Past Meetup

Scottish Winter Mountaineering - Introductory Weekend

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Price: £55.00 /per person
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Scottish Winter Mountaineering - Introductory Weekend

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Price
- Deposit: £55 (non-refundable*) deposit to secure your space.
- Total Cost: £145 including deposit amount.
- Services Included: Professional guidance, training and includes tents accommodation.

--- TRIP SUMMARY ---

Our Scottish Winter Mountaineering introduction weekend is perfectly suited to those without previous mountaineering experience in winter conditions and aimed at people keen on getting out in the colder months.

Over the course of a weekend our friendly, personable, professional and qualified instructors aim to lead groups around the Cairngorm mountain range and National Park, intensively teaching a set of fundamental winter mountaineering skills in the field and along the way. The weekend essential skills and topics covered range from:

- Movement on snow and ice using ice axe and crampons.
- Self-arrest, basic rescue and safety methods.
- Emergency shelter and snow hole construction.
- Basic navigation and winter techniques.

Please be aware that there are no strict timings or lesson plans due to varying factors such as group speed, group requirements, individual requirements, snow, ice, weather and climatic conditions. The group leader will decide on when and where to operate each demonstration and lesson (and if possible) whilst in the field.

Price
- Deposit: £55 (non-refundable*) deposit to secure your space.
- Total Cost: £145 including deposit amount.
- Services Included: Professional guidance, training and includes accommodation.

Operational Factors
- Duration: Weekend, Friday to Sunday.
- Operational Months: January to March.
- Group Size: Max of six participants per guide (6:1 ratio).

Location & Timings
- Activity Locations: Cairngorm National Park.
- Start: Aviemore. Evening meet and brief.
- End: Aviemore. Departure late Sunday afternoon.

Climate, Conditions & Weather
- Season: Winter.
- Conditions: Snow & Ice.
- Temperature: Cold/Severely Cold (Below 0°C/32°F).

--- SUITABILITY ---

- Requirements, Fitness & Previous Experience
We require all undertaking this training tour to be at a basic level of fitness. We advise all to participate in some form of regular cardiovascular training such as swimming, running, cycling or some gym work (although not entirely necessary for this training tour - contact us for further details).

Those experienced in hiking, trekking or hill walking will be at an advantage, but previous experience isn't an essential requirement for this training tour.

All participants will be expected to walk (on Saturday) for a period of around 8 hours (including plenty of rest stops and static demonstrations).

*Discounts are available for those booked on major expeditions with Ascent Explorers.

- Technicality
The perfect introduction to mountaineering in winter conditions for those without any previous experience and a great opportunity for intermediates who are keen to get some winter mountaineering skills practice in whilst the conditions last.

No previous technical knowledge required, but some technical kit such as crampons and an ice axe will be required to take part (these can be hired in Aviemore).

Walking (not climbing) a route amongst the Cairngorm mountain range with below freezing temperatures, snow and ice conditions expected.

--- ITINERARY & SERVICES ---

Friday
- Arrive in Aviemore
- Personal kit hire collection in Aviemore.
- Arrive in Aviemore YHA.
- Group briefing.
- Travel to the mountains wild camp tents.

Saturday
- Wake up have a bite to eat
- Begin tour and training (around 8 hours in duration).
- Return to camp site over night camp.
- Evening brief.
- Overnight.

Sunday
- Free time to explore Aviemore.
- Return kit hires.
- Departure.

Services Included:
- British Mountaineering Leader.
- 2 x nights wild camping 2 man tents included.
- Group training equipment.

Services Excluded:
- Travel to Aviemore YHA.
- Cairngorm Mountain transfers.
- Food & water.
- Personal equipment & clothing.
- Personal expenses.
- Charges for any additional services.

