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Winter Skills Courses


Throughout the season we run winter skills courses in Scotland, in the Cairngorms and Glencoe and on Ben Nevis, as well as in the Lake District. If conditions permit, we may be able to run these in Eryri (Snowdonia) too. This is always a popular and sought-after course because it covers the essential first steps in understanding the difference between walking in the mountains in winter as opposed to summer.


On this course we will introduce you to the skills and equipment that are essential to the winter mountaineer, such as using an ice axe and crampons. In addition, you will also learn about important aspects of winter mountaineering and the additional hazards it can bring, including avalanche avoidance.

What’s more, you can enjoy the thrill of reaching your first summit under full winter conditions (optional, of course!).

Instructor:client ratio

Depending on exact aims and locations, there is usually a maximum ratio of 1:6 on this course.

Other courses:

If a winter skills course is not right for you, then have a look at some of the other courses and guiding that we offer:

…or see what our clients say about us.

Winter skills course in Scotland in the Cairngorms, Glencoe or Ben Nevis

Course Details

Who is the course for?

This course is for those with a reasonable amount of prior summer mountain walking experience. 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 skills courses are usually held in the Lake District and in Scotland. In Scotland, we run our winter skills courses in the Cairngorms or on the west coast of Scotland, for example Glencoe and Ben Nevis. If conditions allow, we also run them in Eryri (Snowdonia).

How long is the course?

This course is a minimum of one day in duration, but is more often booked as a weekend or a four or five day course.  This gives you plenty of time to practice what you have been taught as we progress through various skills, and also gives us some contingency time in case of extremely bad weather.

What does the course cover?

  • The additional benefits and risks associated with winter mountain walking
  • Understanding the winter mountain environment and weather
  • Clothing and equipment for the winter mountains – what to wear and carry
  • Avalanche awareness and safe route planning
  • Winter navigation – important differences to summer
  • Use of winter equipment – boots, ice axe and crampons
  • Dealing with emergencies – equipment, procedures and improvised shelters
  • Judgement and decision-making

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; and a rucksack of 40 litres.

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?

“Open” courses are shown in the Calendar along with their prices which are usually around £70 per person per day.

“Private” bookings for one day start at £230 for one person; £250 for two people (i.e. £125 per person); £270 for three people (i.e. £90 per person); £290 for four people (i.e. £73 per person) etc. From the 4th day, a discounted rate will apply.