winter mountain walking

course preview

The progression from hill & mountain walking in summer to winter mountain walking can be challenging. There are many more factors to consider, use of winter equipment, navigation, weather, shorter days, and personal winter mountain skills. The main part of the course will deal with moving safely through major Scottish Mountains in winter conditions introducing winter novices to basic winter walking skills covering all the essential knowledge to give a solid skills base to venture into the hills in winter.


Maximum Ratio | 1: 6/4

Number of Days |

2 Day week end or 3-5 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 |

Designed for summer hill walkers our introduction to winter mountain walking programmes offer an ideal, cost effective opportunity for novices to learn the requirements of winter mountain equipment and clothing – before investing heavily in buying specialist gear

There is an emphasis on | developing navigational and route finding skills to confidently navigate in poor visibility in more variable weather conditions : the effective use of winter equipment & clothing. : winter skills using ice axe and crampons are taught intensively – without actual roped climbing, but with the use of a hill rope for confidence or safety only using basic belaying techniques.

Dates & Prices |

Course Title |   Introduction to Winter Skills – Winter Walking

Course Overview |

The main part  of the course will deal with moving safely through major Scottish Mountains in winter conditions. Introducing complete novices to basic winter skills covering all the essential knowledge to give a solid skills base to venture into the hills in winter. See our course itinerary & gear list.

Previous Experience & Fitness : |

Some previous experience of summer hill walking with basic map & compass work in mountainous country or those who wish to brush up on, refresh skills learnt previously or extend their hill walking seasons safely into autumn & winter conditions with like minded friends. Winter in the Scottish mountains can be particularly demanding particularly in poor weather – good fitness and personal equipment are essential.

Number of Days’ Instruction Cost pp
(Course only)
Dates Enquire & Book
2 Day weekend £170  2017 Pre Christmas Dec 16-17;       2018 Jan 6-7; Jan 20-21;                    2018 Feb 3-4; Feb 17-18;                 2018 Mar 3-4; Mar 17-18;                          2018 April 7-8;  Enquire
3 Day mid week £ 225  2017 Pre Christmas Dec 18-20;      2018 Jan 15-17; Jan 29-31;             2018 Feb 19-21;                                  2018 Mar 5 – 7; Mar 19-21;               2018 April 9-11;  Enquire
5 Day mid week £375  2018 Jan 15-19; Jan 29- 4 Feb;      2018 Feb 19-23;                              2018 Mar 5 – 9; Mar 19-23;              2018 April 9-11;  Enquire
4 day Post New Year & Easter 2018 £ 425 2018 Jan 2-4; Easter 2018 26-29;31 March – 3 April  Enquire
One day Private Guiding – Introduction to winter skills / Winter Walking At £180 /1:1 persons;
£260/1:2-3 persons;
£310/1:4-5 persons; £ 360/1:6 persons.                                                    At any time subject to availability

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 the course will all take place out “on the hill”. Depending on the length of the course we will be working on:-

  • Winter equipment and clothing – choice, selection
  • Winter mountain navigation – pacing and timing; aiming off, trans sections; boxing, doglegs; relocation techniques
  • Route finding techniques in white out / deep snow conditions to minimise energy output.
  • Survival and rescue techniques along with safe choice of routes and planning.
  • Emergency procedures.
  • Digging emergency snow shelters
  • Basic safety and nutritional techniques, which can be applied to a Scottish, winter, a first Alpine walking season or High Mountain Trekking holiday.
  • Recognition of and avoidance of hypothermia
  • Use of ice axe and crampons – ice axe arrests – self arrests without an ice axe.
  • emergency braking; step cutting, kicking steps; fitting crampons; walking in crampons; using crampons for ascent / descent; moving together; glissading. Use of ski poles
  • Safety on steep ground in winter with the use of a hill rope without becoming too involved in technical rope work.
  • Emergency rope work
  • A daily assessment of weather
  • Assessment of snow pack conditions along with avalanche awareness and prediction.
  • Ascent of winter munros & easy ridges.

Times & Meeting |

We normally meet at 09.00 hrs at our meeting / lecture room at Snowgoose Mountain Centre. On weekend courses you need to be with us latest by 19.00 hrs on the Friday evening for the briefing / Winter Mountain Safety Talk / fitting of boots & crampons so that we can all maximise a full day on the hill on Saturday. We usually come off the hill by 17.00 hrs. Please plan your travel arrangements around these times.

Location |

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.

dates for 2018 winter mountain walking now online ready for booking