Garry Smith
climbing and mountain skills
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winter skills courses - Scotland
Crossing the remote 'Northern Pinnacles' of Liathach.
Torridon, North West Scotland.
The elegant snow arete of Sgurr Dearg.
A lovely finish to a PyB winter
mountaineering course, Glencoe.
Taking in the view of the vast Coire Mhic Nobuil.
Torridon, North West Scotland.
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.

winter mountain skills  a little bit of knowledge and experience can open up a world of opportunities in the mountains. Whether you aspire to easy winter hill walks or committing winter ridges, training can be arranged to help you enjoy the winter hills at any level. This can range from a single day's instruction through to a comprehensive multi-day course, depending on what you'd like to learn and how much time you have available. Prices can be found on the bookings page.

winter skills courses even a single day's instruction will leave you feeling confident with the use of an ice axe and crampons, and give you a good idea of how to cope with the often harsh weather conditions of Scotland' s winter mountains. A two or three day course would build on this, improving your navigation, instilling some avalanche awareness and generally equipping you for independent mountain journeys at this magical time of year.

winter mountaineering courses  a short course, anything from from two to four days, can give you the more advanced skills needed for climbing snow-covered ridges and grade I/II gullies. These traditional mountaineering skills can involve just a single mountaineering axe or two climbing axes, whatever your preference. Either way, the aim would be to set you up for venturing onto steeper or more serious winter terrain. You'll get to grips with winter scrambling and learn how to use a use the rope in a mountaineering context; to protect short sections of a winter journey and to help descend steep ground.

where can winter skills training take place?  the usual venue is the Northern Cairngorms, with an accommodation base in Aviemore or one of the surrounding villages in the Spey Valley. The Cairngorm Mountains, an area of outstanding natural beauty, are an ideal environment for learning the basic skills of winter walking and mountaineering - the easily accessible Northern Corries are as reliable as it gets for maintaining good snow cover throughout the season. They also contain a wealth of easy mountaineering terrain, particularly gullies. Also, the high and extensive Cairngorm plateau is the real thing... a proper arctic environment!

Winter skills courses can also be based elsewhere in the Highlands, just ask. It's easily feasible to arrange training based in Glencoe, the Fort William area or even the North West. There may be a small additional charge to cover my re-location expenses, but this is always quoted upfront before any booking.

It's worth noting that being based in the Aviemore/Northern Cairngorms area gives the option of a day's walking or mountaineering in other mountain ranges (Aviemore is centrally located in the Highland road network). The Laggan Hills and Creag Meagaidh are only 50 mins drive away. Ben Nevis and the Mamores can be reached in an hour and 15 minutes. And with an early start, Torridon, the Lochcarron Hills and An Teallach are also within a day's striking distance.

winter navigation training  learning how to find your way around the winter mountains in poor visibility can be far easier to learn than you might think. In just a couple of days you can have the whole map and compass thing de-mystified. You'll learn essential techniques such as how to walk on a bearing and how to pace or time the distance you've covered. You'll also learn how to pick out the safest route to your destination and how to use your smartphone as a back-up navigation device. Navigation training is available on a daily basis, all year round.