Winter climbing: Introductory to intermediate

Course Overview

This level aims to climb on routes within the grades of I to III or possibly IV. It is ideal for people who have limited winter climbing experience. Also it is an opportunity for existing winter climbers at lower levels to progress and check their skills in the company of an experienced instructor/guide. 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. Pre-booking for the boots is essential.

Links to accommodation and kit information can be viewed at the top right of this course overview page.

Course Details

Costs: £525.00 - instruction only - per person

Ratio: 1:2 Individuals or couples are welcome. No minimum numbers.


Winter 2014
  • Jan 5 - 9
  • Jan 26 - 30
  • Feb 2 - 6
  • Feb 9 - 13
  • Feb 23 - 27
  • March 2 - 6
  • March 16 - 20
  • March 23 - 27
  • April 6 - 10
  • April 13 - 17

All courses meet on Sunday morning and finish on the Thursday evening (six nights accommodation). Accommodation for the night prior to the course will be arranged for participants, once they have chosen a place to stay.

Sample Programme

  • Saturday evening
    Arrivals at accommodation

  • Sunday
    Kit checks - Essential skills revision - Snow belays (Ice axe & deadman) - 'Moving together' roped on grade I/II ground. Snow cave shelters

  • Monday
    Simple gully or ridge (II) looking at detail of basic winter belays, as previous day. Introduction to rock/ice peg belays. Survival bag shelters

  • Tuesday
    Steeper ice climb (II/III), introducing more advanced two climbing tools techniques
  • Wednesday
    Clients leading a route (II/III) in company with instructor
  • Thursday
    Clients choice (Grade III/IV climb)


Examples of Intro to intermediate routes:

  • Curved Ridge (II) Glen Coe
  • North Buttress (III) Glen Coe
  • Twisting Gully (II/III) Glen Coe
  • Aonach Eagach (II/III) - Glen Coe
  • Tower Ridge (III) - Ben Nevis
  • Tower Scoop (III) Ben Nevis
  • Good Friday Climb (III) Ben Nevis
  • Left Twin (III) Aonach Mor
  • Green and Comb Gullies Ben Nevis (III/IV)

let us know if there is anything else you fancy trying?

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



Contact Lime Tree directly to arrange