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Summer Mountaineering 5 Day Introductory Course

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

 

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 professionnal 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.

Description

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
  • lead climbing
  • multi-pitch climbing
  • setting up anchors
  • abseiling
  • traditional gear placement
  • rope management
  • safe glacier travel
  • use of ice axe and crampons

You will also learn about route planning, using maps and compasses, analyzing 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

You do not need to have any previous experience to join this course, though some mountain experience is helpful. It is however essential that you are in good physical shape. You should be able to complete a 5 hour hill walk at a strong and steady pace without difficulty. If you need any advice on how best to prepare for this course please just let us know and we'll be happy to help you.

Price

1450€

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

Course Dates

2017
Start Date End Date Spaces
Jun 05 Jun 09 4
Jun 12 Jun 16 4
Jun 19 Jun 23 4
Jun 26 Jun 30 4
Jul 03 Jul 07 4
Jul 10 Jul 14 4
Jul 24 Jul 28 4
Jul 31 Aug 04 4
G
Aug 07 Aug 11 3
Aug 14 Aug 18 4
Aug 21 Aug 25 4
Aug 28 Sep 01 4
Sep 04 Sep 08 4
Sep 11 Sep 15 4
Sep 18 Sep 22 4
Sep 25 Sep 29 4

G
  The Course is guaranteed to run


Included

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.

Group Equipment

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

Lift passes

The cost of any lift access that is required during the course for the itinerary described above. 

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

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 perdoanlised 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

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.

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

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

Hiking trousers

Hiking trousers

Technical gear

Ice Axe

Ice Axe

Harness

Harness

Climbing helmet

Climbing helmet

35 - 45 litres rucksack

35 - 45 litres rucksack

Crampons

Crampons

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

Food

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.

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.

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.

Equipment

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

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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

Petite-aiguille-verte-01

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

Gran-paradiso-01

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.