Winter Skills Course Cairngorms

A winter skills course in the Cairngorms is highly recommended if you are looking to become more confident and independent in the hills. This 2 day course gives you more time to learn and practise the skills than the 1 day refresher. Most of my winter skills courses are run in the Cairngorms so we can make use of the good access to Cairngorm Mountain. Depending on the weather and snow conditions we may use other venues in the area if necessary.

All my courses are suitable for hill walkers with a reasonable level of fitness. You can be new to winter or experienced. They focus on skills for hill walkers so no ropes.

Course Content

We will start with a short classroom session doing an equipment check before introducing the Scottish Avalanche Forecast. After discussing the weather and avalanche forecasts the rest of the course will be outside. We will head into the Cairngorms and snow to cover the following topics and skills if conditions allow:

  • Equipment & clothing
  • Personal movement & kicking steps
  • Ice axe self-belay & self-arrest
  • Crampon use & techniques
  • Avalanche awareness and weather conditions
  • Route Planning & decision making
  • Navigation
  • Emergency Shelters

The second day doing winter skills in the Cairngorms gives us the chance to cover any skills that we didn’t on day one. It usually takes the form of a mountain journey putting all the skills to good use. My plan would be to get up onto the Cairngorm plateau if possible. We will also discuss what to do next in terms of your development and winter adventures.

Please note that weather and snow conditions will dictate what and where we go so the itinerary is subject to change.


You will need an ice axe, crampons, helmet and winter boots for this course. I have a limited number of ice axes, crampons and helmets available for hire at £10 per person for the course.

In winter you need good 4 season walking boots that are crampon compatible. The right boots can help us develop good footwork skills and make us more secure on snowy hills. For this reason it is important to get the winter boots right. They should be rated B1, B2 or B3:

  • B1: semi-rigid boot suitable for winter hill walking
  • B2: very rigid boot suitable for winter hill walking & mountaineering
  • B3: fully rigid technical boot suitable for mountaineering & winter climbing

Winter boots are quite an expensive investment so it’s worth hiring them to see how they fit before buying. These days there is a much better range of winter boots available for hire. If you are hiring boots then I’d recommend getting the crampons, ice axe and helmet at the same place. Below are some recommendations all with a local base in Aviemore:

After the course you will have a better understanding of the different types of boots, crampons and ice axes available. You will also know what you want to use them for so should be better placed to buy if you want. If you have any questions about boots, equipment or the course then please get in touch and I will be happy to help.

Further information on winter skills and safety in the hills is available at Mountaineering Scotland #ThinkWinter!

£200 per person

Group size is limited to a maximum of 6 people. To book your place on this winter skills course please read my booking information and complete a booking form using the button below.