Winter Skills 3 Day Course Details

Who is the course suitable for?
Our 3 day Winter Skills Course is designed for outdoor enthusiasts wishing to develop a ‘toolbox’ of techniques to enable them to operate safely in the Scottish Mountains in winter conditions.  For participants with some prior experience the course will refresh and build on any existing winter skills, but it is also suitable for those with no previous winter experience.  
 
To operate safely in winter conditions requires a broad range of skills and the development of good judgement. This course is designed to give an introduction to these and to develop an awareness of the potential hazards that winter brings.
 
The course is suitable for adults of all ages and we are happy to have participants as young as 16 (although under 18’s need to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian).
 
What is the format of the course?
We ask clients to arrive the evening before the course starts if possible (full joining details will be sent with your booking confirmation).  The next morning we’ll meet the team, check equipment and the weather forecast before heading off to a suitable venue to start our adventure.  
 
To make the best use of the weather and conditions the delivery of winter skills is kept as flexible as possible.  However, the following course outline gives a fairly typical programme.
 
The first couple of days follow the format of our 2 day course.  Then, on day 3, we’ll be able to put all those skills into practice on a mountain journey.  This is our most popular course and makes a great option if you can spare the time.
 
Day 1 will focus on
 
Choosing suitable equipment and clothing for winter
Developing efficient footwork for safe travel in winter
Use of ice axe/ ice axe arrest
Use of crampons/ movement techniques
Avalanche awareness and avoidance
Introduction to winter weather and winter navigation
Managing safety on steep ground 
Planning a day out in winter
 
Day 2 will build on the content from the first day and allow opportunities to consolidate the areas covered.  In addition several new skills will be introduced.
 
Introduction of more advanced techniques for winter navigation
Constructing emergency snow shelters and emergency procedures
Route choice in winter conditions
 
Day 3 allows a great opportunity to put the skills developed over the first 2 days into practice on a mountain journey.  The group will have the opportunity to plan, prepare for and undertake a typical Scottish winter mountain day.  We might even be able to bag a Munro or two!
 
In the evenings we usually meet for an informal lecture to support the information given during the day.  Typical topics include avalanche avoidance, cold injuries and hypothermia, emergency winter shelters or further training on winter navigation. 
 
How fit do I need to be?
Continuous days in the winter mountains requires reasonable fitness levels.  If you can walk uphill for 2 or 3 hours at a sensible pace with a few short rests you should be fit enough.  A typical winter day will see us out in the mountains for over 6 hours.   
 
Where is the course based?
All our winter courses are based from our comfortable valley base at Inchree which is near Fort William in the heart of the Western Highlands.  We use the west coast of Scotland because there’s a wide range of venues, the most stunning winter scenery and the most reliable winter weather.  Infact, you can’t get a better location for winter activities as a short drive gives us access to many world famous venues such as Ben Nevis and Glencoe while we still have the Cairngorms within driving distance.
 
How do I get there?  
Getting to the Highlands is easier than you might think.  It is well served by road and there are several options for public transport.  We have a dedicated travel information page that can be accessed here.
 
Accommodation
We have comfortable and convenient accommodation available for course participants and we prefer clients to stay with us.  However, we don’t include this in the course cost to give you as much choice as possible and some clients prefer to make their own arrangements.  Full details on our winter accommodation is available on own dedicated page here.
 
Who will be looking after me?
At Peak Mountaineering we pride ourselves on the quality of our instructors and our excellent reputation.  The instructor that leads your day will be fully qualified and fully insured.  They will also be one of our close knit instructor team and personally known to us.  We only use instructors who know the area well so they can ensure you get the most from your course.  
 
Having said all that, we know that the views of past clients are probably your best guide to the quality of our provision.  Please take the time to read the independent reviews clients have left before you book.  
 
What do I need to bring?
We can provide all the technical equipment you will need including ice axes, crampons, harnesses and helmets (although you are welcome to bring your own if you have them).  Unlike some providers we provide these completely free of charge (more details on our policy are here).  We also have boot hire facilities available if you don’t have suitable footwear.  Infact, all you will need to bring is suitable clothing and a rucksack to carry everything in.  Full details about the equipment you’ll need and our boot hire option are available on our winter kit list here
 
Other benefits for Peak Mountaineering customers
We have negotiated some great discounts with a selection of retailers for all course participants.  Full details will be sent with your joining details but you also can have a look at what’s available here.
 
Finally…..Although we have already got a web page of frequently asked questions (which can be found here) there are so many different aspects to winter that we felt a selection of frequently asked questions about winter courses (which you can find here) might help you. Of course, if you need any other information don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01433 620283 or click on the contact us  tab.