WINTER CLIMBING

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 experience an intro to winter climbing in Scotland. 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 winter climbing experience with you.

Synergy Guides have no set winter climbing 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 climber mixed routes. If you have a little previous experience our intro to winter climbing is for you.

Number of People Rate Per Day
1 £210
2 £230
  • Expedition to Nepal I thought the whole pre-expedition planning was excellent. The food was better than expected and none of us got any kind of stomach bug or illness much to the credit of the in-country staff. The whole Expedition was extremely well organised from start to finish, it went way beyond my expectations.

    Emma Law Avatar
    Emma Law
    11/10/2011
  • I had a couple of days of private guiding last week with Steve from Synergy Guides. Ice climbing conditions were not great so we had a day at Polldubh rock climbing and an indoor instruction session at the Ice Factor. At Polldubh the crags were just drying and Steve was able to choose a selection of routes to suit my level which were in condition. The highlight was Secretaries Direct, superb slab climbing. I have climbed with Steve several times before and always found him to be a safe and reliable guide who helps me get the best out of my climbing. Highly recommended.

    Neil Sandilands Avatar
    Neil Sandilands
    4/21/2019
  • Steve took us up Inn Pinn in Skye last week. Even though it's more technical than we are used to and I am scared of heights, he made us feel at ease. He seems very knowledgable and was good company on the long walk.

    Stuart Flannigan Avatar
    Stuart Flannigan
    6/21/2019
  • Just one week before we started our trip to Scotland (my wife, our 17 years old son and myself) I tried to get some guides for scrambling / climbing tours on Skye and around Ben Nevis by writing emails. Steve answered nearly immediately with recommendations and possibilities for us (having described our experience so far - climbing yes, scrambling no). That was the first positive point with Steve: extremely easy to communicate - anwers always on the same day giving the needed information etc. So booking procedure & communication before and after to organise the trips: excellent! Trips: for the first day we booked the InPin (Inaccessible Pinaccle Cuillin). At the end of a wonderful day we were able to do An Stac, the Inn Pinn, Sgurr na Banachdaich and Sgurr a’ Ghreadaidh there. That was our first scrambling adventure and it was really a great day with Steve. We always felt very safe enjoying his competence, tranquility and joy. It was a wonderful full day of adventure, effort, and fun, so we wanted more scrambling! Being around Ben Nevis (Ballachulish) on the following week we did the Tower Ridge with Rich and we just can say the same again: brilliant communication before for the organisation of the trip, feeling very safe with the competence and tranquility of Rich, having a lot of fun as a group together with Rich and: yes, the Tower Ridge is a great adventure!

    Jens Avatar
    Jens
    8/20/2016
  • 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.

    Adam Avatar
    Adam
    1/31/2020
  • 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 Rose Avatar
    Brandon Rose
    9/22/2019
  • Another amazing day with Steve Holmes & Synergy guides.With the weather forecast not looking good we changed our plans having originally hoped to head to Skye. But Glencoe looked better & in fact was the correct decision as although showery we had some views & even glimpses of the sun at the end of the day.We scrambled up Sron Na Lairig onto Stob Coire Sgreamhach then onto Bidean nam Bian finishing on the top Stob Coire nan Lochan. Steve Holmes was fantastic - really knowledgable, great company, and very reassuring. He even produced a ‘cake’ at the top to celebrate my 13 year old daughters 50th Munro. I can highly recommend Synergy Guides - this was my 4th outing for myself & my daughter with Steve & have already booked again for September.

    Kathryn Gaffney Avatar
    Kathryn Gaffney
    6/21/2019
  • Trekking in Nepal The trek to Lunag Base Camp in a remote corner of the Khumbu set new aspirations for me. I would do it again in a heartbeat; this is the stuff I live for! Thank you for keeping us safe and to the mountains and limitless adventure.

    Christina D Avatar
    Christina D
    11/01/2011
  • Just back from two days as one of 3 beginners with Steve from Synergy Guides going over basic winter mountaineering skills including completing winter routes on Stob Coire Nan Lochan and Ben Nevis. It was an amazingly fun and informative weekend that I'll not forget and I've walked away feeling confident that I could tackle more winter routes and continue to improve on the skills we developed over the last two days.Steve is incredibly knowledgeable, enthusiastic and also patient. He struck a perfect balance of teaching and challenge/excitement for a group of almost novices. Each route felt considered and safe and his directions were always clear and easily understood. I would definitely use Synergy again!

    Catherine McCutcheon Avatar
    Catherine McCutcheon
    4/21/2019
  • 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 Vice Avatar
    Robert Vice
    6/11/2015
  • 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 Ingman Avatar
    Eleanor Ingman
    9/10/2019
  • I booked Steve to climb Ben Nevis by the Tower Ridge route & what a day!
    I have never been challenged as much as I was that day & Steve made it all possible.
    It was suppose to be a climb under summer conditions but winter was clinging on & Steve found himself instructing a novice in the use of crampons & an axe whilst also guiding me along the route.
    He did an impressive job & instilled confidence in myself which allowed me to climb rock in crampons, walk across icy ridges & even climb ice to reach the summit.
    Steve is a friendly, calm, positive & encouraging person who is very skilled in mountain arena & I cannot rate Steve enough.

    I would highly recommend him for your adventure in the mountains.

    Marie Skinner Avatar
    Marie Skinner
    5/24/2015
  • This was my first adventure with Steve. He was absolutely amazing start to finish. I was mainly learning to lead trad climbing with some other useful climbing techniques and tips thrown in. He was very patient and was by my side the entire route while leading, answering questions and suggesting places to place gear. Look forward to the next adventure. Thanks Steve.

    Chris H Avatar
    Chris H
    5/21/2019
  • 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 Godfrey Avatar
    Chris Godfrey
    2/05/2020
  • Last year Steve Holmes skilfully guided me up the Inn Pinn. I was very apprehensive but found him to be a calm supportive professional who instilled in me lots of confidence. I had the most amazing day. This year I returned to Steve to scramble on Skye and do Am Bastair, Sgurr nan Gillian and Shurr nan Eag. Again, it was a fantastic weekend despite the weather.
    I would highly recommend Steve for any outdoor adventure and will be returning for more challenges and fun in the future.

    Heather Beattie Avatar
    Heather Beattie
    6/03/2015
Enquire Today - Winter Climbing
Winter Climbing

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 winter climbers. Your time with us will send you on a journey and encourage the progression of your winter 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!

Number of People Rate Per Day
1 £210
2 £230

Remember we don't run a pre-made Scottish winter climbing course 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.

Winter Mountaineering

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. Here, a steady progression will ensue, learning how and when to use a rope in snow filled gullies or rocky ridges and how to select the correct winter climbing equipment for its uses in 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.

Number of People Rate Per Day
1 £210
2 £230
3 £250
Winter Mountaineering.
Steve Holmes Mountain Guide