The International Mountain Leader Award is the professional qualification for individuals who wish to lead trekking parties to all mountain areas except on glaciers, or where the techniques or equipment of alpinism are required.
The qualification is held by both Lindsay and Julia, the founders of Tracks and Trails.
The International Mountain Leader (IML) can also operate on easy snow-covered terrain, providing it is of a gentle, Nordic type in the “middle” mountains. The Union of International Mountain Leader Associations (UIMLA) is the international umbrella organisation for all IMLs.
In Alpine countries it is against the law to act in a professional capacity leading groups into the mountains without an IML or other UIMLA recognised qualification. Should your guide, or trek leader not have such a qualification, they will not be insured, your insurance could be invalidated, and they could even be arrested - which wouldn't enhance your holiday experience!
IMLs, as well as taking responsibility for your safety, are also well versed on the flora, fauna and geographical/geological aspects of the mountains, and can greatly enhance your trekking experience.
In winter, while snowshoeing is relatively easy to grasp, it is advisable to engage an IML as there are additional dangers in the winter environment for the inexperienced, including navigation in difficult conditions and, in particular, the risk of being caught in an avalanche.