01690 720214

The Big Winter Climb (30 Nov-1 Dec)

Course Overview

Don't Feel Like Fool's With Tools, Get Slick With Your Picks on our 'Big Winter Climb'.
We've teamed up with our old friends UKClimbing once again to bring you this unique winter weekend event.
Our Big Winter Climb weekend is made up of a series of opt-in workshops covering a diverse range of winter climbing and mountaineering skills and techniques, with something to suit absolutely everyone. It's a great way to consolidate your existing skills, develop your experience and boost your confidence for the coming rock climbing season.
The 'experts' sharing their knowledge and experience are all hand picked top UK climbers. But they won't be the only ones to learn from. Every minute is an opportunity for discussion and sharing of ideas with other 'Big Winter Climbers'. This is a unique opportunity not only to be inspired but also to have the chance to question, learn from, drink with and chat to people who have been there and done that. Wherever you plan to climb, you?re sure to find someone who's been there and who is more than willing to share experiences and lessons learnt.
A programme of interactive workshops and inspirational lectures spans the entire weekend, allowing you to select what topics suit you best from a 'workshop menu', ensuring an individually tailored experience.
Supporting the workshops will be the 'Expert's Corner', where you will be able to quiz some of the country's most experienced climbers to make sure you get as much as you possibly can from the weekend.

Andy Turner

Winter Climbing Legend and former PYB instructor Andy Turner is coming home! Andy will be running a technical workshop at The Big Winter Climb and giving an evening talk.

Experience Required

No previous winter experience necessary

* Courses running during 2017

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Scheduled Dates

blackBlack = Open for booking

blackGreen = Guaranteed to run (additional places are limited please email to enquire)

blackRed = Course fully booked


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Detailed Course Notes

You should be 18 years old to attend this course.

Workshops To Choose From On The Big Winter Climb

Below is a list of workshops, you'll be able to choose what you attend and create an experience that's applicable to you during the Big Winter Climb. There's something for everyone, from the novice winter mountaineer to the experienced winter climber. So take a look, book your place then sign up for the workshops when you arrive.

Hooking & Tooling

Big WInter Climbing Get to try modern axes and fine tune the subtle art of hooking, all whilst getting expert coaching from our experienced staff. Improve your winter mixed climbing skills by climbing on specially set routes on our 15m tower.

Winterise Your Belay

Big WInter Climbing Ideal for those moving up to leading in winter. This is a chance to focus on building safe and effective belays and anchors in the winter environment. We will cover ice screws, hooks and pegs in addition to rock climbing equipment. Find out what to carry on your winter rack and how to use it!?


Whiteout Skills and Avalanche Awareness

Training smarter on the big climbA practical insight into how to navigate safely in the winter environment. Its not just about being able to climb but how to get to your chosen climb efficiently. And then later how to navigate safely back, whilst avoiding any potential avalanche threats.

Training for Technique and Fitness

Big WInter Climbing You shouldn't miss the opportunity to use the latest aids for becoming a better winter climber. Find out how to rest and recover and try new techniques applicable to the winter climber, but all done on the indoor wall. Guaranteed to get you pumped!


Rescue and Retreat

Big WInter Climbing Climbing in winter can be very serious and committing, but there are a whole bunch of top tips you can learn to make it safer and less daunting. How to escape from routes and belays along with systems to help stuck climbers. Invaluable skills for the budding winter climber.

Winter First Aid

Training smarter on the big climbIn winter when an accident happens you might have to deal with it. This session covers skills to cope with emergencies you might come across. Delivered by climbers for climbers, this is a must for anyone operating in the hills in winter. Not just emergency procedures but also how to cope and avoid cold injuries and recognising them from the onset.


Dry Tooling

Training smarter on the big climbLearn the secrets of scratching, hooking, and digging on covered rock. How to get the best out of your crampons and axes, maybe trying leashless or lanyards along with how to make gear fit with a little help from your picks.


Crampon and Ice Axe Fundamentals

Big WInter Climbing With the aid of Plas y Brenin's special 'glacier zone' we can help you develop your flat footing, front pointing and axe placements. All the skills you need to travel safely on snow and ice covered terrain as well as helpful advice and top tips on which boots, crampons and axes to choose for you.


The Winter Knowledge - Where to Go And When

Big WInter Climbing Winter climbing is all about being on the right route, in right conditions at the right time! This workshop will improve your understanding of winter routes and conditions and how to make informed decisions and judgments. It will cover, how to predict conditions, use of weather forecasts, what areas to go to, what routes to climb and when, choosing routes to push your grade on and use of guide books and maps.


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What's Included In The Price?

Whether you choose to stay with us or you have alternative accommodation nearby, the following items are included in the total cost.

