Summer Alpine Climbing Course – Level 1

Learn to climb like a true Alpinist in Chamonix, the capital of mountaineering

Revised for 2018. Learn to climb like a true alpinist in Chamonix, the capital of mountaineering. This course covers all the essential basics of alpine rock & mixed climbing and glacier travel safety skills. 

If you have always dreamed of climbing mountains and you don't know where to start, this course is specially designed for you. Our Alpine climbing course is challenging and our professional UIAGM / IFMGA mountain guides are there to teach you all the techniques you will need to tackle different types of mountain terrain. By the end of the week you will be familiar with how to safely travel through glaciers, rocky ridges, rock faces and steep snow slopes.

The course is ideal for beginners but if you already have some experience then that's great, you will build on what you already know and develop your existing skills. Our guides will adjust the pace and level of the course to suit the participants. This course is a genuine mixture of learning new skills and enjoying great alpine climbs in Chamonix, the capital of Alpinism.

The course is a weeklong journey into the vertical mountain world. The objective is to learn the basics of alpine climbing in the field. There are three essential components – rock, ice, and mixed (snow/ice/rock). An ability to employ the skills learned in these domains allows one to climb the majority of the Alpine summits by their easier/ “normal” routes. Welcome to a new world!

The journey starts with a day on the rocks. The fundamentals of rope work – belaying, rappelling, use of anchors, and some basic climbing principles are taught on one of the many cliffs in the Chamonix area. These principles can then be applied throughout the week (and beyond!), as your understanding of the concepts will accompany you in your new career as an alpinist.   

Next – Ice! The use of the ice axe and crampons are essential skill sets of a mountaineer. Covered this day – Correct/ Appropriate use of different axe and crampon techniques, using ice screws, and building a belay in the ice. The skills learned here, with the skills from the previous day allow us to move into the high mountain domain and climb mixed routes.

The course moves to the high mountains for some experience with mixed and the basics of safe glacier travel. Orientation fundamentals are taught, and route planning. On the last 3 days of the course the client to guide ratio is 1 guide to 2 clients. The end of the week provides more intimate instruction, tailored to the client. A night in a high mountain hut is included in the course. This allows participants to live the dream they’ve been practicing for, and spend a long day in the mountains climbing one of Chamonix’s summits. 


Course objectives

This is a hands on week and you’ll be learning as you go; topics covered will include but are not limited to:

  • Basic rock climbing skills
  • Belay technique (from the ground and from the anchor)
  • Rappel/ Abseil technique
  • Crampon and ice axe skills
  • Introduction to Alpine mixed climbing
  • Map and Orienteering basics
  • Multi-pitch climbing skills

You will also learn about route planning, using maps and compasses, analysing weather forecasts to plan trips, planning and carrying out overnight trips, and more. For the last two days of the course you will be joined by a second guide, this will enable you to climb some more demanding routes.

Level Requirements

Participation in this course does not require prior experience. Nevertheless, it is important to be in good physical condition. Course participants should be able to walk for 5 hours (not including break times, etc.) at a regular, sustained pace, without difficulty. Your appreciation of the alpine environment and your ability to learn are linked to your fitness. If you’d like advice on how to prepare for the course contact us. We’ll be happy to give you some training guidelines.   



Price per person for groups of minimum 2 and maximum 6 participants. 

Date des Stages

Start Date End Date Spaces
4 juin 8 juin 6
11 juin 15 juin 6
18 juin 22 juin 6
25 juin 29 juin 6
9 juil. 13 juil. 6
16 juil. 20 juil. 4
23 juil. 27 juil. 6
30 juil. 3 août 6
6 août 10 août 6
13 août 17 août 6
20 août 24 août 6
27 août 31 août 6
3 sept. 7 sept. 6
10 sept. 14 sept. 6
17 sept. 21 sept. 6
24 sept. 28 sept. 6

  The Course is guaranteed to run


Guide Fees

5 days of guiding and instruction by a UIAGM qualified mountain guide.

Accommodation (half-board)

1 night in a mountain hut with breakfast and dinner included.

Equipement collectif

Cordes, mousquetons, pharmacie et matériel collectif seront pris en charge par les guides de haute montagne


Tous les transports pour accéder sur les différents sites pendant tous les jours du stage

Support logistique et implantation locale au coeur même de Chamonix

Notre société est basée dans un superbe environement au pied du téléphérique de l'Aiguille du Midi à Chamonix.

Notre équipe est à votre disposition pour tout renseignement et pour vous assister lors de votre stage avec nous.

Non Inclus


Merci de cliquer sur l'onglet "EQUIPEMENT" pour voir la liste de matériel dont vous aurez besoin pour le stage.

Tous ce que vous n'avez pas en votre possession vous pouvez louer sur Chamonix avec notre magasin partenaire.

Lift Passes

We will advise you on which lift passes you will need prior to your trip. If lift passes are required we can preorder them for you on request.

