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Winter Mountaineering advice

Winter Mountaineering Advice

So you have decided you would like to venture into the dark art of winter mountaineering.   But you are unsure as to where to start.  Well, you have several options.  As I am an instructor, I would obviously say book onto a course with us, or another provider, and learn the basics first hand. The benefit of this is that an instructor can teach you all these skills in a progressive manner.  And pass on years and years of knowledge in a small time frame.


Or you can go out there by yourself or with friends and have a play and learn that way.  Below is my list of winter mountaineering advice on what you could learn before venturing out in winter.  And then hopefully have a more enjoyable time (type 1 fun).


Have the correct clothing


Have a good set of boots B3


Gloves, gloves and more gloves




2 ice axes (One walking axe, and one technical axe). This should allow you to climb up to grade II terrain


Be able to navigate


Have a sense of adventure



The skills needed to be safe out in winter, walking are as follows:

  1. Using crampons on different types of terrain
  2. Using the ice axe
  3. Self arrest/ice axe arrest
  4. Navigate in low visibility
  5. Have an idea of how to dig an emergency shelter (not necessary, but helps you build an idea of what’s involved in case you should ever need it)
  6. Avalanche awareness
  7. Weather forecast interpretation and route planning


On top of this, the skills you need for winter mountaineering are:

  1. More knowledge on snow structure and avalanche awareness, as you are likely to be venturing on terrain or getting close to terrain that may be prone to avalanches
  2. Be able to use a more technical ice axe
  3. Put on a harness, and tie in
  4. Be able to belay
  5. Manage rope(s) efficiently
  6. Be able to place rock and ice protection
  7. Have the ability to build simple anchors
  8. Be able to use snow anchors
  9. And lastly, you need good judgement (route selection, route planning out in the field, your own and friends’ ability)


Having all of the above skills will mostly guarantee you will have lots of type 1 fun out in the hills.


If you are interested in booking a course with us, and learn all of the above skills, feel free to contact us, or click the link below:


Winter Mountaineering