There is so much to learn when it comes to winter mountaineering, can you ever be sure that you have covered it all? As our guide for the week Stu Shipp (founder of City Mountaineering) said – you hope many of the skills you never have to use, but they are vitally important to be proficient in.

There really is a lot to think about. Weather? Altitude? Snow conditions? Route planning? Skills? Equipment? All of this contributes to the most important consideration of all – safety!

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Lots of this comes with practice and experience, so we took to the Pyrenees with some clients, to take part in 360 Expeditions aptly named, Expeditions Skills Course situated in the Pyrenees.

There is no substitute for practice when it comes to winter mountaineering, and as much time as you spend sitting at your desk tying prusik loops, figure of eights, and watching tutorials on crampon techniques, it’s all best learnt in situ. There are do’s and dont’s for everything – but some things you will only get once you are in the moment.

Here’s a little of what we got up to in the mountains!

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The beauty of spending a week in the mountains to learn is that you also have the benefit of being surrounded by a number of peaks which you can practice your skills on, which is where the big mountain day comes in on this trip.

For us, the 15-hour round trip to the summit of pic de Mulieres provided the perfect platform for consolidating a lot of the skills that we had learned throughout the week. More than this though, it gives you the opportunity to learn. You learn from mistakes, you learn from experience. As long as you learn, that’s all that matters.

The views from the top are just a bonus, right?

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