Saturday 3 January 2015

Into Winter 2015 with Kendal Mountaineering Services. Winter Skills, Winter Climbing & Winter Mountineering Courses.

Winter conditions in The Lake District are coming & going at the moment. Photo one was taken the day after boxing day. Sadly the snow has all but disappeared again. We would like to be able to run Winter Courses here in The Lake District but that is not going to be possible unless we get a good dump of snow followed  by some freeze/thaw conditions - but not too much of the thaw mind!

Yiu can view other pics from this snowy lake District day here. It was a day worth getting out for!

Starting towards the end of January, we will be in readiness to run our Scottish Winter Courses. These will include Winter Skills Courses and our first projected date for these is February 7th & 8th 2015. The venue for this winter skills course will be Glen Coe and the cost will be £120 per person for the two day course with a maximum group size of six persons per instructor.

If we don't achieve a minimum group size of four then the course will be cancelled - so do tell anyone you can think of who might be interested in joining!! Book by the end of January and get your two day course  for only £100.00!

Food & accommodation are not included on these courses but if you contact us to make a booking, we will put you in touch with a number of bunkhouses, hostels and B & Bs in the area.

On our 2 day Scottish Winter Skills Courses you can expect to cover a comprehensive syllabus. The course is designed to help you become self sufficient in the winter mountain environment and deal with snow & ice of different consistencies. One of the first things we'll show you is how to use your ice axe to prevent a slip turning into a slide. There are a number of ice axe braking scenarios to cover and the chap in photo three is about to arrest from a forward facing slide.

Amongst other techniques, we will also show you how to provide security for your peers when you are out in the winter environment.

There are many methods of making belays (anchors) by using the snow, a rope, your ice axe or even just yourself and a hole in the snow. We will look at basic snow & ice anchors, buried axe anchors and how to use Deadmen (a shaped aluminimum plate specifically designed as a snow anchor). Other methods include the use of a body belay from a bucket seat and the use of equipment in other ways such as the Stomper Belay or the boot axe belay as shown here in photo four.

Many winter skills courses do not cover the scenarios of belay construction and basic ropework - but we do, because we think you ought to know what to do when you might need to!
Amongst other skills we'll cover snowpack assessment and avalanche prediction. Avalanches are a real source of injury & death in the mountains in Winter so you will need to know what to look out for in the snowpack as a result of wind action and recent snowfall. Reading forcecasts from the Mountain Weather Information Service and the Scottish Avalanche Information Service are really good places to start as we will explain.

As well as being able to interpret snowpack and deal with security of steep ground, we will also show you what to do if you are caught out by bad weather, injury or benightment.

There are a number of options for building an improvised shelter - the easiest is to tunnel sideways into a bank of snow to build a snowhole but you may have to build a shelter from blocks of snow or by other means. We'll show you what to do!
Finally, you'll need to be able to use crampons to deal with hard snow (neve) and ice when kicking or cutting steps becomes too laborious a process.

Crampons can be a life saver on one hand or a serious hazard on the other.

We will teach you how to use crampons properly during you winter skills course using as many points as possible in contact with the ice to give you maximum security on icy terrain; and how to change the way in which you use them as the angle of the ice gets steeper.

To book your place on our West Coast based Winter Skills Course taking place in Glen Coe on Saturday & Sunday 7th & 8th February 2015 contact us here, give Iain a call on 07761 483364 or join the facebook event page here.

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