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I have a Winter Skills course comming up at Glenmore Lodge

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 r1ch79 16 Feb 2016
Has anyone done this course with them before and what can I expect to do

I was really hoping to do some ridge scrambling or an easy gully but I cant see that as part of the course but it doesnt give much detail beyond skills you will learn

any forthoughts or experience
 Sans-Plan 16 Feb 2016
In reply to wannabeagoat:

The winter skills course is just that, winter skills so ice axe and crampon use, snow conditions assessment, safe movement etc.

You want the into to winter mountaineering by the sounds of it.
 StuDoig 16 Feb 2016
In reply to wannabeagoat:

As Rich above said, basic winter skills will be about safe travel in winter conditions - expect ice axe arrests, cramponing, a bit of avalanche assessment and safe travel techniques, winter nav and probably some emergency winter shelter building. Unlikely that you'll be on scrambly ridges or gullies as they aren't good places to practice / learn the above on a basic skills course. You could always stay on at the lodge afterwards and look to put the skills into practice - even if that doesn't mean scrambles or climbs - the mileage will be really useful, esp immediately after the course! Speak to the instructors - they will be able to point you at suitable days out, based on the skill level they observe if you intend to stay on.

There will probably be a lot of stationary time on the skills course - take even more layers than you would normally and a generous flask!

Cheers and enjoy - courses at the lodge are normally great and good craic in the evening!


 olddirtydoggy 16 Feb 2016
In reply to wannabeagoat:

I just came back from a winter climbing course. Some of the other students I spoke to were a bit disappointed after talking about their expectations. Basic winter skills course is exactly what they should have expected, winter safety, movement, planning and decision making. The abseiling and ridge scrambling is more winter mountaineering and if you want more of that then you'd have to book that. Some on the winter mountaineering courses were expecting to climb but if they wanted that then it was a winter climbing course they should have booked.
If a group is performing well an instructor might move the bar up a level but the group will move at the level of the weakest member. You have to pick your course wisely.

Either way, the center is excellent, the instruction professional and the food is killer. Whatever happens you'll enjoy it.
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

You are bang on with the content from their website:
"You will usually be in a group of no more than six with one instructor. Meeting your instructor on the first morning provides an opportunity to discuss everyone’s experience and aspirations enabling the instructor to plan the programme based around these. The main topics to be covered are:

Selection and organisation of personal kit appropriate to winter hill walking
Personal movement skills on snow, including kicking steps and using the ice axe for walking, self-belay, cutting steps, and self-arrest
Use of crampons in ascent/descent
Emergency procedures
Avalanche awareness and safe route choice
Core techniques of winter navigation
Poor visibility navigation
Route planning in winter taking into account weather, conditions and avalanche risk
As this course is 5 days it allows us to use the time to cover a variety of areas and venues in the Cairngorms as well as, venues such as Creag Meagaidh, and/or Ben Nevis

Evening lecture topics may include winter hazards, winter navigation and avalanche awareness.

The programme is fairly flexible taking into account individual needs and aims, weather, etc."

No rope work mentioned. Often you see ropework being taught early in winter skills courses. I suppose it just looks sexier and makes it easy for whoever is teaching to produce some more set pieces. Personally I think it is a shame as often what new winter walkers really need is further practise of moving on a variety of terrain types, at different venues, getting mileage in terms of walking, planning (particularly with reference to weather and avalanche awareness) and winter navigation.
 andrewmc 16 Feb 2016
In reply to olddirtydoggy:
At least for the BMC clubs organized courses I did, the ratios were also smaller for Winter Mountaineering (2 to 1) rather than Winter Walking/Skills (4 to 1) so it may not just be a question of group competency.

Equally though, having done that (2 day) winter skills course and got an introduction to the basics of 'winter' we felt a lot better about heading off on our own onto some more exciting ridges and gullies where we could us our pre-existing skills as climbers...
Post edited at 14:31

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