Mountain Skills 2

Our Mountain Skills 2 syllabus will generally follow the guidelines below. Depending on the weather and or location the chronology is subject to change. It is recommended that MS 1 be completed before booking on to a MS 2 course. Mountain Skills courses are recognised by Mountaineering Ireland and delivered by our qualified instructors. To book onto a course please feel free to use the contact form or email


Day 1 - Briefing Talk

We outline course and assess student progress since Mountain Skills 1.
• Analysis of students’ hill walking activity since MS 1.
• Introduce the two day programme and instructors etc.

Emergency Procedures
Mountain Hypothermia Talk
We create an awareness of the concept of mountain hypothermia.
A brief outline of the prevention, diagnosis and treatment
• Physiology
• Causes – environmental, individual
• Signs and symptoms
• Treatment – early, ongoing
• Prevention
• Also we will discuss other common ailments: sprains, blisters, fatigue, etc

Compass, Grid References Talk and Practical
We introduce the use of the compass in hill walking navigation and practice grid references
• Compass points – cardinal points, 360 degree system
• 3 Norths – true, grid and magnetic
• The concept of a bearing
• Measuring bearings from a map by estimation, protractor
• Theory of a Silva-type compass; taking bearings from a map
• Grid and magnetic bearings
• Walking on a bearing – short exercises

Hill Walk
We further develop map reading skills, the concept of timing, and put into the practice the compass theory. Map and compass are used in conjunction as much as possible
• General map reading, setting map by features
• Setting map by compass
• Timing calculations
• Taking bearings from map
• Walking on bearings
• Back-bearings
• Simple resection (i.e. finding our rough position)
• Feature recognition – close, distant
• Navigational technique – attack points, aiming off

Route Planning Talk
We explore and illustrate the principles of route planning from maps
• The selection of walking routes from the map – in good/poor weather
• Difficulties associated with steep ground, forestry, rivers, etc
• Bad weather alternatives, escape routes
• Use of route card
• Various designs of route card
• Preparation of route card – run through example
• Use of guidebooks in route planning

Night Navigation/Poor Weather Exercise (2/3 hours)
We practice navigation technique (particularly compass skills) in conditions of poor visibility and darkness.
• We discuss the reasons for, and actions taken, when caught out after dark.
• We have short, simple navigation problems, requiring a combination of tactics and compass work to solve. We use clearly identifiable points, both on the map and ground - Safety is paramount.



Emergency Procedures – Part 2. Mountain Rescue Talk
We outline procedures in the case of a mountain accident.
• Brief history of mountain rescue in Ireland, IMRA.
• Location of mountain rescue teams in Ireland.
• Accident procedure.
• Plan of action – risk to others, nature of injuries, weather, time available, party, equipment, terrain, location, and distance. We discuss our options – evacuation or sending for help.
• Mountain Rescue call-out procedure.
• Role of the Air Rescue Helicopter, SARDA.

Steep/Broken Ground: Practical
We explore more rugged terrain in this practical and develop an awareness in the student of his/her own abilities and limitations so that they remain at all times within full control of their situation on steep or broken ground.
• Safe movement in ascent and descent.
• Movement skills and technique.
• Route finding, maps etc.
• Movement of group.
• Hazards, problems of loose rock and other objective dangers.

Debrief, Assessment Briefing Talk
We answer you queries, give feedback and outline procedure for Mountain Skills Assessment if applicable.
• Course comments – students and instructors.
• Assessment procedure for those intending to do Mountain Skills Assessment.
• Issue Official logbook.
• Sample paper.
• Advice on further training needs.

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Hill Walking Club on steep ground