Student Courses

Course Overview

Student Training - Winter Mountain Skills

Long winter nights are just around the corner and you might be making plans for the next winter trip to Scotland. If you are heading north then why not organize a short one or two day training course at the start of your visit. This will go a long way towards giving your group more skills and confidence in the future and help to avoid possible pitfalls.

Prepare for Winter

With a short two day course of training in winter skills. The topics covered will depend largely on the conditions at the time, but priority will be given to navigation under winter conditions and using axe and crampons properly to safeguard travel on snow and ice covered mountains. Avalanche predictions and survival techniques will also be covered.

Student mountaineering clubs

Clubs are continually in a state of change, with experienced members leaving and new novices arriving. The business of passing on skills is often difficult due to this fluid state of the membership. The courses on offer are aimed at helping to input the skills required for new members and giving the more experienced people a chance to brush up in the company of an expert.

Links to accommodation and kit information can be viewed 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: £250.00 per day for a group of up to six (instruction only)


  • 2014
  • Any dates are available to suit your visit - please get in touch



These are offered to any group of students who want to attend a two day training course. Any dates are available. The cost per group of up to six will be £250.00 per day (instruction only). The pricing structure will change if smaller groups attend. Accommodation and gear hire is extra to instruction and details of this can be found elsewhere on this site. Links to kit hire at the top of the home page.

Further Discounts are available at any time during the winter for 5 day courses as follows:

Christmas and New Year - Winter Mountain Craft (4 People)...15%
Introductory Winter Mountaineering - (6 People)...20%
Winter Mountaineering - (4 People)...15%
Winter Climbing - (2 People)...10%
Details of these courses appear in the winter section of this site.

The Instructors

Instructors will all be qualified to national standards and members of either the British Mountain Guides Association or the Association of Mountaineering Instructors approved by the Mountaineering Council of Scotland & the British Mountaineering Council. All winter courses have full risk assessments and are covered by Public Liability insurance.

Tailor made courses

Courses to suit the needs of each group will be available. You may for instance want to use the accommodation for a whole week after a training course. In this way groups will have the benefit of staying next door to Alan Kimber, who will be available for help and advice throughout the period of their stay. Details of the accommodation and possible course content, plus kit lists are shown elsewhere on this site.

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.


From £16.00 per night - Bunkhouse/Hostel/Self Cater 
From £26.00 per night - B&B 
From £50.00 per night - Hotel (includes all meals and packed lunch)

Accommodation above arranged through West Coast Mountain Guides