- Itinerary Accuracy & Unforeseen Changes
Due to potential unforeseen circumstances out of our control, this itinerary and it’s daily activities outlined may be forced to change. Our intentions are to follow the day-to-day itinerary as planned but, please be patient and cooperative in the event of such changes, which are ultimately enforced for the safety and enjoyment of the group as a whole. Itinerary changes may be due to flight rescheduling, road closures, climatic conditions and other operational factors.

--- TRAVEL INFORMATION ---

Travel to Aviemore and transfers from and to the Cairngorm ski slopes are not included in the price of this weekend. Nationwide connections are readily available by most travel means such as air, train, bus and own/hired car/transport.

- Destination Address:
Aviemore YHA, 25 Grampian Road, Aviemore, Inverness-shire, PH22 1PR.

- Air Travel:
Highly recommended for speed and comfort to those travelling from London or further afield. Return flights from London generally cost around £60 on average (not included) and if booked in advance.

Flights from London take around 1h 45mins to reach Inverness, leaving an hours bus journey to reach Aviemore. Alternative modes of transport are available from Inverness Town Centre such as taxi hire, car hire and direct Highland Main Line rail links. Please ensure all travel arrangements are confirmed prior to departure.

- Travel by Rail:
Managed by First ScotRail, the Highland Main Line runs services through:

Edinburgh - Perth - Aviemore - Inverness

Aviemore Railway Station is located approximately half a mile from Aviemore town centre. Taxis are available at the station - meeting most train arrivals. For further information on train times, routes and prices please click here (http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations_destinations/AVM.aspx).

- Travel by Car:
If driving, use the Aviemore YHA address opposite for GPS/SatNav location. Travelling by car has it's pros and cons;

The route via the A9 (off the M9) from Dunblane to Aviemore is one of the most incredible and picturesque drives in the UK. A road trip to Scotland with a car load of friends can be a fun and memorable occasion, also by car pooling you'll be helping the environment a little by reducing emissions and ever importantly sharing fuel costs. There is ample of free car parking spaces within the hostel grounds in Aviemore and you won't need to wait around for the bus to Cairngorm ski centre on activity days.

Unfortunately on the bad side, if driving from the South of England journey times can take up to 12 hours in length (each way) depending on traffic and road conditions, weather and road conditions can be poor (even to no access) in winter and the cost of fuel can easily amount to more than flight or train costs on longer journeys.

- Travel by Coach/Bus:
Companies such as megabus.com offer low cost Nationwide/Inter City coach travel to Aviemore. Coach journeys can be long and sometimes a little noisy, but are comfortable, cheap and hassle free. Click here (http://uk.megabus.com/) for National coach enquiries.

- Aviemore to Cairngorm Mountain Transfers:
Aviemore is around 9 miles from Cairngorm Mountain and ski slopes, which is the start point for each activity day on the mountains. Stagecoach offer a reliable bus service (Route 31) from Aviemore to Cairngorm Mountain for a few pounds each way. Further information can be found here (http://www.stagecoachbus.com/).

--- ACCOMMODATION & FOOD ---

- Accommodation:

Dependent on conditions winter wild camping will be on the cards.

We will do our up most to wild camp as this is the essence of winter mountaineering this will give us a great advantage to beat the crowds and to appreciate the virgin snow conditions.

Aviemore YHA is an ideal base for many outdoor activities in the Cairngorm National Park mainly due to it's location. Surrounded by picturesque woodlands and just a short walk from Aviemore town centre, Aviemore YHA provides a comfortable retreat after a long and active day out in the Scottish highlands. Being very popular with outdoor enthusiasts in general, the peaceful, but buzzing YHA in Aviemore is also a great place to meet many other likeminded people.

The hostel provides a good range of services and facilities including shared (included) and private rooms (extra cost), a well-equipped self-catering kitchen, a spacious dining area, a large drying room and ample parking for cars and busses. There is also a large open lounge which provides stunning views of the Cairngorm Mountains and surrounding woodland.

- Food & Drink:
This training tour and accommodation supplied run on a self catering basis. It is each participants responsibility to supply and/or purchase food and drinks for their own personal requirements and consumption.

