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.


Based in Fort William we are in close proximity to Ben Nevis and the mountains of Glencoe. This allows us access to the best local conditions for all our Ice Climbing Instruction & Winter Mountaineering.

Ice Climbing - Scottish Highlands

Private mountain guiding is at the core of our work, the idea of having an instructor tailor make a day to suit your aspiration is very appealing. Your dream route may require technical ice climbing which you wish to be safeguarded on, or you may want to attempt a bucket list mixed climb where professional companionship would be welcome.

By booking with Synergy Guides you will receive a tailor-made itinerary depending on your aspirations, fitness and your group compatibility.  We will undoubtedly have fun, our aim is to provide you with an experience to savour and attain skills to build on for years to come.

Introduction To Winter Climbing

Ben Nevis, Stob Coire nan Lochan, Aonach Mor and Stob Ban are all excellent venues for ice climbing instruction and Scottish mixed climbing coaching. 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 experience of the local mountains.

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 climb steep grade IV ice, our friendly mountain professionals have the qualifications and experience to give you the best investment of your time, and money.

Number of People Rate Per Day
1 £210
2 £230
3 £250
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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.

Winter Climbing

If you have previous winter climbing experience and want the challenge of the next grade we are here to help. All of our winter climbing instructors are MIC qualified or British Mountain Guides, so not only are we qualified and insured we are active and enthusiastic about our own climbing. We don’t have a big team but we do have a specifically selected set of mountaineering instructors available to guide you on your next Scottish winter adventure.

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.

Winter Mountaineering

Avid winter walkers who want to learn the required ropework to attempt lower graded winter climbs 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 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. 

Teaching this ‘trade’ needs to be calculated and relevant to each participant being introduced to winter mountaineering. We don’t run ‘off the shelf’ courses and try to fit one person’s aspirations with another, instead, Synergy Guides provide private mountain guiding which allows you to build your adventure considering your own ambitions and experience in the mountains.  

All of our fees include the use of winter equipment such as harness, helmet, crampons and technical ice axes. You can use our kit free of charge in return for their safekeeping and maintenance whilst in your possession.

Winter Climbing
Number of People Rate Per Day
1 £210
2 £230
3 £250


Ready For Winter?

Brutal and beautiful go hand in hand to describe winter here in the Highlands of Scotland. A tradition of ‘getting something done’ runs deep in our genes as Scottish winter climbers. The journey to success takes experience, safety planning and a determination to battle through the worst weather winter can throw at us. Teaching this ‘trade’ needs to be calculated and relevant to each participant that joins us for winter mountaineering instruction. We don’t run ‘off the shelf’ courses and try to fit one person’s aspirations with another, instead Synergy Guides provide private mountain guiding which allows you to build your adventure considering your own ambitions and experience in the mountains.


Measured Adventure

The power of practice cannot be underestimated. This is especially prevalent in the development of Scottish winter climbers. So how much experience do you need to join us for a winter adventure? Climbers wishing to progress to their next winter grade or learn to lead will be expected to have climbed in winter previously or be competent rock climbers. Performance driven participants will have climbed several routes at grade IV either independently or with a guide. Budding winter mountaineers need no previous winter hillwalking experience, but it would be advantageous to be competent in the hills during summer. The fitter you are the more you will enjoy your time in the winter mountains.

Over the last couple of years I have used Steve Holmes for a range of outdoor adventures and training. 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.

John A

I booked Steve to climb Ben Nevis via Tower Ridge & 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.

Marie S

I have met Steve a few times for instruction courses in mountaineering. I am always impressed with his calm and collected tuition whilst feeling very safe. Every time I have had an awesome experience learning new skills and getting out into stunning locations.

Colin Y