Winter Skills Courses

The Scottish mountains in winter transform into magical snow covered peaks. They can also offer some very challenging conditions to test the skills of the most experienced of hill walkers. Let us help you acquire the skills to enjoy the mountains in winter.

We offer 1, 2, or 3 day Winter Skills Courses based in the stunning West Highlands.  We make sure these courses are tailored to our individual groups rather than have them ‘off the shelf’!

These courses are great for those who want to move towards being independent in the Winter mountains and who have some experience of hill walking in Summer.

Winter Skills on the North Face of Ben Nevis

During these courses, there are various core topics we tend to cover duing the days that include:

Avalanche Awareness using the Be Avalanche Aware‘ Process. This includes weather forecast and avalanche forecast interpretation and how to plan a day out in the Winter Mountains.

Movement on snow and ice:

Use of the Winter boot as a tool- kicking steps

Using an Ice Axe- including self arrest and self belay

Use of Crampons- French/Flat Footing, Front Pointing, Hybrid

The best classroom we have by far is the mountain environment and on our 2 or 3 day courses, as well as some hard skills, we also aim to tackle the most challenging aspect of being in the mountains in Winter-  decision making.

Route choice, when and where to put crampons on, get the axe out and navigation are all part and parcel of a Winter day out and as much as possible, we’ll get you out there making these decisions whilst having an experienced Mountain Professional to coach you through this process. We also  aim to make these courses as fun and enjoyable as possible too!

Is this for me?

You should have some experience of summer hill walking.

The Winter environment can be quite demanding so a good level of fitness is recommended.

Ratios- up to 1:6

Larger groups please contact us for prices

No. of people1 day Winter Skills2 Day Winter Skills3 Day Winter Skills
What’s included/not included

What’s included

  • Qualified and Experienced Winter Winter Mountain Leader
  • Hire of ice axe, crampons, helmet,
  • Action photos of your course

What’s not included

  • Boot hire
  • Personal Kit
  • Gondola Ticket if using Aonach Mor as a venue
  • Transport/Accommodation/Meals
  • Cancellation/Personal Injury Insurance
Kit List
  • Technical Kit
    • Winter walking boots – Need to be at least B1 rated and be able to take a C1 crampon. E.g. Scarpa Manta Pro (B2), Scarpa SL Active (B1) (Hire can be arranged via Scottish Mountain Hire or Ellis Brigham.
    • Crampons- C1 or C2 crampons e.g. Grivel G10 or G12’s (Hire included)
    • Ice-Axe- General Walking or Mountaineering Axe- 55cm length ideal (Hire included)
  • Clothing
    • Thick walking socks
    • Wicking baselayer/thermal -This keeps moisture away from your skin and reduces how cold you feel as a result. Synthetic or Merino Wool are effective- Cotton is NOT suitable.
    • Warm Trekking trousers or Thermals- to be worn underneath waterproofs.
    • Insulated mid layer- to be worn underneath waterproofs but on top of thermal/ baselayer for example a warm fleece or Primaloft top.
    • Waterproof jacket – e.g. GoreTex, E-Vent, Paramo, Hyvent, etc
    • Waterproof Over-trousers- e.g. GoreTex, E-Vent, Paramo, Hyvent, etc
    • Warm hat plus + 1 spare
    • Waterproof gloves + at least 1 spare pair of gloves
    • Spare warm layer- e.g. Warm fleece or Synthetic/Primaloft Jacket
  • Other Kit
    • Rucksack – 40-45 litre recommended
    • Rucksack liner/Drybags- Most rucksacks aren’t waterproof so either a large poly-bag liner or several smaller dry-bag type bags recommended.
    • Food and water – around 2 litres of water and plenty of snacks and high energy foods to get you through the day. A small flask can be a nice moral boost!
    • Survival bag- Several types available to suit most budgets- Blizzard Blankets are amazing!
    • Sun screen, sun glasses (weather dependent!) – mountain sun can be fierce.
    • Ski/ Snow goggles very useful when walking into the wind and spindrift.
    • Gaiters- stops snow from getting into your boots.
    • Head Torch + spare batteries or another spare torch
    • Personal medicines
    • Whistle
    • Trekking poles (Optional) – can take 3 tonnes of loading off of your knees over the course of a day and also good in deep snow
Meeting Times/Locations

We tend to meet around 0730-0830hrs for these courses so getting an early breakfast is important. Locations and times will be finalised prior to your trip once we see the latest weather/avalanche forecasts

Enquire Now about Winter Skills Courses

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