4-day Advanced Mountain Skills Course


Over the last few days, Scott and Paula from the Peak District have joined us on our 4-day Advanced Mountain Skills Course. The course covers all the core skills that you need to operate safely in the mountains, in all non-winter weather conditions.

We met Scott and Paula on Monday morning in the Bluebird Cafe in Coniston for a relaxing cappuccino in the sunshine by the lake. We spent some time going over the objectives for the week, before talking about the sort of kit we should be taking on the hill to deal with whatever any scenario or weather condition that we came across. We then looked at how to forecast our own weather from synoptic charts before heading onto the hill for some navigation skill work.

Scott and Paula spent the day with us up on Weatherlam and Black Sails, looking at basic to advanced macro and micro navigation techniques. They did really well and grasped contour interpretation and advanced compass work easily, whilst playing hunt the ring contour, reentrant and tarn.

Tuesday was steep ground day for us. Based out of Langdale, we started at the beginning and looked at footwork and route choice, before moving onto spotting and basic climbing technique. We then introduced confidence roping to Scott and Paula, which is a great technique to safeguard less confident members of your party on slippy, loose or steep ground.

Stepping up the seriousness, we then looked at how we could use a rope to safeguard unavoidable steep steps, easy climbs and steep descents. We also looked at some basic abseiling techniques and anchor selection.

To put it all together, we spent the afternoon on Jacks Rake – the classic scramble up Pavey Ark. Scott and Paula did great, moving well and looking after each other on the steeper sections of the scramble. Well done guys.

Wednesday was the first day of our overnight wild camping expedition. We headed from Langdale, over Three Tarns and to Lingcove Beck, before climbing up and over to Great Moss, one of the most remote places in the Lake District. On the way we looked at measuring distance by pacing and timing and how these changed with steeper ground and having to carry heavy packs. Dropping into Lingcove we looked at navigation by slope aspect and strategies such as aiming off and attack points.

After pitching camp at Great Moss, under the mighty Dow Crag, we rested for a while waiting until it was time to go out and learn some night navigation skills. Once dark, we headed out and used all the skills that we’d looked at throughout the week to find several small and illusive features in the pitch black of the night.

We woke up to a clear sky and excellent views of the Scafell massif towering above our heads. Before heading off we looked at river crossing techniques and different methods of how to deal with fast flowing water safely. Journeying up and over Esk Hause to Langdale this morning we looked at navigation on 1:50K and 1:40K maps and the differences between these and the 1:25K we’d been using all week.

A great 4 days in great company. Thanks Scott and Paula – I hope you enjoyed your course and feel ready to explore the more remote areas of the UK’s mountain landscape.


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Wild camp under Dow Crag, Great Moss

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Wild camp on Great Moss

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Night navigation training

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Micro nav at Lingcove

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Nav practice, our route from Three Tarns in the background

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Confidence roping above White Ghyll, Langdale

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Scott and Paula on Jacks Rake

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Paula high on Jacks Rake


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