Winter Navigation Courses

Throughout the season, we offer winter navigation courses in Scotland, the Lake District and Snowdonia (as conditions permit). Just as in summer, navigation is the first skill to learn if you want to venture into the mountains and, sadly, navigational errors are usually the root cause of many mountain rescue incidents.

We can adapt this course to suit anyone, from novices in the winter mountains, to those with some experience, and on to those preparing for their Winter Mountain Leader qualification.

The course covers the additional knowledge and skills required to navigate in a winter environment compared to summer – everything from route planning to avoid potential avalanche hazards, advanced navigational strategies for winter conditions, to preparing your map for use in a potentially harsh environment. (Ratio 1:6 max).

Practising night navigation on an NNAS navigation course

Course Details

Who is the course for?

This course is for anyone with an interest in walking in the mountains in winter – from novice winter mountaineer to aspiring Winter Mountain Leader. You need to be a fit mountain walker capable of walking long mountain days carrying a moderately heavy rucksack and be accustomed to dealing with poor weather conditions.

Where is it held?

Our winter navigation courses are generally held in the Cairngorms or on the west coast of Scotland, for example Glencoe and Ben Nevis. If conditions allow, we also run them in the Lake District and Snowdonia.

How long is the course?

This course is a minimum of two days long, but it can also be booked for longer periods. It could be in separate parts, perhaps separated by a few days to give time for you to reflect and practice. Alternatively, it could be run as a continuous block of days to give you an intensive burst of learning and practical experience.

What does the course cover?

  • The additional challenges associated with winter mountain walking
  • Preparing your equipment
  • Adapting your summer navigation skills for winter
  • Route planning and avalanche avoidance
  • Avoiding other winter hazards
  • Dealing with poor visibility

What equipment is included?

You will need to provide: warm clothing including a waterproof jacket and trousers; stiff mountaineering boots suitable for use with crampons; ice axe and crampons; and a rucksack of 40 litres or more.

We will:-

  • Help you to hire: ice axe and crampons (if you do not own them).
  • Provide anything else required during the course.
  • Discuss an appropriate kit list when you book.

What  does it cost?

Prices for one day start at £180 for one person; £200 for two people (i.e. £100 per person); etc.