UK Rock + Winter

During much of the year Britain offers an abundance of fine and accessible cragging. If you are looking to take your first steps outside the climbing gym, learn to lead, or tackle a sought after ‘Classic, Hard or Extreme Rock’ route then get in touch. Likewise through the winter season I offer a range of services from an introduction to winter skills through to guiding on classic steep ice and mixed routes. If you are looking to take your first steps on snow, develop your skills, or wish to savour the experience of a classic ‘cold climb’, then get in touch to discuss your requirements. I aim to provide a friendly, creative and adventurous environment in which to learn and develop skills.

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Steven Andrews on Mad Hatter’s Gulley, Beinn Bhan, Applecross, Scotland

When I am in Britain I am available to provide a range of services, along the spectrum from coaching specific skills through to guiding aspirational routes. In summer Snowdonia is a great venue for rapidly developing ones rock techniques, as it provides such great variety. From sea cliffs to mountain crags, sporting bolted routes to run out slate classics, atmospheric mountain crags to roadside favorites such as Tremadog, this area has a lifetime’s worth of climbing. And no matter what the weather pattern is, there will usually be some climbing possible in Snowdonia: by either escaping to Holyhead, the Orme or Tremadog, or dropping the grade and getting involved with an adventurous mountaineering spirit in the Ogwen valley, there is always a worthwhile day to be found. For those with a little more time available, Scotland provides an even broader range of options, albeit spread a little more distant from any single base.

P1090789Stuart on Sinister Prong

 

Stuart Leonard on Sinister Prong of Liathach, NW Highlands, Scotland

Having lived in Scotland permanently from 2000 to 2007 and maintained part-time residence since then, I have an intimate knowledge of the highlands. Visiting climbers from throughout the world are always surprised by the superb quality and diversity our compact climbing buttresses offer. It certainly helps however to have some local knowledge to help you get the most out of your time, and the conditions available!

Introductory Winter Skills courses explore how to move safely in the Scottish winter environment. The step from summer rock climbing to winter walking and climbing can seem daunting, but with instruction, guidance and practice your confidence will quickly develop. Soon more adventurous technical challenges can be considered. This would be tailored to the client or group’s need, but will usually include cramponing techniques, using an ice axe for support, progressing on steep snow, and self arrest. We can also discuss what equipment and skills are appropriate or necessary to adventure independently in the winter environment (clothing, safety equipment, navigation and route choice, weather and conditions information). Advanced navigation and basic rope-work can also be covered.

Winter Climbing Skills focuses on the skills necessary to move efficiently on steeper mixed and ice terrain. This course would focus on developing the clients range of techniques for crampon use, ice axe use, and the choices of where and how to place protection and extract it as a second.

Winter Guiding courses will be looking for the best conditions and terrain available to get on as many classic climbs as time allows. Venues can be as varied as the conditions and your ambitions permit! It is ideal to have at least a couple of days available so we can warm up on some amenable climbs and build up to a more ambitious objective.

Ski Touring is a superb way to travel across the hills in winter. I compete and train with the best ski mountaineers in the country and have a wealth of experience of ski touring from Scotland, the Alps to Antarctica. When there is sufficient snow, I will be available to guide ski tours across the classic summits, search out the best conditions for gulley descents or introduce novice ski tourers to the backcountry. Among many topics we can look at include: kickturns & efficient skinning, safety equipment, safe travel techniques, line choice, gear choice.