The Mountain Qualification Label (MQL) is a system of qualifications that applies to instructors and guides in various mountain sports disciplines, such as climbing, mountaineering, skiing, and hiking.

Who are the
MQLs aimed at?

Mountain Qualification Labels offered by the UIAA Training Commission accredit the qualifications managed by its member organisations for mountaineering and climbing instructors, leaders (sometimes designated as volunteer guides) and trainers.

These certifications are intended to recognise the proficiency, experience, and knowledge of these leaders and instructors and ensure that they have the necessary skills and awarenesses to lead clients safely and effectively in the mountains. Instructors should in addition be trained and assessed in pedagogy, i.e the teaching skills and knowledge required in order to train people for these activities. UIAA accreditation provides recognition that the member organisation has developed and sustained the rigorous mechanisms and governance required for a reliable quality assurance system for leadership and instruction in the specified category of activity.

The UIAA Training Commission also offers an optional service to member organisations by delivering training courses and workshops for instructors and leaders who want to improve their technical skills, teaching abilities, and safety awareness. These courses are designed to provide instructors and leaders with the latest knowledge and techniques related to mountaineering and climbing, as well as to improve their leadership and communication skills. At a higher level, “Train the Trainer” courses and workshops and seminars are also available.

Mountaineering activities currently included within the scope of Mountain Qualification Labels are hiking, climbing, mountaineering, ski mountaineering and canyoning, with each category divided into clearly defined sub-categories. Some qualifications might include several sub-categories within the scope of the award; this is recognised and endorsed by awarding several Mountain Qualification Labels to such qualifications.

The UIAA also offers a service to federations that helps them to empower their instructors. These are the UIAA skills certificate graduation courses – an online package that the instructor’s trainees can be enrolled onto after successfully completing a practical training course in an accredited mountain activity. The trainees gain access to the appropriate section(s) of the UIAA Alpine Handbook and upon completion of the short online course can download a UIAA-branded certificate or showcase it through social media or other member communication channels.

Supporting Resources

Discover more about the UIAA’s training qualifications.

Map of Accredited Courses
(Coming Soon)