01690 720214

Welsh Winter Mountaineering

Course Overview

Making the most of the unpredictable weather experienced during the winter months in North Wales, this course is aimed at those summer hillwalkers who want to extend their skills to four seasons. Use and choice of ice axe and crampons, winter navigation, ropework for travel over rock, snow and ice as well as emergency bivouacking skills and selection of equipment are all covered during this five day course.

Experience Required

summer hillwalking.

Scheduled Dates

Detailed Course Notes

You should be 18 years old to attend this course.

Is it for me?

This course is aimed at summer mountain walkers who would like to progress to undertake challenging winter walks and simple climbs. No previous experience of winter hill walking is necessary, but you should be a summer hill walker. Knowledge of summer navigation techniques would be useful. As winter days can be strenuous, a reasonable level of fitness is important.

Course Content

We plan to be out on the hill each day, and during a mountain journey we will look at the following areas:

  • Winter navigation

  • Movement over winter terrain

  • Use of Ice axe and self arrest

  • Crampon techniques

  • Simple ropework

  • Equipment selection

  • Emergency procedures

  • Avalanche prediction and snow stability

Theory sessions in the early evening will support the practical days out, and may include:

  • Snow and avalanche hazard

  • Winter mountaineering equipment

  • Cold injuries

  • Snow shelters

The Welsh winter can be fickle, and snow and ice conditions cannot be guaranteed. Throughout the course we will have a flexible approach to the programme to make the best possible use of the prevailing conditions. If there is no snow the course will still run.

Useful Books

  • Scotland's Winter Mountains by Martin Moran
  • Handbook of climbing by Fyffe and Peter
  • Mountain Navigation by Peter Cliff
  • Hillwalking by Steve Long (MT official publication)
  • Rock Climbing by Libby Peter (MT official publication)

What's Included In The Price?

Whether you choose to stay with us or you have alternative accommodation nearby, the following items are included in the total cost.

    Free tea, coffee or selected hot drinks for the duration of your visit
    Afternoon tea & homemade cakes
    Equipment hire
    Free (low-speed) wifi access in the bar & dining room
    In course transport
    Railway station pick up & drop off (please call to arrange)
    Parking with CCTV surveillance
    Free use of climbing wall, gym, MTB skills course & rolling pool

    If you choose to stay with us, these items are also included in the total cost:

    Accommodation the night before your course
    Accommodation during your course
    Breakfast & evening meal
    Bar Lunch/packed lunch

Accommodation For This Course

Plas y Brenin Main House

Your course is based at Plas y Brenin, The National Mountain Sports Centre in Capel Curig, North Wales, LL24 0ET.

If you are staying with us,

If you have chosen to add accommodation onto this course or holiday it is usually in the main house in a comfy en-suite room (normally shared with another guest). Each room has tea and coffee making facilities and all bed linen and towels are provided.

This includes accommodation the night before your first day. Your room will be available from 6pm. On your last day you will need to vacate your room by 10am. It is sometimes possible to arrange to stay an extra night please phone 01690 720214 for availability and cost.

Secure storage facilities, showers and toilets are available for you to use on your departure day once you have checked out of your room should you need them, please ask at reception.

Also included, if you chosen to add accommodation, are all your meals - breakfast, packed lunch, afternoon tea and freshly baked cakes and a three course evening meal. Please bear in mind an evening meal is not provided on the night before your course or on the last day of your course but our bar will be serving meals from 7.00pm until 8.45pm.

If you are are not staying with us but coming in each day,

If you choose to come in daily for your course or holiday you will need to arrive ready for a 9am welcome talk on the first day. For the rest of your course or holiday you will need to be here for 9.15am. We return from a full day of activity, usually in time for tea and cakes at 5pm (included).

There are more activities from 5.30 - 6.30 on some days of your course or holiday, please check on the first day.

For most of our awards and qualification courses there will be further evening sessions on some days which you need to attend, please check on the first day.

There is an 8pm adventure talk by one of our coaches on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday evenings which you are welcome to come to. Find out more about the upcoming talks here.

On the final day you will be finished by 5pm.

