/ Winter Climbing- where to start
Can any one recommend a decent route/centre/instructor to brake me in?
Get some books about it, find a friend who's a vetran of scottish winter climbing who can help you and build up gradually gaining experience and crag sense. Ask around on here or join a club if you don't have a partner, there's always someone willing to help out :)
What he said. The MLTUK book on Winter Skills would be my first buy and then find someone willing to go out and do some easy stuff to start off with.
I'll be up in Glencoe for a couple of weeks in February with family but will be keen to be getting out for a few days at least!
What about a winter mountaineering course with someone like Alan kimber or Martin Moran? I'd reckon it would be worth it to help learn the mountain craft type skills you need, particularly bombproof navigation in poor condition and avalanche awareness. On easy winter climbs, the actual climbing is usually the least serious part of the day; being able to stay safe in that environment is more important
Either that or more winter walking with some easy almost-scrambling eg striding edge, halls fell ridge, carn mor dearg arete, bearing in mind even these can be serious in winter; half way along the CMD arete is a long way from home if the weather turns nasty
Late in season is a good idea too, march /April can still have a lot of snow and much longer daylight hours
Worth the effort though, my best days in the hills have all been in winter...
I got a lot of value from the UKC/Plas Y Brenin joint effort big winter climb weekend last November. It was very informative and from being in a similar place to what you describe, I felt able to start going out and having a pop at it. They are doing it again this year and I heartily recommend it. Good food, good accommodation and I felt good value for money as well as just the amount of reassurance instruction that I needed.
Have a look at Plas Y's site for details.
Good call. Winter climbing isn't cheap and I think anyone who can afford to do it can afford a good start with a guide based event to deal with some key safety issues. The benefit of a local guide is that if you are cheeky and ask loads of questions you can get loads of local knowledge in a short lump that could take months, if not whole winter seasons (and all that petrol and effort) given the fickle UK weather to gain on your own.
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