Winter Skills on Helvellyn and Great End

Winter Skills on Helvellyn and Great End

Helvellyn and Great End have a great reputation for reliable winter conditions, but obviously it takes planning, good luck and a flexible approach to timing and choice of venue to find snow and ice in the Lake District.

We will try to be flexible and help you get the timing right for your trip, and then search out the best the area has to offer when you arrive. We will always try to make the most of whatever conditions are available to achieve your objectives and teach you the skills you need.

On these courses we deliver instruction for Winter Mountain Walkers in groups of up to 6 through to mellow climbing routes for Winter Mountaineers in a maximum group size of 4. If you want something hard core take a look at our Snow, Ice and Mixed climbing trips. Most people come for 1 to 3 days but our full Winter Skills courses in Scotland are normally 5 days duration and if you have the time available we run the full 5 day courses in the Lake District too.

Whenever there is snow all courses will begin with an introduction to, or revision of, essential ice axe and crampon skills in terrain appropriate to the participants, including at least one thorough session on ice axe self-arrest. We cover assessment of snow conditions, avalanche risk, and building survival shelters.

Walking groups focus on the personal skills needed for safe mountain travel in winter. Whatever the weather and conditions we can cover navigation, route planning, use of weather forecasts and choice of equipment.

If you wish to reach your summits by more ambitious mountain routes, and sample some roped climbing we offer Winter Mountaineering courses that include ascents of some easier graded climbs, such as a snow gully and classic ridge route. The itineraries will be selected to suit the prevailing conditions and aspirations of the party. A minimum of good summer hill walking experience is required, and some previous summer scrambling and/or winter hill walking would be useful. The essential skills, outlined for Winter Mountain Walking groups will be covered, but we will move onto steeper and more difficult ground than normally chosen when walking. Rope work and belaying will be introduced from first principles, so no prior climbing experience is necessary.

If you are staying for a few days we can arrange an evening slide show and a discussion or practical session relevant to the course (e.g. snow and avalanche, rope work and belaying). We can even include an overnight expedition out on the hill if requested. We may also wish to take advantage of any local entertainment, and simply take some time off to relax!

Flexibility is the key; please get in touch to discuss what’s possible.

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