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.

UIAGM MOUNTAIN GUIDES
Fully qualified English & French speaking guides ensuring optimum safety & expert tuition
SMALL GROUP SIZES
Allowing a flexible & persoanlised approach to help you learn & progress quickly
OVER NIGHT IN A MOUNTAIN HUT
Gain crucial experience staying over night in a mountain hut, rewarded with the most epic alpine sunset and sunrise

ALPINE CLIMBING COURSE IN CHAMONIX - LEVEL 1

5 days of tuition, instruction and fun climbing.

From 1,195.00€

Price per person for groups of minimum 2 and maximum 4 participants. 

View Dates
   

Beginner tech level

 

5 days course

 

Groups of 6 maximum

 

Available June - September

 

Guide ratio 1:2 on the last 3 days

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 or “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. 

Learning Outcomes

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 skill
  • 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 additonal advice on how to best prepare for the course, please contact us. We’ll be happy to give you some training guidelines.   

Additional Services

Equipment hire

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 head torches to expedition standard sleeping bags, so whatever you don't already have you can find it here.

Insurance

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.

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.

Airport transfers

We can help you to organise your transport to/from Chamonix. We work with well-established airport transfer companies, using new and comfortable vehicles , who have the capacity and know-how to handle everything from delayed and cancelled flights, to unexpected traffic jams with professionalism and efficiency.

To book your transfer, we will need the following:

  • Your full name
  • Mobile phone number
  • Email address
  • Your destination address
  • Your flight details (date, time and flight number)
SHARED TRANSFERS:

This is the most economic and ecologically friendly way of travel. The driver will meet and greet you at the airport, gather you and the rest of the passenger group together and then head off to your chosen destination. The door-to-door service means that you will be dropped off and picked up right at your hotel /chalet / apartment. From 40€ per person for one-way and 80€ per person for a return trip.

PRIVATE TRANSFERS:

Private Transfers are the quickest way to get to and from the airport. Your driver will meet and greet you at the airport and guide you to your vehicle. There is no waiting for other passengers. Private transfers are available for one to eight person bookings and travelling together and you are guaranteed sole occupancy of the vehicle for your transfer. And, of course, it's a door-to-door service, so you won't be lugging any bags very far. 250€ per car for one-way and 500€ per car for a return trip.

Practical Information

Guide to Client Ratios

Day 1 ... 1:6 

Day 2 ... 1:6

Day 3 ... 1:2

Day 4 ... 1:2

Day 5 ... 1:2

Course dates

Do not hesitate to contact us if our existing course dates are not convenient for you. We will be happy to customise a set of dates according to your holiday plans.

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 thoroughly 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.

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.

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 hours 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.

Staying in Mountain Huts

The high alpine huts are one of the big attractions to mountaineering or trekking in the Alps. They allow us the time to enjoy the mountains with only light packs and without having to worry about meals or finding somewhere to sleep! Most huts have only very basic facilities. Sleeping arrangements are in mixed sex dormitory-style rooms with bunks; there can be up to 20 people in one room.

Washing facilities are limited and generally there is no running water in any of the huts although this may vary in some huts. There are basins in which you can use bottled water to wash and clean your teeth, but they are NOT generally in private cubicles and are mixed sex. Toilets are generally septic-tank type (so non-flushing) and again mixed sex. You need to be prepared for simple living in the huts and appreciate they are located at high altitude and in inhospitable terrain.

The guardian and his/her team serve a 3-course evening meal and breakfast - food is usually nourishing and filling. Beer, wine, soft drinks and snacks are also available. All food and drink in the huts is delivered by helicopter and consequently prices will be high e.g. between 5 -10€ or 10CHF for a 1.5litre bottle of still water.

There are a few basic hut ‘rules’ that you need to follow so that you (and your fellow climbers) have a pleasant stay:

1) On arriving at the hut you must take off your boots and leave these together with your ice axe, crampons in the foyer. Be sure to store these carefully as the hut is likely to get very busy and you’ll need to find all your kit in the morning rush!

2) House slippers are provided and must be worn in the hut

3) Your guide will register you with the guardian and will assign you your bunk

4) Follow the instructions of your guide and keep requests to the guardian and his team to a minimum – they are usually very busy sorting out groups, cooking meals, keeping the hut clean

5) In the morning your guide will often want to leave early – be sure to have all your kit ready to go the night before. Be organized and everything will be much easier!

6) It is recommended to bring earplugs for the nights – but make sure that you wake up on time!

Itinerary

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

First day on the rocks in the Chamonix area. The goal is to familiarize with the gear while learning basic rope and rock skills - belaying, rappelling, and general climbing technique. 

Day 2: Glacier, Crampons & Ice Axe Skills

Day two takes the group onto the glacier. Correct use of the ice axe and crampons, ice screws plus a review of the skills from day one. Chamonix has some of the best access to calculated terrain, and provides the perfect terrain for practicing. 

Day 3: Mixed climbing

An easy mixed route in the mountains. The addition of another guide(s) allows us to envision more advanced objectives and focus on your progression. The culmination of the previous day’s techniques allows us to move toward the application stage. Climbing longer routes, moving together with a short rope, efficiency, safety, and route finding are skills practiced on this day. A typical example: Traverse of the Crochus Arete in the Aguilles Rouges, good climbing and great views! 

