Winter Mountaineering

winter mountaineering course uk

Winter Mountaineering

Winter mountain walking is a magical experience. We have a full range of equipment, including axes and crampons, to fully explore the mountains of North Wales or Scotland when they are coated in snow and ice. From simple journeys into the snow to mountaineering expeditions, we can give groups an experience and develop their skills.

The mountain takes on a different character in the winter. Feel like a true adventurer!

"It was great to use the axes in the snow, so much fun!"
Melissa Green

North Wales

When the temperatures drop, there are plenty of great winter days out in North Wales.  We can choose simple peaks, which don’t require any extra equipment, but allow groups to play in the snow and see the interesting ice formations. For the higher peaks we will instruct on how to use axes and crampons, which aid progress and keep everyone safe.

The highest peaks can be topped in snow anytime from December through to March. Winter conditions aren’t guaranteed but we have the flexibility to choose the best day when groups are staying at the centre. 

great winter mountaineering Scotland


Scotland offers great winter mountaineering venues and consistent winter conditions through the winter. The bigger peaks offer impressive journeys, using mountaineering axes and crampons for the full experience.

We will instruct you in how to use axes to stop a slide, give support and create anchors. Equally, we will look at using crampons across snow, ice and rock. We can cover route choice, understanding of snow and avalanche awareness.


Snow & Ice Climbing

We provide guiding and instruction if you want to progress onto roped climbing up the steeper snow gullies, ice or mixed climbing. There are plenty of winter climbing routes in Wales or up in Scotland. 

As the routes get steeper we use two technical axes with ropes and harnesses to keep everyone safe. We guide on grades I-V, choosing the best days out to match your experience and current skill level.

snow and ice climbing in north wales

Learning Outcomes

For Outdoor Education Courses

  • Support each other as a group to reach a goal.
  • Look at the weather and the climate and apply this to manage our own personal safety such as wearing the correct clothes etc.
  • Walk for a sustained period of time, using technical equipment.

Activity Venues

In North Wales we have many local mountains close to the centre, such as Moel Eilio or Elidir Fawr which have quick access from the road to gain the snow. Higher mountains such as Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) and Tryfan can offer a more technical ascent for those that want to practice using axes and crampons.

Up in Scotland a base on the West gives access to Ben Nevis and Glen Coe – an impressive valley with many different peaks. Being based on the East we would use the Cairngorms that are often drier and have short approaches.  

Winter Mountaineering Courses

Winter mountaineering forms part of our outdoor education courses at Arete, it is a satisfying full day activity. Through the outdoor adventures, and residential stay, we incorporate a range of educational benefits for the pupils. Winter mountaineering can also be part of geography field work, looking at erosional environments and glaciation.

Courses of all lengths available throughout the year. A dedicated and experienced instructor is allocated per group. They will tailor the outdoor education programme, that will be flexible to adjust to pupil progression and weather.

Costs: As an example, a 5 day fully catered course starts from just £235 per pupil for courses in November – February.

How to Book: Please email or use our contact form. Let us know the time of year, approximate size of course, year group and any aspirations or learning objectives you may have.

 See our Primary or Secondary section from more information on our outdoor education courses. We also have a general Teachers & Leaders Guide.

All of our activities, including winter mountaineering, can be booked as a private session for any type of group. The winter mountaineering is a full day activity.

Costs: £70 per person for a full day of activity.
Minimum payment of £280 for a full day or £200 for a half day of activity.

Discounts: For groups, every 10th person can attend for free. 10% discount for schools, colleges, scouts & guides, cadets and certain youth charities.

Ratios: We run our courses at low ratios of 1:11 or less to ensure your safety and maximum participation.  Snow and ice climbing are at 1:2 or 1:4 ratio.

Included: Ice axes, crampons, safety kit and / or waterproofs as necessary. Transport can also be provided if you are staying at Arete Outdoor Centre.

How to Book: Please email or use our contact form. Let us know your preferred date, approximate size of course, year group and any aspirations or learning objectives you may have.

More information: Please see our page on Adult Groups, Youth Groups or Family Activity.

We run Gold DofE Residential courses and Summer Camps during the holidays. Unfortunately we don’t have winter conditions to use for the August and September dates.  Any courses run earlier in the year, can incorporate a winter day if the weather is appropriate. The accommodation is fully catered. You will meet like-minded individuals and have a great week of adventure.

2018 Dates: 20-24 August, 27-31 August.

Cost: £295 per person fully catered

How to Book: Please email or use our contact form. Let us know you preferred date.

More information: See our Gold Residential or Summer Camp page. Alternatively contact us if you have further questions.