Winter Skills Training


21/02/2016 - 27/02/2016    
12:00 am


Alex MacIntyre Memorial Hut
Alex MacIntyre Memorial Hut , North Ballachulish

Event Type

Brad is back! and so is the winter skills training.

Instead of a formal sign up please just email me to say you want to participate.

We are really pleased to announce that Brad, one of our members has volunteered to teach a winter skills course for 2 days during the trip.

The course is essentially free of charge, however we are asking participants to donate a modest £20 to go towards brad’s expenses (Beer fund). It is worth bearing in mind that Plas y Brenin charge £175 each for this sort of course, excluding accommodation.

Instruction includes:
– Winter navigation skills
– Moving on snow/ice, terrain choice
– Equipment familiarity (e.g. how to put on crampons etc)
– Using an Ice axe and crampons
– Ice axe arrest
– avalanche awareness

For more experienced participants

– Rope work
– Belays e.g. snow bollards, bucket belays, axe belays, ‘deadman’ belays
– Gear placement e.g. ice screws
– Second a winter route! (2 people max)

The course will run during the winter meet, most likely in the first two days

Recommended Reading
For everyone on the course here is some recommended reading

  • Mountaincraft and leadership by Eric Langmuir
  • Scotland’s Winter Mountains by Martin Moran
  • Handbook of climbing by Fyffe and Peter
  • Mountain Navigation by Peter Cliff
  • Hillwalking by Steve Long (MLTUK official publication)
  • Rock Climbing by Libby Peter (MLTUK official publication)

Remember this is Scotland in winter. Please check the list carefully. Bring kit for VERY cold weather and if in doubt ask someone with experience before choosing gear!.

Sleeping bag,
Harness, shoes, belay device
Waterproof trowsers, 
Waterproof jacket,
Fleece and baselayer x2
Helmet Absolutely  essential for any winter climbing!
Boots and crampons (At least B2 if in doubt ask for advice)
If you intend to climb then  B3 Boots are recommended, these are very stiff-soled boots designed to take ‘C3’ Crampons where you will be placing your weight on to crampon-points. For hiking and some easy climbing (up to grade II to III winter) then  B2 boots and C2 crampons are fine. UKC often has second hand gear for those on a
budget, failing that beg, borrow, steal…
Gloves (two pairs, one for climbing one for the approach/gearing up): see advice on UKC 
Walking axe: These are relatively inexpensive (especially 2nd hand) but essential for hiking in winter. Make sure its T-rated eg the DMM Cirque as you can then use it for belays.
If you don’t own one, are a beginner, and are just trying this out you really don’t need a brand new axe- UKC forums are usually full of 2nd hand gear for sale, esp winter kit!
Good 40L+ or 50L Rucksack: Make sure the bag has both shoulder and waist straps and a rucksack liner. (A plastic rubble sac or dry bag will do)
Headtorch AND spare batteries: A non-starter, chances of dark descents are much higher in winter
Plastic water bottle at least 1L,
First aid kit + blister kit
Warm hat, baloclava, and or buff/neck gaiter if you have one
Lunch box
Survival bag
Map OS 41 Ben Nevis 1:50,000 or  Explorer 392 AND 384 1:25,000
Snow goggles

If you own the following please bring these too:
Trad rack
Half ropes (for trad) or winter/alpine climbing ‘iceline’ ropes
Ice axes for climbing (if you own more than one pair then im sure someone would be grateful if you would not mind lending them a set).
Ice screws
Snow shovel
Deadman, belay device