Essential winter skills
Winter conditions can vary from cold, sunny days to limited visibility and driving snow and probably everything inbetween! In this post we've tried to highlight three key skills you should master before venturing out on the mountains in winter conditions. There are additional skills which contribute to a safer day outdoors and we cover these on our winter skills courses.
Ensure you have the necessary skills to plan a safe winter's day on the mountains or outdoors. Check relevant weather forecasts and understand what effect they will have on you. Choose a suitable route or activity to reflect the weather conditions Have plan A and B, they don't have to be complicated. Let someone reliable know the details of your day out including what time you are expected to return and what to do if you don't!
If you are heading to lower levels with good access to roads, facilities and people then a basic level of navigation should suffice. However, if you are venturing to the higher, mountain areas then you require more knowledge, skills and experience to navigate safely and effectively. Our navigation courses are perfect for getting your skills up to date and to build your confidence for venturing out in winter.
Clothing and equipment
Undertsanding what to wear and carry in winter is essential. Knowing how your equipment works is also a key skill and this could vary from how to adjust your hood in windy and cold conditions to packing your rucksack in a manner that has the essential items to hand easily. If you haven't carried or used crampons and ice axe before then our winter skills course will definately help you be more proficient. Make sure you carry the basics such as food,drink etc - our post on rucksack items will help you decide.
Walking in winter brings new experiences such as more physical days out and challenging weather but it also gives us fantastic opportunities to see the outdoors and mountains in a new light. Walking off a mountain as the sun sets in winter is one of the best feelings we can have outdoors - make sure you have the skills to enjoy them safely!