/ Winter skills courses

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Durkules - on 13 Nov 2013
I'm looking for advice and / or recommendations on winter skills courses. I'm a keen UK hillwalker but have never been out in proper winter conditions or used an axe / crampons so think a course should be my best option.

I assume Scotland is the safest bet for good winter conditions, but are Snowdonia / the Lakes typically good enough in winter months (both closer for me)?

A 2-3 day course is about the max length I can do (can't blag much more time away from the family!), so I'd like something fairly intensive, covering the basic skills and getting in some peaks.

Thanks in advance.
jezb1 - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to durkules: Snowdonia & the Lakes can have great conditions, but they tend to be a bit more fleeting. You'd have to get lucky with dates if you're booking something in advance.

Scotland is a safer bet, but even then hard to guarantee suitable conditions for a particular area in advance.
CMCM - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to durkules:

Glenmore Lodge would be a good choice but its expensive. Accommodation, food and equipment included in the prices though! This course might be suitable but they have many others on offer...

http://www.glenmorelodge.org.uk/course-wintermountain-skills-display.asp?course_id=38
Oliiver - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to durkules: If you can afford it, i payed for 3 days private tuition up in Aviemore. It came to about 550 for the tuition. But i felt it benefited me alot more, plus you learn what you want to know. I.e. if you're only going winter walking then you can do nav + avalanche + crampon + axe work for 3 days ignoring rope work
jasonC abroad - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to durkules:

Alan Kimber in Fort William might be a good choice, he does weekend courses which are quite reasonable.

http://westcoast-mountainguides.co.uk/

J
Andrew Smith - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to durkules: Try this chap, bit of a plug as he is a friend. But he is a bloody egg and instructor too.

http://lakelandascents.co.uk/courses-and-training/winter-skills/

Cheers

Andy
imkevinmc - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to durkules: Glenmore Lodge every time, especially as it's your first time. They'll provide all the kit so you will be much better informed about which axe and crampons will suit you (though for winter hill walking, a Grivel Munro axe and G10 crampons should cover it) .
And you'll be able to share the experience with other first timers.
The Ex-Engineer - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to durkules: As mentioned by Oliiver, a good option in the UK is to hire an instructor directly yourself. That works brilliantly if you can find some friends who want exactly the same and you can split the cost.

If you want a course including use of ropes and mountaineering techniques, the online enquiry facility on http://www.themic.org.uk/enquiry/ will put you in touch directly with many of the top instructors working in the UK in Winter.

If you just want a basic course focusing on winter navigation and hillwalking skills then you are welcome to message me (or search for other Winter Mountain Leaders via the internet, including on the Mountain Training Association or Association of Mountaineering Instructors websites).
daniel_c_baron - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to durkules:

Another plug for Lakeland Ascents. I've climbed with Si for 4 years, he knows his stuff and is very professional.

http://lakelandascents.co.uk/courses-and-training/winter-skills/

Regards

Daniel
Mike H SNV - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to durkules:
We have a Premier Post advert running for a winter skills course. Not much use to you durkules as it's a week long. As a rule I'd look for someone who also provides winter ML courses as at least their provision is moderated.

mike
ma-ding on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to durkules:

Just to say I would also recommend Lakeland ascents. You would get a very good introduction with Si and his team and he covers all winter locations.

Cheers, M
ads.ukclimbing.com
jonnylowes - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to durkules:

Speak to Martin Moran about guiding tailored to suit the time constraints you can commit to.

http://www.moran-mountain.co.uk/moran-mountaineering/winter-courses.html

I fully recommend him as I'm sure other will on here.

If you want to play it 'safe' with the time you have available, Scotland will offer more reliable conditions, unless you strike it lucky and we get a nation-wide cold snap at the time you have booked.

Very broad-brush, late February holds the general consensus of being the most reliable date-wise. However being this warm and wet island this can prove very hit-and-miss.

Good luck with your future adventures, but be mindful that a low-cost alternative would be to get in touch with people on here. I'm sure you'll find people with spare axes and crampons etc (me included!), all you'd need is a stiff pair of mountaineering boots (B1/B2) - but you could always hire these and the appropriate clothing which no doubt you already own.

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