The purpose of the test is to ensure that the candidate has a good working knowledge of the theoretical aspects of navigation and other mountain skills (as outlined in the syllabus).
Bord Oiliúint Sléibhe (BOS) approves suitably qualified and experienced providers to deliver and run the official MCI/BOS Mountain Skills Assessment. The assessment has both practical and written elements. The written element is set, administered, and corrected by the course director responsible for the overall test
Applications to take the test should be made directly to an approved course provider. Not all approved training providers are approved to direct MS assessment. A full list of current approved providers is available from the MCI office.
Candidates, instructors and assessors should be thoroughly familiar with the Mountain Skills Test, written exam notes and the MS syllabus.
Mountain Skills Logbook
Candidates are required to maintain a logbook of their mountaineering activities. Before applying to take the MS test, they should ensure they have completed at least 14 walks in a number of different upland areas of Ireland. At least four of these walks should be within two months of the Mountain Skills test. To count as one of the required logged walks there are a number of prerequisites that should be part of the logged mountain day:
– To take place in a recognised hill/mountain environment of Ireland.
– Not to be a repeat of an already logged walk.
– The candidate should have personally played an active part in organising and implementing the day.
– The route should not solely follow a waymarked way or path.
– The candidate should have presented themselves with an opportunity to use relevant skills learnt through MS training.
Candidates who have exempted themselves from formal training should note that at least 30 days hillwalking should be logged before applying to do the test.
Mountain Skills Practical Assessment
The format of the MS Assessment will be decided by the individual provider and will take into account weather, location, and time of year. Below is a guide to example tasks that may be requested by the assessor for candidates to complete.
However, candidates can expect to be assessed on any part of the MS syllabus through a number of different formats over the two days.
1. Demonstrate an awareness of the seven principles of Leave no Trace.
2. Choose and follow a route, not less than 1.5km in length to a given destination using the map only.
3. Complete a leg using compass and distance calculation. Leg length to be from 1km to 1.5km and to be executed with a lateral margin of error not exceeding 100m in 1km.
4. Correctly self locate on six occasions, only three of these to be on large obvious features.
5. Correctly identify six features, three of these to be further than 3km.
6. Possess the necessary equipment for a safe day in the hills.
7. Have the necessary experience to deal with simple ailments and a hypothetical first aid accident.
8. Demonstrate the ability to navigate adequately in conditions of reduced visibility, for example at night-time.
9. Demonstrate an ability to move on and choose a safe route over rough or steep ground.
Mountain Skills Written Test
The written test is based on the MS syllabus. There is no pass/fail mark as the MS assessment is essentially a practical exercise with a written component that may be used as a diagnostic tool to aid both candidates and assessors.
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