Mountain leader

Formation Description


You are a nature lover, passionate about mountain, flowers, animals and you enjoy connecting with people, sharing your knowledge, then this profession is meant for you.

What about taking a hike with a certified mountain leader to discover the job? The hike will turn into pleasure, allow you to be more familiar with nature and mountain environment without needing to care about security, itinterary and conditions. The group of people sharing this moment makes friendly relations that often persist after the hike.

Are you convinced? Why not train for this exciting profession and work as a mountain leader?


24 months

48 days + practice of 4 days


13 400 CHF

Training program

The mountain leader training offered by Anniviers Formation is aimed at future mountain professionals who wish to take the Swiss federal mountain leader diploma.
The training is based on the profession charter of activities, federal rules and guidelines.
It is recognized by the State Secretariat for training, research and innovation (SEFRI) as preparatory training for the federal mountain leader diploma. It is UIMLA certified, an international training standard and guarantee of quality and qualification.


Session 1 – From 8 May 2023 to 31st January 2025

Module 1:  22 to 27 May 2023
Module 2: 26 June to 1st July 2023
Module 3: 25 to 29 September 2023
Module 4: 30 October to 2nd November 2023
Module 5: 22 to 26 January 2024
Module 6: 18 au 22 march 2024
Module 7: 17 au 22 june 2024
Module 8: 09 au 11 september 2024
Module 9: 02 au 04 october 2024
Module 10: 10 au 14 february 2025

This training is part of the political priorities linked to safety and development of the mid mountain environment tourism. The mountain leader is a professional service provider in the area of tourism, education and leisure. Clients can be individuals or groups (families, institutions, companies, schools and so on..).
He / she is able to :
– Develop and offer a program of activities for clients (mountain hikes, snowschoeing, sites visits, trekking) without resorting to the use of technical means to aid progress in the mountains
– Organize, manage, inspire and lead a group while respecting the accepted safety standards, whether in towns, countryside, lowlands or middle mountains
– Utilize inspiring teaching techniques to impart knowledge and personal experience of nature, culture the local and regional history and economics
– Bring added value to the service by providing an enthusiastic approach to forging links with the different areas of expertise within the profession
– Adapt to situations as they arise whilst taking initiatives that will motivate
– Describe the specific regional requirements for the protection of nature and landscapes, develop sustainable tourism products and behave appropriately in protected areas
Manage an emergency situation

The training is organized according a modular principle (see modules descriptions) which resolves around five main areas :
– Safety
– Field technique
– Leadership skills
– Teaching and animation
– General knowledges
It takes place over a total of 48 days spread over 2 years.
From the second year of training, participants must complete 4 days of practice (2 days in winter – 2 days in summer) to put into practice and demonstrate the knowledge acquired during the training modules. Following these training days a report is produced hightlighting the skills acquired and those that need to be worked on.
48 training days spread over 2 years
4 days of practical training
Preparatory exams for the federal qualification
Individual feedback and coaching throughout the training

6 days



– Orientation – Safety – Itinerary
– Planning
– Use of technical equiment
– First aid
– Meteorology

Master the skills of orientation
The use of a map, compass, altimeter and GPS.
Learn how to apply the 3×3 method
Understand the limiting factors. Learn how to choose the best route by assessing the conditions, the difficulties of the terrain and the abilities of the group.
Plan a route and its options
Master the use of technical equipment
Develop the expertise for use of rescue equipment, administering first aid and secure a rescue action of the victim (use of pharmacy, repair equipment, cords, carabiners, radio or mobile phone and orientation equipment).
Master first aid skills
Take care for an injured person until the arrival of external help
Develop skills for the application of basic medical knowledge
Master the practice of resuscitation (BLS) and the treatment of hiking specific minor injuries (blisters, sprain, etc.)
Be able to plan for and take the necessary measures in the event of a rescue
Understand and use the equipment and information required for a rescue situation
Develop expertise in principal meteorological phenomena
Knowledge of the local weather conditions (dew, snow, rainbow, storm etc.) and be able to translate this information into the planning of a hike.

