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Cairngorm Winter Skills ice axe arrest

Winter Skills Course


Scottish Winter Skills 

(£200 for 2 days / £500 for 5 days)


The essential winter skills for safe winter hill walking. The Scottish courses are run throughout the winter from Christmas to Easter and are based in the Cairngorms near Aviemore in Scotland.

Main topics:


  • Winter clothing and equipment
  • Ice axe and crampons

  • Winter navigation techniques and route finding

  • Winter weather and avalanche awareness

  • Emergency snow-shelters and rope-work

  • Snow hole expedition on the 5 day course



The two and five day course costs are per person which includes instruction, ice axe and crampon hire and shared transport from Aviemore, if required. 

It does not include accommodation, food or personal equipment and you will receive a kit list and a list of recommended local accommodation.


Recent Winter Skills course review article here >>> and YouTube video here >>>

Is this course for me?

From our base in Aviemore we aim to develop in-depth practical knowledge of all the winter skills required to move about in the UK mountains in winter conditions. To get the most from this course we recommend that you have summer hill-walking and navigation experience and have a good level of fitness.  Winter hill walking is arduous and good level of fitness will allow you to cope with harsh and demanding conditions.


Course aims

To learn and develop the essential winter skills for hill-walking in the UK mountains under winter conditions whilst undertaking ascents of the Scottish mountains. 


Course content

You will usually be in a small group of no more than six with one AMI guide and meeting your guide on the first day provides the opportunity to discuss everyone’s experience and aspirations to plan the course around these.


The main topics are

  • Selection and organisation of personal clothing and kit appropriate to winter hill walking
  • Personal movement skills on snow and ice, including kicking steps and using the ice axe for walking, self-belay, cutting steps and self-arrest
  • Fitting and use of crampons in ascent and descent
  • Emergency procedures, including emergency rope-work and digging snow shelters
  • Weather and avalanche awareness and safe route choice
  • Essential winter navigation techniques using map and compass and GPS. Navigation in whiteout and blizzard conditions
  • Route choice in winter taking into account fitness, weather, conditions and the avalanche risk


If wished, the five day course includes an overnight snowhole expedition on the final two days.


The programme is fairly flexible taking into account individual needs, the weather and avalanche risk.


Winter Skills kit list here>>>

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