Penguin Gully, Beinn Dearg

Introduction to Scottish Winter Climbing

Scottish Winter Climbing at it's best; reliable ice climbing on Penguin Gully, Beinn Dearg NW Highlands

Who is ‘Introduction to Winter Climbing’ for?

The Introduction to Scottish Winter Climbing course is for people who have some winter hillwalking experience and want to make the next step onto steeper ground and climbing. A good level of fitness is important when heading out into the hills in the winter, a minimum of 1 hours walk in is required to get to the winter climbing venues. If you have no winter experience do not worry we can tailor a course to get you climbing quickly. It is necessary to spend a day getting to grips with basic crampon, ice axe and movement skills and then we can get you winter climbing.

This course can be a 1 day refresher, a weekend or a 5 day course.

What will be covered?

The Introduction to Winter Climbing course is run at a maximum ratio of 1 instructor : 2 participants. This ensures that we can teach you what you need to know for the development of your winter climbing and mountaineering. We can cover many aspects of climbing including

Avalanche Awareness and weather

Movement on snow, rock and ice - graded routes

Belaying techniques

Rope management

Retreating - abseiling

Route choice and route finding

Gear placements in winter

Snow and ice gear/anchors

What previous clients thought ...

“Paul’s professionalism is not limited to his physical abilities and technical skills. To be a guide/instructor one must be able to cater to individual needs and abilities. One must relate well to clients on a human basis, love people, love climbing, and love teaching. All this is so obvious by Paul who did not stop pumping information about all aspects of climbing even those which were far from essential to the course itself. He certainly won my deepest respect. I feel we are friends now, and I dare say I'll be also correct in assuming that this is mutual. Abraham Gross - Israel

"Don't usually give full marks, but couldn't think of a fault! My husband and I first met Paul on an introduction to snow and ice climbing course in Scotland and ended up hiring him for an additional day that week as we were having such a good time. I surprised myself with how in control and comfortable I could feel attached to a rope with crampons on my feet and this did wonders for what I could achieve and my enjoyment levels. We've since seen Paul in Snowdonia for some rock climbing and the same was true. He strikes that difficult balance for a guide managing to make the day relaxed and enjoyable yet safe and informative. We're already considering booking in more of the same next year." Claire Parsons

Other Questions

What if the weather is bad?

We will endeavour to spend as much time as possible out in the mountains, however if the weather is bad we can often cover many of the skills in more sheltered areas or a climbing wall. If there is no snow we can often cover many winter climbing skills on climbing walls and crags.

How do I book?

Once you have decided which course you would like to do send an email to enquire about the dates that suit you. I will then let you know if an instructor is available.

If you have any other questions about this course please get in touch. You can either email or phone (We are out climbing through the day with limited phone signal, so leave a message and we will call you back or send us an email).

If you are looking for a course for a large group or group of young people please have a look at our group adventure site -

Introduction to winter climbing course
Smiths Gully, Creag Meagaidh
Royal Pardon, Aonach BEag
The Guillotine, Carn Etchecan


Instruction/Guiding prices from

1:1 £220 per day

1:2 £250 per day



For a list of equipment and personal kit please check the KIT LIST for your course.

Any equipment you do not have can be hired for prices see the booking page.


We have complied a list of accommodation campsites and bunkhouses to Hotels, pick something that suits you.

For accommodation ideas in Snowdonia or Scotland.

Getting to Scotland - Fly to Inverness for access to the mountains in the NW of Scotland or get the Caledonian Sleeper to Fort William or Aviemore can be accessed by the sleeper train and have a good range of accommodation, pubs and shops.

The Runnel, Cairngorms
Mountain Expertise - Rock Climbing Instruction

Contact -

Paul James  07739 813927

© Mountain Expertise 2018