Synergy Guides pride ourselves on our enthusiasm for Scottish winter climbing. This is our bread and butter, a huge part of why we work in the mountains and the reason we count down the days to the first ice climb of each season. It isn’t just about teaching climbing, learning how to build winter belays or avalanche avoidance. It’s about surviving the elements, embracing the battle to remain warm and gaining confidence to dream big in adverse conditions. If our tagline was ever introduced for one climbing discipline, then Scottish Winter Climbing would be it.
DARE TO EXPERIENCE ADVENTURE
Intro To Winter Climbing
Ben Nevis, Stob Coire nan Lochan, Aonach Mor and Stob Ban are all excellent venues to climb Scottish ice or mixed. Each mountain is within easy reach of Fort William where we live and instruct year-round; take advantage of our local knowledge and allow us to share our extensive experience with you.
Synergy Guides have no set course agenda; we can discuss, develop and instigate the correct itinerary for you. From learning how to lead your first-grade II ridge to the correct technique to climb difficult mixed routes. If you have some previous climbing experience our intro to winter climbing is for you.
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A massive thank you to Steve. We had a great day on Skye doing the Lagan round and with the added bonus of completing my final Munros on the Cuillin. We'd planned this round with Steve, as it's a 'tricky trio' to say the least. Although the weather was making the going quite tricky, Steve guided us perfectly and kept us well within our comfort zones. We achieved all our goals with ease, despite the weather's best attempts. I have total confidence in recommending Steve as a guide and look forward to working with him again in the future. Thanks again.Chris Jepson8/07/2017
If you want cracking day/days out then Steve is your man.His understanding and knowledge of the mountains is second to none and is always keen to teach many different aspects.
The tick list is there to do but Steve will introduce you to something “off piste”
and take you on that new journey!
I’ll be back for more that’s for sure, testament to his great work.Marc Robertson5/05/2020
I booked Steve to guide me on some walking / scrambling in the Cuillins and couldn't have asked for a better guide. I would thoroughly recommend him from anything for an introduction to scrambling to completion of the full Cuillin Traverse. He is extremely competent, very experienced and great company. An awesome couple of days 🙂Frances C5/28/2016
We completed the Cuillins with Steve, and had an amazing time. He is a great friendly guide, and knows the mountains and his craft so well, that we felt really comfortable up in the mountains. I'd definitely book further climbing days with Synergy, and cannot recommend them highly enough.Clare Dickson8/17/2020
Brilliant few days with Synergy Guides! Booked 2 days to try and tackle some of the harder Cuillins during my Munro Round. Iain was great and quickly adapted the days to suit my skill level resulting in my best two Scottish mountain days. Excellent experience and will definitely use them in future!Emma McCahill8/30/2020
I had a really good day despite the poor weather. We made it up the inaccessible pinnacle and had time for a second munro, getting down before the worst of the rain. Iain gave me lots of tips throughout the day and kept me focused on the task in handCraig Campbell8/02/2020
We had a fantastic day out with Steve. My husband and I are both beginners and wanted a route that was challenging but enjoyable. Steve chose a fantastic route (curved ridge) which suited our ability and he taught us lots along the way. We 100% recommend Steve!Eleanor Ingman9/21/2019
Just had a totally brilliant climbing weekend with Steve from Synergy Guides. Steve is really easy to get along with and his mountaineering and climbing knowledge is absolutely top level. He is patient when he is instructing and has a great ability of reading people and pushing them in a really good way. I have used Steve a number of times before and he has taken me from keen hill walker to mountaineer and climber. Highly recommended and I will be back out with Steve in the future.John Adams5/21/2019
I’ve been waiting to go winter climbing on the Ben for three years. I live in Brighton and have a family so my trips north tend to be planned weeks in advance - irrespective of the weather.
I was lucky to get a recommendation from another mountain guide to contact Steve. A gent, a scholar, a great climber and fantastic company.
While I know I can climb ... on warm, south facing, picturesque Italian multi pitch routes I had never climbed in Scotland on a proper winters day.
No messing, went for Gully Number 3 Buttress Direct III 4. Steve gave me the confidence - I knew I could do it.
Six pitches and and piece of p***. The climbing didn’t scare me and nor did the exposure - in fact I loved it - the weather did. As I belayed Steve on the last pitch it started to hail/ spindrift. On my own, Steve 25m above me, out of sight and no verbal contact. My axes, rope and legs up to my thighs covered in deep fresh snow. Did I say I had to climb without my glasses; funnily enough I had perfect vision that day. Felt the 5 nudges in the rope, set off and stormed the last pitch.
Can’t recommend Synergy and Steve enough. My best climbing day so far in 35 years. Looking forward to doing it all again; fingers crossed Green Gully next.
Cheers fella!!!Chris Godfrey2/05/2020
Steve was recommended to me by a fellow hillwalker who knew I was looking to finish the last of my scary Munros on Skye.
Although it was short notice Steve was able to fit me in and I'm so glad that he did.
