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Winter Skills Scotland









    Smaller group sizes

    Putting local communities first

    Your safety is our number one focus

    Sustainable travel

    Amazing experiences at affordable prices

    Is This Course For You?

    If you are a competent summer hill walker looking to learn the extra skills needed to get out into the winter mountains then this course is for you.

    The Course

    Our winter skills courses aim to give you the essential skills and techniques for safe travel in the winter mountains.

    During the course we will cover:

    • Personal clothing & equipment – what to wear and carry.
    • Planning a winter day – interpreting the weather and avalanche forecasts.
    • Boot and crampons skills – movement on all types of snow and ice.
    • Using an ice axe – self-belay, step cutting, self-arrest.
    • Emergency procedures.
    • Winter navigation.

    Whilst covering all the above we will also make journeys into the winter mountains to practise our new skills and hopefully stand on some summits!

    All our courses are tailor made to your needs, so we don’t have a set itinerary.

    The main areas we use for our winter skills courses are the Ben Nevis/Fort William/Glencoe areas and the Aviemore/Cairngorms area. That said, we will select venues based on the weather and mountain conditions so we may visit other areas whilst delivering our courses. If you want to stand on specific summits then we can also factor those in for your course and travel further afield to work with you to help you achieve your aims.

    Contact us to find out more.

    All our courses are tailor made to your needs, so it doesn’t matter if you are completely new to winter skills or already have some knowledge, you’ll learn plenty and grow in confidence and ability.

    Choose from a single day up to a full week depending on how much time you have available.

    Prices start from £250 per day for 2 people (£300 for up to 4 people and £320 for up to 6).

    We can run this course at any time of year on dates to suit you.

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    Included in the price of this trip

    • Professional guiding with fully qualified and experienced guides
    • Maximum guiding ratio of 1:2 to ensure safety and increase chances of success
    • All technical equipment including ropes

    Not included

    • Travel to and from the course venue
    • Your accommodation before, during and after the course
    • Meals and drinks before, during and after the course
    • Personal travel insurance (to cover you for cancellation, accident, health, emergency evacuation and loss, theft of or damage to baggage and personal effects etc)
    • Personal equipment (please see our clothing and equipment section)

    Essential Clothing & Equipment

    • Boots

      A good pair of light-weight GoreTex lined walking boots which provide ankle support and are well broken-in. Boots are essential - Please do not bring trail shoes.

    • Boots B2

      A good pair of B2 boots which provide ankle support, are insulated and crampon compatable and are well broken-in. B2 boots are the most suitable. Boots are essential - Please ask if you are unsure what boots to bring.

    • Buff

      Essential for helping to keep the sun off your neck at lower altitudes, protecting from dust and wind and as neck/face protection higher up.

    • Climbing Harness - Standard

      These are available to hire for a small fee – please enquire.

    • Climbing Helmet

      You only have one head - best to look after it. Make sure you can wear a beanie/woolly hat under your climbing helmet

    • Compass

      A silva compass for navigating with

    • Crampons - C1

      Can be hired - please enquire for details.

    • Crampons - C2

      Must be compatable with your B2 boots

    • Dry Bags

      A selection of rucksack liners and dry bags as required to keep your clothing, sleeping bag and equipment dry and organised.

    • Fleece or Soft Shell Layer

      This can be a fleece jumper or fleece jacket or a soft shell jacket.

    • Footwear

      Please make sure you have suitable footwear for walking into any climbing venues. For venues close to the road, a pair of trainers, trekking or approach shoes will normally suffice. If the venue is further afield or a mountain crag then a lightweight pair of walking boots or a good approach shoe will be better – please ask in advance if you are not sure.

    • Gilet

      This is an optional item but a good choice as an extra layer to keep your core warm. Any gilet you choose should be low volume (not bulky) down, primaloft or fleece.

    • Gloves

      A lightweight windproof pair of gloves for wearing on a daily basis as required.

    • Head Torch

      With spare batteries or the means to recharge.

    • Hiking Socks

      We recommend a good pair of proper hiking/trekking socks. A minimum of three pairs but ideally you should have a pair for each day.

    • HMS Karabiners

      These should be locking Karabiners – you will need a minimum of 2.

    • Ice Axe

      This should be a walking axe between 55 and 65 cm long.

    • Insulated Jacket

      Can be down or synthetic.

    • Liner Gloves

      Thin silk/wool/polypropylene liner gloves – 2 pairs.

    • Long-Sleeved Thermal Top

      Essential base layer for colder days and nights. Pack at least 2 of these.

    • Mid-Layer

      Lightweight microfleece or something similar is ideal as a mid-layer. You should bring two mid-layer tops – tops with zips allow ventilation and are often better than round neck tops.

