increasing number of mountain professionals
are seeking winter skills and snowshoeing
Continual Professional Development (CPD) courses,
learning alongside real clients. We offer
CPD spaces on our Best of Mont Blanc snowshoeing
for details), with a 10%
discount to full members (UIMLA carnet holding)
so it costs just £539. Note that the
discount does not apply to trainee or aspirant
So who do these courses appeal to?
Many are members of the British Association
of International Mountain Leaders (BAIML),
who are seeking to develop their skills further.
The training officer of BAIML has previously
agreed that those who attended these courses
were awarded 2 CPD points, the same as the
official BAIML Course.
requiring winter 'quality mountain days'
These courses are often used by those who
qualified on the EML scheme, or who were
inactive members, who need to increase their
number of quality winter mountain days (QMD's)
and to gain / develop snowshoe experience,
as the course guarantees five QMD's on snowshoes
to add to your tally.
or Aspirant IMLs
Many of those booking these weeks are undertaking
their IML training, and seek further snowshoe
training either before an assessment, or to
consolidate training and experience.
does the CPD course differ from the standard
It doesn't in terms of the fact that you are
all snowshoeing out in the hills each day
together, but the course leader will make
more efforts to explain their route choices,
hazard analysis, and group management to you.
The key difference is to your pocket, as we
offer a 10% discount to full UIMLA carnet
holders off the course price, and they are
the only ones eligible for this discount.
none of the dates of the standard course suit
you, we can run a bespoke course for you on
any week during the winter season, from early
December through to April each year. We only
require a minimum of two people to book, and
the bespoke price is £699 per person
based on two people sharing, or £1299
if booking alone. Contact us to arrange a
bespoke date for you.
are listed in the column on the right, and
they show the live availability from our secure
online booking system. When you book online,
you receive immediate confirmation, your Alpine
Information Booklet, course specific kit list
of a BAIML Snowshoe CPD course, based in Chamonix
1 - Avalanche Awareness
Today we started to cover
a lot of the technical content of the course (see
below), especially the avalanche awareness and reaction
elements. The photos show the use of ARVA's (transceivers)
being taught, and the three stage search pattern
for victim recovery. The weather was stable, but
we found several areas of wind slab and also depth
hoar in the snowpack. We spent some time on route
selection and on snow isolation blocks.
CONTENT OF COURSE
Use of snowshoes and techniques
for moving over different terrain,
The use of transceivers, search
methods, and crisis management, Choice
of route and the planning and selection of appropriate
of the snowpack, crystal metamorphasis and risk,
& layers, Rutschblock and isolation block stability
cold injuries / first aid, and avalanche victim
recovery methods, Decision
making processes and travel techniques on snowpacks,
Avalanche form / release
patterns, and islands of safety for route planning,
Geomorphology / geography
/ ecology (flora, fauna and animal tracks),
Weather & climatic
influences, and how to predict Alpine weather.
1 - Avalanche probing on the Plan d'Aiguille
1 - Avalanche Transceiver searches on Plan d'Aiguille
2 - Refuge Loriaz & Summits
The focus of today was more
on route planning, and the choice of terrain to
avoid trigger points for avalanches. The group
headed up from Vallorcine to the Refuge de Loriaz,
and then took in a couple of classic snowshoe
summits. The snowpack was relatively stable, with
a few areas of windslab and some corniced ridges.
Just behind the refuge we took in the subsidiary
summit of Le Charmoz, and then traversed across
to ascend to the summit of Tête de Chevrette.
The route choice for these two peaks is critical,
and though no rope is required, the slopes ascended
are towards the limit of what is safe and possible
The group members were given the opportunity to
lead various sections, in order to assess the
avalanche risk and to select the best route for
the group. Some of this planning was map based,
and also field tests on the snowpack were performed.
The descent from the Tête de Chevrette was
made by a different route to Le Couteray, and
During the day we saw many animal tracks, especially
chamois and hare, as well as a golden eagles on
the thermals above the Vallorcine slopes.
2 - On the snow covered roof of the Chalets de
2 - Vary of wind slab risks on route to a snowshoe
3 - Emosson & Six Jeur 2062m
Today we moved over to Switzerland
for the day, and drove to Finhault village. From
there we ascended to the Emosson dam. In many
places the group was now able to assess the avalanche
risk, and we crossed several sections of avalanche
debris from point releases and skier triggered
soft slab avalanches.
Once the lake was reached, we stopped for lunch
before heading upwards to the fantastic snowshoe
summit of the Six Jeur. Here there is a 360°
panorama, and you can see into France and the
Martigny Rhone valley. To reach the summit requires
very careful route planning and the snow pack
must be very stable to consider an ascent, but
today our luck was in, and we picked our way across
the steeper slopes to find a safe route to the
top. The weather was a little cloudy at times,
but the cloud base was high, so the views were
After descending to the dam, we crossed the 180m
high parabolic structure, on the thin ridge of
snow along its crest. Then we made the long descent
back to Finhault, and only encountered two other
people all day long! As if the day wasn't enough,
we went out for night time ARVA searches above
Argentiere, and the group did well.
