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.