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Winter mountaineering PYB vs Glenmore

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Good morning to you, 

I was recently lucky enough to receive a couple of refunds from canceled holidays. My partner has kindly suggested that I spend the money on a course that I would like to do, and we stick to tent based accommodation for future holidays. 

I have been looking at the five-day mountaineering courses offered by both Plas Y Brenin and Glenmore Lodge.

A keen (though not very talented) climber and walker, my winter experience is limited to a couple of seasons in Snowdonia.

I was very lucky though that my far more knowledgeable and cultured friend and climbing partner was there to show me the basics of movement in crampons, use of ice axe, avalanche awareness etc. I would like to consolidate and build upon these skills so that I have greater confidence in going out with others of a similar experience or solo in winter conditions.  I'm a great believer in just doing it, and intend to head to more northerly places as soon as the snow falls and the government permits, but I feel a structured learning environment would be the best place to cement and develop my winter mountaineering skills. 

Forgive the long introduction, I wanted to provide some background. I've been looking at these two courses: 

Plas Y Brenin: 5 Day Scottish Winter Mountaineering 
https://www.pyb.co.uk/course/scottish-winter-mountaineering/ 

Ratio 1:4 - Cost £1400 

Glenmore Lodge: 5 Day Winter Mountaineering 
https://www.glenmorelodge.org.uk/winter-mountain/winter-mountaineering/winter-mountaineering-2/ 

Ratio 1:4 - Cost £725 with accommodation 

Both courses seem to cover the same learning terrain, both include evening lectures - breakfast and dinner, accommodation. 

So my questions are: 

1. What am I missing? What is it that makes the PYB course nearly twice as expensive? 

2. Does anyone have any personal experience of either course or similar, that they would be willing to share?  

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In reply to OneBeardedWalker:

> 1. What am I missing? What is it that makes the PYB course nearly twice as expensive? 

Possibly the rarity value of the snow in Snowdonia?

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 spenser 11:08 Sat
In reply to OneBeardedWalker:

The PyB course looks to be based out of a hotel while Glenmore Lodge will probably be based in their bunkhouse.

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 leon 1 11:18 Sat
In reply to OneBeardedWalker: You're based in Devon ? Do you think Nicola Krankie will allow you to travel in to Scotland this winter especially after yesterdays new 'Travel Laws' ? Personally I`d check the cancellation/refund terms on both trips carefully regarding your travel and if its refundable if English cant travel cross border. Id also make sure that PyB isnt offering their courses in Wales if Scotland is off limits.(although Wales seems to be equally welcoming) I hope that Im not being too negative but I suspect that cross border travel may be with us for a while longer

As Spenser said PyB is hotel based as opposed to Bunkhouse

.  Good luck with it 

Post edited at 11:32
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In reply to leon 1:

Oh I very much agree, for the next month or so at least I'd think. Think of this more as research into a future trip should the Covid situation permit it. 

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In reply to spenser:

Ah well spotted. That's probably it then isn't it. Thanks for the input. 

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 jezb1 11:53 Sat
In reply to OneBeardedWalker:

Describing Glenmore Lodge’s accommodation as “bunkhouse” style does it a bit of a disservice, it’s pretty plush!

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In reply to OneBeardedWalker:

I'd imagine the tuition would basically be the same; both employ both BMGs and MICs, so the choice comes down to preferred location (PyB used to be out west), and the bits and pieces that are around the learning itself. I would imagine both have a few rubbish instructors, so that aspect would be luck of the draw (unfortunately!). Given PyB is double the price, I'm not sure you'll get double the instruction! (from memory, PyB recently lost quite a bit of subsidy from the government, while the Sports Scotland has kept theirs up, so this is possible also part of the cost difference). 

Can't talk for PyB directly, but my wife and I have done both 1 week, Winter Skills and Winter Mountaineering at Glenmore (back to back, it was our honeymoon!), and loved it. As well as excellent tuition (obviously the most important thing), the lodge had a great buzz about it, food was excellent, lots of like minded people about, rooms good etc. Also worth nothing that at Glenmore there is a lot for the evenings as well as lectures. There is a climbing wall, gym and think sauna.

Depending on how you want to travel you might find the lodge is more suited as lots of people take the train there (they'll pick you up from the station etc, no driving required while there)

As you'd be going by yourself, I'd go for the lodge, as there was many more people will be around (assuming some semi balance post covid!).

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In reply to OneBeardedWalker:

Oh one other thing, Glenmore lodge have a huge supply of kit that you can borrow while on courses, to try different things out. 

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In reply to peterdavidgrant:

Thank you ever so much for such a detailed reply. What a fantastic thing to do for a honeymoon!

You make good points about the lodge and the atmosphere, certainly would be an added bonus as a solo participant. 

Thanks again, 

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 Sean Kelly 12:32 Sat
In reply to OneBeardedWalker:

I've been on winter & summer with both providers and personally felt that it really boils down to how you relate to the instructors. Very much an individual thing. Both, all things considered are equally good at the courses they provide. Most PyB winer courses are based in Scotland.

Hope that helps.