6 days

– Fauna (mammals)
– Flora and natural environments
– Forest ecosystem
– Geology

Explain the functioning of regional ecosystems
Understand the functions of the forest
Explain the different parts of a plant and their role
Recognize common plants and animal species in our region
Identify a plant, an animal or signs indicating presence of animal by use of reference books
Describe how some typical food chains work
Identifyt local rocks in the context of the four main rock types
Explain the principles governing the formation of the Alps, the Jura and the Middle Country

5 days


– Orientation – Safety – Itinerary
– Planning
– Hike with overnight stay in a bivouac
– Management of the group

Master the skills of orientation
The use of a map, compass, altimeter and GPS
Learn how to apply the 3×3 method
Understanding the limiting factors. Learn how to choose the best route by assessing the conditions, the terrain and the abilities of the group, decide of the feasibility of the chosen itinerary. Do a reconnaissance of the hike.
Plan a summer hiking route with options included
Master the use of technical equipment
Master the organization of a summer bivouac
The build of a summer bivouac taking into account security, logistics and animation of the group.
Ensure clear and appropriate communication with clients
Communicate in a targeted way to ensure it is adapted to the circumstances and the individuals involved by using the skills of verbal and non-verbal communication. Learn how to make decisions appropriate to a particular situation and be prepared to take an authoritative approach.
Demonstrate active listening to the client and act according to their needs
Give the group and individuals the opportunity to get involved, express themselves and make decisions whilst taking into account their needs and abilities.

Information session
Federal Diploma, ASAM and legal framework

4 days

– Active pedagogy
– Communication
– Conflict management
– Exercise physiology

The different ways to facilitate a group
Be able to propose and put into practice different methodologies for facilitating and entertaining groups in a varied way and adapt to unforeseen events.
Prioritize an active pedagogy
Adopt teaching methods involving the active participation of the clients.
Adapt the method and teaching to the situation
Implement facilitation methods that are adapted to take into account the diversity of the audience. Consider, socio-cultural environments, age of participants, mobility, motivation etc. Adapt the methods to the client so they are able to feel engaged.
Know ho to manage conflict
Contribute to maintaining a positive spirit within the group in the event of a conflict.
Define the client group according to the difficulty of the route
Take into account the physical and mental abilities of the client group and ensure the requirements to complete the route are fully communicated.
Choose the best route suited to the client group

5 days

– Orientation – Security – Itinerary
– Planning
– Winter equipment
– Winter medicine
– Snow and avalanche
– Rescue

Master the skills of orientation
The use of a map, altimeter and GPS.
Learn how to apply the 3×3 method in winter conditions
Understand the limiting factors, decide of the feasibility of a route and the best itinterary by assessing the conditions, the terrain and the abilities of the group.
Plan a winter route and its alternatives
Master the use of technical equipment in winter conditons
Master winter first aid skills
The care of an injured person until help arrives.
Recognize the different types of snow and know how to assess the risk of avalanche
Evaluate an emergency situation and apply an accident management procedure
Plan the necessary measures for a rescue
Know the equipment and information necessary to initiate a rescue. Be able to find a buried person in the snow in a given time.

5 days

– Sustainable development, agriculture and biodiversity
– Agriculture et local products
– Reading the landscape
– Local history

Promote sustainable development through environmental, socio-cultural and economic ethics
Create tourist products that meet the criteria of sustainable development. Commit personally to this goal and demonstrate to the client group, through your behavior, a commitment to respect the natural environment, the populations and the economic assets encountered.
Be able to put regional economic development in context
Recognize issues raised by the differing current and past regional economic sectors.
Promote local and regional artisan products
Promote local products through visits or tastings at regional producers. Understand the existing labels (IGP, AOC, Organic production etc.) as well as the manufacturing process of artisan products.
Be able to put regional history in context
Gain the knowledge and develop the ability to explain the main historical timeline for a region.
Determine the human influence on a landscape
Explain the impact of man on a landscape. Consider the city, agriculture, public buildings, communication routes, energy and power etc.
Be able to read the urban environment
Comment on a range of regional buildings or structures highlighting their characteristics and their relationship with the surrounding environment
Differentiate the types of protected areas protégées


6 days

– Flora
– Fungi and lichens
– Fauna (birds, insects, reptiles and amphibians)
– Geology, glaciology and hydrology
– Astronomy

Deepen your knowledge of botany and geology
Know how to recognize the main fungi and lichenss
Know how to identify the main species of birds and their songs
Know how to identify the main species of amphibians and reptiles
Explain the influence of glaciers and water in shaping the landscape
Know and be able to locate some of the planets, stars and constellations

