Ice Climbing Performance Course

This course is dedicated to climbers and alpinists with some previous experience in climbing on ice. The goal is to advance your climbing technique and safety skills on ice.

Four days of ice climbing with an alpine guide. We want to make ice climbing safe, fun, and challenging. The guides will share their experience and knowledge with an emphasis on teaching the techniques you can use to progress not only in terms of climbing technique but also in terms of trip planning, rope work, safety skills and risk management.

The emphasis will be on your personal progression as an ice climber, while getting the maximum amount of time on the ice and enjoying the classic, scenic, and countless frozen waterfalls in the Chamonix and Aosta areas. 

The goal is to become more comfortable on ice, learn the intricacies of evaluating conditions and choosing routes, and learn to place ice screws, lead safely, manage ropes, and organize belays, anchors, and descents (rappels or walk-off…)

We will split the course between Chamonix and the neighboring Aosta Valley, Italy. As with any mountain-based itinerary, your UIAGM guide will select the best places to optimize available conditions to suit the group’s needs.  

Your trip starts with a “warm” up day around Chamonix. The focus will be on getting all the equipment sorted, finding any potential problems, and organizing the group for the rest of the week. Ice climbing technique and safe belaying skills are taught.  As ice climbing requires specific gear, it’s best to sort everything out close to town, where any missing or poorly fit equipment may be bought/ changed. The ratio on the first day is 1:4, and the guide can evaluate abilities and formulate a plan for the following days.

More ice! The guide to client ratio drops to 1:2 from day 2 - assuring maximum safety and a tailored itinerary and personal instruction to allow you to progress safely and quickly. As the week progresses each day will look to repeat learned skills and add new techniques specific to ice. The goal will be to develop your skills to the point of leading an ice climb (for those who wish to do so!) and get as many miles on ice as possible to perfect your swings and kicks. We’ll also look at descending routes with rappels or on foot, and examine the various objective hazards specific to ice (avalanches, falling ice, and temperature changes). At the end of the week climbers should be well rounded in the basic aspects of ice climbing, and tired!