Learn the fundamentals of Alpine Mountaineering with the expert guidance of an IFMGA Mountain Guide
On this three day trip you will learn some essential skills for safe and efficient movement in the alpine environment, as well as climbing some great climbs. This trip is suitable for someone’s first trip to the Alps as well as a climber who has made a guided ascent of a peak such as the Grand Paradiso or Mont Blanc and who now wants some more skills. It’s the first step on the road to becoming self-sufficient in the mountains, without a guide.
During the three days we focus on the fundamentals of Alpine climbing, and allow enough time to practice. It is important to be practiced and slick at these rather than getting distracted by more complicated skills to early.
You will need a good base of hill walking fitness, capable of walking in hilly terrain with a medium weight rucksack for five to six hours. No rock climbing skill is required, your general fitness is much more important.
Alpine skills course itinerary
- Day 1 – Crevasse rescue and acclimatisation. We meet in Chamonix at 8.00am on the first morning of the trip. After introductions and gear checks we get in the car and drive through the Mont Blanc tunnel into Italy, and use the Helbronner lift to get into the Mountains. Once here we get geared and roped up for a walk across the glacier and a suitable safe crevasse rescue spot. Now we spend a couple of hours practicing some basic crevasse rescue including snow anchors and pulley systems. We then head down the lift and back into Chamonix for the night.
- Day 2 – Rock climbing and Scrambling. In the morning we spend a couple of hours climbing at the local Chamonix crag, Les Gaillands. This is a great area to practice climbing in big mountain boots, an essential skill for mountaineering. There’s opportunity to practice some belaying and some basic rock climbing anchors. After that, we drive to the head of the valley to the small village of Le Tour where we catch a couple of lifts before beginning the two hour walk to the Albert Premier refuge, where we spend the night.
- Day 3 – Alpine Mountaineering. Here’s where we put it into practice climbing one of the peaks above the Albert Premier refuge such as the Aiguille du Tour, Tete Blanche or Petit Fourche. What peak we climb depends on the group, weather and conditions which makes for a good discussion and learning opportunity the evening before. The ascent will typically take around four to five hours, with a break back at the hut on the way down before the walk back to the lift and down to Chamonix.
Skills and techniques covered during the Alpine skills course
- Crevasse rescue and snow anchors
- Roping up for glacial travel
- Rock climbing techniques
- Belaying and basic anchor safety
- Crampon and ice axe techniques
- Using mountain huts
- Route planning and guidebooks
There is obviously a lot to learn, and you will need to practice some of these skills a lot before they become second nature. Most of our open trips are timed so you could combine this skills trip with another three day trip afterwards such as the Grand Paradiso.
2017 Alpine skills training trip dates
These are our open trip dates, please contact us to book a private course.
- Friday 14th – Sunday 16th July 2017 (Hut night Saturday 15th)
Cost: £445 per person
Maximum ratio of four climbers to one guide. Our trips are run on a guiding only basis, you will need to cover expenses as the trip progresses for you and your guide.
Our price includes;
- All guiding fees for your IFMGA Mountain Guide
- Hut reservations
- Transport whilst on the course, including travel to the Grand Paradiso national park.
Expenses to consider;
- Accommodation in Chamonix (we can recommend places to stay)
- Airport transfer from Geneva
- Mountain rescue insurance (BMC or SnowCard recommended)
- A night in the mountain refuge typically costs 65€ per person (half board) and the guides fee (discounted) is split between the group members.
- It’s also worth having some cash on you for drinks and snacks the huts.