Winter Skills - 5 days
Our 5-day Winter Walking Skills course is the complete package to help you develop the essential skills required to stay safe in Scotland's mountains in winter.
We focus on fundamentals: personal movement to prevent slipping (cramponing, step kicking and cutting); using an ice axe; self-arrests; winter navigation; planning and preparation; snow pack analysis; avalanche avoidance; emergency procedures; and understanding the winter environment.
You’ll have lots of opportunities to practice, refine your technique and put your new skills to good use as this course is mainly practical and based out on the hill.
This course will give you with the confidence and knowledge to go hill walking safely in winter.
We look at how to prepare for winter, what we carry, how we carry it and why we carry it. We also look at weather and avalanche forecasts and what they mean. Once on the mountain it’s all about safe and efficient travel, good footwork, simple use of ice axes, self-arrests and avalanche awareness.
We continue to develop our personal movement skills on day two which includes cramponing and moving on steeper terrain, different types of self-arrests, more avalanche awareness and snowpack analysis, and emergency procedures. We introduce basic winter navigation. We’ll also go on a longer mountain journey.
This is our navigation day. We'll be using a map and compass, identifying features, taking bearings, timings and pacing. Navigation is essential if you plan to spend time in the mountains. This is a core skill that allows you to plan appropriately, avoid avalanche hazards and stay safe in poor conditions.
On day four you have responsibility for decision-making, route choice and navigating as we put what we've learned into practice. As a team you will plan and lead a mountain journey. This is another great way to experience the dynamic winter environment and helps contextualise what has been covered earlier in the course. Your guide will of course be on hand to give coaching and advice if needed.
Our final day is a review of everything covered, refining techniques and an opportunity for you to reflect on your winter skills.
(Please note: the weather and snow conditions can affect the order in which skills are covered meaning the itinerary can change.)
- Learn how to use crampons & ice axes
- Planning a mountain day
- Avalanche awareness skills
- Winter navigation
- Emergency procedures
- Independence in the mountains
- Understand the winter environment
- Qualified & experienced guides
- Small group sizes
Ice axe, crampon and helmet hire are included in the course fee. If you need to rent winter boots, Cairngorm Mountain Sports are an excellent choice and can be reached on +441479 810903.
Being comfortable and protected from the elements is all about having the right equipment. You can access our recommended equipment list here.
We use the Aviemore youth hostel as our base during winter. It's also a great place to stay. Alternative local accommodation options can be viewed here.
If you are part of a student group or a hill walking club we offer discounted winter skills courses. Please get in touch for more information.
We also run 2 day winter skills courses.
Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.
Level > Moderate