Introduction to snowshoeing

snowshoe

Snowshoeing is a fun and efficient way to get about in the hills in winter. This all day event gives you an introduction to the equipment and techniques of snowshoeing. Included in the price are the snowshoes and poles. We use MSR Evo ascent snowshoes which have a broad plastic base, lateral crampons along their length and toe crampons too.

To book the event please go to our booking page.

The day is based on Ben Chonzie, north of Comrie in Perthshire, but may vary depending on snow conditions. We use the mixed terrain to give clients an opportunity to practice their technique and become familiar with the equipment, before journing to the summit. If you have a particular hill or area that you really want to visit please let us know and we can see whether it is suitable given the terrain and snow conditions.

Benefits of snowshoeing:

  • The broad base of the snowshoe prevents you from sinking down through the snow in the way you would if you just had boots… a common hardship when walking through soft windslab. Windslab is a layer of snow laid down through wind transportation. Windslab can be soft or hard. The soft type typically doesn’t hold your weight and you sink through it to a harder layer below – making for slow and tiring progress.
  • The snowshoes we use have long lateral crampons that offer amazing grip on hard snow and ice.
  • The snowshoes we use have heel raisers which help to take some of the pressure of your calf muscles when going uphill.
  • Mainly it is good fun. Snowshoes offer an enjoyable to way to explore snow landscapes and make journies in the hills in Scotland.

The limitations …

  • The main issue is a lack of snow cover and rocks. If there isn’t enough snow cover or if there are too many rocks you need to take the snowshoes off and strap them to your rucksac.
  • Snow shoes aren’t suitable for steep ground. The west highlands with their steep terrain and rocky ridges are not so good; wheras the rounded, undulating terrain of the cairngorms and Perthshire can be really good (given suitable snow cover).

The day will include training in avalanche awareness: looking for the signs of snow deposition and the risks posed by rain, thawing conditions, steep terrain and snow aspect. We will also discuss the sources of information necessary to safely plan a winter day in the hills.

What you will need to bring

You will need to bring food for the day on the hill, about a litre of water or juice and a flask with a hot drink (500ml is fine). In terms of clothing you will need:

  • Waterproof trousers or salepettes
  • Thermal trousers (e.g. fleece) or thermal leggings (e.g. merino wool)
  • Gaiters
  • Boots with a stiff slope, suitable for a B1 crampon. More more information on winter boots and options for hiring them click here.
  • At least two pairs of gloves, a woolen pair and a waterproof pair.
  • Hat and balaclava
  • Waterproof jacket with hood
  • Thermal top (e.g. fleece or wool)
  • Mid layer (e.g. polartec fleece)
  • Spare warm layer (another fleece, synthetic down or natural down jacket – something that can be packed away in your rucksac)
  • head torch and spare batteries
  • Plastic survival bag
  • ski goggles
  • Telephone
  • Day rucksac (around 30 litre)
  • Ice Axe (if you don’t have one we can provide you with one)

Your guide will bring group kit like a group shelter, first aid kit and shovel. If you don’t have of this winter kit please get in touch.