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

The week finishes with two consecutive days in the high mountains and a night in a mountain hut. The goal is to apply the week’s experience into two high altitude summits. Snow and high alpine rock are on the agenda for the first day, with a traverse of the Aiguilles Marbrées. Great views and high exposure make a very complete route, and a short approach doesn’t hurt. Orientation, route finding, and glacier travel proficiency are all looked at it. A night in the Torino hut is a good introduction to a high mountain refuge, and allows for an early start to the next day’s adventure.

Day 5: High altitude climbing

The Tour Ronde! A high altitude summit using all of the week’s new skills- reaching the summit Madonna is always satisfying, and is the perfect culmination to a week of climbing. An early start gets the team onto the glacier, and a beautiful sunrise just after breakfast is an unforgettable experience. Crampons on, ice axes at the ready, and the ascent begins- finishing at 3792 meters with 360° view of the Mt. Blanc range- a great place to pick out a goal for next time! Descent to the Skyway lift for a quick espresso and a debriefing, then a van through to Chamonix- the week has finished but your career as an alpinist is just beginning! 

Dates

Alpine climbing course in Chamonix - Level 1 dates - 2018

Start date Spaces
Price from
 
August 27, 2018
2
1,195.00€
September 03, 2018
G
1,195.00€
September 10, 2018
1,195.00€
September 17, 2018
G
1,195.00€
September 24, 2018
L
1,195.00€
October 01, 2018
G
1,195.00€
October 08, 2018
G
1,195.00€
October 15, 2018
2
1,195.00€
October 22, 2018
2
1,195.00€
October 29, 2018
2
1,195.00€
L
   Limited Availability
F
Fully Booked
G
Guaranteed
2
Two More to Guarantee

Alpine climbing course in Chamonix - Level 1 dates - 2019

Start date Spaces
Price from
 
June 03, 2019
2
1,195.00€
June 10, 2019
2
1,195.00€
June 17, 2019
2
1,195.00€
June 24, 2019
2
1,195.00€
July 01, 2019
2
1,195.00€
July 08, 2019
2
1,195.00€
July 15, 2019
2
1,195.00€
July 22, 2019
2
1,195.00€
July 29, 2019
2
1,195.00€
August 05, 2019
2
1,195.00€
August 12, 2019
2
1,195.00€
August 19, 2019
2
1,195.00€
August 26, 2019
2
1,195.00€
September 02, 2019
2
1,195.00€
September 09, 2019
2
1,195.00€
September 16, 2019
2
1,195.00€
September 23, 2019
2
1,195.00€
September 30, 2019
2
1,195.00€
October 07, 2019
2
1,195.00€
October 14, 2019
2
1,195.00€
L
   Limited Availability
F
Fully Booked
G
Guaranteed
2
Two More to Guarantee

Included or not

Included

Guide Fees

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

Mountain hut

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

Group Equipment

Ropes, safety equipment, etc will be provided when needed by your guide.

Local Transport

Any local transport that is required during your course.

Office Support

Our team is based at the foot of the Aiguillle du Midi cable car and will be happy to help you with any questions you may have before, during or after your trip to Chamonix.

Not Included

Personal Equipment

Please see the "Equipment" tab to find out what you will need. Anything that you do not already have can be rented here in Chamonix, if there is anything you need then please contact us and we will be happy to organise it for you.

For private customised guiding, please contact us directly to confirm your personalised kit list.

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

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

Travel to Chamonix

The price does not include flights, airport transfers or any other travel to/from Chamonix. However, we can organise airport transfers for you on request, please contact us for details.

Insurance

We strongly recommend that you take our Search and Rescue mountain insurance - we can organise this for you on request.

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.

Equipment

Clothing

Mountaineering boots

Mountaineering boots

Warm hat

Warm hat

Thermal underwear

Thermal underwear

Fleece or woollen layers

Fleece or woollen layers

Windproof and waterproof jacket

Windproof and waterproof jacket

Windproof and waterproof trousers

Windproof and waterproof trousers

Warm gloves

Warm gloves

Thin gloves

Thin gloves

Gaiters

Gaiters

Sun hat

Sun hat

Climbing shoes

Climbing shoes

Light puffer jacket

Light puffer jacket

Climbing pants

Climbing pants

Technical gear

Ice Axe

Ice Axe

Climbing helmet

Climbing helmet

Crampons

Crampons

3 x Screwgate carabiner

3 x Screwgate carabiner

Belay device

Belay device

Harness

Harness

Lanyard

Lanyard

25-30 litres rucksack

25-30 litres rucksack

60 cm tape sling or cordelette for prusik

60 cm tape sling or cordelette for prusik

Extras

Sunglasses

Sunglasses

Water bottle (1 litre minimum)

Water bottle (1 litre minimum)

Sun cream high protection (for lips and face)

Sun cream high protection (for lips and face)

Headlamp with fresh batteries

Headlamp with fresh batteries

Sleeping bag liner

Sleeping bag liner