Winter Mountaineering Course Details
Who is the course suitable for?
Our 3 Winter Mountaineering Course is designed specifically for outdoor enthusiasts with some experience in the winter mountains who now want to progress onto graded winter climbs. It is also ideal if you want to learn some of the skills to operate on easier mountaineering itineraries in the Alps or Greater ranges (although please bear in mind that this is not an Alpine preparation course).
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 the course content is kept as flexible as possible. However, the following course outline gives a fairly typical programme.
The first day of the course will be spent revising key winter skills before focusing on more advanced techniques on days 2 and 3.
Day 1 will focus on
Selecting suitable equipment for winter use
Revision of efficient footwork in winter
Use of ice axe/ ice axe arrest
Use of crampons/ movement techniques
Avalanche awareness and avoidance
Information on winter weather and navigation
Days 2 & 3 then focus on the skills for movement on more technical terrain. These skills will be covered during mountain journeys which will allow us, depending on conditions, to ‘tick off’ some classic Scottish routes. Typical examples include Ledge Route (Ben Nevis), Broad Gully or Dorsal Arete (Stob Coire nan Lochan), Fiaciall Ridge (Coire an t'Sneachda) and the Aonach Eagach Ridge (Glencoe).
Techniques covered will include
Selecting suitable technical equipment for winter mountaineering
Ropework for efficient movement on easier technical terrain.
Ropework for use on steeper terrain
Snow and ice belays
Placing rock and ice protection and building belays
Dealing with emergencies (including emergency evacuation and shelters)
Descending safely from winter routes
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 good fitness levels. If you can walk uphill for 2 or 3 hours at a sensible pace with a few short rests and repeat this over several days then you should be fit enough. A typical winter day will see us out in the mountains for 8 hours or more.
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.
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 be 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 day.
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 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 arehere). 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 there are so many different aspects to winter that we felt a selection of frequently asked questions about winter courses might help you. Of course, if you need any other information don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01433 620283 or use our contact us page.