„From one of the [old] pictures on your website I thought that this course would be a lot of sitting around just listening and learning... how wrong was I??!! There was no sitting around at all; it was all hands on, one thing after the other. It was the best holiday ever! I learned so much.
I think I’m in love... and I need to get back as soon as possible. Thank you so much for an unforgettable time in Iceland.“
– Lee Causey (UK)
The Mountain Skills Course is IMG’s flagship when it comes to courses for the general public. The course is a combination of three shorter courses into one. The result is an extensive course where participants go through the fundamentals of mountaineering. After completing this course, participants will be much better prepared for travelling in the mountains on their own, in a safe way.
On the course, participants will get to know how to use some of the equipment necessary in mountaineering, as well as experiencing camping overnight on a glacier. If the conditions are right, we might build a snow house or other types of snow shelters. Participants will learn practical and useful techniques and the basic rope work.
Avalanches have to be kept in mind and taken into account when travelling in the mountains in the winter time. Knowledge about avalanches is therefore very important and simply necessary in order to realize the potential avalanche risk in various conditions and how, with appropriate choice of routes, it´s possible to minimize the risk of triggering or getting caught in an avalanche. It´s important to bring along, and know how to use, the necessary gear needed for finding avalanche victims and getting them to the surface. The course offers an introduction to this gear and how it is used.
The instructors on this course are in every case very experienced mountaineers and climbers with a lot of experience in training others. To insure the quality of the training and personal experience there are only six participants per one instructor.
Even though we do not have any specific prerequisites regarding physical shape, we like to point out that the course includes some demanding tasks in the mountains that require stamina and strength and therefore it´s an advantage to be physically prepared. Good physical shape will make the experience of the course more comfortable and pleasant. This is a basic course and participants are not required to have taken any prior courses or have experience in mountaineering.
Quite a lot of gear is necessary for the course. Participants are to bring their own personal mountain gear. Common gear (e.g. tents, ropes, stoves, etc.) will be provided by IMG. Detailed equipment list will be sent to registered participants but here below is a list of the main things:
- Stiff sole mountaineering shoes (suitable for crampons)
- Warm sleeping bag
- Sunglasses and ski-goggles
- Ice axes
- Backpacks (day-pack and a 65-80 L pack)
It’s possible to rent mountaineering gear from IMG if needed. The package includes crampons, ice axes, helmet, carabiners and prussiks. If participants have their own gear we strongly recommend that they use it rather than using rented gear. It´s best to use the gear you are used to and also it´s good to get to know the gear well that you will use in the future. It´s especially important to be used to the shoes you will be using.
Safety and insurances
The safety of participants during courses and tours by IMG is always number one. Therefore we emphasize on risk analysis and training of our guides.
We recommend that participants seek information about suitable insurances from their insurance agent. The main goal of IMG guides is not to get people to the top – but to get everybody safe back down.
IMG reserve the right to alter the before planned schedule if necessary to insure the participants safety. Mountaineering and glacier travels are never without all risk.
If any questions arise regarding gear or anything else related to preparation for the course, don´t hesitate to contact us.
“I had a great time on the course; it’s literally one of the best things I’ve spent money on. It was hard enough, without feeling dangerous or too risky, and covered enough content in great detail, while allowing lots of time for practice
IMG provided two fantastic instructors for the 2013 course, and I made a group of friends I would fall in to a crevasse for, or dive off the edge of an ice cliff at the drop of a hat.... Because I know they'd have me out again in record time! “
– Nick Sutton (UK)
“For me this was very valuable. The course added enormously to my prior knowledge of mountaineering, the risks that come with it and how it´s possible to reduce that risk by avoiding certain situations and conditions and bring along gear that are useful to get obstacles out of your way. Also how it´s possible to use various equipment and rope work to get yourself and others out of trouble if something comes up.“
– Vilhjálmur Árnason (IS)