For courses based on-site our bar will be serving lunches from 12pm until 2pm or you are welcome to bring a packed lunch.

If your course is based away from the centre then you will need to bring a packed lunch with you. Each evening our bar serves evening meals from 7pm until 8.45pm if you wish to eat here.

You can arrange to have any of the following meals - breakfast, packed lunch and a three course centre dinner, by contacting our customer services team on 01690 720214 or

follow this link for more details

What Equipment Do You Need To Bring?

  • Warm outdoor wear e.g. walking trousers, thermals/base layers, fleeces, good quality walking socks

  • Warm hat, balaclava (if you have one), neck gaiter/buff

  • Gloves and mitts - 1 pair to wear and 1 for spare plus mitts to go over the top (if you have them)

  • Mountaineering boots B2 or B3 - if you don't have B2 or B3 boots then bring your normal walking boots for any days you don't need crampons

  • Crampons (with anti-balling plate)

  • Ice Axe

  • Helmet

  • Harness (for Mountaineering and Winter Ridges courses only)

  • Gaiters (optional)

  • Waterproof jacket and trousers

  • Day rucksack 30-40 litres

  • Rucksack liner (e.g. rubble bag or dry bag)

  • Drinks bottle

  • Flask

  • Lunch bag/box

  • Personal first aid kit

  • Blister kit

  • Head torch and spare batteries

  • Snow googles (if you have them if not sunglasses)

  • Compass (Silva Expedition 4 recommended)

  • Maps - OS 17 Snowdon & Conwy Valley 1:25,000 (and OS 115 Snowdon 1:50,000 for navigation courses). Laminated maps are great as you don't need a map case and you can make notes, mark points etc. (Can be purchased from our shop)

  • Fine permanent pen (for writing on laminated maps)

The following items are available for you to borrow from our equipment stores so you don't need to rush out and but them. If you are wishing to borrow any of these items please ensure you return your equipment loan form. Download your equipment loan form here.

  • Walking boots/mountaineering boots (B2/B3)

  • Day rucksack

  • Gaiters (optional)

  • Waterproof jacket and trousers

  • Compass

  • Crampons

  • Ice axe

  • Helmet

  • Harness

Customer Reviews For This Course

What a great week, I will be back

Marc Stupples

The course was really good and well worth the money paid for not much more than I spend on a week away camping and walking in the UK. I would highly recommend the Welsh Winter Mountaineering course. I plan to return in the future to do other courses, maybe in the Alps as well. I have a blog and have done a more extensive review here

The instructors I had, Paul and Cath, were great. They were very friendly and incredibly helpful and a credit to Plas Y Brenin.
Thank you very much for a fun and educational week in the glorious Welsh mountains.
A very satisfied customer.

Absolutely fantastic week

Rachel Lardner

I've just returned home from another fantastic week at PyB, brimming with exciting ideas, inspired by the hugely professional and knowledgeable coaches on our course. Thanks to Cath and Paul for all their encouragement, coaching and development advice throughout the week.
I'd hoped to have a week with lots of snow, but it wasn't to be. Despite this, our coaches used their incredible local knowledge to take us to areas with remaining snow patches so that we could have a go with crampons/ice axes/ropes etc, and also to keep us safe in the rather windy conditions. This flexible approach meant that we were all challenged, and had plenty of opportunities to try new things. We had ample opportunities to adapt our existing navigational skills to challenging conditions, and also had the opportunity to learn skills such as use of rope for belaying and abseiling which were totally new to me. All the conditions we encountered were typical of a Welsh winter, so the course did achieve exactly what it said on the tin.
The facilities at PyB are just fantastic. All the staff are friendly and welcoming, the accommodation is great, and being able to borrow high quality kit from the stores means you can really try something out before you buy it.

Really fantastic week


I would thoroughly recommend the 5 days winter mountaineering course up in Snowdonia. It was a great mix of micro and macro navigation skills, avalanche awareness, safety and survival skills, rope work and some scrambling with ropes, axes and crampons in snowy conditions. Out every day and learning lots. The instructors were really friendly and knowledgeable and fellow course attendees very amiable. Also, the accommodation and food was incredible value. Useful to have a decent level of fitness but the instructors were flexible with us and the prior experience we brought. Any kit we didn't have we could borrow from stores, and this was of a high quality so I managed to stay warm and dry. I left inspired and much more confident tackling difficult winter mountain conditions. Brilliant way to spend the week.

