Winter Skills Weekend
Location: Scotland – Fort William
Price: £195 per person
Length: 2 days
Who is the course suitable for?
This winter skills weekend course is an introduction to winter hill walking suitable for beginners keen to experience winter conditions for the first time and regular hill goers wanting to brush up on skills for winter walking & mountaineering.
What does the winter skills weekend course cover?
– Two full days of practical instruction in the mountains
– Choice and use of equipment for the winter environment
– Movement skills on snow
– Use of the ice axe
– How to fit and use crampons – when to put them on and take them off
– Emergency snow shelters
– A mountain journey putting all of the new skills into perspective
Sample Programme (subject to the weather)
-Kit check & discussion and then onto the hills to cover:
-Ice axe arrest
-Walking in crampons
– Emergency snow shelters
We will use the skills learnt on the first day to ascend a 3,000ft mountain, practicing self arrest and crampon technique along the way where appropriate. We will also talk about avalanche awareness, snow conditions, mountain weather and route planning.
Where is the course held?
We run the course in the Highlands of Scotland from our winter base in Fort William. We are very handy for Ben Nevis, Aonach Mor and Glen Coe and will often make the most of the ski centre chairlifts on the first day to maximise the time spent on the snow.
What about accommodation?
Accommodation is not provided as this allows us to keep the course cost low and you can then arrange accommodation to suit your budget. I stay in Fort William and if you stay anywhere in the town you will be in walking distance of the house that I rent for the season (I am on the Glen Nevis Road in Fort William itself). Try booking.com or any of the price comparison websites for a range of accommodation options – there is always lots of choice in the winter months.
Travel to Fort William
There is a mainline rail station at Fort William. You can also fly to Glasgow and there is a variety of coach and train companies and road links.
Previous Experience & Fitness
This is not a winter climbing course, you do not need any climbing experience and we will not be entering into steep ground that would require the use of a rope. These courses are strenuous and you need to be physically fit to get the most from them. A little bit of training in the form of cycling, running or swimming beforehand will pay dividends!
The course fee includes instruction and the use of any specialist equipment. You can read our kit list page here. We have a limited range of ice axes and crampons which can be lent out on a first come first served basis. If you are looking to buy your own kit for the course then this article I have written may be of help.
When does this course run?
We run this course from January to March – you can visit the diary page for all of our dates.
Who runs the course?
The course is run by Rob Johnson and Huw Gilbert. We both hold the Winter Mountaineering & Climbing Instructor (Formerly the MIC), the highest instructional qualification in the UK. You can read more about our experience and qualifications here.
Did you know there is no legal requirement for an instructor to have any qualification in the UK? People advertise all sorts of unusual titles so ask the question – are they qualified? The only qualification that allows someone to instruct in winter conditions is the MIC or the BMG. The Winter ML allows people to lead groups in the mountains in winter but it is not an instructional qualification.
Meeting Place & Time
Once you book we will send you a comprehensive set of course notes and a letter of confirmation, this will include a detailed kit list and details of where and when we meet. The first day normally starts at 8:30am in Fort William and finishes in the same place at about 5:00pm.
If you have any questions that you can’t find answers to on the website visit our contact page for details on how to get in touch. We look forward to meeting you!
It was a excellent weekend and I really enjoyed it so thank you Huw.
I will certainly be in touch in the future to do some more.
Thanks for a great weekend, loved every minute of it. Huw, your a legend (forgiving the fact you’re Welsh), thanks for the adventure.
We look forward to returning soon.