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** Vouchers can be bought for our Winter Skills Courses for your friends and family to redeem at their leisure. Click here for more info **

Winter Skills Courses – Skills & Summits

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Awesome winter vistas and learning environments

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. Dates and prices are at the bottom of the page.

Highland Ascents’ Winter Skills Courses are directed by a professionally qualified instructor who is responsible for running winter training for Mountain Rescue as well as Highland Ascents.

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 Winter Skills courses.

2-day Introduction to Winter Skills courses

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

We run two different types of course: an ‘open’ 2-day course where you will join other like-minded clients and also a private course if you would prefer benefits of 1:1 instruction, such as being able to learn at your own pace and having the course tailor-made to your requirements and skill level. Prices for both options are below.

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

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Winter hillwalking at its best

  • 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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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.

We run two different types of course: an ‘open’ 4-day course where you will join other like-minded clients and also a private course if you would prefer benefits of 1:1 instruction, such as being able to learn at your own pace and having the course tailor-made to your requirements and skill level. Prices for both options are below.

A typical itinerary for our 4-day course follows:

Day 1

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Digging emergency shelters

  • 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

  • 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.

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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.

CoursePrice per person
- open course
Price per person
- private course
Introduction to Winter Skills - 2 day course

Other dates are also possible. Just get in touch to check availability.

Sat 14th & Sun 15th December 2019 - Aviemore/Cairngorm
Sat 4th & Sun 5th January 2020 - Aviemore/Cairngorm
Sat 25th & Sun 26th January 2020 - Glencoe/Fort William
Sat 15th & Sun 16th February 2020 - Glencoe/Fort William
Sat 29th February & Sun 1st March 2020 - Glencoe/Fort William
£1501:1 course £360
Add extra group members for £90pp and share the overall cost
Winter Skills & Summits - 4 day course

Other dates are also possible. Just get in touch to check availability.

Mon 10th to Thurs 13th February 2020 - Glencoe/Fort William
Mon 24th to Thurs 27th February 2020 - Glencoe/Fort William
Mon 23rd to Thurs 26th March 2020 - Glencoe/Fort William
£3001:1 course £720
Add extra group members for £180pp and share the overall cost

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

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. All kit is available to hire from a partner company. We can offer advice on all kit at booking.