#Winter Climbing Week – 5 Day Course
#Winter Climbing Week – 5 Day Course
Designed for those with some winter walking and winter mountaineering experience who want to get to grips with that unusual and yet most rewarding medium of Scottish Winter Climbing. Our 5 day courses allow us the most detailed and comprehensive programme to fully explore and understand the syllabus.
Winter Climbing tackles significantly more technical ground than mountaineering, using ropes, dual modern ice axes and specialist equipment such as ice screws to ascend stunning routes in comparative safety. Mountaineering techniques, experience and competency are required to access and exit the climbs safely. Therefore, confidence and expertise in analysing and moving over more consequential terrain than on a walking course is required. Suitable for those with significant prior experience of the winter environment, such as a Winter Skills Course (and possibly a Winter Mountaineering Course) with us, plus 1 season minimum of personal winter walking. Participants must also be physically fit and have some recent summer walking or scrambling experience as a minimum. Any prior climbing experience is advantageous – a winter climbing route is not the ideal first place to learn removal of basic trad gear such as nuts and cams! 😉
You can pay the full balance below, or reserve a place with a £100 deposit and subsequent installments (to pay this way, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a 0% finance payment plan).
Our courses are very practical with an emphasis on learning through doing, promoting increased self-awareness and self-reliance. Initially, we focus on ensuring we still have well-honed and current core and intermediate winter skills, before tackling more complex techniques. As the course progresses we aim to increase the difficulty of the terrain encountered and involve you in the planning and decision-making processes integral to such environments. We go beyond simply teaching you hard skills such as use of ice axe and crampons. We aim to improve your awareness and understanding of the decision making process involved in the planning and execution of successful winter climbing days, in order to give you the skills and confidence to operate independently in the hills in winter. As the course progresses, if weather conditions allow, we will plan longer days to include several classic Scottish winter climbs. We pride ourselves on offering a professional yet social environment conducive to learning and fun! So if you are looking to scale up your winter techniques and tackle the most challenging terrain in safety and confidence, then this course is ideal for you.
Locations so fantastic: we moved here!
We are pleased and excited to announce that we will now be running our *NEW LOOK* winter courses from our home village of Roybridge, Lochaber. Perfectly situated, this Central Highlands location sits smack bang amidst some of Scotland’s premier winter venues: the north face of Ben Nevis is only 15 minutes drive west, and the mighty Creag Meagaidh only 15 mins east. With suitable winter skills venues ALL around, and the popular areas of the Cairngorms and Glencoe each less than an hour away, this allows us the unique opportunity to operate in both the East and West Highlands on any day we choose!
Variety of venues gives you best chance of good conditions
Too wet or warm in the west…? We’ll head east to the Cairngorms for reliable snow cover, deep corries and windswept arctic plateaus!
Too snowy/windy in the Gorms…? We can head to the spikier mountains in the west. We can seek the comparative shelter of Glencoe or mix it up with the big boys on Ben Nevis!
Ease of access
With excellent transport links, and a central location, Roybridge can easily be reached from anywhere in Scotland via road, rail or bus. (Where possible, participants may find having their own transport advantageous.)
Choice of accommodation to suit you
Roybridge has an excellent array of accommodation providers to suit all tastes and budgets. It is significantly quieter than the busy tourist hotspots of Fort William and Aviemore. There is also a pub for a civilized debrief.
We would recommend staying as close to the actual Roy Bridge as possible, enabling us to take advantage of communal meeting areas for evening lectures and theory sessions on subjects such as navigation, avalanche awareness and weather forecast interpretation. This will also allow easier issuing of Dubh Mor kit if you require. There is a fine selection of Bunkhouses, Bed and Breakfasts, Campsites, Cabins and even a couple of hotels in the village.
Not a problem: the “outdoor capital of the UK”: Fort William, is less than 20 minutes to the southwest, and Aviemore is under an hour to the east. Both have a variety of outdoor shops that hire and sell kit. There are also small local convenience stores, cafes and restaurants in both Roybridge and the neighbouring Spean Bridge. Closest fuel is Dalwhinnie/Newtonmore in the east or Fort William/Invergarry to the west.
First foray into winter? Take a look at our Winter Skills Long Weekend and Winter Skills Week
Already done some winter walking but not ready for full on climbing yet? Take a look at our Winter Mountaineering Long Weekend and Winter Mountaineering Week
5 days guiding and instruction
Very small group sizes and personalised feedback
Overview and review of core winter skills techniques
Overview and review of winter mountaineering techniques
Detailed instruction in winter climbing techniques
At least 3 big mountain days involving classic Scottish winter climbing terrain (grade 2-4)
Ice axes, crampons, helmet, harness, ropes and shovel included in costs
Join us to improve not just your skills, but also your knowledge, confidence and decision-making.
Our qualified, experienced and friendly instructors will teach you everything you need to know…
Everything you need to know...
Equipment and clothing selection and correct usage
Safe and effective use of winter boots, crampons and ice axe in a variety of increasingly complex terrain, weather and snow conditions
1 axe or 2 – “Mountaineering” or “Climbing”?
The “grey area” – when does walking become mountaineering and climbing, and what skills do we require for each context and environment?
Improved personal movement on snow and ice
Arresting a slip
Ascending, descending and traversing safely and effectively, especially when approaching and exiting climbing routes
Applying core and intermediate skills in a more consequential environment
Being guided in a winter climbing environment – the process of becoming a competent second
Self reliance and operating independently in a winter mountaineering environment
Winter mountaineering ropework: Moving together, Short roping, Micro pitching/”Ledging”, Pitching climbs
Winter climbing ropework: Single/dual ropes, parallel/series ropework, climbing in a 3 vs climbing in a 2
Building safe anchors in ice, rock and snow for protection, belays and abseils
Slick ropework and belay changeovers to save time and prevent problems
Intermediate – advanced navigation in the winter environment
Avalanche awareness, interpretation and avoidance
Weather forecasts and interpretation
Hazardous conditions and emergency procedures
Emergency snow shelters
Seasonal variations – understanding where to go and when
Conditions interpretations and ethics – “Is it ‘IN’?”
Route planning and guidebook interpretation
Decision-making on and off the hill
Core winter skills
Snow and rock anchors
Ropework in a mountaineering context
Guided winter climbing
Guided/Instructed winter climbing
Supervised self-led winter climbing (if appropriate to skill level and weather conditions)