Amazing Course

Dermot Maxwell

From the amazing view from the dining room, to the excellence of the instructors PYB did it again .

We were lucky to have winter conditions, climbing in and around the cwms in the Snowdon massif to a wonderful day up and over the Carneddi . We were guided by Olly and Gregg to achieve new skills and scramble in places we would never had considered , quite brilliant.

The eight of us ranged in age from 20's to erm a lot older - ok mid sixties!

Not a problem everyone muck in and helped each other. You do want to be fit though, we had three very enjoyable full on mountain days before a quieter day learning the skills of ice climbing before going up and over a cwm wall and back down again just to keep us in trim!!!.

Really recommend this course to help you gain the skills and confidence needed for winter exploration in the hills.

Great course

Caroline Light

I only booked this course 8 days before it started, and was a bit nervous about the course. I had nothing to worry about, apart from problems with heights. The course was fantastic and I could not recommend the course enough. The course stretched me and pushed me, well and truely out of my comfort zone, which I wanted and needed, for me to develop and grow, I have only been walking in mountain areas for 10 months. It also taugh me lots of valuable skills, so I could be safe in the mountains in winter conditions, it gave me more confidence in my ability, and will enable me to try slighly more challenging walks. I will be coming back to do a scrambling course, I am looking forward to doing that already.
The site and accommodation is as good or better than many hotels I have been in around the world. The food is good, it's not a resturant, but it gives you everything you need to do the courses, I did not go hungry. Loaning of kit is great, included in course fees.
The instructors Simon and Dave, were great, and even though they pushed me passed my limits, I had every confidence in their ability, training and professionalism in running the course. Thank you for a fantastic course.

welsh winter mountains were superb

David Cochrane

So, we didnt have the weather. My disappointment faded quickly though following my first day improving my navigation skills halfway up a welsh cwm with Steve Howe in abysmal rain, wind and thunder and lightning, this enjoyment just grew and grew as the week passed under the guidance of Dave Evans - what a fantastic instructor. He was measured, patient , encouraging and bloody good company.
I had such a great and unexpected time on the course from the people I met to the small challenges we undertook...it was great realise ideas i had had for a while and be part of a group that were realising their own at the same time.
I cant wait to return to PYB. Hopefully to do my SPA or ML.
David Cochrane



Can not recommend this course enough. We were exceptionally lucky with the weather which further enhanced the whole experience.The small group size ensured everybody got the experience and skills they wished to gain. I booked on to the course last minute and as a mother of four in my forties stretched the truth a little regarding my fitness level! However sheer determination drove me on and by the end of the week I can honestly say I came back a new woman. I may not be rushing out to buy a ice axe and crampons immediatley but I have certainly rediscovered walking again. Overall I got far more out of the experience than I could possibly of imagined. Helen, our incredibly modest and knowledgeable instructor was absolutely excellent. Food and accomodation faultless.

Great Week

Norman Wakeman

After looking to get into Winter Mountaineering and having seen the course was available I had to book on to learn more. We went through Avalanche assessment, practical use of Ice Axe and Crampons along with more general Mountaineering. The staff were great at PYB, Food and accommodation top with the weather conditions and views awesome. (We were lucky to have full Winter Conditions!) The course instructor Helen went at our own individual pace and was very knowledgeable. This is a great course for the beginner or if wanting to refresh winter mountain skills.


Dan B

Upon arriving for another course at PyB the snow was starting to fall making way for an excellent week to follow.

If you haven't been to the centre before, the first thing you will notice is the friendliness off all the staff and instructors.

The course started Monday morning and was intended for two students, however the other guy ended up being sick meaning it was 1:1. Even with this the course still went ahead.

