Our Introduction to Winter Skills Courses are designed to develop the essential skills to help keep you safe and give you confidence in a winter mountain environment.
Our two and five day packages focus on preventing slips (using various techniques), safe route choice, navigation, avalanche awareness and the winter environment. You will also learn about winter clothing and equipment (such as ice axes and crampons).
All courses are delivered out on the hill. Therefore, you will have lots of opportunity to practice the skills you learn and refine your techniques each day.
Our Winter Skills courses are designed for anyone looking to become a safe and confident walker in the mountains in winter. Many of our clients are familiar with walking in the mountains in summer and are looking to turn this into a year round activity. A reasonable level of fitness is required as we will be out in the hills for around 6 – 8 hours each day. No prior experience of winter walking is needed. Roped mountaineering or climbing is not included in this course.
We offer both two day winter skills courses and five day winter skills courses. This gives you the option to choose a short course to get the basic skills you’ll need to have your own adventures or a longer course to cover these skills in greater detail as well as giving you the option to test the skills you’ve developed while being assisted by your instructor.
Our Winter Skills Courses take place in and around the Torridon Mountains. This really is a fantastic location, perfect for developing your skills in a winter mountain environment. Torridon is home to a great variety of mountain terrain, on both gentler and steeper ground. This allows us to really get out and practice the techniques needed in a varied and realistic environment. The largest village in the area is Gairloch, with excellent local facilities and amenities, including B&Bs, self catering, hotels, shops, pubs and takeaways.
We offer both two day winter skills courses and five day winter skills courses.
Our two day courses (day 1 and day 2 of the itinerary below), will give you an excellent starting point for your own journey in learning to keep safe in winter. You will still learn the essential skills and techniques needed for preventing slips, navigation and understanding the winter environment. With this foundation of knowledge you will be able to practice in your own time or come back to us to undertake a five day course in the future.
Our five day courses offer the complete package, increasing your skills and ability throughout the week. Starting right from the basics of what to carry and why, by the end of the week you will be helping to plan and lead a mountain journey. For those who have time constraints or less confidence to jump straight into our 5 day course, then a 2 day course is the perfect alternative.
Today we look at being well prepared for the winter mountain environment. We will be discussing clothing, equipment, weather forecasts and avalanche forecasts. Having a good understanding of what you need to do before you even step foot outside can greatly increase your enjoyment and safety in the mountains. Once on the hill we will be learning safe and efficient movement. Focusing on good footwork and the use of crampons, ice axes and self arrest.
Today we will continue to progress and refine our movement skills. Taking a more in-depth look at negotiating awkward and steep terrain. We will also learn and practice navigation techniques using a map and compass, such as identifying features, taking bearings, timings and pacing. Avalanche awareness will be an ongoing topic and we may even look at snowpack to help increase your understanding.
Today is a navigation day. We will use the basic navigation skills that we covered yesterday to plan and undertake a journey. This will give you plenty of opportunity to practice and refine the skills we have developed in the last two days.
Today we will build on our skills in decision making and route choice and further practice what we have learnt so far on movement and steep ground. We will also cover emergency situations as well as undertake some shelter building, such as snow holes.
This is the last day of the course and we will put everything we have learnt so far into practice. With your instructor carefully watching and able to provide any advice or assistance, you will get the opportunity to plan and lead a mountain journey. We will review as we go, looking at what we have done well or could do better. But the goal of the day is to allow you to undertake a journey safely and confidently, with your instructor on hand as needed.
In order to provide the highest level of learning and safety we maintain low ratios for our courses. Below you can see the details. Small numbers allow us to make sure you get the tuition you need and the course is tailored around your aspirations.
|1:2||£240 per person|
|1:3||£170 per person|
|1:4||£140 per person|
|1:5||£120 per person|
|1:6||£100 per person|
|1:2||£600 per person|
|1:3||£425 per person|
|1:4||£350 per person|
|1:5||£300 per person|
|1:6||£250 per person|
Ice axe, crampon and helmet hire are all included in the course fee.