Mountain Qualification Label

The UIAA Mountain Qualification Label (MQL), managed by the UIAA Training Panel, is an internationally recognised accreditation and certification scheme which examines and evaluates the training and assessment programmes of UIAA member federations. The process includes an independent assessment of the training provided to voluntary leaders and instructors by a UIAA expert which is then endorsed by an international panel of experts. Accredited UIAA member federations include representatives from over twenty countries on all six continents.


Improved access for mountain lovers to safe and inspiring leadership and instruction; safety, enjoyment and fulfilment in the world’s wildest places and encouragement for sustainable mountaineering and climbing practices. The MQL aims to help reducing accidents and develop best practices.

The labels were first adopted by the UIAA General Assembly in 1993 (Santiago de Chile) to assist Member Associations wishing to use the original four standards. The regulatory body is today called the UIAA Training Panel.

Mountain Qualification News



1. Harmonise the training qualification programmes / schemes of the UIAA Member Federations, in order to achieve a minimal training qualification level recognised worldwide;
2. Support UIAA Member Federations who do not have the means to establish their own national training qualification programme/schemes;
3. Professionalise and expand the existing qualification service to other institutions: expert cutting-edge advice is provided in several languages, and a range of state-of-the-art teaching resources is available to assist developing federations.

For further details: Frequently Asked Questions

Types of Qualification Label

The Mountain Qualification Labels are grouped under eight categories:

1. Mountain Walking and Trekking (summer)
2. Winter Mountain Walking and Snowshoeing
3. Sport Climbing (indoor and outdoor)
4. Rock Climbing (leader placed protection)
5. Canyoning
6. Ice Climbing
7. Alpine Climbing
8. Ski Mountaineering

How To Apply

A UIAA member federation wishing to apply to a Mountain Qualification Label should provide specifications for pre-training experience, skills and knowledge. Summaries of the requirements that should be the content of the scheme being proposed for approval can be found here.

Where appropriate the Mountain Qualifications Labels may be used in combination. If the proposed scheme includes activities at high-altitude, in tropical regions or avalanche terrain, it must be used in conjunction with the relevant additional qualifications.

Please note the new Mountain Qualification Label is being developed and will be online shortly. For enquiries please contact the UIAA Office.

Label Application Steps

Step 1

Eligibility criteria

1. You must be a UIAA member (primary and associate) or a UIAA member delegated provider. UIAA Observer members are eligible to apply under specific conditions and shall pay an additional fee.

2. You must also have an educational programme for volunteer leaders and instructors or start to institute an education programme with a robust quality assurance system.

Step 2


A new application software system is currently being developed. In the meantime, to apply please contact the UIAA Office.

The qualification must be specified as either a leadership or instructional qualification. A leader is a person who can take responsibility for other people (including beginners) and lead or supervise an activity. An instructor or tutor is a person who can teach people (including beginners) so they are competent to take part in an activity. For mountaineering activities an instructor is normally qualified to lead as a pre-requisite before completing pedagogical training.

Step 3

Assessment and Visit

The Training Panel will assess the application and propose a validator for the chosen scheme. The UIAA office will then send an invoice for registration. Once payment is received, an agreement will be signed and the process to begin the accreditation and site visits begins.

Step 4

Induction Visit

A site visit is required from the mentor or another visit of the Training Panel in order to properly evaluate existing systems, teaching sites etc in order to give meaningful advice about the on-going development. The association must arrange the mentor’s travel and accommodation. A recommended way to eliminate this cost is by hosting a Mountaineering Commission meeting and scheduling the induction visit to coincide.

Step 5

Validation and Accreditation

Dates for validation visit(s) will be by mutual agreement after which the validator(s) send his/their report to the Training Panel and UIAA office. If the criteria in evaluation checklist are met, the applicant will be issued a UIAA Mountain Qualification Label certificate valid for five (5) years.

For full details about revalidation, termination, the rights and obligations of a MQL holder and dispute resolution process please click here.

The list of prices can be found here.


UIAA Training Panel

United Kingdom

Steve Long

Steve is chair of the Training Panel Chair. He is a validator and trainer for all activities and has been employed, since 2006 by the Mountain Training UK as Technical Officer. He is also Development Officer for Association of Mountaineering Instructors and mountain safety consultant, guide and coach.


Claudio Melchiorri

Claudio is President of the UIAA Mountaineering Commission and a validator and trainer for rock and mountain activities. He is a professor of Robotics at University of Bologna, Italy and Director of the (Italian Alpine Club) CAI Central School of Mountaineering as well as member of CAI Safety Commission.


Matjaž Šerkezi

Matjaž is a validator and trainer for all activities. He is the Legal Assistant/Trainer for Slovenian Alpine Club (PZS), an Information Technology specialist and Kamnik Mountain Rescue Board member. Matjaž is also a Trainee UIAGM and has taken part in several expeditions to Nepal and Ladakh.


Patrick Lamarque

Patrick is a validator and trainer for rock and mountain activities. He is a retired Aeronautics Engineering Specialist, a trainer and alpine instructor for the French Alpine Club (FFCAM) and participated in several expeditions which include the Andes, Nepal and Africa. He is a keen climber, trekker, sailor and traveler.


Sergey Vedenin

Sergey is validator and trainer for rock and mountain activities. He works as a civil engineer. Sergey is also a trainer for the Russian Mountaineering Federation (RMF) training school in the Caucasus and a Rescue Officer for Civil Defence. He is a trained Alpine and Rock Instructor (RMF).

Catalonia, Spain

Jordi Magriña

Jordi is a validator and trainer instructor with FEEC (Catalan Federation of Mountain) and Federación Española de Deportes de Montaña y Escalada (FEDME) in rock climbing and mountaineering. He is a computer engineer and has climbed extensively on five continents.


UIAA Partner


Whether climbing a distant summit, or exploring the depths below, our desire to access the inaccessible inspires an enduring passion to fulfill our dreams. The mission of the Petzl Foundation is to support or initiate projects which serve the public interest. These projects shall seek a harmonious balance between human activities in the mountains and the vertical world relative to their impact on our natural, cultural and economic environments.

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