    Free tea, coffee or selected hot drinks for the duration of your visit
    Afternoon tea & homemade cakes
    Equipment hire
    Free (low-speed) wifi access in the bar & dining room
    In course transport
    Railway station pick up & drop off (please call to arrange)
    Parking with CCTV surveillance
    Free use of climbing wall, gym, MTB skills course & rolling pool

    If you choose to stay with us, these items are also included in the total cost:

    Accommodation the night before your course
    Accommodation during your course
    Breakfast & evening meal
    Bar Lunch/packed lunch

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Accommodation For This Course

Plas y Brenin Main House

Your course is based at Plas y Brenin, The National Mountain Sports Centre in Capel Curig, North Wales, LL24 0ET.

If you are staying with us,

If you have chosen to add accommodation onto this course or holiday it is usually in the main house in a comfy en-suite room (normally shared with another guest). Each room has tea and coffee making facilities and all bed linen and towels are provided.

This includes accommodation the night before your first day. Your room will be available from 6pm. On your last day you will need to vacate your room by 10am. It is sometimes possible to arrange to stay an extra night please phone 01690 720214 for availability and cost.

Secure storage facilities, showers and toilets are available for you to use on your departure day once you have checked out of your room should you need them, please ask at reception.

Also included if you chosen to add accommodation are all your meals - breakfast, packed lunch, afternoon tea and freshly baked cakes and a three course evening meal. Please bear in mind an evening meal is not provided on the night before your course or on the last day of your course but our bar will be serving meals from 7.00pm until 8.45pm.

If you are are not staying with us but coming in each day,

If you choose to come in daily for your course or holiday you will need to arrive ready for a 9am welcome talk on the first day. For the rest of your course or holiday you will need to be here for 9.15am. We return from a full day of activity, usually in time for tea and cakes at 5pm (included).

There are more activities from 5.30 - 6.30 on some days of your course or holiday, please check on the first day.

For most of our awards and qualification courses there will be further evening sessions on some days which you need to attend, please check on the first day.

There is an 8pm adventure talk by one of our coaches on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday evenings which you are welcome to come to.

On the final day you will be finished by 5pm.

For courses based on-site our bar will be serving lunches from 12pm until 2pm or you are welcome to bring a packed lunch.

If your course is based away from the centre then you will need to bring a packed lunch with you. Each evening our bar serves evening meals from 7pm until 8.45pm if you wish to eat here.

You can arrange to have any of the following meals - breakfast, packed lunch and a three course centre dinner, by contacting our customer services team on 01690 720214 or info@pyb.co.uk.

follow this link for more details

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What Equipment Do You Need To Bring?

  • Warm outdoor wear - at all times of year e.g. walking trousers (shorts in summer), thermal layers/base layers, fleeces, good quality walking socks

  • Warm hat, gloves, neck gaiter/buff, sun hat

  • Walking boots

  • Rucksack liner (e.g. rubble bag or dry bag)

  • Day rucksack (min 30 litres)

  • Gaiters (optional)

  • Drinks bottle

  • Flask

  • Lunch Bag/Box

  • Personal first aid kit

  • Head torch (winter months)

  • High factor sunscreen

  • Midge repellant

  • Notebook and pen

The following items are available for you to borrow free of charge from our equipment stores if you don't have your own.

  • Walking boots

  • Day rucksack

  • Gaiters (optional)

  • Waterproof jacket and trousers

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Customer Reviews For This Course

Dry tooling fun


Excellent instruction on wide variety of topics relevant to winter climbing. Particularly enjoyed the dry tooling session. Also was very useful to try out the latest kit, including the more extreme climbing axes and monopoint crampons. Joining instructions could be improved (send the proposed schedule!).

An amazing winter atmosphere


I really enjoyed my time! Lots of knowledge, friendly staff, wide range of activities and lots of enthusiasm that created an amazing winter atmosphere.
I'm quite sad that is already Monday: time passed so quickly!
Hope to repeat my experience at Plas Y Brenin, well better on mountains, soon!

Winter wonderland

Stephen Fletcher

Great weekend, lots of positive psyche , instructors inspiring ,all in all,a great experience.

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Not found what you were looking for?

You can hire one of our coaches instructors or guides from only £250 per day. They'll tailor the day to suit your aims and aspirations perfectly.
You can enjoy one to one coaching for that cost or if you get together as a group, depending on the activity, you can split that cost between up to 6 of you. If you are a group we can run any of our courses on a date that suits you and your friends. Or you could just write your own agenda for a week or weekend and we'll price it up for you - with or without accommodation. What's more, just like out normal course fees, our private instructor hire charge covers all your equipment too. Click on the link below to fill in a request form and one of our coaches will call you back (or e-mail if you'd prefer) to discuss things in detail with you.

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British Mountaineering Council Deals

Check out the latest rock climbing and hillwalking deals from our partner organisation The BMC.
Now includes a range of subsidised winter skills courses!!!!

What's On In Our bar?

Our friendly and lively bar is open to the public. From talks and lectures to film nights and live music, there's always something going on. Find out what's coming up next here

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