Winter walking skills in the Cairngorms
The unique challenges and unrivalled rewards of the winter mountains require you to know a whole host of skills including the correct use of crampons and ice axe, avalanche evaluation. If you: • wish to extend your hillwalking into the winter season • plan to make regularly weekend trips into the winter mountains this season • have a good grasp of navigational skills already • & want to learn the correct techniques and skills for safe movement across snow & ice covered terrain - then this is maybe the winter skills course for you
accommodation at our home base of Fraoch Lodge for Fri and Sat night; all meals from breakfast on Sat morning to lunch on Sun; transport to the hill; transfers from Aviemore station of Inverness airport, if required; instruction throughout.
Dinner on Friday night - most people can't finish work early enough to arrive with us for dinner on Friday night, but if you'd like to join us then please just let us know and we'd be happy to count you in for dinner with us.
Alcohol is not included during the weekend, but we're quite happy to stop somewhere for you to stock up with supplies if you wish.
You are welcome to stay on at Fraoch Lodge on Sunday night if you are unable to book convenient transport home on Sunday. Please don't book your return transport before 5pm on Sunday.
RECOMMENDED KIT LIST
• Waterproof jacket ( old one if you have it for self-arrest) - a duvet jacket is no substitute.
• Waterproof trousers/sallopetes
• Gaiters - large enough to go over winter boots - essential to prevent snow getting into the top of your boot
• Winter boots* (preferably B2 or B3) which are compatible with crampon use
• Torch (preferably head torch style)
• Ice axe* preferably approx 55cm
• Walking Poles (optional)
• 30 Litres plus Ruck sack - i.e. one that is of adequate size to contain ALL YOUR GEAR WITHIN, not on the outside.)
• Fleece jacket/tops
• Warm Hat & spare
• Warm Gloves & spare
• Warm trousers (not jeans and not made of cotton, preferably fleece or salopettes)
• Walking socks
• Sun block (optional)
• Ski goggles - double lens, anti-fog (essential - sun glasses aren’t adequate). For those who normally wear glasses you may want to consider contact lenses. Anticipate wearing contact lenses for 8hrs plus alternatively you might want to spray your glasses with de-mister.
• Water bottle/flask preferable (Hydration bladder hoses readily freeze - fill with warm drink & empty hose after each drink)
• Thermal underwear
• Slippers/indoor shoes
• Outdoor shoes for bus, etc
• Helmet - if you have one for self-arrest
The course takes place in the Cairngorm Mountains - universally recognised as providing Britains most consistent winter conditions. Through our experience of instructing in this environment Mountain Innovations have developed a clear, concise and structured approach. Our courses are delivered in a fun and progressive manner providing you with a clear understanding of all the necessary skills..
STRUCTURE OF THE COURSE
The course takes the form of 2 practical days and begins with an introduction to suitable equipment and moves through the various skills required for secure and efficient movement over steep, snow covered terrain. This is followed by the various techniques that are required in the event of a loss of footing or a sliding fall.
Boots, ice axes and crampons:
• Suitable boots
• Suitable length, design and carrying of the axe
• Various types of crampons, their uses and boot attachment systems
Basic avalanche assessment:
• Snow pit analysis
• Appreciation of the conditions under which windslab forms and its recognition
• Avalanche triggers, precautions and emergency procedures
• Good foot placement and step kicking
• Step cutting on various types of snow and ice
• Use of crampons and various techniques appropriate to the terrain
• Self belay and self arrest techniques