Basic Winter Mountaineering Skills
For most people their first experience of summit ting on a mountain winter involves much trepidation. There are many new skills to think about. Where should I go, what’s the weather doing will there be any avalanches. There are no short cuts to gaining the experience and skills. Trial and error can lead to bad experiences and accidents at worst. Most serious walkers and climbers learn the basics from a Guide. The Guide can build a methodical approach to a safe and enjoyable day that leaves the mountaineer feeling they can cope with anything the mountain throws at them Whether its bad weather, snow conditions and challenging terrain.  Guides can help you choose the technical gear and clothing that works for you. Its common most two day or 5 day courses cover all the skills and generally climb to summits to use the skills in an appropriate situation. Common skills covered on a winter mountaineering course are:

  • Using crampons for walking and climbing ice
  • Use of the ice axe for walking, climbing and arresting on snow
  • Use of helmets, harness and climbing equipment
  • Basic rope work for pitching and safeguarding a difficult step up and down
  • Descending and abseiling off snow, rock and ice
  • Navigation in winter
  • Understanding weather and avalanche forecasts
  • Basic snow analysis of slopes and snow pack
  • Emergency shelters

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