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Scottish Winter Climbing 2021
Week of 1:2 winter mountaineering routes, technical ice & gully climbing
View all Scottish Winter courses; click here
Course overview
Spend a full week in the mountains of Scotland, climbing at a 1:2 ratio throughout, to tackle a mixture of multi-pitch routes on snow, ice or mixed climbs. There are hundreds of routes to choose from on Ben Nevis and in Glencoe, so this week is for winter climbers to sample the best of Scottish Winter climbing.
Our Scottish winter courses are all based in the mountains of Ben Nevis and Glencoe, as these provide some of the most reliable snow and winter climbing conditions of anywhere in the UK. The mountains here also offer a wide range of route options at all grades, so are a perfect training ground for these courses.
The course accommodation is in a Fort William B&B, from the Sunday afternoon / evening when you arrive through to the check out on the Friday, as the course ends on Friday afternoon, so you can travel home. Evening meals are available locally in a variety of pubs, and packed lunches can be purchased.
When you book, you are sent a detailed course dossier, which provides full detailed equipment lists and details of the course meeting points, and how to get there. We also detail what hire equipment can be hired, and our clients get discounts for equipment purchases from our Windermere shop.
In terms of the previous experience required, we suggest a very good level of fitness, and winter climbing and crampon experience on to grade II/III routes and terrain. This week is to develop your techncial grades further, and is a perfect choice for two people booking together, as the objectives are tailored to you.
Dates: This course is operated on demand for two people booking together, so as soon as you book, it is guaranteed to run, and you can make travel arrangements immediately after your booking is confirmed. If the scheduled dates don't suit, and there are two of you, we can operate an bespoke course just for you on any date at the same course price. Get in contact with your prefered dates.
Instructors & skills
The majority of instructors leading these courses are either IFMGA guides or MIC mountain instructors. All of our Scottish guiding team are highly qualified, and amongst the most experienced in the UK. The guiding ratio for this week is 1:2 throughout, so you can achieve the most, and climb multi-pitch routes.

As you will doubtless be aware, any Scottish mountaineering is very weather dependant, so our itineraries are intentionally flexible, to allow the instructor(s) to adapt plans to ensure that you achieve the maximum in the week. Safety always is a priority in reaction to the conditions, group skills, and avalanche forecast.

This week has a focus on developing your skills on progressively steeper and technical routes. You will ascend classic Scottish winter routes using multi-pitch roped climbing techniques. The routes attempted in this course are typically grade III & IV gullies and routes. The technical content is;

  Advanced use of technical axes Avalanche awareness and avoidance
  Winter ropework and ice belays Ice & mixed climbing techniques
  Anchors and multi-pitch ropework Winter navigation and route planning
Course accommodation in Fort William
Being well rested, dry and fed in the mornings is key to enjoying a Scottish Winter trip. You stay in a B&B / hotel in Fort William on a B&B basis. We use a selection of accommodation providers.

You are booked into twin rooms as standard, and a cooked English breakfast in included each morning. The rooms all have ensuite bath / shower rooms. You can pay to have evening meals locally.

If you would like to arrange your own accommodation for this course, let us know at the time of your booking, and subject to numbers, a discount is applied to your invoice of £40 per night. For those wanting an upgrade to single accommodation, this can be arranged at £50 per night extra, subject to availability.
The accommodation we use all has free WiFi throughout. There is parking for those travelling by car, and it is close to the Train and Bus stations, for those arriving by public transport.

Full details of the accommodation are provided in the course dossier, once you have booked, and if you'd like to upgrade to single rooms or book extra nights, this can be arranged too.


Brief Course Itinerary
Sun The B&B check in is from 16:00 and onwards on the Sunday. At 18:00, there is a scheduled course briefing (in person or via Zoom), so you have the opportunity to ask any questions, before the activities the next day. For those of you arriving late, don't worry, as this briefing can be repeated the next morning.
Mon Day 1 of 5 guiding (1:2 ratio). After breakfast, you will meet your instructor for the week, who will brief you on conditions and check your equipment. If you have hired any equipment locally, ensure you have collected it the evening before, to be ready. The instructor will design the itinerary to cater for your previous experience and aspirations, in conjunction with the weather and avalanche forecasts. Generally on the first day you focus on refreshing skills for moving safely on more technical terrain, ropework and climbing techniques, and you practice ice axe arrest skills in event of a slip. Night in B&B.
Tue
to
Thu
Days 2 to 4 guiding (1:2 ratio). The course is very flexible, to tailor the routes ascended to your previous experience, and the conditions. The grades of route typically ascended vary from classic grade III routes such as Tower Ridge on Ben Nevis, right up to technical grade V routes* such as Indicator Wall on Ben Nevis. Here is a list of other frequently ascended routes on this course for all grades;

Grade III: Tower Ridge (Ben Nevis), SC Gully (Stob Coire Nan Lochan)

Grade III/IV: Comb Gully (Ben Nevis)

Grade IV: Twisting Gully (Stob Coire Nan Lochan), Cascade / Green Gully (Coire na Ciste)

Grade V: Smith's Route (Ben Nevis), Thompson's Route (Coire na Ciste), The Curtain (Carn Dearg)

