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learn to lead winter climbs

4 daYS FROM 5

Develop your winter climbing skills and progress towards leading your first winter routes.  Build your knowledge and aid your climbing progression towards independence on snow and ice. 

We will choose the best 4 days from 5, meaning we have more flexibility with the weather and the opportunity for a rest day. 

Our courses are based predominately in The Cairngorms for more reliable for snow and ice conditions.  We may make use of Ben Nevis and Glen Coe on your course should conditions allow and routes be suitable for your ability.

4 DAYS FROM 5

 PRICES: £760pp

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OVERVIEW

This winter climbing course is designed to equip participants with the skills and knowledge needed to climb snow, ice and mixed routes in the winter mountains.  This means equipping you with the knowledge to be safe on graded ground in snowy environments. It emphasises practical application with a focus on safety, looking at the technical skills of climbing such as ropework, knots and belaying as well the physical movement needed for two axe climbing; hooking, torquing and swinging efficiently.

There is an emphasis on 'winterising' our summer climbing knowledge and getting to grips with more winter specific equipment and techniques, such as ice screws, snow anchors, winter belays, crampon movement, ice axe placement and managing your stances, changeovers and ropework with gloves and goggles. 

The latter part of the course will be focussing on developing your systems, belaying, building anchors and tactics for leading in the winter environment. Winter climbing can be a steep learning curve so we have lots of time to build your skills and adapt to the ever changing environment, helping you gain the winter proficiency you need to help you lead your first routes. 

COURSE OUTLINE

Gear and Equipment

Essential winter clothing, climbing boots, crampons and axes for graded climbs.

Proper fitting of C2/C3 crampons and other winter-specific gear

Route Planning and Avalanche Awareness

Identifying potential avalanche terrain and safe route selection.

Introduction to basic avalanche awareness and safety protocols.

Snow and Ice Climbing Techniques

Safe movement on snow-covered slopes, including ascending and descending.

Use of crampons for front pointing, axes for swinging; hooking and torquing.

'Winterising' Climbing Knowledge

How our rack can differ and what gear is useful 

Ice screw placement and belays 

Ropework and winter belays 

Kicking ledges 

Getting to grips with gloves and goggles and the harsh winter environment

Navigation Essentials

Map reading and compass skills for effectively navigation in poor weather

Understanding snow-covered terrain and its effect on navigation

EXAMPLE ROUTES

Grade I 

Jacobs Ladder

Central Gully 

Number 4 Gully 

Grade II 

Jacobs Edge 

Fiaciall Couloir 

Ledge Route 

Number 2 Gully 

Spiral Gully

Grade III 

Hidden Chimney 

Tower Ridge 

Left Twin 

Wavelength 

And lots, lots more 

COURSE LENGTH 

The courses are scheduled Monday-Friday, allowing us to choose the best 4 days from 5.  This gives us flexibility on weather and allows us to factor in a rest day too if necessary. Scottish winter can be tiring and some recovery time throighoit the week will bode well for the longevity of the course. 

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BY THE END OF THE COURSE, YOU CAN EXPECT TO

Be able to look after yourself on a climb in poor weather, 

Select an appropriate climb due to weather and avalanche conditions

Understand your kit and rack and its limitations in the winter environment, 

Be more confident in ice axe and crampon climbing techniques,

Be in a strong position to lead a winter climbs safely, building good belays, placing sound runners and making the right safety decisions

YOU WILL NEED

You will need to wear suitable clothing for winter mountaineering/climbing, including a full set of waterproofs, warm layers, hat & gloves, ski goggles and winter mountaineering boots (B3 boots ideally)

Boots (B2) can be hired from LDM, subject to sizes and availability of our stocks.

We can provide crampons, ice axe, helmets and other technical equipment for a small hire fee.

WHY CHOOSE US?

Practical Application:

We believe in hands-on learning. Our course includes extensive practical exercises, allowing participants to immediately apply what they've learned in real-world situations.

Small Group Sizes:

We maintain small group sizes to ensure focussed attention and ample opportunity for questions, discussions, and where possible one-on-one guidance. 1-2 ratio maximum in this environment.

Positive Learning Environment:

We foster a supportive and encouraging learning environment where participants can feel comfortable asking questions, making mistakes, and building confidence in their navigation abilities.

Quality Equipment for Hire:

We can provide B2 boots for a small fee, as well as ice axes, crampons and helmets.  All of these are high quality and selected from premium outdoor brands, making sure you have a safe course with the best kit. 

Qualified Instructors: 

Our instructors hold the WMCI qualification, the highest award for climbing and mountaineering in the UK. 

2025 dates

All winter climbing courses are based in Scotland for the upcoming 2025 season.

Our dates will go live from September 2024, but if you wish to book early we can offer private and bespoke packages. 

Prices for bespoke days are listed below.

Course Ratios

1:2 Ratio - 2 people per 1 instructor

Our instructors can teach up to 2 people on this course. 

 

This course is open to the public and has 2 spaces per course.

Minimum 2 people to run - additional charges apply if the course runs at 1-1 ratios

Pre-Requisites 

18+

Experience of hill walking in winter conditions.

Winter mountaineering experiences is essential.

Trad climbing and summer rock climbing knowledge is required. Ideally you are summer trad leader.

Please contact us to discuss regarding any queries.

Equipment

All technical equipment can be  provided & hired from LDM. 

Technical crampons & axes can be hired.

You will need to wear suitable outdoor clothing and have appropriate mountain footwear 

(B2/B3 boots - these are rigid to take crampons)

We have a selection of boots to hire subject to sizes and availability

Boot hire is £10 per pair, per day

Venue

On the day, we will meet you at Tiso, in the Explorer cafe for meet and greet.  We will then look to organise your equipment. 

 

The course is based predominately  in the Cairngorms but will head to Ben Nevis/Glen Coe to make use of routes/conditions - we can transport you over each day

We will mostly climb in the Northern Corries so Aviemore is a useful base if looking for accommodation.

Not quite what you're looking for?

Hire our Lake District Mountaineering instructors for private and tailored programmes.

Suited to your goals & ambitions to make the most of YOUR time in the mountains. 

Day rates: 

1:1 £270

1:2 £160pp

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CONTACT

We look forward to hearing from you and working towards your mountaineering ambitions and helping to achieve your goals. 

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Phone or WhatsApp:

07458353048

If calls are missed we will respond when possible, please leave a voicemail or text message where possible.

Thank you

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