Safety Series

Winter Safety Means More Than Gear, say Mountaineering Scotland

With winter conditions making an appearance on the hills, Mountaineering Scotland have issued a seasonal reminder, stressing that it takes more than an axe, crampons and a headtorch to stay safe.

To that end, the organisation has highlighted the high quality of online information which can be easily accessed before heading for the hills.

Axe and crampons may be essential in winter, but information is equally important  © Dan Bailey
Axe and crampons may be essential in winter, but information is equally important
© Dan Bailey

Mountain Safety Adviser Heather Morning said:

"There are some excellent resources for mountain weather information. Check out and the excellent new Met Office mountain pages"

"If there is snow on the ground, then check the Sportscotland Avalanche Information Service (SAIS), which provides free daily reports on snow conditions and an avalanche forecast for six mountain areas of Scotland."

General advice is also available through the Mountaineering Scotland website at and the organisation is running a free winter safety lecture tour (see here).

Heather Morning said:

"Folk heading out onto the hills in winter should take advantage of the advice and information on offer to ensure a safe and enjoyable day."

"As well as making sure you have an ice axe, and crampons that fit, remember that winter days are shorter and colder, so a headtorch with spare batteries is essential. A simple bivouac shelter is also a very good addition to the kit you carry in your winter rucksack."

Kev Mitchell, vice chair of Scottish Mountain Rescue, said:

"Mountain Rescue in Scotland is provided free by world class volunteers on call at all times and in all weathers. We fully endorse the Mountaineering Scotland winter safety message and would encourage hillgoers to ensure that they have left details of their intended route and expected return time."

"People should also be aware of and use the latest navigation / location technology such as GPS or OS locate and other similar apps to avoid navigation errors. However, it is critical that a paper map and a compass are carried and that people know how to use them."

"If you require assistance on the hills, dial 999 ask for Police then Mountain Rescue."

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