introduction to snow & ice climbing

course preview

The aim is to give greater confidence through a progressive development  of winter climbing skills & technique in order that clients can realistically go away and progress their own winter climbing in safety, at their own pace and level, both in the UK and overseas. These courses are more demanding in terms of technical ability, personal skills, stamina and gear. Each course of this type is adapted to the individual needs, ability, motivation and aspirations of clients.

Maximum Ratio | 1: 2

Number of Days’

2 Day week end ,  3  Day mid week or 1 Day private guiding. The minimum course duration is 2 days. Given the progressive nature of the course we only accept bookings from the first day. We do not accept folks mid way in a course.

Course Summary

A typical course at this level will start with issue of gear and a safety brief and looking at preparations for a winter route, conditions, route choice, choice of equipment, etc.    There is a progressive, confidence building approach to practical sessions during the day – ice axe & crampon skills, safety & moving on steeper ground, rope work & anchors, placing runners, creating belays, assessment of risk. All technical gear is provided. At this level you should at least own suitable winter boots & probably ice axe & crampons.

There is an emphasis on | :  developing a structured approach to the preparation of &  planning process for a day’s winter climbing :  a considered approach to choice of route :  assessment of risk & the psychology of leading  :  ensuring that clients have mastered hard core winter mountaineering skills

Dates & Prices

Course Title | Introduction to snow & ice climbing

Course Overview : |

An ideal progression for those wanting to start leading easier winter routes or take their winter climbing up a step or two

Previous Experience & Fitness : |  – Courses are suitable for those who already have personal experience of winter mountaineering & summer climbing. Clients attending these courses should be comfortable moving on Grade 11 ground and are confident of their own basic winter. It is recommended that you should have been on a previous Winter Mountaineering Course either with us or elsewhere, and will also have a background in rope work. You should be “hill fit” enough to comfortably tackle long days on the hill with some more technical winter climbing thrown in.

Number of Days’ Instruction Max
Group Size
Cost: per person                  (Course only) Dates Booking
2 Day weekend 1:2/3 £220  2018 Jan 13-14; Jan 27-28;
2018 Feb 10-11; Feb 24-25;
2018 March 10-11; March 24-25;
2018 April 14-15
3 Day mid week 1;2/3 £330  2018 Jan 8-10;Jan 22-24;
2018 Feb 5-7; Feb 12-14; Feb 26-28;
March 12-14;26-28;
2018 April 2-4;
4 Day  New Year & Easter 1:2/3 £440   2018 Jan 8-12;Jan 22-26;
2018 Feb 5-9; Feb 12-16; Feb 26-March2;
March 12-16;26-30;
2018 April 2-6
One Day Private Guiding  1:2/3 £180/1:1 to
At any time subject to availability  Enquire


What is included


Our winter mountain prices include: – All technical gear is supplied but if you do not have them ice axe, crampons will need to be hired at extra cost from us along with suitable stiff winter boots.

We provide harnesses; helmet; all technical climbing gear such as karabiners; belay plates etc; all survival and safety gear; ropes. Please see our Winter Kit List.                                                             Not included in our standard basic prices: | suitable winter boots; ice axe or crampons; map & compass; rucksack; any personal clothing – however most of these items can be provided or hired economically from us on site from our stores. Gondola uplift tickets at Nevis Range are also required for possibly the first one or two days – depending on the weather conditions.

Programme Itinerary

Except for an initial briefing & essential Winter Mountain Safety talk  a typical course at this level will start with the issue & fitting of gear, safety brief, andlooking at the preparations for a winter route, client choice, conditions, route choice, equiment. Depending on the length of the course & condtions on the day we will be working on:-

  • An introduction to moving on steeper snow and ice
  • the opportunity to climb led & protected routes to Grade 111.
  • Climbing, rope and belay techniques – single and double ropes; direct and indirect belays, belay devices; waist belays; front pointing on steep ice; axe techniques on easy and steep ice; use of technical axes;
  • Moving together roped on steep ground (grade 1/11)
  • Escape from a winter route using multi-pitch abseils using snow, rock and ice anchors.
  • The opportunity to lead a route (Grade 1/11) under the supervision and alongside an instructor.
  • A daily assessment of weather and snow conditions along with avalanche awareness and prediction. Snow structure and snow profiles looking at stability, snow pits, basic shear tests, walking rutschblock tests, slope aspect.

Possible choice of Routes | Aonach Eagach Ridge / Glen Coe (11-111), Curved Ridge / Glen Coe (11), Dorsal Arête / Glen Coe / The Buachaille (11), Tower Ridge / Ben Nevis (111), Castle Ridge / Ben Nevis (111), Left Twin / Aonach Mor (111),

Times & Meeting

It is preferable to meet informally at about 19.00 hrs on the evening before the start of these courses.  On weekend courses you will certainly need to be with us latest by 19.00 hrs on the Friday evening so that we can all maximise a full day on the hill on Saturday. We normally meet at 09.00 hrs at our meeting / lecture room at Snowgoose Mountain Centre on the first day of the course. Over time we have found that this approach maximises our actual time out on the hill – without rushing around. We usually come off the hill by 17.00 hrs. Please plan your travel arrangements around these times. On the last day we aim to finish by 16.00 hrs.


From our base at Corpach we are within easy reach of Ben Nevis & the wider Lochaber mountains, Glen Coe & Creag Mheagaidh. Depending on the wishes of the group, the prevailing weather conditions & the length of the course the first day at least will normally be spent at Aonach Mor using the gondola up lift to maximise day light hours & snow conditions.

improve your winter climbing skills & confidence, broaden your knowledge - achieve your goals