Below you’ll find some of the answers to our most commonly asked questions.
Which course or activity should I choose?
The descriptions for each of the courses and private guided activities give an indication of the experience needed to participate. For some activities we ask that you have already have experience in particular disciplines such as scrambling and climbing or have reached a particular level. For others we are more concerned that you have the required level of fitness and head for heights necessary to successfully tackle often challenging activities.
For private guiding, we can tailor your mountain experience to your ability. If you are unsure which course is best for you, please contact us.
What is the minimum number needed for a course or private guiding?
There is no minimum group number for any of our programmes.
What happens if the weather is particularly bad?
The guide will deliver an alternative activity on the day, this might be a route in a more sheltered location or a skills-based day that will develop your mountaineering skillset. We will discuss this as far in advance as possible, but there will be times when the weather turns out to be worse than expected and plans will need to be altered at the last-minute. The ability to be flexible and adapt according to conditions is a fundamental skill in mountaineering.
Can I change my course date?
You can change your course date up to four weeks (28 calendar days) prior to the start date, but this will depend on availability. Thereafter, our cancellation terms will apply.
Do I need cancellation insurance?
We strongly recommend that everyone booking with us takes out trip cancellation insurance, as you would for an overseas trip. This should cover you should you need to cancel your trip due to injury or illness and should include cancelling due to needing to self-isolate due to Covid. Please ensure that it covers you for the activity you are due to undertake.
Can you guarantee that we’ll reach the top of our summit or preferred route?
As much as we’d love to be able to guarantee this, in the mountains, there are no guarantees and so we cannot promise to reach the top of a particular peak or tackle a specific route. Our guides all have years of experience and will do their utmost best to help you achieve your goals, but more importantly, they will put your safety first.
Is transport provided?
We cannot guarantee that transport can be provided. Please let us know if you plan to arrive by public transport and we’ll do our best to help.
How long will the days be?
The approximate times for each activity can be found on the individual pages, however as a rough rule, winter days will run from around 0730/0800 to 1630/1700 and summer days from 0800/0830 to 1700/1730. If you have any special requirements, such as needing to catch a train on the final day of a course, please let us know as soon as possible, so that it can be planned for
I’m under 18, can I book a place?
Yes, however anyone under 18 will need to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
Kit & Equipment
What kit do I need?
The type of kit you need will depend on the type of activity you are taking part in and the time of year. You can find comprehensive kit lists here as well as on the pages for each individual course or activity.
Can I borrow equipment?
We have a limited number of the following items available to borrow. Please let us know on your booking form what equipment you require.
- Climbing helmets
- Ice axes
Winter boots can be hired locally (from Nevisport, Ellis Brighams or Cotswold Outdoors) in Fort William, it is recommended that you book these well in advance as demand can be high during peak season (mid-Jan to mid-March, particularly weekends).
What footwear do I need for your winter mountaineering?
Boots for use in the mountains in winter come in three categories, which reflects how stiff they are and as result, what type of crampon they can take. For winter walking, we recommend a B1 or above rated boot. For winter mountaineering (grade I/II winter routes), we recommend a B2 or above rated boot and for winter climbing, we recommend a B3 rated boot. The B rating will correspond to the C rating of a crampon, so a C2 crampon can be fitted to a B2 or B3 boot. Winter boots can be hired from a number of shops in Fort William, please ask for further details.
Will my ski jacket and trousers do?
In a nutshell, no. For all our activities in the mountains, we recommend a layering system, which is extremely versatile. This can allow for wearing minimal layers on warmer days and approaches even in the winter, then additional layers can be put on once higher in the mountains or when moving a bit more slowly, such as when climbing or scrambling. Ski wear isn’t always 100% waterproof, which in Scotland for much of the year is essential and often integrates insulation with an outer shell, making it bulky and hard to regulate. You will need 100% waterproof jackets and trousers, ideally with a breathable membrane, such as Gore-tex or eVent.
Do you have any recommendations for crampons?
All the leading brands of crampon are very good and, to be honest, are much of a muchness. Unless you are intending to climb Scottish winter grade Vlll with one arm tied behind your back my advice is to focus on the crampons that fit your boots best as this is the most critical factor. Some crampons fit some brands of boot better than others. Take your boots to a shop with a good range and get them to fit them for you. The crampon should go on easily and if they are of the step-in type then the heel clip should close with a reassuring snap. There should be good contact between the sole of the boot and the crampon along the full length and especially at the heel and toe. If you have large boots, then remember that most good manufacturers have extension bars for the crampon.
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