An early season traverse of Liathach’s main ridge, Torridon
Scottish winter mountaineering courses
Winter mountaineering in Scotland is as good as it gets. I like it, a lot. I teach traditional mountaineering skills, which involve just a single axe and a minimal amount of climbing gear. Think of them as the skills for dealing with the type of challenging terrain where you aim to be continuously on the move rather than ‘pitching’. Or more simply, the skills you would need for tackling grade I/II winter ridges, such as the Forcan Ridge, or for climbing big easy gullies, such as Number 3 on Ben Nevis.
Courses are arranged on request and are tailor-made. They can range from a single day’s instruction to a comprehensive 5 day programme. Chat to me first and I’ll advise. You’ll learn how to climb steep snow and get to grips with winter scrambling. You’ll also learn how a rope can be used to protect the difficult or more exposed sections of a mountaineering journey, in both ascent and descent. Most importantly, you’ll gain valuable mountaineering experience and the ability to make your own judgment calls.
Courses are normally run in the Northern Cairngorms, using Aviemore, or one of the nearby villages, as a valley base. The majority of the training would take place in the easily accessible Northern Corries of the Cairngorms, where the convoluted topography produces snow slopes of all angles and aspects. The corries also contain a good selection of easy gullies that lend themselves to a mountaineering approach. For the final day we’d head to a different mountain range, with a classic Scottish mountaineering day in mind. If you’d prefer to arrange your course in another part of the Highlands, this can easily be arranged too.
Guided winter mountaineering
Glencoe, Glen Sheil, the Northern Cuillin, the Aonach Eagach, Torridonian gullies – guided days can be arranged throughout the Highlands.
Previous experience needed
Winter mountaineering instruction can be tailored to accommodate all abilities. However, moving onto steep snow for the first time does require some previous winter mountain experience. If you have summer hill experience but have never been in the winter mountains before, we’d need to start with a day of basic winter skills training.