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Winter Mountain Skills



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About Us

We are passionate about the natural world and its beautiful wild places.

We have a deep respect and appreciation for the environment and a love for adventure and silent human-powered sports.

More about us

Winter Mountaineering Skills Scotland

Winter mountain skills course in the spectacular Cairngorms.

Our 2 day Winter Skills course is designed for those with little or no previous experience of winter mountaineering, and also for those looking for a refresher in the skills needed to venture into the mountains during winter.

Learn Winter Mountaineering Skills in the Spectacular Cairngorms

These are your first steps to accessing a new world of winter mountaineering safely.

Our 2 day course will leave you feeling confident with the use of ice axe and crampons, winter navigation and coping with winter weather. You will gain avalanche awareness, as well as how to generally equip yourself for the mountains at this magical time of year.

The course is designed to introduce you to a range of core skills that will enable you to enjoy and move about the UK’s mountains in winter conditions competently and confidently allowing you to become your own independent adventurer.

You can read full details on What to Wear and Pack for winter mountaineering in Scotland here.

Our precise Winter Skills itinerary varies with the weather conditions and aims of the group. A flexible approach is best where we focus on:

  • Selection and organisation of personal kit appropriate to winter mountaineering
  • Personal movement skills on snow, including kicking steps and using the ice axe for walking, self-belay, cutting steps, and self-arrest
  • Use of crampons in ascent/descent
  • Emergency procedures
  • Weather and avalanche awareness and interpretation.
  • Pre planning, safe route and venue choice
  • Core techniques of winter navigation

Recent Winter Skills Courses

winter mountaineering and winter skills course in Glen Coe Buachaille Etive Beag Scotland

Traversing steep ground on a blue bird winters day in Scotland

winter skills and navigation with ocean vertical on Buachaille Etive Beag Glen Coe

Fitting crampons - winter mountain skills in the Cairngorms

winter skills course and mountaineering with Ocean Vertical Scotland

Happy winter skills - high up in the Cairngorms, Scotland

winter skills and experience course with ice axe and crampons in glen coe scotland

Winter skills in full winter conditions - Scotland at its best

winter skills training course navigation glen coe scottish mountains

Winter mountain skills - navigating in whiteout conditions - Cairngorms, Scotland

winter mountaineering and winter skills with Ocean Vertical Meall nan Tarmachan and Meall Garbh Scotland

Winter skills course, Cairngorms. Feeling cozy with the right clothing on!

winter skills courses in scotland mountaineering and hillwalking

Proper use of your ice axe and crampons are essential winter skills.

winter ,mountain skills courses for beginners in Scotland

Learn new winter skills and build confidence with our team

Climbing in Scotland wearing Patagonia shell Tarmachan Ridge

Our winter mountain skills course is a great way to meet good likeminded folks!

We had an amazing experience with Stevie & Molly, on a winter mountain skills in Glencoe. It was absolutely perfect from the briefing and banter in the van / cafes to the huge amount of practical skills on the mountain. I really felt part of the group even though almost everyone were strangers. Just loved it. Perfect balance of challenge and pushing personal boundaries while having complete trust in you both our teachers (and the awesome equipment 🤩). I have had a huge sense of accomplishment afterwards. I look forward to booking for Winter 2023 / 24.oce

Claire | Newcastle

Incredible experience with Ocean Vertical! Their winter skills course in the Cairngorms exceeded my expectations. From avalanche safety to navigation techniques, the instructors’ expertise and passion were evident. I left feeling confident and equipped for winter adventures.

Emma | London

We did a basic winter mountain skills course, learning avalanche awareness, safe use of crampons and an ice axe. It was really interesting to highlight the dangers of fresh or unstable snow, and how it can be traversed safely or when to call it and head back down off the mountain. Ice axe self arrest was fun too, sliding down the mountain and stopping yourself! The instructors, Mollie and Stevie were great and very knowledgeable. Great weekend.. Thanks!

Archie | Northumberland

We did a two day winter mountain skills course in the Cairngorms, learning avalanche awareness, safe use of crampons and an ice axe. It was really interesting to highlight the dangers of fresh or unstable snow, and how it can be traversed safely or when to call it and head back down off the mountain. Ice axe self arrest was fun too, sliding down the mountain and stopping yourself! The instructors, Mollie and Stevie were great and very knowledgeable. Great weekend.. Thanks!

Archie | Edinburgh

First time with an ice axe and crampons! What a day in the Glen Coe mountains with Ocean Vertical. It was absolutely breath taking with amazing views and lots of snow! Feeling a lot more confident after this trip and cant wait to get out again….. Brilliant!

Sally | Edinburgh

Fantastic day out with Stevie and Adrian today climbing Stob Ghabhar. Scottish winter mountaineering at its best! These guys really know their stuff and I felt in very safe hands for my first venture up to this height in winter.

Amazing experience and I learned to use an ice axe and crampons! to be repeated! Highly recommended!

Caroline | Edinburgh

Exceptionally great outings! I have done Scottish winter mountaineering, coasteering and soon paddle boarding in East Lothian with this company.

The team are very informative about the terrain experienced and the activity we’re doing. The team are really kind and pleasant to be touring with, recommend this company 100%.

Fiona | Edinburgh

Enjoyed a great day in early January with Stevie and Adrian bagging 3 Munro’s – Ben Lawers, An Stuc and Beinn Ghlas.

