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Winter Mountaineering in Scotland

Cairngorm Plateau Snowhole Weekend

from £275pp

Duration 2 days ~ For two days and one night this trip allows the best environment for safety skills training over a weekend.

Expedition Option Only

£275pp

Price Includes
-All meals on expedition
-Qualified, local guiding and instruction
-All local transport throughout
- Free pick up/drop off at local rail station (Aviemore)
- collection and drop in Inverness available Sat morning and Sun afternoon
- Free pick up/drop off at Inverness airport
- All specialist equipment: No hidden hire costs

Use the SYHA Hostel in Aviemore on the nights before and after the trip - join and get a discount via their website at https://www.syha.org.uk/

Testimonials

"A spectacular trip through an inhospitable, Arctic landscape. We encountered a full range of mountain weather from blizzard conditions and total whiteout to brilliant sunshine and fantastic views. I didn't expect to be coming back from the hills with a suntan! The hospitality and friendliness shown to me by everyone has made this trip truly memorable." Dave King

Cairngorm Plateau Expedition

"what a boost to my confidence. Felt totally looked after in my first white out. Learned very quickly that my safety standards were no where near what they should have been. Excellent instruction, care, planning and good craic too! Much happier heading into the mountains after the last three days. Hats off to Mike and his calm, professional attitude. I'll be back - hope to try some Torridon mountaineering next season" J. McGilveray March 2014

Cairngorm Plateau Expedition

"Did this trip with my son as I didn't feel confident to tackle the Cairngorms in winter with all the resposibility for safety etc. Had a great time with everyone and especially enjoyed a real challenging, memorable experience with my lad. Thanks to everyone at Mountain & Sea Guides who looked after us from the first email to shaking hands and saying cheerio at Aviemore railway station. See you next time" Jonathan Price Feb 2014

Cairngorm Plateau Expedition

"having done two winter skills courses elsewhere previously I approached this trip in the frame of mind that it was just another refresher. Couldn't have been more wrong. It was in depth, challenging and more real than I expected. I got a huge amount out of the three days and have to say that there was a strong focus on individual learning that was entirely missing on other courses I'd been on. I can't recommend Mountain & Sea Guides enough" Tom Stone Jan 2013

Cairngorm Plateau Expedition

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The incomparable Cairngorm Plateau. An arctic wilderness in Scotland

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Learning core steep ground skills. It's all about preventing those slips and falls and manageing your hill day correctly.

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Three specks at 4000 feet on a good day. When the cloud descends onto this snowy wasteland would you have the skills to get out?

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Being able to assess the snow and make decisions about descent or ascent - a vital skill for winter walkers and climbers.

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Cosy in the snowhole. -15c outside but comfortable, warm and quiet indoors.

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Well equipped on the Plateau at -11 degrees celsius

Trip Description

This is the weekend version of our three day long Cairngorm snowhole expedition and as such allows you to get onto the Plateau, learn a lot of important stuff, and be back at work for Monday. Why descend every night just to waste time getting all the way back up to the plateau the next day?

Stay high and eat, sleep and live as an expedition mountaineer for two days. Discover the confidence that constructing your own shelter in a harsh climate gives you and the satisfaction and warmth of having a wee dram in your sleeping bag, by candle light.

A traverse of the Cairngorm Plateau summits and corries will allow us the best mountain craft training environment possible.

The allure of the highest, wildest, sub-arctic plateau in Britain is the main attraction and the icing on the cake is a chance to learn night navigation, avalanche awareness, emergency shelters, ice axe and crampon training throughout the trip in this raw wilderness.

We’ll cover basic ropework and snow anchors to improve your security on steep ground. The night will be spent in a snowhole which we’ll spend time digging out into a luxurious palace!

If you want to improve your winter mountain safety skills then this is quite simply the best way to do it. It doesn't matter whether you are new to the winter mountain environment, or have a few winter seasons under your belt, as everyone is able to learn new skills, hone rusty ones or simply find out if their safety levels are up to scratch.

The standard of training, over the two days, is that of the winter mountain leader syllabus, although aimed at independant mountain enthusiasts not wanting the hassle of registering and becoming part of the formal training and assessment network.

 As such this is not a certificated course and is aimed at improving personal safety on the mountains as well as being a great guided experience.

You need to be fit enough to carry an overnight rucsac and turn up with the correct clothing and personal kit - advice on booking.

Typical Itinerary

Day One: meet Aviemore rail station 10am for planning and packing session before transferring to Cairngorm ski car park and ascent onto the plateau aiming to traverse the rim of Coire an t-sneachda to snowhole site where time will be spent digging the overnight shelter.

Day Two: a day of snowcraft skills practising crampon safety, ice axe arrest, step cutting, navigation skills, security on steep ground, avalanche training en route. Descend to ski area prior to arriving in Aviemore late afternoon and finish.

Please note: the above itinerary is a guide only as actual plans will be flexible to suit group & prevailing weather. In the event of unsafe weather we will base ourselves in Aviemore and go up into the Corries as  lightweight training days. In this event you will need to use the SYHA hostel in Aviemore ( or B&B) on the saturday night and pay for this as an extra. All meals are still provided if you stay in the hostel where your guide will be.

Schedule

Saturday morning meet at 10am Aviemore at rail station entrance
Saturday and Sunday mountain days
Sunday finish and depart Aviemore late afternoon.

Instructor Ratio

1:6

Suitable For

Anyone with good summer hill walking experience wishing to learn core safety skills for winter walking/mountaineering.

Dates

2014 -  Nov 29-30    Dec 13-14

2015 -  Jan 11-12  Feb 14-15
Mar 21-22

Note: other dates may be available with demand. Email first, before booking, to check space as above dates may already be full.

Family Groups

We know how expensive it is for family groups to share a holiday together so, if you are a family of 4 or more, we give you a 10% reduction on the prices shown here. And we never increase pricing during school holiday periods. 

Private Guiding

If you don't want to join an open trip with other people, or have a family/friends group of your own, then private instruction and guiding will meet your goals. Pricing is per person and will depend upon activity, distance travelled, peak or low season. We can email you a quote. Simply let us know where, when, what and for how many people. 

Need a Transfer to get to us?

Add an airport pick up or return from Inverness — 2 hours from Applecross, £35 each way.

Add transfers to/from our nearest  rail station (Strathcarron on the Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh line) + £18 each way.

Please email to arrange transfers after booking and place a note in the booking form detailing your requirements.