountain Leader Assessment

I recently took (and passed!) my Mountain Leader Assessment. I have split this document into two main parts.

  • Part One: the first part talks through the week on a day-by-day basis to give you an idea of what to expect during the 5 days.

  • Part Two: the second part has my top tips to help you pass your Mountain Leader Assessment.

First, a bit of background. My 5-day assessment was being taken in the Lake District with a company called Adventure Expertise. I enjoyed the week with the instructors (Jake, Andy and Rachael). They were friendly and professional and helped make the assessment as painless as possible!

Part One: What to Expect

Overview - outline of the week

On the first day, we met at a coffee shop in Ambleside at 8.30am for a short meet, greet and briefing. The company I was taking my assessment with was called Adventure Expertise. There were 7 of us taking the assessment, plus two instructors; Jake and Rachael. Adventure Expertise were also running a Mountain Leader Training week at the same time, so the trainee group and their instructors sat on a nearby table.

We had each been asked to prepare a 10-minute hill talk to give at some point over the week, so we were asked what our topics were. Mine was on my experiences and lessons learnt so far running Adventure Solos. Other topics included ‘The Power of Water’ about using water as an electricity supply in the UK, ‘Ghosts and Hauntings of the Lake District’, and the reason there has been controversy around the Lake District being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The plan for the rest of the week was then outlined: today (Monday) would be a bit of a ‘warm up’ with some hiking and navigation. Tuesday was going to be our ‘steep ground’ day. Wednesday to Friday was to be our two-night expedition – or our ‘mini-break’. They explained that we’d be out both Wednesday and Thursday nights doing night-nav, but that Friday would be a shorter day and that we should be finished by around 1-2pm.

Day 1: Introduction and Navigation Legs

After our coffee shop briefing, we jumped into our cars at around 9.30am and drove North for 10 minutes to the car park at the top of Kirkstone Pass (opposite the Kirkstone Pass Inn).