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Descending Beinn Dearg at dusk and the view north west towards
the mountains of Assynt - Ben Mor Coigach, Stac Pollaidh,
Cul Beag and Cul Mhor.
The beautiful snow arete of Sgurr Dearg.
An awesome finish to a winter
mountaineering course at PyB in Lochaber.
Paul, stunned by the view of Coire Mhic Nobuil. With a massive
high pressure forecast, no other destination was in the running.
Torridon, North west Scotland.
Dave in the narrow of 'South Castle Gully',
on the Ben Nevis.
On the eastern end of Liathach's main ridge
after an ascent of 'Access Gully', Torridon.
Toby approaching the final stretch of
the Forcan Ridge, Glensheil.

mountain skills training  a little bit of knowledge and experience can open up a world of opportunities in the mountains. Training can be arranged to help you enjoy the hills at any level. This can range from a single day's instruction through to a comprehensive 5 day itinerary, depending on what you'd like to learn and how much time you have available. A brief outline of what is possible is given below.

If you'd like to arrange any type of mountain skills training, just call or email with your preferred dates and we'll take it from there. Prices can be found on the bookings page. All winter walking or mountaineering equipment is provided, including crampons, an axe and a helmet, if you don't have your own.

winter skills courses  a short, flexible course can give you all the core skills needed for heading into Scotland's winter mountains. These include the basics of how to use an axe and crampons to scoot across snow-covered or icy terrain. You'll also be shown how to attempt a self-arrest in case you're unlucky enough to blow it when crossing a snowy slope. And just as important, you'll learn how to plan a great day in the winter hills, just by using weather and avalanche forecasts and the new found confidence in you're own ability. Winter skills training is available for individuals and groups up to a maximum of 5 people.

For anyone venturing above the snowline it's pretty useful to know what to do in an emergency (now there's an understatement!). Emergency procedures, such as methods of staying warm and how to build snow shelters, and even how to navigate in foul conditions, can all be covered during a day's mountain journey. A fun and informative day like this can easily be built into a winter skills course or arranged on its own.

winter mountaineering  training is available to help you independently tackling grade I/II gullies and snow-covered ridges. These more-advanced winter skills, or traditional mountaineering techniques as they are also known, still involve the use of a single axe but set you up for venturing onto steeper terrain. You'll get to grips with the nuances of winter scrambling and come to recognise the situations where a rope may add some safety. Winter mountaineering training is available for individuals and groups up to a maximum of 4 people.

Scotland winter - further info  the valley base for winter courses is the Aviemore area of the Cairngorms National Park. The nearby Cairngorm mountains are an area of outstanding natural beauty and have the most reliable snow conditions in Scotland. Their high arctic plateau, easy gullies and steep corrie headwalls combined with the often 'testing' winter weather, provide the perfect environment for winter mountain skills training.

Whenever conditions look favourable, there's always an option of a day venturing further afield. It's an opportunity to put any newly learnt skills into practice on a mountain journey that will open your eyes to what Scottish winter walking or mountaineering is all about. With an early start, Aviemore is within a day's striking distance of Torridon, the Lochcarron hills and even the far North West. In the past few years we've made day trips to some of Scotland's most stunning winter locations. Some of which are well known and others that are little off the beaten track. The objectives on these day trips have included -

Hayfork Gully (I) and Constabulary Couloir (II) on An Teallach
the East Ridge of Fuar Tholl
Post Box Gully on Sgorr Ruadh (I/II)
the Forcan Ridge on the Saddle (I)
the South Glen Shiel Ridge
traverses of Cul Mhor and Quinag in Assynt
the East Ridge of Beinn a Chaorainn (I)
Deep South (I) and Deep North (II) gullies on Beinn Alligin
Morrison's (I) and Fuselage (I) gullies on Beinn Eighe
traverses of Liathach (II), Beinn Alligin (I) and Beinn Eighe (I)
exploring the northern corries and easy gullies of Liathach
Castlegates Gully on Carn Etchachan (I)
the Cioch Nose on Beinn Bhan (II)
the East Buttress of Ben Damh
Ben Nevis via the Carm Mor Dearg Arete and Ledge Route (II)

If you'd like your training to be in a particular part of the Highlands, just ask. It's easily feasible to arrange courses in Glencoe, the North West or wherever you'd like to be based.

navigation  for some of us, simply avoiding getting lost is all that's required and that's fine. Finding your way around in poor visibility can be far easier and more fun to learn than you think. In just a couple of days you can have the whole map and compass thing de-mystified and be comfortable navigating around the hills (essential as a back-up if a GPS is your thing). You'll learn essential navigation techniques such as how to walk on a bearing and how to pace or time the distance you've covered. And just as important, you'll learn how to pick out the safest route to your destination. If you think your forays might land you in more demanding situations, you can be trained how to get safely across the trickiest of terrain in whiteout conditions. Navigation training is available all year round, on a daily basis, for a maximum group size of 6.

scrambling  where do I begin? At one end, scrambling is the free moving and unencumbered approach to exploring the more rocky and secluded parts of our mountains. At the other end, it's traditional mountaineering, where a rope and a minimal amount of climbing gear are often carried just in case. With as little as a day's instruction, you can grab the basic skills of route finding and hazard awareness, which are all that's needed to set you up for easier scrambles. If you'd like to take things further, you can then go on to learn some simple climbing techniques that may come in handy for the trickier sections of harder scrambles. Snowdonia has some of the most accessible and varied scrambling in the UK and is an ideal area to literally ferret around and learn. For the total scrambling hit, trips can be arranged to the wonderful Cuillin ridge on Skye - see the guiding page.

alpine preparation  make life in the bigger mountains that much easier with a bit of pre trip training. Learn the art of safe glacier travel and make sure you can haul a partner from a crevasse. If your objective is alpine rock, the ability to 'move together' quickly and fluidly can be practised on the numerous mountain crags in Snowdonia... and if you still think 'fast and light' is a washing machine cycle, then you'll probably need some advice on what equipment to take with you.