/ Learning winter climbing Scotland

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
L Tombin64 - on 16 Oct 2016
Hello! Looking to begin learning how to winter climb this coming winter using crampons, ice axes etc. Don't want to pay the prices that courses charge as I'm assuming most of the price, which is pretty steep, is to cover the insurance. Any suggestions to get this ball rolling gratefully accepted. Thankyou in advance.
10
brianjcooper on 16 Oct 2016
In reply to Tombin64:
Hi.
Go on a course and learn how to do it properly. In the long run it will be money well spent and may keep you alive
as you will be made more aware of the dangers. It's a whole new ball game compared to rock climbing in the Sun.

Have fun.

PS. Strangely, learning to drive a car can be expensive too.
Post edited at 11:43
jezb1 - on 16 Oct 2016
In reply to Tombin64:

I'm biased but courses work out great value in the long run. You're paying for the instructors knowledge and experience.

Check out www.ami.org.uk for appropriately qualified people.
Hyphin - on 16 Oct 2016
In reply to Tombin64:

There are some reasonably priced options. http://www.falkirkcommunitytrust.org/outdoors/programme/default.aspx?page=2

Check out Mountaineering Scotland too, especially if you're a student.
I like climbing - on 16 Oct 2016
In reply to Tombin64:

Find the money and go to Glenmore Lodge
L Tombin64 - on 16 Oct 2016
In reply to I like climbing:
I was actually looking at glen more lodge. Genuinely worth it? I reckon for the intro 2 days and the 5 days after that with accommodation, it's about a grand. You guys would recommend glenmore lodge? Thanks for all the replies
planetmarshall on 16 Oct 2016
In reply to jezb1:

> I'm biased but courses work out great value in the long run. You're paying for the instructors knowledge and experience.

Mostly for the sake of offering a contrary opinion - Try it the old fashioned way. Borrow, beg or steal an axe and crampons and go walking with some people who have done it before, and work your way up from there.

Obviously this is at your own risk, but you'll be more likely to learn self sufficiency and good decision making than you are if you go climbing with someone who is making all those decisions for you.

1
Greasy Prusiks on 16 Oct 2016
In reply to Tombin64:

Can you rock climb already?
Paul at work - on 16 Oct 2016
In reply to planetmarshall:

> Mostly for the sake of offering a contrary opinion - Try it the old fashioned way. Borrow, beg or steal an axe and crampons and go walking with some people who have done it before, and work your way up from there.

> Obviously this is at your own risk, but you'll be more likely to learn self sufficiency and good decision making than you are if you go climbing with someone who is making all those decisions for you.

Completely agree with the first statement and disagree with the second, in all but a few cases. A 'good' instructor or coaches aim will be to make you as self sufficient as possible (given your individual time frames) and will help you make your own decisions and judgements, so that you can go out and complete your own adventures, in your own time.
planetmarshall on 16 Oct 2016
In reply to Paul at work:

> A 'good' instructor or coaches aim will be to make you as self sufficient as possible (given your individual time frames) and will help you make your own decisions and judgements, so that you can go out and complete your own adventures, in your own time.

They will try, yes. In practice it's very difficult when climbing with someone vastly more experienced to overcome the 'expert halo' and be the one to say 'Im not comfortable with this, I think we should go back'.

GStone - on 16 Oct 2016
In reply to Tombin64:

Did the 5 day Glenmore lodge course last year and couldn't fault it. We had one instructor to me and my climbing partner, did everything from building and abseiling off snow bollards, climbing mixed routes in crampons, using snow anchors like a deadman and bucket seat, and loads more. Finished up the week leading grade II / III.
Not only are you paying for the top class instruction, you are getting filled full of calories and good food with the excellent catering, 30 mins walk in to the Corries, after being dropped of/collected by a minibus everyday, and useful evening lectures on things like winter navigation and Avalanche awareness.
Each day you are made to do an assessment of the conditions based on the latest Avalanche reports and weather forecasts. Equipment and boots provided if needed too.

