Course in focus: Winter Mountaineering Course – Foundation (6,5 days)

Winter Mountaineering

Adventures in winter are always special.  There is something very pure and majestic about winter time in Norway, with the frozen landscape revealing itself as a still and harsh beauty.

To travel through this frozen landscape is always a changing experience; it is unique, each year the snow formations are different, week by week, day by day and often in a single hour everything can change.

This 6,5 days course is a foundation course and perfect for people with some summer mountaineering experience who wish to venture into the snowy Norwegian landscape.

Accommodation is provided at Landsrud Cottage. Food is prepared together with the cost and cleaning shared. Transport is provided during the course.  Travel to the Norway and from the airport to the course location is not provided.

Day 1: Evening meeting at 18

Accommodation at Landsrud cottage.

  • Presentation of instructor and participants.
  • Discussion on expectations / summary of the week to come.
  • Equipment check

Day 2:  Short tour day, preparation, avalanche awareness and buddy rescue

The day’s primary goal is to get to know each other, check what equipment works and what doesn’t work, planning and how to avoid getting caught in an avalanche.

This day will cover:

  • Planning;  Weather, avalanche bulletins, understanding terrain and its consequences, what to pack, what to wear and what to eat and drink. Discussion on the “human factor” and how it steers the individual and the group”
  • Usage of skis or snowshoes while travelling
  • Avalanche rescue; How to use the equipment (transceivers, snow probes and shovels), how to organise an effective rescue as a single person and as part of a team
  • Travelling in avalanche terrain:  Identification of avalanche terrain (avalanche traps, potentially dangerous slopes, group travel discipline (when going up and when going down)
  • Snow knowledge: Getting a sense of snow, identification of potentially dangerous snow formations, crystals and layers and how humans can trigger avalanches. Learning snow test to quantify potential avalanche risk.

Evening: discussion on the day and planning for the next.

Day 3: Climbing day: Learning how to climb in winter

The primary goal of this day is to get an appreciation of climbing in winter; how to use crampons on snow, ice and mixed terrain and the safe usage of ropes in ascent and descent.

  • How to use crampons and axes:  how to use the equipment on snow, ice and mixed terrain
  • How to use a rope in ascent:  Knots, setting up belays in snow or ice, setting up top ropes belays in different settings and principles of multi-pitch climbing
  • How to use a rope in descent: Abseiling on snow and ice. Setting up descent belays, ice threads and snow abseils
  • Climbing: Ice climbing techniques, with and without axes

Evening: discussion on the day and planning for the next.

Day 4: Tour day: Starting with planning and checking weather, avalanche risk and terrain

The day’s primary goal is to put what we learnt on the previous days into action with a focus on navigation, mountaineering / easy climbing over several rope lengths and staying safe.

  • How to navigate: Getting lost and re-finding yourself.  Usage of map, compass and GPS
  • Continue with the identification of the avalanche risk: identification of different crystals and layers in the snow profile, identification of avalanche terrain and its consequence.

Evening: discussion on the day and planning for the next.

Day 5: Getting to know snow/avalanche and rescue

The primary focus of this day is to gain more knowledge about snow conditions and avalanche awareness with a focus on the human factor and your role in the group.

  • Short tour with focus on avalanche evaluation; snow profiles and assessing risk
  • Emergency snow shelters; how to build quick and fast.
  • Buddy rescue: If everything goes crazy and you get taken by an avalanche.

Evening: discussion on the day and planning for the next.

Day 6: Mountaineering day

This day is about putting what you have learned during the week into action.  By this time the group will be taking more responsibility and making more decisions in planning the tour, evaluating avalanche risk and deciding which route to take.

The group will be presented with several mountaineering objectives and they will decide, plan and execute the trip.

The instructors will only step in if they feel the group has made a hazardous decision.

Day 7:  Open day

Participants can decide on a days ice climbing or more snow evaluation (digging in the snow)

ice climbing isklatrekurs

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