Great to have the knowledge to take us on the less trodden route to the top of Ben Lawers, help negotiate the atmospheric conditions on the day and give us options for climbs. Thanks, guys! Looking forward to the next winter mountaineering in Scotland trip!

Gary | East Lothian

Best Hogmanay Ever!!!!

Ended 2019 by climbing up Stob Ghabhar in the Black Mount region close to Glen Coe with @ocean_vertical and @etjo17 and I loved it from start to finish. The weather was clear and crisp, making for phenomenal views for miles around. Our guide @the_stevie_boyle was brilliant – full of knowledge, encouraging, and general all round top bloke! They got us there and back from East Lothian and provided us with all the kit. If you haven’t already been on an @ocean_vertical experience then I highly recommend you do…you won’t regret it!

Suzanne | Edinburgh

Lucky enough this year to go out with Ocean Vertical winter mountaineering in Glen Coe, paddle boarding in East Lothian and just recently rock climbing outdoors in Northumberland. Each experience has been an awesome day! Learning valuable skills like navigation in the winter to learning how to safely climb on rock from Stevie and Adrian who are both great at what they do. Loads of experience and knowledge in the outdoors. Looking forward to hopefully more adventure in Scotland soon.

Darrel | East Lothian

Thoroughly enjoyed another trip mountaineering to stunning Glen Coe with the highly experienced team at Ocean Vertical. With transparent and on-going risk assessment, Stevie and Adrian strive to provide their adventurers with the best experience in the conditions available – adapting where necessary with their extensive knowledge of the area. Whether it’s been paddle boarding, climbing or mountaineering in Scotland, I have always had a safe and truly rewarding experience. Can’t wait to get out with them again!

Ruth | East Lothian

What a day! Spectacular weather and views. Lots of snow and it was freezing! First time with an ice axe and crampons. The guys at Ocean Vertical were brilliant. We talked about planning, decision-making, navigation and how to use our technical equipment – I now know how to fit a crampon! Huge thanks and will be back!

Karen | Edinburgh

I thought we were mad getting up for a 3.30am start to go winter hillwalking! I now know why we did it. Watching the winter sunrise over Glen Coe was pretty special. Would I do it again? I’m already booked in for my next trip!

Emily | Edinburgh

What a adventure climbing with Ocean Vertical in Glen Coe!. Not being an experienced climber the guides led us to the top of a very snowy mountain with knowledge experience and skill. Mesmerised by the views I am already looking to book my next trip. There is a whole other world in those mountains – epic day. They also provided transport, ice axes, crampons and boots!

Sarah | North Berwick

I was working in Edinburgh and planned to do some walking with a group of friends. A colleague recommended Ocean Vertical. I called but they were booked out, had a call-back and they coordinated a mountain trip for us!
A day later, I was standing 3,500 feet up on Stob Coire nan Lochan in snow and ice looking out over the most incredible scenery in Glen Coe, a brilliant trip that I couldn’t have accessed without Stevie and Adrian who were fabulous guides. Totally recommend!

Angus | London

Had a super day out in the hills (fairly big hills) with OV. Both Stevie & Adrian are experts what they do, complimenting any anxiety with understanding and calmness. Nothing was any trouble for these two.

Myself and those I climbed with were put at ease from the walk in to the walk out. We were given time to eat, rest and to absorb the splendour and majesty of those hills!

I learned so much in one day from map reading, to weather reading, even that apple cores & bananas do not decompose as fast as we think… take them home!

More importantly and as someone who has an irrational fear of heights I was reminded ‘your feet never leave the ground’ Even if the trajectory is steep, your feet are still planted. Thank you, I look forward to my next Scottish winter mountaineering adventure with you OV.


Lisa | East Lothian

Just back from a day with Stevie and Adrian. Both are masters of there trade. Making sure everyone was comfortable and understanding the terrain. I felt in very safe hands on my first winter mountaineering day out with the boys.

I would highly recommend Ocean Vertical to everyone thinking of winter mountaineering in Scotland. Both guys’ are very knowledgeable of mountains and the surrounding areas. I’ll definitely be back out with Ocean Vertical very soon!

Kev | Newcastle

Course Overview

Course Overview


January - April

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Day Duration

2 Full Days

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Meeting Point

9am - Tiso Cafe in Aviemore PH22 1AF

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Minimum Age


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Total Distance

8 - 10km / day

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Mountaineering Time

6-7 hours per day

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Group Size

Maximum 6

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Minimum Number


Course Overview


If the weather is unsafe your Guide will choose an alternative mountain location.

What’s included (and not)


  • Experienced & qualified AMI guide
  • Ice Axe
  • Crampons
  • Helmet

Not Included

  • Winter mountaineering boots - crampon compatible
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers
  • Warm clothing
  • Hat and gloves
  • Lunch
  • Accommodation
  • Transport

What to bring with you

Winter mountaineering boots - crampon compatible

Waterproof trousers

Please do not use cotton clothing

Wool socks

Base layer

Gloves – plus spares

Lightweight fleece

Warm hat – plus spare

Fleece or soft-shell jacket

Spare fleece / warm top

Trousers – synthetic that dry quickly

Lunch, snacks and liquid

Waterproof jacket with hood

If you have your own - Ice axe and crampons

Trip map

Distance dependent on location and weather

Adventure Activities Licensing Authority ASI Accredited School - Stand Up Paddle ASI Academy of Surfing Instructors NCC Promoting Safe Coasteering