Winter Mountaineering

Ben Nevis

Winter mountaineering requires the use of a variety of skills to ascend a mountain over a variety of terrain.  Besides selecting a walking approach route, there may be scrambling over rock, ice and snow using a single ice axe and crampons and perhaps the use of a rope, harness and a lightweight selection of rock and ice protection. It is about making judgements and taking the right decisions given the People, Environment and Activity (PEA!). Mountaineering may not always involve standing beneath azure blue skies surrounded by glistening snow on a windless day – but great when it is.

Winter Skills

Winter mountaineering courses can be 2 – 5 days long with a minimum of two people and a maximum of four. Areas covered during this week may (subject to weather and conditions) include:

  • Planning
  • Weather and avalanche risk assessment
  • Clothing and equipment 
  • Navigation and route finding
  • Using winter tools including basic rock and ice protection
  • Emergencies and evacuation (how to get off / back off)


We will develop skills by tackling the ridges and buttresses, such as The Zig Zags on Gearr Aonach, Dinnertime Buttress on Aonach Dubh or the classic Aonach Eagach Ridge or Curved Ridge on Buachaille Etive Mor.  Ledge Route or the CMD Arete on Ben Nevis are spectacular and on your mountaineering ‘bucket list’.  Further East and very accessible are routes such as the Fiacaill of Corrie Sneachda and a multitude of other low grade (Scottish grade I or II) scrambles.

Whatever your ultimate goal, expect to increase your knowledge, develop skills and be more independent or enjoy an exhilarating journey with a mountain professional!  Let us know what you fancy and we can plan to suit. Winter mountaineering ratios are 1:2 to 1:4. Prices are here.  Private guiding can be 1:1.  

Up a Ben Nevis gully, down Ledge Route – a magic day!