Frequently Asked Questions


Here is a list of general Frequently Asked Questions clients ask about courses and related matters. Please also note that each course or trip page also has a tailored FAQ’s page and so please do refer to those when selecting or preparing for your trip.  

We hope you’ll find the info you need but, if there’s something you want to know that we haven’t covered, please call or email us and we’ll be more than happy to help.  Infact, if you’ve thought of it then the chances are other people have too – so we’ll add it to the list!

What equipment is provided and do I have to pay to use it?

We supply all the technical equipment you’ll need for training courses completely free of charge (some providers charge for equipment use but we have never, and will never, add hidden costs onto the price of your course).  For climbing courses this includes helmets, harnesses, climbing hardware and ropes. We also have a limited range of climbing shoes that are you are welcome to use if we have your size (although for introductory climbing courses training shoes work fine).  

For navigation courses we can supply maps and compasses and for winter courses we again provide all the technical equipment including ice axes and crampons (the only extra cost in winter is if you choose to hire boots as this service is provided externally).  Details on all these different items are available on the relevant kit list for your course which you can find on the relevant course page or you can check out our kit lists here.

The only exception to the loaned equipment is that we ask expedition members on technical itineraries to provide ascenders, but this is again clearly explained on the relevant product page and covered in the expedition itinerary frequently asked questions.

Do I need insurance?

We have professional indemnity insurance and for all UK courses we are all lucky enough to have free access to mountain rescue services and healthcare (although you may still consider it worthwhile purchasing your own personal accident and cancellation insurance). Please do note that we do adhere rigidly to our Terms & Conditions and so cancellation insurance is well worth considering incase you can’t attend for some reason.  For all overseas courses, you must purchase specialist rescue, medical and repatriation insurance. Details of your insurance policy must be sent to us by the final payment date.  The following companies provide appropriate mountaineering insurance:

British Mountaineering Council
0870 010 4878

Snowcard Insurance Services
01327 262 805

What if I have a specific objective or want to learn things not offered on one of your courses?

Perhaps the most popular of the frequently asked questions we get asked. That’s what we specialise in!  Just get in touch and we will happily tailor an itinerary to suit your requirements.

What about under 18s?

Under 18s are welcome as long as they are accompanied for the duration of the course by a parent or legal guardian. We can easily arrange family days and, although we specify a minimum age on each activity page, with many activities we can work with children as young as six.  

Will you give my details to other people?

All information supplied to us remains completely confidential and we will never pass it on to third parties. Full details on our Privacy Policy are available here.

Why is the instructor to client ratio so important?

You will get more out of your time with us if you work in a group where the numbers suit the activity.  We favour small instructor to client ratios so that you benefit from quality time and instruction, where you have time to ask all the questions you want, the routes chosen can be tailored to suit you, and we can take plenty of time to show you specific techniques and skills.  

Why don’t you provide accommodation for all your courses?

We organise both residential and non-residential courses. If we think the course will benefit from us all staying somewhere together we’ll make it a residential course. For others we ask you to arrange your own accommodation since some people will want to stay in luxury accommodation, others will opt for a B&B and others will be happy to camp.  If you need help with accommodation on our non-residential courses please get in touch and we’ll try to help out or try the recommendations on our accommodation options which appear on every product page.

What if I need to cancel a course booking?

If you cancel over 26 weeks in advance of a course start date we refund all the money you have paid us so far.  Cancelations within 26 weeks of a course start date, you forfeit the deposit, but we refund any other money you may have paid.  If you cancel within 8 weeks of the course start date you forfeit the full amount unless we are able to resell your place. See the Terms and Conditions page for more detailed information.  To cover this eventuality we recommend you take out an insurance policy that includes cancellation of your trip or holiday.

How do I book?

All of our courses and expeditions can be booked online. However, we do pride ourselves on ensuring we match participants to the right product and so would always rather have a chat or answer any additions to these frequently asked questions if you need to ask them prior to booking. We are here to help and can be contacted on 01433620283 or via our Contact Page.

Can you guarantee good conditions?

We can’t control the weather but we try to plan areas and routes appropriate to the conditions.  A big advantage of being in small groups with flexible itineraries is that we can make the best of the conditions on the day.  This does mean that we reserve the right to change the itinerary for safety reasons if required.  Please follow the kit lists detailed on each product page carefully. Above all, be prepared for all the ‘interesting’ weather the U.K. and overseas has to offer.

