Winter Mountain Leader

The long road to becoming a qualified Winter Mountain Leader.

I passed my Summer Mountain Leader assessment in 2018. At the end of the week, lots of people were leaving in a hurry and I ended up taking home a fair bit of our group’s lost property left at the hostel. After posting most of it back to people there was one pair of winter gloves left. No one claimed them, so I kept them. (Yes, it bothers me too that I might have accidentally nicked them, but they were in the same pile as things that were claimed.) I hadn’t even thought about starting on Winter Mountain Leader, but those gloves felt like someone had almost literally thrown down the gauntlet.

The more I did in winter with friends, the more I found myself being at the more experienced end of the group. And that can be pretty alarming when you realise you’ve just picked things up from the people around you. Maybe that’s just how we learn anything outdoors, but it felt odd to have got so far without even one person who actually officially knew what they were doing giving a thumbs up. So I decided it was time to get back on the Mountain Training ladder.


Did my full training course in January 2023 (after getting halfway the year before and having to go home due to a Covid outbreak). Now it’s just the quest for QMDs and more in Scotland at that!

On the Blog

This section will list blog content relating to the project.

UK Winter Routes

Here are a list of some of the ridges and gullies I’ve done in winter conditions in the UK. Mostly just for interest, really. Not sure you really want to read my entire logbook of QMDs! I might have done them several times too…

Lake District

  • Swirral Edge
  • Striding Edge
  • Sharp Edge (too many times)
  • Cockley Pike Ridge (lol)

Glen Coe and Glen Nevis

  • CMD Arete
  • South Gully on Stob Bàn, Mamores
  • Schoolhouse Ridge, Sgorr Dhearg


  • Fiacaill Ridge (grade 1 version round to the right)

And of course, many things that we’ve showed up to and the conditions have been wrong. Next on my hit list are the Aonach Eagach (loved it in summer), a grade 1/2 on the north face of Ben Nevis, something on Aonach Mor and lots in the Cairngorms. Especially more on the Fiacaill Ridge, that we had to abandon first time because it was too windy to even get to the bottom, and some more gullies.