One Day Winter Skills Courses

Helvellyn Winter Skills

Update 31 March 2020:

Our guided walks and navigation courses are currently closed. We're hoping to welcome you back later in the year when its safe for us all to be out in the National Park.

Our coronavirus page has the latest updates on our services and contacts.

Winter 2019/20:

An opportunity to spend a day on Helvellyn with a Lake District National Park Authority Fell Top Assessor as they climb to the summit of the mountain to take snow and weather readings for Lake District Weatherline Service. For each event our Fell Top Assessor will guide you on a route up the mountain, chosen according to snow and weather conditions and the ability of the group members, teaching you the basic skills of snowcraft needed for safe winter walking in the fells and mountains of the UK.

The day promises to be strenuous, informative, challenging, but also a lot of fun!

Group Course:

  • Upto 6 participants on a group course
  • £100 per adult
  • Select dates available

Exclusive Masterclass:

  • A private masterclass with the Fell Top Assessor
  • 1:1 - £250 just you and the Fell Top Assessor
  • 2:1 - £325 you and one guest and the Fell Top Assessor
  • Select dates available

About the courses

A Lake District taster day for anyone who wants to learn the basics of how to use an ice axe and crampons for winter walking. A Lake District Fell Top Assessor will guide you through the basic techniques required for safe winter walking in the fells.

  • Start point: 08.30am in Glenridding.
  • Postcode: CA11 0PD
  • Grid ref:  NY385169
  • ///lecturing.skate.gambles
  • Length: 10-15 km
  • Duration: 8-9 hours
  • Total ascent: 900 m
  • Highest point: 950 m
  • Grade: Strenuous
  • A good level of fitness is required.
  • Adults only. Not open to those under 18 years of age.

Available to hire

  • Winter walking boots - £15 per day
  • Crampons - £12.50 per day
  • Ice axe - £12.50 per day

Using an ice axe and crampons on Helvellyn

Winter Skills Gift Vouchers

Gift vouchers for our group courses and private masterclasses are now available. Perfect presents for those looking for a true Lake District adventure!

Group winter skills course in the Lake District mountains

Essential clothing and equipment

We can provide all the technical gear for the day, but you are expected to have your own personal clothing and equipment. You will need*:

  • Full waterproofs (including trousers and gaiters)
  • Warm layers including a spare fleece/down jacket
  • Woolly hat and gloves, ski goggles, head torch and spare batteries
  • Rucksack (at least 30L)
  • Winter walking boots (must be rated B1 or B2 to take crampons - see our list of compatible boots) can be hired when booking at £15 per day
  • Packed lunch including a hot drink and spare snacks
  • You will also need an ice axe and crampons (rated at least C1 – not ‘spikes’) can be hired when booking for £12.50 per day

*The instructor reserves the right to refuse to take anyone on the day who does not have the correct personal clothing and boots. No jeans please, and avoid cotton baselayers.

You must also be able to agree to the following conditions:

  1. I am currently fit and well.
  2. I have read the list of relevant medical conditions listed below* and none of them applies to me.
  3. I have not had to take any long term medication prescribed by a doctor in the last 12 months
  4. In addition I am not currently under the care of my own doctor or hospital for investigation into any medical condition or symptoms.
  5. I have no undue problems taking exercise such as strenuous walking, running for a bus, swimming, lifting day to day objects or jumping from a 3ft wall.
  6. I haven’t within the last 3 months had surgery or a serious injury, including a fracture.

* Relevant medical conditions list:

  • A heart attack within the last 6 months
  • Angina/chest pain
  • High blood pressure that is not well controlled with medication
  • Joint problems such or arthritis in any joint, or back or neck, that stops you exercising due to pain
  • Asthma which is brought on by exercise and not well controlled with medication
  • Pregnancy

If you have any questions about these conditions and whether they apply to you please do get in touch by emailing .

About your instructors

Our winter skills day courses are run by instructors who are passionate about the outdoors, about the Lake District fells, and about giving people the skills they need to be safe.

Both our instructors have great experience in leading people on mountains in all conditions, and both are members of the Association of Mountaineering Instructors.

Association of Mountaineering Instructors

Zac Poulton

zac poulton

Zac is a Winter Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor (formerly MIC), the highest mountaineering qualification in the UK and is a full member of the Association of Mountaineering Instructors and the Alpine Club. He has a background in Sport and Exercise Science and is medically trained as a WEMSI Wilderness First Responder.

Working as an expedition guide Zac has safely led a total of 27 people above 8000m including a successful ascent of the North Ridge of Everest. Other notable ascents have included an early ascent of Baruntse (7201m), the 2nd British ascent of Himlung Himal (7126m), multiple ascents of Antarctica's Mt Vinson, a ski traverse of Greenland's Liverpool Land, a ski expedition to the South Pole, made a solo ascent of Ama Dablam and guided 5 of the 7 Summits.

Wes Hunter

wes hunter

Wes is a passionate climber, mountaineer and a fully qualified Winter Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor (WCMI), the highest mountaineering qualification in the UK. Wes has been working in the outdoor sector all of his working life and loves it as much today as he did when he first started back in the mid-’90s.

Brought up around Keswick in the English Lake District, Wes began rock climbing in the Lakeland fells as a child. Over the years, he has climbed most of the classic routes in the Lakes up to E5/E6 as well as a handful of E7s. Wes has climbed extensively throughout the UK, as well as trips to Europe, Nepal, Morocco, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and California. Wes loves all aspects of climbing and mountaineering and the diverse and evolving nature of the sport.

Weather conditions

In the event that there is a lack of snow or snow conditions are deteriorating, a course will continue with a mountaineering day. The day will provide the opportunity to experience a day in the mountains with our highly skilled and qualified Fell Top Assessor(s).

In the event of adverse weather, our Fell Top Assessor(s) will make a decision on the day as to whether the event will proceed or if an alternative will be offered. Their decision is final.

There must be a minimum of 3 participants / maximum of 6 for the group courses to run. All courses must be booked in advance.  

Disclaimer: Winter hill walking is a potentially hazardous activity. Although all reasonable steps are taken to ensure the safety of people participating in the events listed, individuals do so at their own risk. Your instructor reserves the right to refuse to guide anyone who does not have appropriate clothing and footwear. Please phone prior to booking if there are any disabilities which could affect the logistics of the course.

Please read our full terms and conditions before booking

Boots compatible with crampons


  • Serai GTX
  • Tengu GTX
  • Montagnard GTX
  • Yatumine GTX
  • Terrealte GTX


  • Kibo


  • Arwa Bi Flex
  • Nelion


  • Mountain Guide Pro GTX
  • Pinnacle GTX
  • Tower LX GTX


  • Badile Combi GTX

La Sportiva

  • G2 SM
  • G5
  • Nepal Cube
  • Nepal Extreme
  • Trango Ice Cube
  • Trango S Evo
  • Trango Tower GTX


  • Mamook GTX
  • Magic Guide High GTX
  • Magic High GTX

Meindl (German Rating C & D)

  • Jorasse GTX
  • Jorasse Lady GTX
  • Super Perfect
  • Perfect
  • Verte GTX
  • Glockner MFS
  • GroBvenediger MFS


  • Charpoua GTX Alpine


  • Charmoz
  • Manta Pro GTX
  • Mont Blanc Pro GTX
  • Phantom Tech
  • R-Evo Pro GTX
  • Rebel Lite GTX
  • SL Active


  • Dufur Evo GTX RR
  • Expert Pro GTX RR
  • Mountain Pro Evo GTX RR