Each day you will develop your skills and experience on technical routes, and will learn about winter ice protection and anchor systems, advanced ropework for multi-pitch routes, and abseil skills. After each day of climbing, you return to Fort William for the night. Nights in B&B.
Fri Day 5 of 5 guiding (1:2 ratio). Run on a similar basis as the previous days at a 1:2 ratio, today is your last climb, and so you will ascend a more technical gully, ice climb, or buttress. All the guiding is scheduled to finish by 17:00, so you can return any hire kit, and then travel home. Extra nights accommodation can be arranged, if you wish to stay in Fort William for extra time.
ITINERARY NOTES: Where possible we follow itineraries. Mountain adventures are weather and conditions dependant, so occasionally we are forced to alter the plans. If this is the case, suitable alternatives are offered. Please use this outline itinerary as a guide to the types of route / activity that you will attempt. Note*; for grade V routes, an instructor will typically only venture onto this terrain if they have climbed with you before, or you are exceptionally competant.

Course Prices
Standard course
5 full days guiding, 1:2 ratio throughout
7 days holiday in total, Sunday-Saturday
£925
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Standard Course Inclusions: 1) 5 days guiding by qualified instructors, 2) UK office for logistics & briefings, 3) Five nights B&B accommodation from Sunday afternoon to check-out on Friday, 4) Pre course information booklet, 5) Equipment discount voucher for Icicle shop, 6) Free 36 page technical Course Instruction Booklet.
Exclusions: 1) Travel to and from Fort William, Scotland, 2) Cable Cars on Aonach Mor or White Corries (approx £30 total for week) or Ice Factor, 3) Rental equipment, 4) Personal laundry, telephone calls, lunches, evening meals, & any purchases on the mountain / hotels / restaurants, 5) Activities insurance, excess baggage, etc.
Notes: A booking of 2 people guarantees the date. If you require any rental kit this can either be hired from our shop in Windermere (click for details), or locally in the Fort William area. The instructor may occasionally suggest that avalanche safety kit (transceiver, shovel, probe) is required, and this can be hired in Fort William.
Current course availability

Course Dates
Scottish Winter Climbing
  • [ 2 ] 17 - 22 Jan 2021
  • [ 2 ] 24 - 29 Jan 2021
  • [ 2 ] 31 Jan - 5 Feb 2021
  • [ 2 ] 7 - 12 Feb 2021
  • [ 2 ] 14 - 19 Feb 2021
  • [ 2 ] 21 - 26 Feb 2021
  • [ 2 ] 28 Feb - 5 Mar 2021
  • [ 2 ] 7 - 12 Mar 2021
  • [ 2 ] 14 - 19 Mar 2021
Spaces are indicated by the
number in square brackets
before each course date.
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Private Guiding. Get in contact to arrange any bespoke Scottish winter guiding. This costs from £220 a day for 1:1, or from £240 a day for 1:2 booking together. Higher grade technical level routes cost more in guiding fees.

Price: £925 Book online

Alternative courses
Scottish Winter Intro
Winter Alpine Intro course
Chamonix Technical Ice
Winter Alpine Classics

Client feedback


The photos I've attached say it all really. We were so fortunate with the ice conditions, and climbed a great clutch of routes in the week

Steve F , Winter Climbing

Lovely hotel was great as a base, and it was nice to have a comfortable place after some tough days on the hill

Anna S , Winter Climbing


I'm a total convert to the endless possibilities of routes on the Ben. Will see you next year for more

Tim M , Winter Climbing

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Location data for this trip
The trips all meet in a B&B close to Fort William, which is easily accessed by train from Glasgow, or by car if you are driving. The B&B has car parking.
Time Difference
GMT +0hr
Local Currency
£ GBP
Travel from UK
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Suggested reading and kit
View full course equipment list, with examples of kit, click here
Outline equipment list
Note that upon booking, a detailed list is supplied with the course dossier.
Mountain boots B3
12 point / tech crampons
Safety helmet
Climbing harness
Technical ice axes (pair)
Waterproof jacket & trousers
Insulation jacket and layers
Plenty of hats and gloves
Rucksack (c.40 - 50 litres)
Head torch & batteries
Trekking poles
Survival bag / Blizzard bag
First aid kit
Compass, whistle & map case
OS Landranger map 41, Ben Nevis & Glencoe, 1:50,000 scale
Why choose our trips?
See our course blog, by clicking on the Word-press logo to the right.
Icicle Blog
Itinerary flexibility to allow you to take full advantage of the weather windows on any day, to maximise your summit chances.
Our UK Scottish courses are all led by top instructors, with a mix of IFMGA guides, MIC's, and WML's.
There is a choice of routes to opt for, depending on the weather, conditions, and your experience.
Any further questions?
A key part of choosing a company is being able to come and talk about your plans with an experienced course advisor face to face. In an increasingly virtual world, we know our clients value speaking to real people, getting open and honest advice. The vast majority of our clients are British, and our office and outdoor store is based in Windermere in the English Lake District.



Get in contact to arrange a meeting, and come in for a coffee to discuss your course in person with a trip advisor.


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