Our most popular winter climbing and mountaineering course. Packed with instruction and fun climbing, this course will teach you all the essential climbing and safety skills of ice climbing, mixed climbing and glacier travel.

Crevasse rescue
This course includes crevasse rescue training and glacier travel safety instruction.
Avalanche awareness
Avalanche awareness basics and companion rescue training
Low guiding ratio
Guiding ratio of 1:2 on last 2 days allows climbing more technical and fun routes.

WINTER ALPINE COURSE CHAMONIX INTRODUCTION - LEVEL 1

Winter Introduction to Alpine Climbing in Chamonix - 5 Day Course

From 1,195.00€

Price per person for groups of minimum 2 and maximum 6 clients

View Dates
   

Beginner tech level

 

5 days course

 

Groups of 6 maximum

 

Guiding ratio 1:2 on last 2 days

 

Available December - April

Chamonix is one of the best places to explore the world of winter alpinism - world-famous climbing routes and stunning high altitude terrain make the Mont Blanc Massif the dream destination for all mountaineers.

The Chamonix Experience winter alpine climbing course is designed for those with no previous winter mountaineering experience or for those who want to refresh their existing summer alpine climbing skills and get an introduction to winter climbing in the Alps.

You will learn essential mountaineering skills such as mixed alpine climbing, ice climbing, glacier travel and avalanche awareness - all amongst the spectacular peaks of the Mont Blanc Massif.

All aspects of the course will be carried out under the instruction of our fully qualified and experienced UIAGM mountain guides; they will teach you how to use equipment such as ropes, harnesses, ice axes, crampons and avalanche transceivers.

Our background in mountain rescue (PGHM Chamonix) means that safety is our highest priority and we will pass our expert knowledge on to you, teaching you how to assess your surroundings and explore the mountains safely.

Our winter alpine climbing course is run with small groups; this allows for flexibility to adjust the level to each participant as much as possible.

If 5 days is more than you are looking for, then take a look at our shorter 3 day ice climbing course, or consider a day trip such as the Cosmiques Arete or the Petite Aiguille Verte - both classic Chamonix alpine routes.

More experienced climbers may be interested in our Advanced Winter Mountaineering Course - 5 days of serious ascents over all types of high alpine terrain in the Mont Blanc Massif and surrounding area.

The 5 day course starts with a skills day to introduce and refresh glacier travel techniques, ice axe technique, using crampons on steep snow and ice, crevasse rescue and avalanche awareness.

Over the next two days you will be operating in small groups and putting your new found skills to work with a day of ice climbing and a day of mixed climbing in the high mountains of the Mont Blanc Massif.

The last two days of the course will be carried out in even smaller groups, allowing us to access more technical ice climbing routes and giving you the chance to try out lead climbing.  You may also get a chance to do a longer, more technical winter route, depending on weather conditions and the decision of your mountain guide.

The locations used will be decided by your mountain guides based on where the best conditions are at the time; Chamonix is in a fantastic location right on the French/Swiss/Italian border giving us many possibilities including the Chamonix Valley, Trient in Switzerland and Cognes in Italy.

 

Learning Outcomes

The course will focus on the following four main areas:

  •                   Mixed Alpine Climbing
  •                   Ice Climbing
  •                   Glacier Travel
  •                   Avalanche Awareness

Level Requirements

EXPERIENCE

No previous mountaineering skills are required to join this course. Rock climbing, hill walking and summer mountaineering experience are all helpful but not required. The small ratios enable participants to progress very quickly.

FITNESS

You need to have a high level of fitness. To enjoy this course you need to be happy doing a 6-8 hour hike in the mountains without being destroyed the next day.  The fitter you are, the more you will get out of the course. This is a course for people who want to learn and you will be expected to show initiative - it'll be challenging but a lot of fun!

TRAINING

Regular hiking and/or long distance running, swimming and/or cycling are great forms of training for this course. Remember that you have to include some uphill hiking and/or running - training on flat terrain will not give you the same kind of fitness, however it is better than no training at all! If you live in a city and have limited access to the outdoors, ask for advice at your local gym as many gyms have mountain climbing specific training programs.

If you need further advice on how to prepare for this course, please contact us on info@chamex.com

Additional Services

Airport transfers

We can help you to organise your transport to/from Chamonix. We work with well established airport transfer companies which use new and comfortable vehicles and which 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: 

  • Full name 
  • Mobile phone number 
  • Email address 
  • Your destination address 
  • 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.

 

Mountain rescue insurance

We don’t include mountain rescue insurance in any of our courses but we strongly recommend that you have it. Mountain rescue may be very expensive, particularly if helicopters are involved. Check with your travel insurance provider if you are covered for the specific activity you are going to do with us.

However, we can organise the mountain rescue insurance for you. The cost is 8€ per person per day for EU residents and 12€ per person per day for non-EU residents. Details of the insurance cover are different for EU and non-EU residents; please contact us for more information.

Equipment hire

We highly recommend that you book any equipment with us at least 2 weeks in advance as the hire shops can have limited availability in the busy season.

