Winter Mountaineering in the Cairngorms
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Cairngorms - Highlands - Three nights
Winter Mountaineering Weekend for experienced winter mountaineers. There is a related "introduction to winter mountaineering" also available - please book onto the event most suited to your experience.
The Cairngorms can be a stunning place to be in winter conditions, with rolling mountains, caledonian pine forests and hopefully a little bit of blue sky. This event is for those with mountaineering experience in winter conditions as you need to be proficient in the use of crampons and ice axes.
The plan for the weekend is to get out onto the mountains for two quality mountain days (weather dependent!!). With the western edge of the Cairngorms sitting next to the hostel we have Sgor Gaoith as our neighbour but a short drive away is a range of classic winter routes round the Northern Corries.
As this weekend involves using crampons and ice axes you may need to hire this equipment along with suitable boots, this is available locally in Aviemore -
Please remember that this is a winter mountain environment and we will be a small group. As such you should have a good level of fitness and be comfortable hiking in challenging terrain, as it is intended that we will be doing mountaineering in snow. The mountains in the area are generally rounded which reduces the technicality of the activity however the walking will still be challenging. If in doubt please message the event leader for guidance. The exact nature of activities on offer will be dictated by the weather conditions on the day.
Dogs: This event is not suitable for dogs.
Photos: By AMD from previous winter mountaineering events and used with permission.
IMPORTANT! - Participation Statement
You MUST complete a Participation Statement in addition to booking your event space before attending an OutdoorLads event. You only need to complete this Participation Statement once, not for each event you attend.
COVID-19 – IMPORTANT, Please read the following before you sign up to this event:
- Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, even if they are extremely mild, or who lives or is in a support bubble with someone showing symptoms, is asked not to attend. This is in line with the government’s coronavirus advice.
- You must also immediately self-isolate and not attend the event if you or someone in your household or support bubble shows coronavirus symptoms or tests positive. You can find the NHS self-isolation guidance here.
- OutdoorLads’ Covid-19 Policy for hostel and BIG events applies to this event. On arrival, we will need to see evidence that you are fully vaccinated, or have registered a negative lateral flow test in the last 48 hours, or have Covid-19 antibodies. Evidence of this can be obtained via the NHS App in England, with equivalent schemes available in Wales and Scotland. Our full policy and more details can be found here.
What to bring
The main activity planned for the weekend is to do winter mountaineering, suitable mountain boots that can take crampons are a must along with clothing for any weather. Packing additional layers is recommended as average daytime temperatures are usually only just above freezing point.
Boots: Hiking boots are arguably the most essential piece of kit when hiking just about anywhere. Walkers should make sure that their boots are both waterproof and breathable, and provide good ankle support. Boots should also be in good condition and be crampon rated.
Crampons & Ice Axe: You will require crampons that are suitable for your boots. Boots are rated B1-B3 and crampons C1-C3, generally the numbers match for suitability. You should also bring an ice axe that is in good condition.
Socks: A good comfy pair of walking socks is essential really; they keep your feet warm and drier than normal socks.
Gaiters: Gaiters attach to the bottom of walking boots and extend to just under the knee. They provide waterproofing for the bottom half of the leg. They are not essential to have but you will feel the difference if you have them when walking through muddy or boggy ground - which is almost guaranteed in Scotland.
Walking Trousers: You should have a suitable pair of trousers for walking in, jeans are not suitable as they take on water when wet and will make you cold. The same goes for jogging pants/tracksuit clothing.
Waterproof Trousers: Waterproof trousers are essential in case of wet weather. They are also good to be worn as a second layer as they can act as a windproof barrier, keeping the legs warm.
Base Layer: A breathable base layer should be chosen in order to let sweat escape from the body. This could be a cheaper sports top or you could go top of the range with a merino top, as cotton T-Shirts can become damp and uncomfortable when climbing a mountain.
Other Layers: On top of your base layer, you can have a variety of options such as a micro fleece, a fleece jacket or a rugby/sports top can sometimes be good. Having one or two additional layers gives you flexibility when the weather is changeable – the more layers, the more flexible you can be in adapting to the weather.
Waterproof Jacket: A good waterproof jacket is one of the most important pieces of kit you will require when hiking. Walkers should look for a jacket that is both waterproof and breathable in order for them to be protected from sweat. Materials such as Gore-tex are often the best choices but they can be expensive unless you shop sensibly, don’t forget your OutdoorLads discount for Full Members at Cotswold outlets.
Hat: As most heat is lost through the head a good hat is essential.
Gloves: Gloves are essential in the colder months, windproof or better still waterproof gloves are the best choice.
Goggles: In winter spindrift can blind you when the wind picks up and carries the snow about, having a pair of ski-ing goggles in your bag could make a difference to your day.
Rucksack: A good Rucksack that is comfortable to wear is essential, and required to carry both food and equipment. Day sacks should have a capacity of around 30 litres. As an option you could store your items in waterproof bags inside just in-case or ensure the bag has a waterproof bag to pull over the top.
Emergency Equipment: The leader of the group will normally carry some emergency items, but you are welcome to bring your own such as spare energy food, survival bag, personal first aid kit, head torch and a whistle. It is not essential that you bring all or any of these items but it will do no harm if you do bring.
Map & Compass: If you want to learn to be a leader or you just like to know where you are, then you can bring a map that covers the area. If you are not sure which map to bring, just message the leader. It is best to bring your map either in a map case or purchase maps which are waterproof.
Head Torch: Always essential at any time of year, and bring spare batteries or a spare torch
Mobile Phone: If you choose to bring your phone, then you are well advised to buy a waterproof bag or if that is not possible a simple food/freezer bag will suffice.
Anything else: You need to bring a towel.
Food & drink
Friday evening - please bring an item for the buffet. Be imaginative, everyone bringing a pasta salad won't be very entertaining!
Saturday & Sunday breakfast and dinner is included in the event price, along with Monday breakfast.
Please bring your own lunches.
Tea & Coffee at the bunkhouse is included in the event price.