Post edited at 12:32
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In reply to Sean Kelly:

Cheers Sean, much appreciated 

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 Kimberley 13:32 Sat
In reply to spenser:

Glenmore Lodge doesn't have a bunkhouse.

As far as I know, the accommodation will be in single occupancy rooms

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 Kimberley 13:32 Sat
In reply to Robert Durran:

The course is in Scotland.....

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 Kimberley 13:37 Sat
In reply to leon 1:

Glenmore Lodge doesn't have a Bunkhouse

The accommodation is in single occupancy rooms

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 Max Hunter 10:01 Sun
In reply to OneBeardedWalker:The PYB course is usually based in a great hotel in Ballachulish. Another course available in a terrific hotel in Ballachulish is with Jagged Globe. 
The Jagged Globe “Winter Mountaineering” course is only £995, for a week. The last 3 days of the course are on a ratio of 1:2. It is all inclusive at the Ballachulish hotel. 
https://www.jagged-globe.co.uk/climb/course/i/scotland+winter+mtn.html#overview

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 Red Rover 12:36 Sun
In reply to OneBeardedWalker:

What happens if you book a winter course with PyB and there isn't any winter, do you get a refund?

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In reply to Kimberley:

> Glenmore Lodge doesn't have a Bunkhouse

> The accommodation is in single occupancy rooms

Its more likely to be twin rooms. It certainly was when I did my mountain leader training and assessment. I was impressed by the quality of the refurbished accommodation and the food was excellent. There is also a decent bar up stairs in the Lodge.

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 Martin W 15:56 Sun
In reply to Wanderer100:

> Its more likely to be twin rooms. It certainly was when I did my mountain leader training and assessment. I was impressed by the quality of the refurbished accommodation

Ah, sounds like it has been upgraded somewhat since I last stayed there in...well, around the turn of the millennium, I think.  It was definitely twin rooms in those days, with a communal shower & toilet block which, in winter, was ffffreezing cold.  I wouldn't mind sharing a room again if they've made the ablution facilities a bit more comfortable.

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In reply to Wanderer100:

Normally it would be but this year afaik its all single occupancy rooms unless you come as 2 from the same household- Covid.

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 Andypeak 17:43 Sun
In reply to OneBeardedWalker:

Glenmore are brilliant. The accomodation is pretty good although you do share the room although you can pay a bit extra to have a single room, I'd say it's similar to a budget chain hotel. 

The instructors are very knowledgeable and I thought my course (2 day winter skills) was excellent and pretty good value. 

One thing worth noting is that when I booked Glenmore were stated they would not run the course if there was no snow, PYB told me that the course would be run regardless and we'd be pretending that it was snowing. They alone made me choose Glenmore. 

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In reply to Andypeak:

> One thing worth noting is that when I booked Glenmore were stated they would not run the course if there was no snow, PYB told me that the course would be run regardless and we'd be pretending that it was snowing. They alone made me choose Glenmore. 

When I did a Glenmore spring run off kayak Couse years back there was sod all water in the rivers and they refused a refund and went ahead with what we had. So we did a day trip on the Spean Gorge and a full day trip on the Garry play section, which I think is only a mile or do long.  Bit rubbish really.  Quite a few on the course sacked it off and went skiing/ boarding for a couple of days instead. ( I did)

That's Scotland for you.....

Post edited at 18:50
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In reply to OneBeardedWalker:

Thanks a lot for the advice all, much appreciated and great to hear about some personal experiences. 

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 Kimberley 20:11 Sun
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 Kimberley 20:13 Sun
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 Kimberley 20:13 Sun
In reply to AlH:

It is indeed single rooms due to Covid

https://www.glenmorelodge.org.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/ 

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 Kimberley 20:14 Sun
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 jj-1992 23:11 Sun
In reply to Max Hunter:

Having done the Jagged Globe course last year, I would recommend it as an alternative to the PyB and Glenmore options. 

Course and staff excellent. Accommodation and food all in the price which was really good, adverts this year are for single occupancy rooms as standard too. 

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 colinakmc 23:18 Sun
In reply to OneBeardedWalker:

Going back to the original question I’d go with Glenmore Lodge, personally, cheaper, great mountain lodge atmosphere ( plus good bar!) and great tuition.

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In reply to OneBeardedWalker:

I think the price difference is due to the amount of cake the Brenin serve at 4pm, on the dot, that you’ll be sprinting down the hill to get to the front of the queue for 😉

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 kathrync 14:14 Mon
In reply to OneBeardedWalker:

I suspect most of the price difference is based on Glenmore Lodge using their own accommodation and being subsidised by Sport Scotland. I would imagine the quality of tuition is broadly similar with both.

I can't speak for PyB, but I've done a couple of courses and events at Glenmore and always had a good time. As others have said, the atmosphere there is fantastic, which is a particular bonus if you are going alone. The bar is good and the food is plentiful, they often run lectures or videos in the evenings, and their kit is good quality.

They described their accommodation as "bunkhouse style" but I think whoever said it is like a budget hotel put it best. Rooms are simple but warm and have an ensuite shower room and toilet. They are usually double-occupancy unless you pay a supplement, but for now single is standard due to Covid.

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In reply to kathrync:

Fantastic, thank you. Cheers everyone who replied some very good points in there. 

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