Aviemore is a fairly built up town with a number of food establishments, such as supermarkets, pubs, restaurants and cafes. The Aviemore YHA has a self catering kitchen for those who wish to heat up/cook their own food.

Each participant should bring along a packed lunch, 1L+ water and snacks for Saturday's tour and training day at least.

- Accommodation Included:
2 x nights self catering hostel style accommodation (shared rooms).

- Accommodation Address:
Aviemore YHA,
25 Grampian Road,
Aviemore,
Inverness-shire,
PH22 1PR.

--- KIT LIST ---

- Kit Summary
Below is an essential list of kit each participant must bring and carry to effectively and safely take part in this training tour.

It is understandable that, as a beginner, buying a full set of winter kit can be expensive. If this is the case, we highly recommend using the hire services in Aviemore for certain pieces such as ice axe and crampons. Several stores in Aviemore offer advice and hire services which can be easily found online, such as Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports (click here (http://www.ellis-brigham.com/stores/aviemore)).

== CLOTHING AND FOOTWEAR ==

- Winter Walking Boots
Crampon compatible winter boots are compulsory.

- Approach Shoes or Running Trainers
Optional, but useful in town and for light travelling.

- Socks
2 pairs of thick SmartWool socks are recommended.

- Gaiters
Useful for keeping snow from entering through the top of your boots and also protect your ankles when walking with crampons as a beginner.

- Thermal Top and Bottoms/Long Johns

- Walking Trousers

- Waterproof Over trousers/Salopettes
Over trousers or salopettes should be tough with full-length zips to allow them to be put on over boots and crampons.

- Waterproof Jacket
Lightweight waterproofs are often inadequate for full winter conditions. Therefore jackets should be heavy duty with storm flaps over zips and have a well-designed hood that will fit over a helmet.

- Warm Jacket

- Thick Fleece or Pile Jacket

- T-Shirt

- Underwear

- Thermal Gloves and/or Mittens
Warm and fitting gloves/mittens are essential. Gloves that are too tight will restrict circulation. Ideally wear thin inner gloves inside mittens (with wrist loops attached).

- Warm Hat/Balaclava

- Snood/Scarf

== PERSONAL EQUIPMENT ==

Click here (https://www.thebmc.co.uk/hill-skills-your-first-axe-and-crampons) for an informative article on winter mountaineering equipment for beginners from the BMC website.

- Rucksack
Capacity of 45L is ideally recommended. An external fastening or loop for an ice axe would help.

- Crampons
Crampons are another compulsory item. 10 to 12 point crampons including 2 front points are ideal. Make sure the binding system fits your boots before departure. Hire services are available in Aviemore.

- Walking Ice Axe
One straight shaft "walking" ice axe around 55-65cm in length is required. Do not use, buy or hire climbing axes as they are not suitable. Hire services are available in Aviemore.

- Nalgene Plastic (insulated) Water Bottle
Due to the below freezing temperatures, water that is directly exposed to the elements will freeze rapidly, leaving you with nothing to drink and potentially for the entire day. Please avoid metal water bottles; touching metal with bare skin can cause the moisture on your skin to freeze to the metal.

Carrying liquids in winter conditions isn't an easy task; insulation offers the best chances. Using foam and Gaffa tape you can create a decent layer of insulation around your water bottle. Alternatively purchase an insulation pouch to fit your bottle.

- Plastic Bags or Dry Bags
Extra layer inside your bag to ensure important kit and clothing stays dry.

- Head Torch/Batteries/Bulb

- Toiletries & Wash Kit
Showers are available in the Aviemore YHA but are shared. Bring your own towels and soap if you intend to shower. Baby Wipes and antibacterial hand wash are an efficient alternative and recommended addition.

- Sunglasses/Snow Goggles

- High Factor Sun Cream/Block & Lip Salve

- Personal First Aid Kit

- Emergency Whistle