I could go on, but you get my drift!
Kahti - on 16 Oct 2016
In reply to GStone:

Glenmore used to do "Guinea pigging" days with their mia/mic trainees. Where you would get a weekend of instruction for free by people working towards their qual. Worth calling them up if your on a budget, although to be selected for it I think you need some winter walking experience. If you don't have any then get some before even thinking about climbing in Scotland anyway. Navving off the top of a climb in a whiteout can often be harder than the climb itself!

I did a guinea pig day about 5 years ago as my first intro into proper winter climbing, after years of walking and soloing easy gullys. It was great! Day one seconded spiral gulley direct (III) and day two practiced some leading on Jacobs ladder. Also had useful talks about avi awareness and route planning on the way in and some nav practice on the way out.
jezb1 - on 16 Oct 2016
In reply to Tombin64:

Personally I'd go to an independent provider but I'm sure you'd have an ace time at glenmore.
olddirtydoggy - on 16 Oct 2016
In reply to Tombin64:

I took a course last season after kind of learning the basics myself for 2 seasons. 5 days with an instructor gave me the method to stay safe. I was able to read the avalanche forcasts and came away with a really good new mate who I hook up with regularly for a climb. I wouldn't blink, get it booked!
Rigid Raider - on 16 Oct 2016
In reply to Tombin64:

I did a ski touring course at Glenmore Lodge while Mrs RR was heavily pregnant; we had a double room, she liked the place and the food and we had an enjoyable week even though the weather was terrible.
Dave Perry - on 16 Oct 2016
In reply to Tombin64:

Can't fault the advice given. But there;s nothing wrong with going off with someone whose experienced.
GrahamD - on 17 Oct 2016
In reply to Tombin64:

Contact your local club. Thats how I started winter climbing - picking it up from more experienced members.
ChrisH89 - on 17 Oct 2016
In reply to Tombin64:

I think a combination of a few courses and doing a more "traditional" apprenticeship with more experienced friends is a great way to learn without being ridiculously expensive: you don't need an instructor to teach you absolutely everything but having one occasionally helps to curb bad habits and you always pick up plenty of knowledge from them. Personally I prefer to do some easy stuff with a friend and learn the basics that way before taking any courses as having a decent grounding really helps you to make the most of a course. A little understanding in advance helps you to understand the more complicated stuff and you're more likely to know what you want or need from the course and be able to ask the instructor appropriate questions.
AlH - on 17 Oct 2016
In reply to Tombin64:
There are many roads to Rome... or becoming a winter climber. (I'm an independent provider of courses but also work for Glenmore Lodge during some of the winter- I was also a self taught winter climber). Its perfectly possible to become a sound recreational climber without ever going on a course; learn from friends, club members etc. Go out with a variety of winter climbers making sure they are happy to share their experience rather than just use you as a portable belayer.
A course is also not a bad place to start providing the Instructor builds your experience throughout. So early on they may be explaining their decisions and later, if you are out with them over a sufficient period of time, you may well end up being the one making the decisions with a little guidance. But you can't do all of your climbing on courses.
So in practise a combination of both also works well. You will want to build on current experience (any of: summer hillwalking and roped scrambling, summer climbing, winter hillwalking). A course as a primer or a checkup is a useful starting point early on but then you have to go and get some independent mileage at a suitable level and with peers- both equally and more experienced would be nice. Another course for some next steps later on may be useful for shaping your skills, explaining some of the common habits you've observed and picked up and give you the confidence to go on and continue developing. Have fun. Scottish winter climbing is like nothing else- frustrating, painful, terrifying, adventurous, exhilarating and rewarding (often on the same day!).
L Rich_Garnett on 19 Oct 2016
In reply to I like climbing:

Glenmore Lodge has a great setup and will lend you all the kit you need like harnesses, trousers, boots, crampons etc.
ads.ukclimbing.com
I like climbing - on 19 Oct 2016
In reply to Rich_Garnett:


> Glenmore Lodge has a great setup and will lend you all the kit you need like harnesses, trousers, boots, crampons etc.

Good point - the op should take note

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.