Monday involved walking in crampons on the centres home made glacier made from railway sleepers - works excellently. after that involved a few lectures on nav, avalanche, snow etc vital info for winter mountaineering.

the next four days were 4 excellent mountaineering days, from traditional to more modern with harnesses and axes. all throughout the course.
Spike (instructor) was always professional with his instruction, but professional on a personal scale never once looking down on me for my lack of ability.

the course was catered for my every need and we retouched on things that I struggled. All in all I do not have a single complaint about the course or facility!!

It may look an expensive course, but in terms of value for money it is better than any other course you may find outside of PyB.
For the money you get excellent instruction and full on days in the hills, accom, wonderful food and any gear from stores that may be required.

Def recommend for anyone considering, get it done you wont regret it ONE BIT!!!

A very good course to broaden your experience

Kevin Boram

We were extremely fortunate with the weather. The previous week was very cold with heavy snow and we had two days of bright sunshine with settled snow.

Simon is a very competent leader, being knowledgable, patient and supportive. He clearly ensures that the party is safe and is meticulous in his planning.

Everyone on the course wanted to gain experience, confidence and skills and the course was successful in this.

Whilst the course is dependant on the attendee's abilities and the weather it would be useful if the course aims were clearer.

The staff at Plas y Brenin are also helpful and attentive. Food great and mention must be made of the guys in the stores.

A perfect week

Richard Jones

Following on from the great Christmas weekend, and with the years passing quicker than I thought...with a head which still thinks its 25 and a body that reminds me otherwise! I hoped this week would give a rebirth of mountain activity - I was not disappointed...From the greeting after 5.5hrs drive, our introduction and warm accommodation all was set for a week at a time which shows Snowdonia off at its best, maybe the weather was just chosen for us, as well as our PYB instructors Dave (methodical calculated and simplistic approach) Mike (quiet, calm, local knowledge beyond mountaineering) Stu (well...just so inspirational, lives, drinks and eats mountains oh and mad) Our course covered all the basics and progressed at a reasonable and sometimes fast pace, pushing when required, but always considered and calculated, light hearted when appropriate and always including structured learning. Including movement on snow and ice, rope techniques, weather and contibuting factors, equipment choice, the elements, route choice, navigation and options all contributed to a very good all encompassed and well delivered course.
Happily recommend to any aspiring mountaineer or one who wishes to reclaim his youth!
Well done to all the staff at PYB who contribute to the first class experience.

I'll be back..

Neil Willcox

Just completed a fantastic weekend with you.

The instructors were top class; their knowledge, experience and air of calm were evident throughout, as was their good humour in dealing with unfit and uncoordinated punters like me.

Slight gripes would be the rationed orange juice machine, and the shortage of water in my shower.

Thanks, and see you again soon.

A real montane eye opener.

Colin Thompson

Absolutely cracking experience - a real eye opener - made even better by the perfect winter conditions throughout the week. Cloaked in a "thick/deep/heavy pile" smock (way too hot!), I journeyed throughout a magical winter wonderland taking in a range of new skills and activities ranging from building a snow shelter to climbing (well "Alpine kneeing" in my case) up a spectacular arrete on the final day.
I really enjoyed how the week unfolded and the feeling of progress, with a fair few challenging moments for a total novice like myself. I finished feeling knackered (well, we are all knocking on a bit aren't we?) but inspired to pursue winter mountaineering and climbing further in the future.
If you're like me; someone who loves the outdoors, has done a bit of summer hillwalking and want to push open the door to peek through into the mystical world of mountaineering then this is a great way to pick up the key to that door. Then you can decide whether you want to step over the threshold and see what else lies in store!
Really enjoyable. And the icing on the cake was actually the range of cakes knocking around the place. The only thing lacking was an extreme arm wrestling match between Le Singe and Le Monk! (les jokes are de rigeur in a montane team).
In true Arnie fashion, .. I'll be back.

Fantastic week in the mountains

Adrian Bevan

All aspects of this course were simply fantastic. From the first day, the very experienced instructors ensured that we understood the necessary skills to safely move through the mountains in winter. The instructors and rest of the group were all very approachable, and that made the week perfect. The snow was fantastic, and enabled our group to reach several summits throughout the week, including Snowdon, as well has having skills based days lower down on the hills. Having just returned from this course I've started to think about what climbs I can do before this year is out, and what courses I can book through PYB for next year.