3 - The frozen lake surface and dam wall at Emosson
3 - Crossing steeper snow slopes on Six Jeur summit
3 - The summit cross of the Six Jeur snowshoe
3 - On the summit of Six Jeur 2062m, with Switzerland
4 - Ascent to Bonatti Refuge
After a more relaxed morning,
to recover from the big ascents on the previous
two days, we drove through the Mont Blanc tunnel
into Italy, our third country in three days. After
parking in Planpincieux, we snowshoed along the
Val Ferret to Lavachey and then ascended to the
stunning Bonatti refuge.
After checking in, we enjoyed the views of the
enormous south face of Mont Blanc and the Grandes
Jorasses, whilst perfecting the Avalanche Transceiver
searches and recovery times. Night spent in the
4 - The stunning location of the Bonatti Refuge,
4 - Studying maps and route planning in the Bonatti
4 - Sunset over Mont Blanc from the Bonatti Refuge
5 - Tête Entre deux Sauts
An early start from the hut,
and again we had great clear weather and well frozen
snow, as we headed up the Malatra valley towards
the Pas Entre deux Sauts. Hare tracks were the only
ones apart from ours on the fresh snow, and we moved
quickly to reach the pass in good time, where we
were rewarded with great views of the South Face
of Mont Blanc at sunrise.
From here we traversed round to reach the ridge
of the Tête Entre deux Sauts. This was great
terrain for assessing the avalanche risk, as well
as for studying group management on steeper ground.
The aspect of slope and gradient was constantly
After descending to the pass, we then headed across
the upper reaches of the Malatra valley and then
back down to the Bonatti refuge again. On the route
we spent some time on steep snow for the group to
explore the possibilities and limitations of the
A quick rest at the hut, and then we made the descent
into the Val Ferret by a more direct route, throught
the forest, and from there back to Planpincieux
and then Chamonix for the night.
5 - On the roof of an abandoned barn in the Malatra
5 - View of Mont Blanc from Pas Entre deux Sauts
5 - Fresh tracks in great powder snow
5 - Mont Blanc from the Tête Entre deux
Whilst we had great weather
and snow conditions for the week, the group experienced
a wide variety of snowpacks and avalanche risks,
and often had to choose their routes very carefully.
A key learning point for the week was also the selection
of equipment suitable for Alpine snowshoeing, with
a focus on travelling more lightweight yet with
all the safety equipment (rope, ARVA's, etc).
In addition to the daytime snowshoeing course, there
were also evening instruction sessions each evening
that the group was in Chamonix. These varied from
Alpine weather prediction to avalanche prediction.
CPD - This courses counted as 2 CPD credits.
PHOTOS - Very many thanks to both Gerald Davison
and John Clark for providing the majority photos
used in this report.
INFORMATION - If you would like any more information
about these CPD Snowshoe Courses please e-mail us
at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that these courses
are only available to full UIMLA carnet holders.
The Icicle UIMLA team
5 - Mel, Gerald and John on the Tête Entre
5 - Descending back to the Bonatti refuge and
the Val Ferret
Course Dates Chamonix snowshoeing
[ 4 ] 17 - 23 Jan 2021
[ 4 ] 7 - 13 Mar 2021
[ 4 ] 4 - 10 Apr 2021
This trip has scheduled
dates, but if there are 4 people
all booking together, it can be
operated on any date you wish
is a fun and exciting sport, but we never neglect
your safety for a second, and you are led by highly
qualified mountain professionals.
our snowshoeing holidays are guided by UIMLA International
Mountain Leaders, and you can read more about them by
clicking on the logo to the left. We never cut any corners
with your safety, and include the loan of safety equipment
such as avalanche transceivers in the course price. You
are taught good practice for travelling in the Alpine
winter environment, and are briefed on the avalanche and
weather forecasts each day. We want you to rest assured
you are in the best hands.
snowshoeing advice page (click
here) outlines the key equipment you should
bring. Snowshoes are loaned FREE of charge anyway, as
are avalanche safety beacons, so all you need to arrive
with are walking clothes, waterproofs, a small rucksack
and well worn in walking boots (not trekking shoes).
full course equipment list,
with examples of kit, click
why choose us?
are true specialists in snowshoeing. See our blog,
by clicking on the logo (on the right).
flexibility to allow you to take full advantage
of the weather and conditions each day, so that
you maximise the amount of time spent skiiing each
prices are fixed in £ pounds sterling, to
protect you from euro currency fluctuations, so
that you can budget accurately.
have a team of over 30 IFMGA guides, and a resort
support team, who all want you to have the best
snowshoeing possible! For more details on the guiding
team and qualifications, please click
key part of choosing a company is being able to come and
talk about your plans with an experienced course advisor
face to face. In an increasingly virtual world, we know
our clients value speaking to real people, getting open
and honest advice. The vast majority of our clients are
British, and our office and outdoor store is based in
Windermere in the English Lake District.
in contact to arrange a meeting, and come in for a coffee
to discuss your course in person with a trip