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Winter Skills Courses

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Awesome winter vistas and learning environments

Options: 2 day & 4 day courses – public or private
How much: From £190pp (crampon, axe & helmet hire included)
Where: Glencoe, Fort William & Aviemore/Cairngorms
When: Scroll down for dates

We run 2 types of course

  • Open courses where you will join other like-minded clients, and:
  • Private courses, enabling you to tailor the content to your group

Our Winter Skills courses will teach you how to enjoy the winter environment in safety and experience a landscape that will take your breath away.

The Munros under the cover of snow are a beautiful sight, but without the winter skills and knowledge required to move around them safely, they can be lethal. Conditions underfoot can vary from hard ice to deep unstable snow and navigational features like paths, lochans and fences disappear under deep drifts. Daylight hours are short and the weather can be considerably more extreme. Add to this a very real risk of avalanche and you can see why venturing into the high mountains at this time of year demands that you know what you are doing.

On our Winter Skills Courses you will learn how to manage these risks and:

  • Use crampons, ice axe and good footwork to guard against slips and falls
  • Use an ice axe to stop a slide before it becomes serious
  • Move on steep ground under icy conditions, including how to kick and cut steps
  • Navigate effectively in white-out conditions when the majority of features are covered in snow
  • Assess avalanche risk and plan a safe route based on your findings
  • Deal with an emergency and learn what to do if you get benighted on the hill
  • Use all these skills to plan a safe and enjoyable journey, taking in Scotland’s highest winter summits
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On the summit crest of Sgurr Bhan

Options

We run two different lengths of open Winter Skills courses.

2-day Winter Skills courses 

A great introduction to the skills needed to look after yourself in the Scottish mountains.

A typical itinerary for our 2-day course follows:

Day 1

  • Selecting and carrying the appropriate kit for the winter mountain environment
  • Personal movement skills: how to move effectively and safely whilst wearing crampons in ascent, descent and whilst traversing a slope
  • Use of the ice axe in ascent, descent, whilst traversing a slope and to arrest a fall
  • Dealing with an emergency in winter

Day 2

  • Overview of avalanche awareness and safe route planning
  • Safe journey planning, taking into account weather, snow conditions and avalanche risk
  • Introduction to winter navigation skills
  • Mountain journey consolidating day 1 skills and taking in a Munro summit
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Winter hillwalking at its best

4-day Winter Skills and Summits courses

A comprehensive course covering all the skills you need to look after yourself in the Scottish mountains, with the opportunity to put these into practice as we journey into the high mountains, taking in the summits of several classic winter Munros.

A typical itinerary for our 4-day course follows:

Day 1

  • Selecting and carrying the appropriate kit for the winter mountain environment
  • Personal movement skills: how to move effectively and safely whilst wearing crampons in ascent, descent and whilst traversing a slope
  • Use of the ice axe in ascent, descent, whilst traversing a slope and to arrest a fall
  • Dealing with an emergency in winter
  • Evening session on avalanche avoidance and theory

Day 2

  • Practical application of avalanche awareness and safe route planning, taking into account weather, snow conditions and avalanche risk
  • Introduction to winter navigation skills
  • Construction and use of emergency snow shelters
  • Mountain journey consolidating day 1 skills and taking in a Munro summit

Day 3

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Digging emergency shelters

  • Winter navigation practice: pacing and timing, relocation techniques, safe navigation in white-out conditions
  • Movement on steep ground (up to Scottish Grade I)
  • Munro day taking in a classic ridge line or gully. Guided, with all decisions and route choices discussed with the group and explained fully to help aid learning.
  • Evening session on route planning for day 4

Day 4

  • Summit day. Using all your learning and skills gained on the previous days, you will plan and guide this day, under the watchful eye of your instructor.

Information

Dates and prices: are shown in the table below.

Other dates are also available, weekends and mid-week throughout the season. Note: if a course is full, it can be worth getting in touch anyway, as often there is enough demand to run a second course. Similarly, if you are looking for an open course and the dates don’t match, just ask as we may be able to advertise additional dates to fit with your diary.

Open coursesPrice per person
- open course
Price for a private course
2-day Winter Skills

Course full? Can't make the dates? Get in touch anyway as often we can put on another course for you. Just get in touch to check availability.

Dates - weekends as follows:

6th & 7th Jan 2024: Aviemore - full
13th & 14th Jan 2024: Aviemore - spaces
20th & 21st Jan 2024: Aviemore - full
27th & 28th Jan 2024: Glencoe - spaces
27th & 28th Jan 2024: Aviemore - full
3rd & 4th Feb 2024: Glencoe - full
3rd & 4th Feb 2024: Aviemore - full
10th & 11th Feb 2024: Glencoe - full
10th & 11th Feb 2024: Aviemore - spaces
24th & 25th Feb 2024: Glencoe - full
24th & 25th Feb 2024: Aviemore - full
2nd & 3rd March 2024: Glencoe - spaces
2nd & 3rd March 2024: Aviemore - spaces
9th & 10th March 2024: Glencoe - spaces
9th & 10th March 2024: Aviemore - spaces


Other dates & March onwards TBC - get in touch if you have a request.
£190See table below for private course prices
4-day Winter Skills & Summits

Course full? Can't make the dates? Get in touch anyway as often we can put on another course for you. Just get in touch to check availability.

Dates - Saturday to Tuesday incl, as follows

6th to 9th Jan 2024: Aviemore - full
13th to 16th Jan 2024: Aviemore - spaces
20th to 23rd Jan 2024: Glencoe - full
20th to 23rd Jan 2024: Aviemore - full
27th to 30th Jan 2024: Glencoe - spaces
10th to 13th Feb 2024: Glencoe - full
10th to 13th Feb 2024: Aviemore - full
17th to 20th Feb 2024: Glencoe - full
17th to 20th Feb 2024: Aviemore - full
24th to 27th Feb 2024: Glencoe - full
24th to 27th Feb 2024: Aviemore - full
2nd to 5th March 2024: Glencoe - full
2nd to 5th March 2024 - Glencoe: spaces
2nd to 5th March 2024 - Aviemore: spaces
9th to 12th March 2024 - Glencoe: spaces
9th to 12th March 2024 - Aviemore: spaces


Other dates & March onwards TBC - get in touch if you have a request.
£360See table below for private course prices
Private coursesTotal price - private course
2-day Winter Skills - private course




4-day Winter Skills & Summits - private course
1 or 2 people - £490 shared

Add extra people for £150pp


1 or 2 people - £960 shared

Add extra people for £280pp

Click here to make a booking or to find out more. You can also contact us by telephone on 07702 942980.

 

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Above Kinlochleven

Accommodation & transport: You will need to source your own accommodation & transport to the meet point each morning. The meet point will vary depending on conditions on the mountain and the ambitions/skill level of the group. For courses in the west, consider accommodation in the Ballachulish/Glencoe areas. For those in the east, Aviemore works well.

Ages and abilities: The winter environment can be extremely challenging, so this course is for adults only and for those who already have experience of long days hill walking in the high mountains of the UK. Fitness is important as days are long, approaches generally tough and packs heavy.

Group sizes and ratios: Our instructor to client ratio never exceeds 1:6

Kit: We will share a kit list with you when you book, but you will need warm and waterproof clothing, crampon compatible boots and crampons. You will also need a walking/alpine axe. Crampons, axes and a helmet can be provided by us – boots are available to hire at a competitive rate. We can offer advice on all kit when you book.

Association of Mountaineering Instructors