Our advanced winter skills course develops your winter walking skills to the highest levels over 5 days of training.
We'll re-cap your core winter walking skills and progress these so you can use them confidently in the toughest of conditions. We cover advanced techniques for ice axe and crampon work, winter navigation and snowpack analysis, as well as introducing basic winter mountaineering ropework skills and equipment for safeguarding movement on steeper terrain.
Day 1; we'll meet and look over personal equipment, weather and avalanche forecasts before planning and preparing for a mountain journey. Once on the mountains your personal movement skills (kicking/ cutting steps, cramponing, ice axe skills including self arrests) will be refreshed, and as we journey we will practice our winter navigation and remind ourselves about the snowpack, its stability, key observations and how we manage ourselves safely away from avalanche danger
Day 2; starts with practicing our movement skills on steeper terrain looking at safe and efficient movement, transitions between techniques, route choice in both ascent and descent on snow, ice and rocky terrain. As we move about the mountains we continue to make observations about the avalanche hazard and snowpack stability, as well as navigate
Day 3; after an hour of so of navigation theory, we'll head for the hills and cover the advanced techniques required for poor visibility and navigating in the dark. This will include walking on a bearing where there are minimal features, timing and pacing very accuratelty, identifing and locating subtle features. We will also isolate blocks in the snowpack to anaylise their structure, test their stability and relate this information to an avalanche forecast
Day 4; will start by introducing ropes, equipment and mountaineering techniques, then move onto steeper snow and rocky ground and look at how we can safeguard movement in both ascent and descent using these. Basic mountaineering skills open up a lot of mountain terrain during winter and give you the confidence to be more adventurous when planning a day out
Day 5; we'll put everything together and enjoy a mountain day. As the course progresses you'll take more responsibility for decision making and planning. On this day your guide will be alongside to give advice and coaching, but hopefully only a little input is required. Day 5 is also an opportunity to revisit anything covered earlier in the course to ensure you finish satisfied with your advanved winter skills
Throughout the course you'll learn how to manage yourself in harsh conditions and what to do if something goes wrong. We'll also consider snow-holing and what you need to do to spend an evening out in the mountains - although we'll not stay out an evening ourselves.
· Develop excellent crampon, ice axe and personal movement skill
· Practice advanced winter navigation techniques in challenging conditions
· Have an indepth understanding on the snowpack, avalanche forecasts and avalanche hazards
· Lots of opportunities to improve your personal administration
· Mountaineering techniqies including ropework
· Understand the winter environment better
· Excellent guides
· Small groups 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 - 01479 810903.
Being comfortable and protected from the elements is all about having the right equipment. Here's what equipment we recommend bringing.
We use the Aviemore youth hostel as our base during winter, which is also a great place to stay. Here are some local accommodation options.
Plesae get in touch if you have any questions.