Scottish Introduction to Winter Climbing

Winter climbing in Scotland offers rewards and challenges comparable with the best anywhere in the world. From a revision of the basic skills, to more advanced skills for steeper ground, you’ll make rapid progress over this five day course.


5 Days

Instructor Ratio1:2




5 Days

Instructor Ratio


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You’ll discover all the ropework and climbing skills you need to get your winter climbing started on a variety of Scotland’s finest routes. Our experts will take you progressively through the skills of winter climbing, teaching you to move competently, swiftly and safely over all types of winter terrain.

You’ll get masses of practical experience during the day, and we’ll share our expert technical knowledge with you through a series of evening lectures to reinforce what you’ve learned out on the mountains.

This course will be delivered from our scenic winter base in Scotland, the Alltshellach hotel in North Ballachulish.

The Objectives 

You’ll hone and advance your existing skills and be prepared for winter climbing.

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What to Expect

You’ll be out on the Scottish mountains during the day, and there’ll be a series of technical lectures in the evenings. The week will cover;

  • Revision of fundamental winter skills including moving in crampons and ice axe self-arrest
  • Movement skills on snow, ice and mixed ground
  • Efficient ropework techniques for ascent or retreat
  • Constructing of winter belays
  • Placing winter protection – nuts, pegs, and ice screws
  • Avalanche risk assessment and avoidance
  • Winter mountain navigation
  • Route selection, route finding and assessing conditions
  • Dealing with all the above in harsh winter conditions

Experience Required

Ideally you’ll have completed a Scottish Winter Mountaineering course and wish to experience steeper terrain and the use of two axes. You should be able to use an axe and crampons. Summer rock climbing & rope work skills are useful.

You’ll need a good level of winter fitness to undertake five consecutive days in the Scottish Mountains with ascents of approximately 1000m whilst carrying a rucksack weighing about 10-12Kg.

An enthusiasm to get stuck in to the challenging joys of winter climbing is the main pre-requisite.

How Should I Prepare?

Fitness requirements: You should have a high level of winter mountaineering fitness with the ability to spend 6-8 hours moving over steep, broken terrain. The days will often include 800-1000m of ascent and descent. You will also need to carry a rucksack with your spare clothing, lunch and equipment in – this could have an approximate weight of 10-12kgs.

This level of fitness will be obtained through regular summer hillwalking and 2-3 exercise sessions per week. This could include running, cycling, walking or playing sport, these should be challenging and tiring sessions. Some upper body strength will be beneficial and training in this area, such as weight sessions in the gym, should be included in your preparation. Time spent rock climbing either outside or at an indoor climbing wall will also be valuable.

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Complete any PYB course and receive free BMC membership!

Unlock a mountain of benefits while supporting the future of climbing, hill walking, and mountaineering. As a BMC member, not only will you gain access to incredible perks, but you also be joining a community dedicated to preserving our wild places for generations to come.

Not valid on NGB courses.

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Why Plas y Brenin?

Plas y Brenin is at the forefront of outdoor instruction. Whether you are starting a career in the outdoors, or just want to take an adventure holiday, PYB is the place for you.

We inspire explorers. We train trainers. We’re internationally recognised. We’ve been around since 1798, with our earliest guests including Queen Victoria. Since then, we’ve focussed on providing the best customer experience, working alongside some of the greatest, 007 included.

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Expert Tuition

You’ll receive expert supervision from fully qualified and psyched instructors, creating the perfect environment to learn and enjoy something new!

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Explore Eryri

Your experience will take place in the heart of the extraordinary Eryri National Park. Our National Outdoor Centre features accommodation, a bar, dining, and more. And while you’re here, why not check out some local gems?

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Develop a Passion

Everyone at Plas y Brenin, from staff to visitors, is excited about adventures and inspired to get outside. Our guests return year after year to experience all that North Wales offers.