Intro to Winter Skills

For summer walkers wanting to venture out in winter

For Mountaineers, the winter is perhaps the most magical time of year. Blue skies and the sun glistening on the summits and the crunch of snow underfoot can make for some of the most rewarding and memorable days out.

For summer walkers wanting to take the next step into winter, there are additional skills and equipment to confidently make the most of this magical season!

If you would like to discuss this course for for friends/family/clubs or societies, please see the Adventures for You page or just get in touch to discuss options and prices

Introduction to Winter


2 day courses in the Cairngorm National Park, Scotland

Apart from during the great plague of 2020-20??, I had every winter season in the Scottish Highlands as well as working for 6 months in Antarctica as a research scientist since 2001. I will teach you the basic skills that have not only kept me alive throughout but also enabled me to absolutely love and look forward to winter in the mountains. These courses will provide you with the foundation skills and knowledge to be able to plan your own winter mountain journeys and deal with different snow conditions. Coming on a basic winter skills course is also recommended if you want to go on a guided walk in winter with either me or other providers. ​ The courses are run primarily in the Cairngorms National Park (Kingussie, Aviemore, and Cairngorm Mountain in Scotland). The instructor:client ratio is 1:6 with a minimum of 2 clients to ensure that everyone gets the most benefit from the course. Peer-experience and sharing is an important aspect. 16-18 year olds are welcome if accompanied by a parent or guardian also on the course. I run open two day courses at weekends which you can book below online. You will need to ensure that you have all the essential winter equipment beforehand. I will provide a walking axe, helmet (we are not climbing but learning to swing axes around so best be safe!) and walking crampons that will fit sturdy leather boots. If in any doubt please get in touch.​ We can cover a range of different skills and techniques and a lot will depend on weather / conditions and the group aims: ​

  • Avalanche and weather forecasts

  • Equipment and clothing

  • Personal movement skills

  • Efficient use of your boots in different terrain

  • Walking in crampons

  • Use of the ice axe

  • Self-belay

  • Ice Axe arrest**

  • Step cutting

  • Route planning

  • Going on a mountain walk bringing together different skills

  • Emergency snow shelters

​ **This is quite an advanced skill which can take a lot of time to demonstrate and practice - it isn't always feasible to cover this skill. It's fun, but you will need to practice this many more times to get good at it and hope you never have to actually use it! ​ We can look at the use of a rope for emergency situations on these courses if requested. However, this is not a climbing course and it is not expected that most walkers will go out with a rope.


Location:

We tend to meet in Tiso in Aviemore before heading out to the hill. It's a chance to ensure everyone has the right kit, and I can fit crampons to boots. There is a large cafe upstairs and it's handy as if folks have forgotten anything vital it can be hired or bought in the huge shop downstairs.

To see the location of Tiso please click here. This opens Google Maps in a new tab.

Cost:

These 2-day non-residential courses cost £190 per person with discounts available for booking multiple folks on. Included in the course price is ice axe, crampon and helmet hire. You are welcome to use your own if you have them already. You will need sturdy leather walking boots MINIMUM.

​ Please see the Private Courses page for bespoke prices if you want a 3 or more day course or have more than 6 people you want to book for. We'll find dates that suit you. Please note that a private course during the week is cheaper than at weekends!

Images from Past Events

To Book

If you want to chat to me about the course then please feel free to do so - email is a good start as I'm often out and about with limited phone reception. Please see the Frequently Asked Questions too.


To book simply click 'Register Now' and follow the instructions (or on mobile, the link below). You'll get an automated confirmation reply but I'll follow that up when I get back to civilisation to say thanks and with more detail about the event.

Please ensure you've read the booking Terms and Conditions and you are aware of what you need to bring by downloading the gear list.

Please check carefully which tickets you are booking and for how many. We try and be flexible but of course that brings loads of options!


PLEASE NOTE THAT OPEN COURSES HAVE FINISHED FOR 2022. I'LL BE PUTTING COURSES FOR WINTER 2023 UP IN THE NEAR FUTURE. IF YOU WOULD LIKE A BESPOKE OR CLUB COURSE MID WEEK, PLEASE GET IN TOUCH AS I HAVE AVAILABILITY IN MARCH 2022