    • Mittens

      Expedition standard modular mittens with a warm fleece lined inner and a durable windproof/waterproof outer shell. Ideally your mittens will also have wrist straps.

    • Outer Gloves

      These should fit over your liner gloves and be fleece lined with a durable windproof/waterproof outer shell. Ideally they will have wrist straps.

    • Personal First Aid Kit

      This should include suncream, lip balm, blister plasters (compeed), plasters, painkillers and any prescription medicines, insect repellant etc.

    • Sling 120cm

      1 x 120cm sling.

    • Snow Goggles

      For protecting your eyes on glaciers and/or travelling in snowy winter conditions.

    • Soft Shell Trousers

      These should be insulated/fleece lined for winter use.

    • Soft-Shell Jacket

      Make sure it is insulated and, importantly, windproof (not all soft-shell jackets are windproof).

    • Sunglasses

      For general eye protection, wearing whilst trekking or on glaciers if applicable to your trip – for wearing on glaciers sunglasses need to be Category 4 and be close fitting or have side protection.

    • Thermal Long Johns

      1 pair, for wear at high altitude an/or whilst sleeping.

    • Warm Layer

      This can be a fleece jumper, fleece jacket or lightweight duvet/insulated jacket.

    • Water Bottle

      At higher altitudes your Camelbak may freeze and so it is a good idea to have a 1 litre Nalgene type bottle. Also great for events like the Cuillin ridge Traverse.

    • Waterproof Jacket

      Hard shell jacket ideally this will be waterproof and breathable (GoreTex or equivalent) and it will have a hood.

    • Waterproof Trousers

      Ideally they should be windproof and breathable (Gore Tex or equivalent) and with full or ¾ length side zips.

    • Woolly hat

      To keep your head warm - Ideally a hat that will cover your ears too and fit under a climbing helmet.

    Optional Clothing & Equipment

    • Belay Device

      A tube type Belay device is best - Our guide will provide this if required

    • Camera

      Make sure you have spare batteries or the means to re-charge.

    • Mobile Phone

      You may want to use you phone as a camera. On our overseas trips signal is often limited or non-existent so making calls or sending texts may not be possible - see FAQs for trip specific info.

    • Small Stainless Steel Flask

      Useful for hot drinks during the day/night

    • Walking poles

      Not essential but extremely useful when carrying a load, descending and for any river crossings.

    Paperwork

    • Booking Confirmation

      This will be sent to you aproximately 10 days before departure

    Carbon Footprint

    We are yet to determine the average CO2 emissions per person for our Winter Skills courses.

    What are we doing about it

    Trekking trips such as this are low carbon in comparison to other forms of travel and activities. That said though, we are working hard to understand exactly what the carbon emissions are for all our products. By the end of 2023 we hope to have measured everything we do and have a good understanding of all the individual carbon footprints. This will then act as a starting point for us to take action to reduce our emissions to as low as reasonably practicable and drive towards net zero.

    FAQs

    No, unfortunately we don’t currently provide equipment for hire but can recommend Expedition Kit Hire.

    Yes, taking photos is an absolute must! We do however advise you only to take a small camera as the extra weight of large SLR type cameras and accessories can all add up. Any extra weight will contribute to a more difficult day and possibly affect your balance on any tricky/technical sections.

    A deposit of 25% of the total cost of the trip/course is payable at the time of booking and the balance is due 8 weeks before the departure date. If the booking takes place less than 8 weeks before departure, then the full amount is due at the time of booking. If you would like to discuss payment options, then please get in touch.

    A comprehensive list of clothing and equipment required for your trip can be found by visiting the ‘Kit List” tab on the relevant experience.

    Please refer to our Booking Conditions which can be found here. Alternatively, please feel free to contact a member of the team.

    Venturing into the mountains or taking part in rock, ice or mixed climbing brings with it a certain amount of risk. To minimise these risks, we often deploy ropes to keep each other safe – you will need a harness to attach yourself safely to the rope. The mountain and crag environment is littered with loose rock so we always advise on a helmet to help protect your head from any falling objects.

    Monkey Mountaineering is a family-owned business with a wealth of mountaineering experience. We only use fully qualified professional mountaineers to provide guiding and instruction and only work at small ratios (1 to 1 or 1 to 2). We will never pair you up with someone you don’t know, and our focus is on giving you the best experience possible. If you have booked onto one of our courses, then you can rest assured that the training will be tailored around your specific needs and previous experience.

    Walking poles are not mandatory, but many people do use them to help reduce the pressure on knees or help with balance. If you regularly use walking poles then please feel free to bring them with you.

    Look for more

    Bespoke experiences

    Can’t see what you are looking for? All our trips can be customised to meet your needs so, if you need bespoke dates, want to add extra days, or modify the itinerary then please just let us know – we will be happy to help.