Excellent Course

Michael Hickey

I learned so much on this course. I have been walking for yars but this helped me make the step up to Winter Mountaineering skills using crampons and ice axe. I'm now able to go out ore confident into the winter hills and and increasing my skill level all the time. I'm working towards ML (Summer) now. PYB was an excellent place to do the course, All the staff were fantastic an Spike was superb in instructing and motivating us up the hills especially towards the end of the week when the leags were weary. I would highly recommend this course to anyone wanting to gain more technical skills and confidence in winter conditions. Thanks for a fantastic week in beautiful Snowdoni!

Impressive Despite The Weather

Tanya Clarke

Running up to the course I had my doubts as it seemed more like summer than winter but from day one we started learning and just kept on going. The 'artificial glacier' (a bit of a grand term for a row of railway sleepers on a hill) was a superb way to get used to ice axes and crampons. We covered a lot of ground and even found some patches of snow that just shouldn't have been there. I guess that's where local knowledge comes in handy.

Overall the staff at the centre impressed me the most, the instructors were enthusiastic but never condescending, the kitchen and bar staff were always friendly and everyone seemed to be keen to chat and share their knowledge.

I will be back next year! (although it would be ice to have the dates earlier - commitments and all that)


Course excellent and very enjoyable.

However I nearly did not come on the course as detals and dates were not published until far too near the time. Like most people I have to plan holidays well in advance due to family commitments.

It has caused a problem on both of my courses with you.

Not found what you were looking for?

You can hire one of our coaches instructors or guides from only £250 per day. They'll tailor the day to suit your aims and aspirations perfectly.
You can enjoy one to one coaching for that cost or if you get together as a group, depending on the activity, you can split that cost between up to 6 of you. If you are a group we can run any of our courses on a date that suits you and your friends. Or you could just write your own agenda for a week or weekend and we'll price it up for you - with or without accommodation. What's more, just like out normal course fees, our private instructor hire charge covers all your equipment too. Click on the link below to fill in a request form and one of our coaches will call you back (or e-mail if you'd prefer) to discuss things in detail with you.

Fill in a Callback Form

Other Courses you should consider?

Welsh Winter Skills

Also consider this

Scottish Winter Mountaineering

Also consider this

Discover Alpinism

Also consider this

Got A Date Available - Need An Adventure To Match?

Find out what's going on at the National Mountain Sports Centre between any date range on this handy new search page

Adventure Sports
Coaching Conference

Adventure Sports Coaching ConferenceOur inaugural Adventure Sports Coaching Conference will seek to explore the role of coach developers in adventure sports performance.


Christmas and New YearOn behalf of all the team at Plas y Brenin, we would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a H....


Scottish Winter Courses 2018Starting January 2018, our Scottish Winter courses are timed to make the most of the incredible wint....


Winter WarmersAs the nights begin to draw in and the temperature starts to drop, Plas y Brenin are pleased to offe....


Peak Performance For Plas y Brenin Paddling TeamWe are delighted to announce that we've launched an exciting new partnership with kayak clothing man....


BMC Women Outdoors Week 5-15 Aug 2017Come and get active for the BMC's Women Outdoors Week here at Plas y Brenin. We have talks, activiti....

What's On In Our bar?

Our friendly and lively bar is open to the public. From talks and lectures to film nights and live music, there's always something going on. Find out what's coming up next here

Adventure Sport
Summer Camps (Age 12-17)

Summmer Camps For Young People Aged 12-17Young climbers, mountaineers, paddlers and mtb riders aged 12-17. Develop your outdoor skills with our top coaches on one of our residential summer camps.

Enhanced Learning Credits

Enhanced Learning CreditsThe Enhanced Learning Credit Administration Service offers funding for armed forces personnel. Plas y Brenin is able to accept ELCAS funding for a few specific non residential courses.

Weather Forecast, Tides and Surf Conditions

Find out what the weather's doing in North Wales over the next five days.

Adventure Map

Working alongside UCLan
to educate
outdoor professionals

University Of Central LancashireFind out how we are working with one of the country's top universities to develop lasting careers in the outdoors.