Food & Drink

The price does not include lunch or snacks. You can bring your own food and we can stop for a picnic, or there may be the option to buy lunch at a mountain hut. Please make sure that you are carrying sufficient water and snacks as we will be in the mountains for a number of hours.


Accommodation in Chamonix is not included in the price but we would be happy to advise or organise it on request.

Se rendre à Chamonix

Le tarif ne comprend pas les transferts jusqu'à et depuis Chamonix mais nous pouvons vous assister selon que vous arriviez par train, avion ou bus. N'hésitez pas à nous demander notre asssistance.

Assurance Secours et rapatriement

Nous vous incitons fortement à souscrire une assurance Secours & Rapatriement pour votre stage. Nous pouvons souscrire une assurance pour vous via notre partenaire assistance. Merci de le demander lors de votre inscrition sur le stage.

Summer Mountaineering Itinerary

This itinerary is an example of what could be done with good weather and good conditions. It may be changed by your guide at any point to suit conditions and the ability of the group.

Arrival Day: Welcome Meeting

You should arrive in Chamonix the day before the first full day of your course. The course starts with an evening meeting between the course participants and the guide at our office. Your guide will go though the plan for the week and answer any questions you have.

Day 1: Rock Climbing, Rope Work & Abseiling

Today's focus will be on rock climbing. You will learn about and practice rock climbing and belay techniques, rope management, abseiling and gear placement. You will climb second and on lead on some easily accessed climbing crags in Chamonix.

Day 2: Glacier, Crampons & Ice Axe Skills

We will spend today on the glacier learning crampons and ice axe techniques, placing ice screws, setting up belays on ice and practising ice climbing techniques.

An alternative option would be to climb La Petite Verte, a classic Chamonix climbing route at the top of Les Grands Montets, and do our training during the climb to the summit at 3512m - a real achievement for your second day!

Day 3: Traversée des Aiguilles d'Entrêves

The Traversée des Aiguilles d'Entrêves is a great climb on the border between France and Italy. It offers challenging climbing, physical efforts and fantastic views over the South East face of Mont Blanc.

To reach the climb you will need to cross a glacier where you will learn how to travel safely on crevassed terrain, essential knowledge for alpine expeditions.

Day 4 & 5 : Two Day Climb & Overnight in a Mountain Hut

In order to practice what you have learned during the first 3 days, we will guide you on one of the classic climbs in the Alps. This will be a longer climb over two days, and will include a night in a mountain hut. Our favourite options are either Gran Paradiso at 4061m or Aiguille d'Argentiere at 3901m.

These are some of the routes that you might do during these last two days:

  • Gran Paradiso, Italy

  • Flêche Rousse on Aiguille d'Argentiere

  • Normal route on the Moine

  • Dent du Géant

  • Traversée du Weissmie


Chaussures d'alpinisme

Chaussures d'alpinisme



sous - vetements thermiques

sous - vetements thermiques

T-shirt et couches respirantes (laine ou synthetique)

T-shirt et couches respirantes (laine ou synthetique)

Veste etanche et coupe-vent

Veste etanche et coupe-vent

Pantalon etanche et coupe-vent

Pantalon etanche et coupe-vent

Gants chauds

Gants chauds

Gants techniques (fins)

Gants techniques (fins)





Chaussons d'escalade

Chaussons d'escalade

Hiking trousers

Hiking trousers

Equipement technique





Casque d'escalade

Casque d'escalade

Sac a dos de 35 - 45 litres

Sac a dos de 35 - 45 litres




Lunettes de soleil

Lunettes de soleil

Bouteille d'eau 1 litre minimum

Bouteille d'eau 1 litre minimum

Creme solaire haute protection (visage et levres)

Creme solaire haute protection (visage et levres)

Lampe frontale avec piles neuves

Lampe frontale avec piles neuves

Drap de sac de couchage

Drap de sac de couchage


We suggest you bring snacks and packed lunch for each day that you are out in the mountains. Sandwiches, cereal bars, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate and sweets are all good for energy and easy to carry. Don't forget to bring plenty of water - dehydration occurs much more rapidly at altitude, especially when you are burning lots of energy.

You will generally stop for short breaks every hour or so, when you should eat and drink something in order to maintain your energy levels throughout the day.

When staying in huts it's best to take supplies for however many days that you are in the mountains, the huts do sell food but it’s expensive and sometimes stocks run low. If you have any food allergies or dietary requirements especially if you are a Coeliac (Gluten free) or have a dairy allergy we strongly recommend that you bring some food to supplement your hut dinners. The huts are fairly good at providing for vegetarians but less so for other dietary needs. The huts can provide a small basic packed lunch of bread, salami, cheese and chocolate that you can buy each day but it’s important that you don’t rely on this option only. You do need to carry some snack food for each day.

