Winter Expedition Skills




The French Pyrenees offers a wonderful alternative to the Alps or Scottish Highlands for the aspiring winter mountaineer. Whether you’re aiming to trek and climb in winter mountain environments close to home or have your sights set on Himalayan peaks, it is hard to find a better playground to learn the basic skills and requirements for winter mountain travel.

By undertaking a closely supervised mountain journey, this course will increase your understanding of this fantastic environment and build your confidence to be able to move in winter conditions safely and independently, and your understanding of the atmospheric and geographic conditions around you.

Throughout the course you will also gain valuable insight into expedition nutrition, clothing and winter camp craft.

The course covers such skills as:

• Snowshoeing
• Safety in the winter environment
Self arrest techniques
• Assessing avalanche hazard
• Basic navigation
• Ice axe and crampon work on varying terrain and conditions
• Building snow and ice anchors and belays
• Moving together over snow and ice
• Construction of snow holes and weather forecasting
• Basic ice climbing techniques
Ascent of a mountain in winter conditions

A greater understanding of expedition travel will be gained as further skills such as expedition nutrition, clothing and winter camp-craft will be demonstrated on the journey phase of the course.


– Airport transfers to and from Toulouse.
– Rolfe Oostra as your guide for the whole week
– Transfers to and from the mountain base
– Technical equipment (ice axe, harness, crampons and snow shoes)
– Food while on the mountain
– 2 nights of accommodation based on 2 sharing at Papilio with breakfast.
– 1 town meal on arrival
– Mountain accommodation
– Professionally edited highlights video of your trip!

Not Included:

– Flights (Easyjet return approximately (£100)
– All alcohol
– Additional kit
– Insurance
– Any additional town accommodation due to bad weather.
– Lunch on town days and final dinner
– Refuge accommodation if the course switches to the Aneto region for weather reason
-Weather in the winter and in the mountains can be very unpredictable and depending on the snow conditions and forecast we will be either in unmanned winter quarters in a refuge or in a manned hut with more facilities (such as heating, showers, beer and wine etc). If we end up taking the more luxurious option of the manned hut you will need to bring 60 Euros for 3 nights accommodation. We will of course, let you know before you head out where we will be.