I met him at the Slig and was greeted with a huge beaming smile and a warm handshake. On the journey to the start, Steve reassured me that the route that we would take would be the most straightforward and safest and hopefully the most enjoyable for me.
On the ascent to the ridge and the dreaded An Stac screes, Steve constantly we went at my rather moderate pace. So once on a climb I was never out of breath or suffering from sweaty back syndrome. We had a couple of pitstops along the way and plenty of opportunities to look back at views when we got them.
The scary part of the climb up to the summit was made extremely safe because Steve used short roping and lots of encouragement to get me there. No I'm sure he has reached hundreds of summits but he made me feel as if I had done something very special and unique. I was so pleased with myself.
The descent was a reverse of our ascent route and it reassuring to spot familiar bits of rock and knowing what obstacles were to be overcome. By keeping my rope tight I was able to downclimb/ bumshuffle my way to safety. All too soon our day was over- I never thought I was say that about a dreich day on the Cuillin!
I would wholeheartedly recommend Steve to anyone, no matter what your abilities are. What he does in a very subtle way is encourage you, he breaks down the climb into stages so that you are aware that you are making progress and most importantly he gives you confidence and at no point do you feel that you are being a pathetic wimp!Pauline Henderson6/30/2016
WOW, what a trip!!! I've had a couple of days to reflect on what was a fantastic weekend of winter climbing with Steve. I made the journey with a good mate, both of us having similar experience and technical ability. Whilst we wanted to go climbing we had specific objectives of learning on the move and Steve didn't disappoint. I now have a bunch of new skills i can't wait to put into practice. The whole process was very professional and we had a great laugh along the way. I would have no hesitation what-so-ever in recommending Synergy Guides to climbers of any level.Adam1/31/2020
Just had an amazing few days scrambling on Am Basteir, Sgurr nan Gillean and Sgurr nan Eag with Steve. If you want fun and adventure with a professional, caring and confidence installing guide then Steve is your man only thing to let you down will be the weather and Steve even managed to smile his way through that.Robert Vice6/11/2015
Had an absolutely incredible time climbing Tower Ridge with Synergy Guides. Steve is an extremely knowledgeable guide and a truly accomplished climber. Tower Ridge itself was a stunning and fun route on the iconic Ben Nevis. Steve made it easy to achieve a real adventure in Scotland just a day after arriving from the U.S. without needing to bring any gear. I'd absolutely recommend Synergy if you're interested in getting into the mountains in Scotland and I look forward to some more climbing with Steve and Synergy in the future!Brandon Rose9/22/2019
Simply Outstanding In short, Steve has taken me from being a keen hill walker to leading Graded scrambles and climbs and doing my first Graded Scottish winter routes - something I never thought I would achieve.
Steve is really easy to get on with which is, in my opinion, really important when you are a nervous climber and being introduced to the technical aspects of scrambling and climbing. He is calm and instills confidence in you as you learn the skills and knowledge. Steve took me out of my comfort zone (by agreement) but I never, ever, felt anything but safe. Thanks to Steve I have had some superb adventures including all but one of the Ben Nevis ridges (getting the last one this year), summits on Skye, some great scrambles in Glencoe and climbs in Glen Nevis and I have managed to bag at least two Grade 3 Scottish Winter routes and now have the confidence to lead other folk on routes.
I can't rate Steve highly enough and highly recommend him to anyone wanting to enjoy the great outdoors in ScotlandJohn Adams6/15/2015
I spent two fantastic days with Steve and enjoyed every minute. The weather wasn’t on our side but Steve made sure we made the most of it and tailored our experience to suit the conditions. Clearly a professional in his field and a genuinely nice guy. If you’re a budding or experienced climber, I would highly recommend Synergy guides for a fantastic experience whatever the weather.Karl Henshaw2/01/2020
Performance Winter Climbing
Perform at your best this winter. Learn how we train, what we eat, and how we look after our bodies in what can be a very testing environment. Performance winter climbing is not just about pulling harder and improving technique; you also need more resilient muscles, better core stability and more than anything a strong psychological approach to climbing.
Synergy Guides pride ourselves on being active and keen climbers. Your time with us will send you on a journey and encourage the progression of your climbing. Let us pass on the tips and tricks, guide you on your first grade V and help you on the way to becoming a safe and successful winter climber. Learn what to pack here!
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Remember we don't run pre-made climbing courses but we do tailor any amount of days, consecutive or alternate to take advantage of the best weather and climbing conditions. Our friendly mountain professionals have the qualifications and experience to give you the best investment of your time, and money.
Avid winter walkers who want to learn the required ropework to attempt graded winter climbing will be in the hands of one of our friendly and enthusiastic instructors. Our Scottish winter mountaineering course will ensure steady progression learning how and when to use a rope in snow-filled gullies or rocky ridges and how to use ice axes and ice screws for both ice and mixed conditions. Each day a huge emphasis is placed on understanding avalanche avoidance and good route selection within the limitations of prevailing conditions.
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