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IML Alpine refresher 2024
Pre-assessment training weekends, in Chamonix / Courmayeur
Fitness Level
Stamina Level
Photo: learning about route choices for mountain snowshoeing
Training overview
We offer these Alpine training weekends for people working towards gaining their UIMLA International Mountain Leader qualification, which are most frequently used as pre-assessment fine tuning. They are guided by a longstanding member of the British Association of International Mountain Leaders (BAIML).
The itineraries of each weekend are intentionally very flexible, to ensure they are tailored to exactly what you wish to get out of them, and this page gives you a flavour of what could be covered over the weekend. If you are looking for a winter version for an Alpine avalanche training weekend, click here.
There are three main scenarios where people usually book one of these weekend courses in the Alps;
  If you are working towards an imminent assessment, trainee's often seek a mock assessment style day, to hone your technical or group management skills and to get valuable last minute tips and training.
  Often a consolidation of skills is necessary or suggested between assessments, and we can provide specific coaching and essential experience to help you boost your knowledge and technical skills.
  Some people get a deferal on an assessment, and want to train for that specific topic before they present themselves for re-assessment, and want to ensure that they are ready to go for it.
You can book a day as an individual on one of the scheduled dates, or if there are at least three of you we can operate this course on any weekend you wish, at the same price. Where there is a larger group looking to book together, get in touch as discounts apply for groups of four or more people booking together.
We have a very extensive equipment store, so can provide a wide range of technical equipment to use on these courses, from avalanche transceivers, to snowshoes or ropes and safety equipment. This is a great resource to help you train as effectively as possible for your assessment.
Dates: these are listed in the column on the right, and they show the live availability from our secure online booking system. When you book online, you receive immediate confirmation, your Alpine Information Booklet, course specific kit list and invoice.

Brief Course Itinerary
The valleys and mountains surrounding Chamonix and Courmayeur are blessed with hundreds of kilometers of trails over all types of terrain, from forest tracks to high alpages and mountain passes, and so the itinerary can be flexed on any day to take account of weather conditions, to ensure that you sample the best on offer. For this reason we state that the course is in Chamonix / Courmayeur, so the instructor can select the best location for teaching you the skills, and where the weather and conditions are best. The itinerary below is to provide you with a taster of what you could achieve, and isn't fixed in stone. After each day in the itinerary is an outline of the key teaching focus points for every day, so you get a real idea of what you can learn about.
Travel to Chamonix to arrive for the 08:30 course safety and itinerary briefings. There is time for kit checks and you will meet your UIMLA guide, so can briefly chat through your previous experience, background, and aspirations for the weekend. They will brief you on the latest weather and conditions, and provide any extra equipment that may be required, such as maps or safety equipment. A typical day might be to ascend into the Aiguilles Rouges over sections of ladders and fixed equipment, and to practice crossing and safeguarding groups on snow patches or steep ground. There would be the opportunity to test your navigation skills, and group management, as well as to do mock assessment of elements that feature in an assessment such as field presentations and ropework. You descend to the valley, and there is an instruction session on mountain weather prediction. Night in Chamonix, not included in price.
Meet again at 08:30 for the second day of guiding. An option might be to drive through to Courmayeur and the Italian Val Ferret. There are many great training areas, such above the Bonatti mountain hut, and the peak of Tete Entre Deux Sauts above the Malatra valley is a good objective. One element that it is crucial to assess is your hill fitness, and this summit offers unforgettable views across to the huge south face of Mont Blanc. Again there is the opportunity for more training on IML ropework, and how to provide slick and seamless navigation. More mock assessment elements will be tested, and you return to the valley at the end of the day. There is time for individual feedback on further elements you can develop before your assessment, so you have honest and realistic feedback on your current skills set, and how you might perform on assessment. Return to Chamonix, and you are free to depart.
ITINERARY NOTES: Where possible we follow itineraries. Mountain adventures are weather and conditions dependant, so occasionaly we are forced to alter the plans. If this is the case, suitable alternatives are offered. Please use this outline itinerary as a guide to the types of route / activity that you will attempt.
Course Prices
Standard course
2 full days UIMLA guiding, 1:6 max ratio
2 days holiday in total, Saturday-Sunday
Live availability
Click on the planner logo to the right to
see the real time live course availability
Latest Availability
Secure online booking system
Inclusions: 1) UIMLA guide for two days, 2) Chamonix course hosts for logistics & briefings, 3) Pre course information booklet, 4) Equipment discount voucher for UK shops, 5) Free 36 page technical Course Instruction Booklet, 6) Road / train transport in Chamonix valley, 7) Logistics support and optional evening instruction.
Exclusions: 1) Travel to and from Chamonix, 2) Personal laundry, telephone calls, lunches, evening meals, & any purchases in mountain huts / hotels / restaurants, 3) Cable cars and mountain uplift (not normally required), 4) Activities insurance, & excess baggage charges, 5) Travel costs outside Chamonix valley (e.g. Mont Blanc tunnel tickets), 6) Chamonix accommodation.
Group sizes: 3 - 6 people per UIMLA guide. For group sizes of over 6 people, there are multiple guides, and the teams travel independently of each other.
Current course availability

