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Ben Lairig: Winter Mountaineering Training Weekend

A project by: Ben Lairig



from 13 donors

This project received pledges on Fri 16 Jan 2015
Training for a New Generation of Mountaineers

Ben Lairig: The University's Fell Walking and Mountaineering society

  • Skills that you develop walking and mountaineering at University will never leave you.  That’s why Ben Lairig (now part of the University of York's Outdoor Society) is working to ensure that the opportunity to learn is open to students from all backgrounds.

  • Each year since our establishment as a society in 1984, 26 years ago, we’ve climbed mountains in the UK every other weekend.  

  • To continue to do this safely we need to run winter training to ensure new members can cope with anything the UK can throw at them! We climb mountains in the UK every other weekend in term; this includes deepest, darkest winter conditions. Its about the summits, the distance and the raw power of the mountains.

  • This year we hope to send 18 members on our Winter Skills and Winter Mountaineering Courses. This is the first year we have run TWO advanced Winter Mountaineering courses. As well as THREE basic courses for those with no winter experience.

What is this Winter Skills thing?

Two days in the Nevis Range with qualified and experienced winter guides means that:
  • We’re equipped to deal with serious winter conditions including use of crampons and ice axes, ice axe arrests, emergency shelters, avalanche prediction, roping for safety and traversing steep terrain.

  • All our members can leave university as competent, year-round mountaineers, with skills many people simply don't have, meaning they can do so much more in their time at university and afterwards.
  • The international mountaineering community will benefit from more knowledge with better trained people out on the hill for the rest of their lives, inspiring more people to take up the sport seriously.
  • Without the Winter Skills course, Ben Lairig would cease to function as it has for 30 years, as members would no longer have the necessary skills to cope safely with winter conditions.

     What we need to make it happen?

    • Running the course doesn’t come cheaply and we want to make sure that all our members have the chance to take up this opportunity.  That means finding some cash to help.  Members, of course, will pay most of their own costs, but with a small subsidy we can heavily subsidise the cost of the guides, and ensure that those who might struggle to go financially have some extra support.  Just £900 will make the most amazing difference.

    • The Julian Alps in Slovenia is our ultimate goal – what we learn in the Scottish Highlands can be put into practice in more extreme ways in Europe giving amazing experience to our members.  

    Where will the money go?

    • £1,500 just covers our subsidy of the Guides, which isn't covered by the students. If we get this money, trip fees can remain at £160 or £175 per person. 

    • If we get £1,900 the cost of 5 guides taking 18 people on the course can be entirely covered. This will reduce the costs to members, down to what was charged in 2010!

    • The more money we raise, the more mountains we can tackle. If we get enough; Ben Lairig is going abroad! 

    • If we get over £2,000 we can begin to cover necessary costs for travelling to the Julian Alps in Slovenia. These mountains are similar to those in the UK, but bigger. The challenges we will face there will be much the same as those in the Scottish Highlands, yet more extreme, making a good understanding of basic techniques invaluable. 

    • Without running this training course, the latter trip would not be possible.

      What the Course Costs us to run:

    • Costs of the Guides (for 18 people): £1,900
    • Accommodation in Fort William: £910
    • Kit Hire: £540
    • Car Hire: £357
    • Petrol Costs: £1,500
    • Food: £20
    • With an income of £3,360 from trip fees (including 6 members who have already done the courses), we need £1,510 for basic subsidisation. This is £83 per person who is on the course- with more money, that is only going to go up!


    • Rewards for donors; see right. There are some pretty good things on offer!

    Find us here

    • Watch a video of some of our members talking about why Winter Skills is so important to them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECJ9wQGuHzI

    • www.benlairig.com

    • https://www.facebook.com/groups/benlairig/

    • https://twitter.com/BenLairigYork

    • Follow us to find out how we're doing!

    Help us succeed!

    • SUPPORT our Campaign! Join YuStart and become a helper, or follow our project.

    • If you love the  mountains and outdoors and want to make the experience available to more people, then help this happen and safeguard training for a new generation of mountaineers! 

    • The first £300 of funding we receive is DOUBLED by YuFund!

    • You don't need to give money to help us succeed! Please share this project with anyone you think would support us – on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, by email, telephone, in a chat over the fence or on your blog.

    2 years, 6 months ago

    Three Days before we leave! Forms are in, transport is booked, equipment hire has been arranged and there is snow in Scotland. (It just might take us a while to get up there).

    2 years, 6 months ago

    Everyone's ecstatic that we have reached our minimum! But, the more money we raise the more we can subsidise courses this year and in the future. We're hopeful that this will allow us to do big things!

    2 years, 7 months ago

    Everyone is getting excited for Winter Skills! Forms are in, accommodation is booked. Thanks everyone who believes in what we're doing and has helped us out so far!

    2 years, 7 months ago

    Raised £200 already! Thanks for the help guys! Winter Skills planning is coming along- we have 18 people booked onto various courses. And the weather looks like it is picking up somewhat- there is now snow! 

    2 years, 7 months ago

    Thank you everyone who has donated so far! Just to clarify, it is £150 donation for being named as a sponsor on our team kit. Apologies for the typo.

    YuFund matchfunded £300

    Ben Lairig

    generated 124 clicks

    Phil Newbold

    generated 88 clicks

    Mike Trousdale

    donated £60.00

    Tom Bance

    donated £25.00

    Thomas Tyrrell

    donated £20.00

    Stuart Wells

    donated £20.00

    Will Schaller

    donated £20.00


    donated £15.00

    Alex Bertulis-Fernandes

    donated £10.00

    Rob Fuller



    followed this project

    Frances Treveil

    followed this project and signed up to help

    Ralitsa Padalska

    followed this project and signed up to help


    followed this project and signed up to help

    Sophia Duffy

    followed this project

    Jonathan Clayton

    followed this project and signed up to help

    Patrick Farrell

    followed this project

    Allie Nawrat

    signed up to help


    signed up to help

    Rebecca Fletcher

    signed up to help

    Beth Allard

    signed up to help

    Rhys Williams

    signed up to help

    Emily Nelson

    signed up to help

    Beth Allen

    signed up to help

    Tim Wingard

    signed up to help

    Laurence Hobden

    signed up to help

    2 anonymous donations totalling £250.00

    Only project creators and their sponsors can post comments.

    Good luck guys, this is a worthwhile trip, hope it goes well. Here's a story from the Ben archives. We ran the same trip '99 and I went along to drive, having done the course a few years before. While waiting with the AU minibus for one group to come back, I ended up rescuing a random chap who's fallen through a cornice, sliding 100s of metres, loosing all his gear except the clothes on his back. Drove him down the valley to try and find a phone and ended up delivering him to the mountain rescue Landy coming in the opposite direction; he'd not been on any courses!

    There you are guys, good luck! I'm expecting personalised snowmen for each of us!

    Best of luck!

    Good luck guys! See you all soon.

    Glad to do this guys but its a shame its come to this. Hopefully the support here is well placed and shows the strong support the club enjoys.

    Best of luck guys. Hopefully YUSU realise just how valuable Ben Lairig and its winter skills course is, and you receive proper support from them next year.

    I'm expecting a huge snowman :) Oh and Slovenia is awesome.