Christmas and New Year

Course Overview

The early winter break around the festive season can provide opportunities for a wide variety of winter mountain activities. The weather and snow/ice conditions are however very fickle at this time of the year. For that reason the content of these four day courses may be varied. In general it is aimed at hillwalkers and mountaineers interested in winter mountaineering and simple ascents of low grade ridges or gullies. The course would provide a chance to learn more about safety and the skills required for moving over snow covered mountains in preparation for the winter ahead. A winter climbing course is also planned, the amount and level of climbing being very dependent on conditions, this early in the season.

Private guiding around Christmas and New Year is also available at short notice if good climbing conditions appear. Keep a weather eye on the forecast! Individuals or groups are welcome. No minimum numbers. For people who cannot manage the full four days it will be possible to attend for part of the course.

Accommodation and kit details are shown at the top right of this course overview page. Ice axe, crampons and boots, harness and helmet can be hired if necessary. Follow the link for Kit Lists at the top of the main page for details of rental prices.

Course Details

Costs: £325.00 for instruction only, mountaincraft - £420.00 for instruction only, climbing.

Ratio: 1 instructor to 4 people, mountaincraft - 1 instructor to 2 people, climbing


  • 27 - 30 December 2013
  • 3 - 6 January 2014

Kit Requirements

Winter Kit List


For Climbing in winter it is recommended to have a stiff soled, non-bendy B3 boot in either plastic or leather. For the mountaineering and introductory course, a solid leather B2 boot is adequate. Please check in a climbing shop before arrival. Boots can be hired by prior arrangement. If hiring please check the size you take at a climbing shop beforehand. One pair of thick socks is adequate, but often an additional thinner pair is more comfortable. Boots should not be very flexible or smooth soled.


Crampons should be ten or twelve pointers with front points. Clip-on crampons are very easy to fit on some boots, whilst traditional strap-on models are okay, but less easy to fit in cold windy conditions. A more rigid twelve point crampon is better for winter climbing. Anti-balling plates are recommended. Ask for advice if you are unsure.

Ice Axe

Ice Axe
For walking or general mountaineering an axe of 60/65cm is adequate. Climbing requires a shorter hammer and axe (50cm) with either an inclined (Banana) or drooped pick. A wrist loop should be fitted to climbing tools.

Not required for the introductory course. Please make sure the harness fits over thick clothing and can be put on over boots and crampons. Adjustable leg-loops are preferable for ease of fitting. The Black Diamond 'Bod' harness is very good in this respect.


All courses please bring one along if you can.

Long sling and two large karabiners (screwgate - HMS) Climbing and mountaineering courses.
Belay plate & screwgate karabiner (HMS) Climbing course only.

Waterproof jacket

Waterproof jacket and over trousers ( Outer shell clothing)
The trousers should have at least a knee length zip enabling them to be fitted over boots/crampons. This is an essential point to remember especially if you are hiring plastic boots. Take your waterproofs into a shop which sells plastic boots and try the boots on, then try and put on your over trousers. Lightweight waterproofs are often inadequate under severe winter conditions. A large hood with visor is essential for the jacket.

A medium volume sac (50/55 litres) is best for winter, with ice axe carrying loops. Please bring a strong plastic rucsac liner to keep the contents dry.

Bivvy Bag

Bivvy Bag
A large person sized poly survival bag is the minimum requirement, essential.

Essential for all courses.

Head Torch

Head Torch
Essential for all courses, plus spare battery and bulbs.

First Aid kit

First Aid kit
A small personal pack including medication for blisters. Sunscreen cream for April courses.

(sheet 41 & 34- 1:50,000) Whistle/Watch
The map should be weather-proofed in a clear plastic bag or covered with clear fablon (better) Essential.


Flask & Small sandwich Box
For hot drinks and food on the hill, essential.

Warm clothing
Warm woollen/fleece mitts (Dachsteins), hat/balaclava/socks (plus spares). Two sets of thermals/fleece, top and bottom and breeches/tracksuit trousers (not cotton). Down/feather duvet jackets aren't much use in the damp conditions sometimes experienced in Scotland!

Please indicate requirements before arrival (especially footwear) and ask for advice if you are unsure of your own equipment suitability (shell clothing is important) . If you arrive with the wrong kit it could jeopardize your safety and enjoyment on the course. Please ask for advice, especially if you are unused to Scottish weather conditions. Please keep this kit list if you book onto a course.


Youth Hostel - from £16.00 per night.
B&B from £26.00 per night
Hotel from £50.00 per night full board (inc packed lunch)

These accommodation prices may be different over the Christmas New Year period and anyone considering a course at this time would be advised to book well ahead.