3 days

– Marketing
– Personal project development
– Company and insurance

Identify the target audience
Define the characteristics and expectations of the target audience.
Create a tourism product or program
Design the business plan for a product taking into account : study of supply and demand, creation and description of the product, budget, operational planning and promotion.
Calculate a budget
Be able to calculate a budget to manage your business efficiently both administration and finance.
Develop a promotional strategy for the distribution of services
Use appropriate distribution channels and present your products and services in a attractive and efficient manner.
Create your partner network
Establish links with partners, proactively and reactively in order to develop meaningful collaborations.
Advise the client
Inform the client of what to be expected before and at the start of the program. Draw up a Course Description : list of equipment, timetable, technical data, contact details, individual insurance, difficulty of route, meeting place etc.
Client loyalty
Develop a loyalty package : vouchers, discounts, newsletter, gifts etc.
Know the legal provisions and compulsory insurance to practice the profession

3 days

Hike over 3 days organized by students and evaluated by the trainers

Plan a hike from A to Z by using all the skills previously acquired whilst forging links between the different areas of professional expertise
Master the different stages of planning a route
Apply the 3×3 method
Plan for possible changes (safety and program)
Combine essential aspects of nature and culture in the planning of a hike
Select the necessary equipment
Instruct the client on the use of the equipment
Master the organization of overnight stays in the mountain huts

5 days


Orientation – Safety – Itinerary
– Planning
– Group Leadership
– Night navigation
– Hike with overnight stay in an igloo
– Animal tracking

Master the skills of orientation
The use of a map, compass, altimeter and GPS.
Apply the 3×3 method in winter conditions
Understand the limiting factors. Learn how to choose the best route by assessing the conditions, the terrain and the abilities of the group
Plan a winter snowshoeing route and its options
Master the use of technical equipment
Navigate in difficult conditions
Learn to organize and build a winter bivouac
Master the build of the bivouac taking into account security, logistics and inspiring the team.
Develop animal tracking skills
Be able to recognize the signs and tracks of animals for species identification to enable their detection without direct observation.

Financial support from the Confederation
The Confederation offers financial support for preparatory courses for the federal exams and in addition reimburses 50% of the training costs for the candidates who have passed the federal exam. The allocation of the grant is irrespective of passing or failing the exam >> Infos
Support from the State of Valais
As of January 1st, 2021, the State of Valais will financially support the training of mountain leaders for students residing in the Valais who have passed the federal certificate. This support amounts to 25% of the training costs. The costs of accommodation, meals, purchase of equipment etc., and not included. This financial support comes in addition to the federal aid of 50% granted by the Confederation.

– To register for the mountain leader training the following conditions must be met:
– Send a completed application form by email ( or online ( including:
– A cover letter
– An up to date resume
– A medical certificate dated less than 6 months old, attesting to the physical aptitude for the profession of mountain leader
– A certificate of private civil liability
– Proof of coverage in the event of non-professional accidents
Once the administrative file has been completed a telephone interview will be organized with the educational manager. Candidates will be informed by email of the outcome of their application.
The deadline for registration is March 1st 2023

Training Site
Most ot the training will be held at the gîte de St-Jean, although some training modules or overnight stays take place elsewhere in French-speaking Switzerland.
Gîte contact : Christine Bonnet – Tél.: +41 (0)79 478 53 22
Rue de St-Jean d’en Haut
3961 St-Jean / Suisse
Course materials
As part of our environmental approach the school supports a ‘paperless’ approach. All documentation, including course materials can be downloaded from our training platform.
Anniviers Formation offers membership to the Air-Glaciers Rescue Society during the two years of training. Participants also receive an Pass Anniviers Liberté, offered by Anniviers Tourisme.

At the end of the 10 course modules a day will be organized in St.Jean to close out the training; providing the opportunity for the group to share their experiences in a congenial atmosphere.
Content of the day:

Feedback on training – group work – professional identity
• Aperitif and meal
• Feedback from former students on the federal certificate exams
• Discussions and Q&A
The preparatory exams for the federal diploma offered by Anniviers Formation aim to assess the skills of the participants at the end of the training. This will allow them to refine their personal preparation for the federal diploma. Passing these preparatory exams lead to obtaining the mountain leader certificate issued by Anniviers Formation (a nonprofessional certificate).
Dates :
General knowledge exam

Practical hiking exam

From 2022, Anniviers Formation will offer a written general knowledge exam (optional for obtaining the school’s certificate) carried out under the actual conditions of the federal certificate. The assessment will cover fauna and flora (identification, ecology of species and tracking), the forest ecosystem, natural environments, geology and history. The exam takes place in Vissoie at the Town Hall.

Training cost
The price of the training will be 13,400 CHF, payable in 24 monthly instalments of 558 CHF/month. An amount of 200 CHF will be invoiced for admission fees – nonrefundable in the event an application is refused.