Course Dates
IML refresher
  • No Dates Available
NOTE: This trip has scheduled
dates, but if there are three who
are booking together, it can be
operated on any date you wish.
Discounts apply for groups of
4 or more booking together. The
price for 2 people is £250pp.

Price: £199Book online

Alternative courses
CPD Snowshoe Course
Italian Snowshoe Weekend

Client feedback on IML's

I have just arrived back in Dublin, I would like to thank you for a fantastic week, it definitely exceeded my expectations , and my limitations , I did not realise I could walk so much and so high in such remote areas (mainly due to Kingsley's skill and style of motivation in such a positive way). And to trek in three countries in one week was amazing (France, Switzerland , Italy). I was interested to see what it would be like to go alone on trip, and met with a great and interesting group of people the week passed very quickly. It was excellent to learn about avalanches and such a vast amount about general mountaineering Kingsley's knowledge is endless. The organisation and communication was excellent, even down to simple things and where to find things, restaurants etc. Once again thank you for a fantastic week.

Niall, Snowshoeing

Thanks you both once again for the superb snowshoeing adventure! It was great and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. Kingsley's outstanding knowledge and course material was very useful and every snowshoeing day was different, with a varied trek and scenery

Nathalie, Snowshoeing
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Free resources

FREE Podcast
Starting snowshoeing
This podcast lifts the lid on the fastest growing winter sport of snowshoeing, what equipment is required, what to wear, and what avalanche safety kit to use...
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Training suggestions
The range of training that we can provide is only limited by your imagination, and the award remit, but to give you a flavour of what we can offer here are some popular options we have offered outlined below. We are aware of how the IML award has evolved over time, and are very current with what is examined on assessment. This list is not exhaustive, and is designed to give you a flavour of what you can learn. You would be led by a top UIMLA guide, click here.
Key technical skills & topics;
Micro and macro navigation and route finding, using maps, compass, GPS, and altimeters
Managing a group on fixed equipment including ladders, chains, wires and bolts or pig-tails
Emergency ropework including abseils, hoists, belays and lowering off techniques
Short-roping skills to use for an individual who is struggling with the terrain, or adverse conditions
Managing snow belays or safeguarding groups on steeper ground over snowfields in summer
Group management, and how to adapt objectives to cater for conditions, skills, weather and incidents
Leading groups
Learn common issues in groups
and how to best manage them

  Mountain weather
Weather and climatic change
in mountains & prediction
  Alps flora
& fauna

Alpine flora and fauna are well tested core knowledge
Suggested reading and kit
View full course equipment list, with examples of kit, click here
Any further questions?
A key part of choosing a company is being able to come and talk about your plans with an experienced course advisor face to face. In an increasingly virtual world, we know our clients value speaking to real people, getting open and honest advice. The vast majority of our clients are British, and our office and outdoor store is based in Windermere in the English Lake District.

Get in contact to arrange a meeting, and come in for a coffee to discuss your course in person with a trip advisor.

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