The course itinerary is an example of a typical week with good weather, sound conditions, and fit, able clients. The guides will change plans depending on the weather, client aptitude and ambition, and the current state of the mountains if needed.
Rendez-vous the evening before the week starts in the Chamex office to meet the guide. The week’s program will be presented, and any questions will be answered to insure a smooth start to the course.
Rock climbing at the Brevent! Working on rock climbing technique, rappel (abseil) method, and the placement and removal of natural, traditional protection are the basics for the first day. Facing the Mount Blanc, there are few places better suited, and with better views, than the Brevent. Rope use/ organization and familiarization with the skills needed for lead climbing, climbing single and multi pitch routes, rappels and climbing technique are on the agenda.
The client to guide ratio is reduced to 1:2. This allows you more personalized instruction, and to climb more difficult and committing routes. (For example- the Cheré Gully on the Triangle du Tacul) The emphasis is on ice and mixed terrain, accessed from the Aiguille du Midi. Practicing your ice and mixed skills, under the eye of your guide for learning maximum efficiency in the alpine domain. A review of previously learned material (protection placement, rappels) and safe glacier travel tactics are practiced.
Rock climbing on Chamonix’s famous granite! Traditional climbing requires the team to have the ability to recognize when and where to use the appropriate material. A multi pitch route like the Nabot Léon on Aiguille de Blaitière or Normal route of Aiguille du Peigne is a great classroom. Gear selection, organization, and application on the best cracks and slabs in the valley make for a great learning day on some of the best, most storied alpine rock in the world. The skills from the previous day’s outings are also revisited.
You’re off on a big route, with a night in a high mountain hut. Decision making and course planning with your guide, as well as participation in the evaluation of the conditions and the weather forecast for help you learn to choose an appropriate route. On the way to the hut we cover glacier rescue skills (pulley systems and fixed rope climbing, snow anchors, step by step course of action) and any other elements not yet seen or needing repetition or perfection. Course timing, map skills, gear necessary, and the day’s strategy – all parts of effectuating a safe, successful alpine climb.
The Mt Blanc range hosts a plethora of great mixed routes for all abilities.
You finish your week with a long mixed route in the mountains- a culmination of the week’s efforts, a challenging, fun route and a beautiful summit. (ex. Arète de Flèche Rousse on the Aiguille d’Argentiere) The challenges involved in the ascent of a big alpine itinerary are all present- route finding, timing, glacier travel, mixed climbing, long technical descent- a fitting finale and the ultimate, logical application of the week’s course content. Your guide will supervise, coach and tailor your ascent. A beer and a debrief back in Chamonix to top off a great week- enjoy a rest day, and start planning the next trip!!