Mountain Course & Activity Locations

Lakes Outdoor Experience cover locations across the UK, including North Wales, Scotland and The Lake District to mention but a few. We also offer guided scrambling and traverses on The Cuillin Ridge on The Isle of Skye.

Helvellyn  2 day Winter Skills Courses

Helvellyn 2 day Winter Skills Courses, The Lake District, Cumbria

Cost - £180.00 per person

Helvellyn, on the east side of The Lake District, is the Lake District's 3rd highest summmit at 3118 feet and it is famous for it's two mountain ridges - Swirral & Striding Edge. Our 2 day Winter Skills Courses take place on the east side of Helvellyn in the hanging valleys of Red Tarn, Brown Cove or even in the hanging valley of Sticks Gill East above Greenside Mines and below the famous Lake District Ski Club area on Raise.

This is the coldest area within The Lake District National Park during the winter months and the area that generally retains the most "neve" ie hard frozen snow throughout winter. Neve is the type of snow we'll hope to get you working on in order to get the most out of your winter skills training course. Ice is excellent for crampon work, powder snow is of no use whatsoever for winter skills training!

The two day Winter Skills Course

helvellyn-1-day-1.jpgThis beginner course is designed to introduce summer hill walkers to the delights of winter walking. Our aim is to make you competent and confident to be able to go walking anywhere in the UK's mountains in winter conditions and have the ability to stay safe and have great days out in this stunning and exhilarating environment.

ice-axe-braking-winter-skills-courses.jpgWe will help you develop skills essential to allow you to venture in to the mountains when they are covered in snow and ice. We will give you the technical knowledge to understand how to remain safe in this dynamic environment and the focus will be on developing good movement skills, decision making and judgement of the terrain in the winter environment. 

The second day of this course allows extended contact time with the your instructor and allows the opportunity to practice and refine the skills learnt from day 1, we will complete a more comprehensive mountain journey to gain a winter summit.

On your 2 day winter skills course we will cover:

  • Movement on snow - look at using the boot as a tool, using the edges of the boot and kicking steps for security.

  • Ice axe technique - for security and balance on steeper terrain and for cutting steps to aid movement up and down the slope

  • Crampons - fitting crampons correctly, walking in crampons and front pointing.  We will look to use crampons on a variety of terrain including snow, ice and rock in ascent and descent. 

  • Ice Axe Braking/Self arrest - looking at techniques from self belay through to halting a slip and arresting slides and tumbles, from feet first to head first and gaining control 

  • Avalanche awareness - to stay safe and develop understanding of a hazardous and dynamic landscape.  We will look at weather forecasting, avalanche reports and observations of the snow in the real world when out on the hill 

  • Winter navigation - all those summer features become covered by snow; practice on a different scale map and winterise your navigation; looking at appropriate techniques and gaining confidence to navigate in white out conditions 

The Helvellyn massif is usually the most reliable for winter weather but if the conditions are right, be prepared to explore any of the high Lakeland fells in snowy conditions.

We will head up onto the high mountains around Helvellyn - this includes the mountains of Raise, Whiteside, Helvellyn Lower Man and Stybarrow Dodd.  

striding-edge-helvellyn.jpgAny technical terrain we will cover may include Striding Edge & Swirral Edges and any steep ground around the Red Tarn Face or Brown Cove Crags. 

Frequently asked questions.

Where do we meet for this Winter Skills Course?  On both days, we will meet you in Glenridding at the Ullswater Tourist Information centre in Beckside car park at 08:30. The postcode for the location is CA11 0PA .We then usually car share to the Helvellyn YHA and start the course from this location. 

What equipment do we need for this course?  You will need to wear suitable clothing for winter mountaineering, including a full set of waterproofs, extra warm layers, a hat & gloves and ski goggles - these should all be packed into a rucksack of no less than 45 litres capacity and you must also bring a flask of hot drink and a packed lunch with you.

striding-edge-winter-skils.jpgYou will also need winter mountaineering boots for this course and these boots should be rigid and rated to B2/B3 standard (we can advise during the booking stage but B1 boots are too bendy and are unlikely to give you good grip on hard snow/Neve).

navigation-skills-winter.jpgYou also need a walking axe such as a DMM Cirque for example and a pair of walking crampons. We do not provide winter boots, crampons or ice axes but can advise where to hire these for your winter skills course. Please contact us to enquire

We do provide helmets and maps for your 2 day winter course and can provide Silva Type 4 Expedition Compasses for an additional fee of just £5 per day.

The fee of £180.00 per person for this course includes the following:

  • Instruction and guiding by an experienced and qualified Mountaineering Instructor

  • Local & intimate knowledge of the area gained from a lifetime spent on these mountains - 21 years of which was as a member of the local Mountain Rescue Team in Patterdale

  • Professional coaching & instruction

  • The provision of helmets for use whilst on technical ground or whilst practising Winter Skills 

We look forward to working with you on one of our Lake District based 2 day Winter Skills Courses. Contact us here to make your booking.

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More About Us

Iain GallagherLakes Outdoor Experience is run by Iain Gallagher. Iain was born and brought up in The Lake District by parents who were very keen on the outdoors.

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