Winter Hill Walking
Ben Nevis from the summit of Gulvain.
In winter conditions the Scottish 'hills' become something altogether bigger and more serious, demanding total respect from the winter hill walker, the refinement of all summer skills and the acquisition and perfection of many new ones.
You may be lucky enough to experience conditions like this:
The summit of Druim Shionnach, South Cluanie Ridge .
but this is sadly not the norm! A 'good' day in winter looks more like this:
The ridge between Sgurr nan Conbhairean & Drochaid an Tuill Easaich.
and a 'bad' day:
White out conditions on A' Chralaig's summit ridge!
The combination of snow and ice underfoot, short daylight and weather conditions that can be arctic in ferocity places much greater demands upon the winter walker. The successful transition from summer hill walking to winter hill walking can be a difficult one and tuition in some basic winter skills is a good way to start.
Winter Hill Walking Skills
This one or two-day course introduces the key skills and techniques required to move safely about the mountains in winter.
It can easily be combined with one or more days of guided winter hill walking in order to consolidate and refine the skills learned.
Techniques covered will generally include:
Movement skills on snow, including kicking steps
Using the ice axe for walking, cutting steps and self-arrest
Use of crampons
Avalanche awareness and safe route choice
Key techniques of winter navigation
The precise programme is fairly flexible taking into account what you want to get from the day, weather and snow conditions.
Please contact us for further details.
The Window, Creag Meagaidh
Carrying out a Rutschblock test for snow stability
Guided Winter Hill Walking
For those with some experience of winter walking, we offer a range of guided winter hill walks. These can range from fairly gentle introductions to our local hills to the traverse of some of the classic ridges that grace the Highlands.
Descending from Stob Ban, Lochaber. 19th October 2011!!
Sample Guided Walks
Any of the walks outlined on the Summer Hill Walking page can be attempted under winter conditions, subject to the skill and experience level of the party and the prevailing weather conditions. The times quoted are for summer conditions and are likely to be significantly longer in winter. There are no guarantees of outcome in winter!
The south ridge of Stob Binnein, Central Highlands
Less intensive than the Winter Hill Walking Skills, we will introduce and develop skills and techniques as required throughout the day(s).
Beinn Alligin & Liathach from Maol Chean-dearg
As with our summer guided walks, it is very much down to what you would like to do. Please contact us to discuss your ideas and, subject to weather and snow conditions, we will do our best to help you achieve them.