Can I wear shorts?

For our climbing sessions we’d also strongly recommend long sleeved tops and trousers rather than shorts. Gritstone will always win a battle with your skin! If in any doubt about what to bring please Contact Us to discuss it before the start of the course.

Will it be sunny?

We experience all weathers in the mountain areas we operate in. Sometimes that means it will be very sunny. Please come prepared with suncream and any other sun protection items even if the day doesn’t start sunny. The weather can change substantially over a day.

Should I wear Jewellery?

We’d strongly recommend leaving any ear rings except studs at home. We also strongly recommend removing watches and rings are not permitted for climbing. Your instructor will remind you about this, but it better to leave them safely at home rather than loose one at the crag.

What is the timetable for courses?

For residential courses accommodation will be provided for the night before the course starts. Then we will meet after breakfast the following morning at 9.30am. We will be finished at 4:30 pm on the last day.  For non-residential courses we will meet somewhere convenient on the first morning of the course. A typical day lasts from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Full Joining Instructions will be provided with your Booking Confirmation.

What about transport arrangements?

We usually ask you to provide your own transport to and from venues. Having said that, we can quite often organise car sharing to minimise environmental impact and reduce fuel costs.  Once we are there we will try to use car sharing to get us around during the course. We can also easily collect you from a local station if you are travelling to your course via public transport. In line with our Environment Policy we love to support anyone choosing to use public transport.

What about food arrangements?

On most of our residential courses breakfast and lunch is provided. After a day on the hill we often go out together for evening meals. That’s not included in the price though.  On non-residential courses please make your own arrangements for food. As our courses take place in wilderness settings there will be no provision for you to buy extra food or drink. Please come well prepared so you can stay well fuelled and hydrated.

How do you try to reduce your environmental impact?

We are passionate about protecting the natural environment and we are proud of the steps we have taken to minimise our impact.  Please take the time to read our Environment Policy page.

How fit do I need to be?

It goes without saying that arriving fit and well is important to get the most out of your course. It is also essential for succeeding on many of our objectives. On each product page we give guidance on the required experience or fitness level required. If you in any doubt we are always happy to discuss this with you. Above all else we want your choice to be right for you.

Do you need to know about medical conditions?

This is the most important of any frequently asked questions we get asked. It is essential that you let us know about any medical condition or injury when booking. You must also let your instructor know on the starting day of your course. This information will remain completely confidential but is essential. It allows us to tailor our activities to suit you and to ensure the safety of other group members.

Are there any toilets?

We run outdoor activity courses and, by their nature, you will be in the open and away from civilisation. This means there won’t be toilets available. It is always possible to duck behind a boulder or find a tucked away place, but ‘outdoor toilets’ are all that we can offer. This means that, although ‘number 1’s’ are reasonable, please try very hard to avoid the need for ‘number 2’s’ while you are out. Please also bring some way to store toilet paper or sanitary products for carrying out at the end of the session.

All there be any insects or biting creatures?

We have a few biting and stinging creatures you need to be aware of. Adders are a venomous snake found in the UK and there are some around the Peak District National Park. They are extremely reclusive and generally will slither off rather than risk confrontation. However, you may come across them in long grasses, heather or bracken. So, please be careful when walking in the areas below crags. Of course, if you do get bitten by an adder please inform your instructor.

Bees and wasps may also be encountered. Consider bringing insect repellent and do inform your instructor if you get stung. Also, be sure to let them know at the start of the day if you have any known allergic reactions to stings or bites. In common with most parts of the country, we also have ticks in the areas we operate. Ticks like to latch onto your skin to feed on your blood. This in itself isn’t a particular problem, except that some ticks carry Lyme Disease. If you do notice a tick during your session please inform your instructor. Please also ask your instructor if you’d like to know more about ticks and Lyme Disease.

Lastly, midges can be a problem in the areas we operate. They are active from spring until autumn and, although not dangerous, they can make a day at the crag very uncomfortable. Often they are kept at bay when it is windy, but on still days they will be keen to find you. We do recommend bringing insect repellent if they bother you. You might also like to consider a midge head net. We will try to find venues that aren’t affected too much, but there is only so much we can do to avoid these annoying residents.