Bad Weather

If the weather forecast is poor, we will follow an alternative programme. Chamonix is right on the border with Italy and Switzerland, giving us lots of options for fantastic climbing routes. Your guide will discuss the possibilities with you at the time and advise on the best itinerary for your trip.

Getting to Chamonix

Chamonix is one of the easiest alpine resorts to get to, being just over an hour's drive from Geneva international airport. Lyon, Turin and Milan airports are also all within a few hour's drive. The best way to get from Geneva airport to Chamonix is by transfer bus, either shared with other passengers or private. You will be met in the arrivals lounge by your driver and dropped at your accommodation in Chamonix, there is no extra charge for your luggage or equipment. We work only with the most reliable transfer companies in the valley and are happy to organise your journey for you, please contact us for prices and booking.

Accommodation in Chamonix

If you wish to book accommodation in Chamonix we would be happy to recommend some local hotels, gites, self-catered apartments, or chalets and advise on the best locations. Please contact us if you would like help finding accommodation in Chamonix.


We highly recommend that you take out specific insurance for mountain activities. We can organise this at a cost of 8€ per day for EU citizens and 12€ per day for non-EU citizens. This will cover you for search and rescue services, evacuation by helicopter and emergency medical treatment. You should also make sure that you have adequate travel insurance that covers you for the usual things such as cancelled flights, lost luggage, hospital treatment, etc. Please contact us to organise mountain rescue insurance for your trip.

Bespoke Private Guiding

We are always happy to organise private guiding, tailored to the needs of any sized group. We have lots of experience in organising corporate events, specialist courses and group trips for all kinds of people no matter what your age or experience. Please get in touch if you would like more information.

Our Guides

All Chamex mountain guides are fully qualified, highly experienced and passionate about what they do. Everyone who works as part of the Chamex team has been throughly vetting and is trusted by us to give our clients the best experience possible - you are in safe hands! If you would like to know more then you can meet the Chamex team here.


Please see the list of recommended equipment on the other tab. Most technical equipment can be rented here in Chamonix, please contact us if you would like prices and advice on whatever you need. Chamonix has dozens of outdoor shops selling everything from basic headtorches to expedition standard sleeping bags, so whatever you don't already have you can find it here.

Dent du Géant, SW Face


The magnificent steep peak of the Dent du Geant (giant's tooth) is well visible from everywhere in the Mont Blanc region, it is one of the peaks over 4000m in the Mont Blanc Massif. With its summit at 4013m, it offers excellent high altitude granite climbing and great views.

The most accessible and most climbed route is the SW face also known as the Burgener slabs (160m, D- or 4c). This itinerary has been equipped with fixed ropes for those who would struggle over the crux parts.

This climb can be done in one day, taking the first lift to the Punta Helbronner, or as part of multi-day programme with a night at the Torino hut. 

La Petite Aiguille Verte 3512m


La Petite Verte soars high above the village of Argentiere at the north end of the Chamonix valley. It is accessed via the Les Grand Montets cable car, where two lifts whisk you up to the top station at 3295m. From here there is a short clamber down a metal staircase onto the snow, which is where you will rope up and put on your crampons for the 30-40 minute approach walk to the beginning of the climb. The last section of the approach involves crossing a bergschrund before gaining the ridge.

The ascent is a moderately steep 45° but over easy mixed ground with nice big handholds; the Northwest ridge of the Petite Aiguille Verte involves traversing over both rock and ice, for which you will wear your crampons. The more technical sections are short and do not pose major difficulties, the climbing is easy but very exposed with spectacular views in all directions.

From the summit ridge the Mont Blanc Massif stretches out all around you, with the Aiguille du Chardonnet, Aiguille d'Argentiere and Tour Noire to the east, and Les Drus and the ridge of the Aiguille Verte to the south. Once you reach the summit you descend by the same route back to Les Grand Montets.

Gran Paradiso from Chabod Hut


The Chabod hut, or Rifugio Chabod, is located at 2750m in the Gran Paradiso national park, an area abundant in alpine flowers wildlife such as ibex and marmots.

From the hut we follow a rocky path across meadows to the Laveciau glacier, where we rope up and attach our crampons. From here we head north-west to the ridge at 3300m. A climb towards the "schiena d’asino" (donkey’s back) brings us to where this route intersects with the alternative one coming up from the Vittorio Emanuele refuge.

Bearing left towards the Montcorvè pass, we climb up a steep slope, cross the last of the crevasses and scale the rock face to the exposed summit ridge of the Gran Paradiso where we will meet the "Madonnina" at 4061m.

The Gran Paradiso is the only 4000 metre peak in Italy, but it lies right on the border with France and Switzerland in the vicinity of the grand summits of the Mont Blanc massif. It is a great introductory route to high mountaineering in that it is moderately long and challenging but not technically too difficult when lead by an experienced mountain guide. The glacial terrain means that some training in safety techniques and crevasse rescue is required.