You can collect your equipment the evening before the start of the course and return it in the evening at the end of your course. We work with the following Chamonix ski hire and mountain shop:

• Concept Pro Shop that is conveniently located directly next door from our office. Open 7/7 08:00-19:00

Practical Information

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

Optional equipment

  • Thermos – Not essential due to weight, but it can be comforting to have a hot drink on a cold day.
  • Water bottle – Should be at least 1.5 litres and durable.
  • Camelbak hydration systems. Good as long as they are kept clean. Not recommended for winter sports / Mont Blanc as the tube tends to freeze up.
  • A spare pair of warm gloves - essential!
  • Lot of the climbing routes is easily and quickly accessed on skis. There is no better finish of a climbing day than an amazing powder ski down to Chamonix! So if you are comfortable off piste skiing in any snow conditions, bring your skis with you! Please note that the skis will be used for approaches / descends only if all of the course participants agree to it.

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.

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.

Lift passes

Please note that to keep the itinerary as flexible as possible, lift passes are not included in the price of this trip. However, we are happy to organise them for you to make the week easier. We will discuss the options during the pre-course meeting. 

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 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.

Itinerary

Winter Alpine Climbing Course

This itinerary is an example of what can be achieved with good weather and the right conditions. It may be changed at any time by your mountain guide to give you the best possible experience in the safest conditions.

Arrival Day in Chamonix

Your group will meet at our Chamonix office at the foot of the Aiguille du Midi the evening before the course begins. Your mountain guide will check your equipment and discuss the conditions and plans for the week ahead. You will have the chance to ask any questions that you may have.

Day 1 - Crevasse Rescue & Glacier Travel

A lot of mountaineering, especially in the Alps, involves crossing glaciated terrain where there is the inherent danger of crevasses and seracs. Today your mountain guide will take you on to the glacier to introduce and refresh the technical skills you need to keep safe in Alpine terrain. You will learn essential skills such as crevasse rescue and how to move safely across glacial terrain using crampons and ice axes.

Day 2 - Petite Aiguille Verte (3512m)

For the next two days you have a maximum of 3 participants per guide, this allows us to advance more quickly. Today you will take the lift up to Les Grand Montets (3450m), where we will find one of the classic Chamonix climbing routes - the Petite Aiguille Verte. The Petite Aiguille Verte is a mixed climbing route of rock, ice and snow which is normally done by the NW Ridge and is ideal for learning on.

Day 3 - Ice Climbing

Today will be your introduction to technical ice climbing on either the frozen waterfalls at the Crèmerie in Argentiere or in the Swiss village of Trient. Your mountain guide will decide which location has the best conditions for the day; both places are beautiful and have very nice and fairly easy ice climbing routes to start on.

Day 4 - Aiguille du Midi Cosmiques Arête

For these last two days you will have a maximum of 2 participants per guide, allowing for even greater progression and personal instruction. Today you will take the cable car up to the Aiguille du Midi. There are many great routes accessible from here including the Cosmiques Arete and other mixed climbing routes on the Vallee Blanche. Your mountain guide will choose a suitable route for you to do some lead climbing on, high up in the Mont Blanc Massif overlooking the Chamonix Valley.

Day 5 - Cogne Ice Fall Climbing

The goal today is to climb more ice - this time in Italy. We will take the short drive through the Mont Blanc tunnel to the village of Cognes, which is a paradise for ice climbers. There are approximately one hundred routes to choose from! We will spend the day exploring the ice falls and then return to Chamonix. The course will end with a coffee and debriefing at our office.

Dates

Winter Alpine Course Chamonix Introduction - Level 1 dates - 2018

Start date Spaces
Price from
 
December 10, 2018
2
1,195.00€
December 17, 2018
G
1,195.00€
December 24, 2018
G
1,195.00€
December 31, 2018
G
1,195.00€
L
   Limited Availability
F
Fully Booked
G
Guaranteed
2
Two More to Guarantee

Winter Alpine Course Chamonix Introduction - Level 1 dates - 2019

Start date Spaces
Price from
 
January 07, 2019
2
1,195.00€
January 14, 2019
2
1,195.00€
January 21, 2019
2
1,195.00€
January 28, 2019
2
1,195.00€
February 04, 2019
2
1,195.00€
February 11, 2019
2
1,195.00€
February 18, 2019
2
1,195.00€
February 25, 2019
2
1,195.00€
March 04, 2019
2
1,195.00€
March 11, 2019
2
1,195.00€
March 18, 2019
2
1,195.00€
March 25, 2019
2
1,195.00€
April 01, 2019
2
1,195.00€
April 08, 2019
2
1,195.00€
April 15, 2019
2
1,195.00€
April 22, 2019
2
1,195.00€
April 29, 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.

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

Accommodation in Chamonix

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

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.

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.

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.

Equipment

Clothing

Mountaineering boots

Mountaineering boots

Warm hat

Warm hat

Thermal underwear

Thermal underwear

Fleece or woollen layers

Fleece or woollen layers

Light puffer jacket

Light puffer jacket

Windproof and waterproof jacket

Windproof and waterproof jacket

Windproof and waterproof trousers

Windproof and waterproof trousers

Warm gloves

Warm gloves

Thin gloves

Thin gloves

Sun hat

Sun hat

Gaiters

Gaiters

Technical gear

Ice Axe

Ice Axe

Harness

Harness

Climbing helmet

Climbing helmet

Crampons

Crampons

Telescopic poles

Telescopic poles

Pair of technical ice axes

Pair of technical ice axes

Ice climbing crampons

Ice climbing crampons

25-30 litres rucksack

25-30 litres rucksack

3 x Screwgate carabiner

3 x Screwgate carabiner

Belay device

Belay device

Lanyard

Lanyard

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

Related courses

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Alpine climbing course in Chamonix - Level 1