Winter Mountaineering Course
Our fantastic 5 day winter mountaineering course for people who would like to learn a bit more than just the basics. The last 2 days are an expedition in the hills where you learn how to navigate in winter conditions and stay overnight in a snowhole.
Can't find the right date or trip? Simply contact us and we will try our best to organise a different date for you.
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Snow & Ice
Activity Level Extreme
Group Size Small Group
The 5 day winter mountaineering course is going much beyond the 2 day course. Based in the Cairngroms near Aviemore you will acquire skills that allows you to be a proficient winter mountaineer in the Scottish hills. On our courses you will learn how to walk on hard packed neve snow and build confidence to walk on steeper ground. You will also learn when and how to walk with crampons and how to use an ice axe to cut steps. While out winter walking you might also do a lot of digging and cutting in the snow. It is very important to know how to use the ice axe efficiently so to be fast and safe energy. We also try to dig an emergency shelter if the snow condition allows it and see the pros and cons between digging a snow shelter and using a group shelter.
Very important for walking in the winter is also avalanche awareness. We will talk about how to detect the signs for unstable snow packs, how to prevent being caught in an avalanche and route planning for a day in the hills and what to do in case of an avalanche. Last not least there will be a lot of sliding down a slope to practice ice axe arrest. This is a very important part on at the course and we will spend some time on ice axe braking and use different techniques. We also train on how to stop sliding without ice axe which most courses don't offer.
The 3rd day on the 5 day winter mountaineering course is fairly flexible. You can learn how to use ropes and set up snow belays or work and improve on the skills learned on the first 2 days and also work on winter navigation.
On the last 2 days we will go on an expedition to stay overnight in a snowhole and walk up at least one of the bigger hills in the Cairngorms. Sometimes we have to dig our own snowholes to stay in. Let's hope the snow is soft for that. These two days will also be a great opportunity for navigation and if the weather allows we could go out for some navigation at night.
Additional to the course we also take photos and videos during the course, which we will send you after the course for free.
- Qualified Winter Mountain Leader or MIC
- Ice axe
- Bivi bag
- Sleeping mat
- Snow shovel
- Mountaineering rucksack
- Limited transportation to the hills
- Sleeping bag
Meet up in Aviemore in the morning and get on snow to work on the basic winter skills.
- Walking in snow, kicking steps
- Cutting steps with an ice axe
- Different techniques of cutting steps
- Using crampons
- Learn about snow and avalanche risk
Trips and Slips
Meet in Aviemore and find another, different snow slope in the Cairngorms. Work some more on those winter skills and move on to how to stop yourself from slipping or sliding down the side of a hill. To finish the skills off you should be able to stop sliding with an ice axe arrest.
Learn how to navigate in the winter. Since there is many features of a map covered by snow you need to be much more precise than navigating in summer. Also will introduce you to safety and rescue procedures. In the evening pack all the gear for a 2 day expedition.
Walking and Digging
Go out for an overnight trip in the Cairngorms. On the way you can also learn some more about navigation, safety and rescue procedures. In late afternoon find a good spot for digging a snowhole.
This day we continue working on winter navigation on our way out from the snowhole.
Accommodation is not included in the price. However we can help you to find the right place for your needs.
There are many places to stay in Aviemore and the the surrounding areas. It is advisable to book well in advance, especially at a year with a good skiing season.
The night from Tuesday to Wednesday will be in a snowhole.
Some accommodation in the area:
- We only teach practical skills, like fitting crampons on steep ground and wearing a rucksack for the ice axe arrest. (Most other providers don't do that)
- We provide more kit for free than any other private provider
- Theory session with route planning for winter and avalanche awareness
- We give you the "Be Avalanche Aware" leaflet for free.
- We are proud in what we do
- We offer this course almost every week between mid January and early April
- We guarantee the course if one person has booked on it
We would advise not to buy your own ice axe and crampons just for the course. We will advise you on the course what would be best for your own needs.
If you use our crampons you need either B2 or B3 boots. Have fitting ones with your own crampons but they have to be at least stiff B1 boots.
There is always enough snow between Mid January and Late March. In the unlikely event of lack of snow we can offer alternatives.
We would only advise 4 season winter sleeping bags. Either synthetic hollow fibre or down filling is suitable.
|Package Confirmed Dates||Translatable Trip Status Translatable Trip Status||Price per Person||Availability|
27th January 2018 - 31st January 2018
3rd February 2018 - 7th February 2018
17th February 2018 - 21st February 2018
24th February 2018 - 28th February 2018
10th March 2018 - 14th March 2018
17th March 2018 - 21st March 2018
31st March 2018 - 4th April 2018