Scottish winter

One of the best training and learning grounds to cut your teeth and to feel what it’s like to be a mountaineer.

Scotland in winter offers fantastic opportunities for technical climbing and memorable experiences. A day on Ben Nevis (or the Ben as it is affectionately known), the highest summit in the UK, whether up Ledge Route or Green Gully will test you and thrill you in equal measure! With so many options to choose from: East to the Cairngorms or West towards Glen Coe and the Ben, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to having a great adventure.

When to go

From early January to late March and into April, Scottish winter conditions come into their own with the recurrent freeze-thaw cycles that ensure turf is frozen and rock is rimed up!

How difficult is it?

From ‘never worn crampons before’ to ‘a few winter seasons under my belt’, Ibex Mountain Guides can help you realise your winter aspirations. Not all summits are technical, so if you’re into long winter wonderland walks, Scotland has something for you too!

How fit do I need to be?

Scotland is a stepping stone towards the Alps, so the main emphasis is on endurance. The walk-ins generally entail some 1000m of ascent and descent at the end of the day, so being able to walk for some 8 hours or more at a steady pace is what is needed. You will also be carrying a ruck sack that will weigh over 5kg. Over the course of the day, your ascent rate should be around 300m/hour.

What equipment do I need?

Scotland is famous for its whisky which is made from peaty water…well, all that waterfalls from the sky, mostly in winter! You will need heavy-duty waterproofs, both top and bottoms. Gaiters. Warm layers. Woolly hat. Gloves: at least two pairs. Rucksack big enough (around 40litres) to carry goggles, harness (belay device, 4 screwgate karabiners, one 120cm sling and 2 prusik loops), helmet, crampons, rope, ice axe, food, drink and headtorch. Stiff soled boots (B3), crampons (C3) to fit boots, telescopic poles. Technical axes if you’ve got them. Don’t forget your camera/smartphone! Though make sure it’s in a waterproof case. Ibex Mountain Guides can provide you with the equipment that’s in italics.

How much?

For a guided trip with Ibex Mountain Guides, our daily rate is £220 on a 1:1 basis plus £20 per extra person. This fee is for guiding services and safety equipment.