Celebrating 22 years!

Facebook YouTube
Instagram Twitter
Blog Photo galleries

Mountain Environments | Ethical Tourism | Community Awareness
As a tour operator encouraging people to travel to and in the worlds mountains, we have to take responsibility for these actions. We audit our environmental impact carefully, and have policies in place to ensure we are a low impact operator. We are the first to accept that this must involve a series of actions, rather than sweeping statements, but at every level of our operations we are working to reduce our environmental impact.
Mountain Rescue in the UK
Please note that we do not provide any guiding for charity challenge events in the Lake District (or abroad), such as the National Three Peaks. On ethical grounds we will not, and have never, guided any of these types of event. They put intollerable stress on the local infrastructure, communities, and mountain rescue teams. If you wish to make a charitable donation, our preferred local charity is the Langdale & Ambleside Mountain Rescue Team, and the link to their website is here, and their donations page link is here. Thank you!
Zero Carbon Footprint Campaign
Icicle is a founder member of this campaign, whose aim is to promote activities which have the highest of environmental standards. By following these standards on some specific courses, such as some trekking and snowshoe courses, you can opt to only use public rather than private transportation.
British Mountaineering Council BMC
The BMC is the largest campaign organisation for British mountain users. They campaign for access issues, for the responsible use of mountains, and fund raise for path repairs such as the Mend Our Mountains campaign. The BMC also is a lobby group, who influences government in mountain issues.
Refill FREE Drinking Water Campaign
Download the free Refill app, and search for local places where you can top up your water bottle for FREE. This campaign aims to reduce plastic waste, and our Windermere office and shop is a featured top up location. Rather than buy spring water in plastic bottles, download the app, and get Refilling.
Carbon Offsetting Campaign
Icicle encourages all clients to consider offsetting their carbon emissions of travel to the Alps through a campaign such as Climate Care. Click on their logo on the left for more details. For example, the cost of offsetting a return flight from London Heathrow to Geneva is only £1.41.
This initiative aims to encourage people to ask themselves 3 simple questions, before they head into the mountains, to keep you safe, and to reduce the amount of avoidable mountain rescue call outs;
Do I have the right GEAR?
Do I know what the
 will be like?
Am I confident I have the KNOWLEDGE & SKILLS?
To learn more about this campaign, you can click to read our blog post.
To help spread the word, the little legends of MiniMRT, the children of team members of Langdale Ambleside Mountain Rescue Team, are helping spread the message, with a series of safety films. Previous guests may well recognise a couple of friendly faces. The lesson is as applicable to a day in the Lakes, as it is to the Alps!
Environmental policy in the Alps
Every client on our Alpine courses has an introduction briefing when they arrive, and a significant element of this focuses on the things that each client can do to help the environment. As with most things, simplicity is the best option, and most of our actions are extremely low tech, but the cumulative effect is big.
We recycle all paper and glass that we use, and ask all clients to sort their rubbish to assist this, by providing recycling containers in all client accommodation. Our accommodation is equipped with energy saving devices (e.g. bulbs and energy A rated appliances) wherever possible. During renovations of our accommodation, we recycle all waste in local recycling centres, where roughly 90% of all material is recycled.
Clients are asked to conserve electricity when they leave their accommodation, by turning off all lights, and to close windows and doors to conserve heat. It is not exactly rocket science, but it all helps. All of the clients accommodation have environmental posters advertising our policies and how they can help.
When in the mountains all clients are briefed on litter disposal, and all rubbish is carried off to be disposed of in the valley. Many huts are now installing bio-toilets to reduce the impact on the environment, and we ask all our groups to take all litter with them to reduce the amount of rubbish that the helicopters delivering supplies to the huts have to carry down, or the rubbish that some guardians choose to burn near the hut.
In terms of transport pollution, wherever possible we use larger group transport (local navette buses, minibuses etc) rather than several individual cars, and all our vehicles run on unleaded and are fitted with catalytic convertors. All these policies combined are a step in the right direction, but if you have any ideas about how we could improve our policies in the Alps, please let us know...
Environmental policy on global expeditions
As with our policies in the Alps, we pay attention to every environmental detail on our expeditions. Wherever possible we use other UIAA Environmental Label or Leave No Trace holders to provide local logistics services such as base camp services and porter provisions.
Our expeditions are planned in great detail to ensure that we are sensitive to the local economy, and we ensure that all local staff that are hired (drivers, cooks, porters) are suitably trained, clothed, paid and looked after.
On expeditions we need to be a lot more aware of litter disposal and sanitation, and we keep the same standards as in the Alps. Often this necessitates getting extra porters / mules / yaks to carry out litter at the end of an expedition so that we ensure that we leave the mountain in the same state as we found it.
Expedition dossiers are sent to all clients, that clearly state the environmental policies we have for each of our trips, and the particular requirements of the trip they are booked on. These dossiers and the environmental requirements are meticulously researched, with advice from agents from the country to be visited.
Environmental campaign focus - Mont Blanc Road Tunnel
The tunnel runs under Mont Blanc and links Chamonix in France & Courmayeur in Italy. This 12km toll road starts at 1300m above sea level, 300m above the valley floor. It was reopened after a fatal fire started by a burning lorry in 1999. The road tunnel is important to the local ecomony for tourist traffic, but is also used for lorries for road haulage. We protest strongly against the use of the tunnel by lorries due to the amount of pollution that they cause in the valley. There are more environmentally suitable alternatives, such as the Frejus tunnel, or rail freight. We support the regular peaceful protests against the lorries, as shown by these photos below.
It would be easy to argue that we are focusing on the micro scale here, rather than considering the macro or global scale. Put this in context, as we are a relatively small company doing our bit. Mont Blanc is a globally recognised peak, and it is in our back yard. Surely our efforts to preserve the environment here have global impact, and may encourage other regions to consider their mountain environment with greater respect and sensitivity. We live in an age where many people prefer to use their energies for cynicism and to put others efforts down. Perhaps these energies might be better focused on helping everyone.
Top tips - how you can help
"Don't carry pre-bottled water to drink when out in the mountains and fells. We suggest you use fresh water from the tap, and re-use water bottles for this"
"We educate all our clients to carry out all rubbish they generate when in the mountains, and to pick up any litter that they find, to leave no trace at all"
"When selecting a course, you will see that we rate some for having a low environmental impact itinerary, such as snowshoeing, ski touring, trekking & running"
"Always use IFMGA Mountain Guides and UIMLA Leaders to guide you in the Alps, as they are well trained to teach you about the local environment"
Environmental policies
As with all of our operations, our environmental policy is not static but in a state of constant flux to ensure that we set the best standards, educate others about them, then try to improve again.
We have an active Responsible Business (RB) programme in place for all operations, covering areas such as local community involvement, environmental improvements, employee well-being, and health and safety.
For us Responsible Business is local business. We actively employ mountain guides and leaders who live locally, and encourage clients to patronise locally operated restaurants, shops and bars.
With every environmental policy, it takes the two sides to work together to produce any tangible results. One thing that should be mentioned more by others is that keeping these environmental standards is not a pain or a drag, but a rewarding and educational process that both a company and its clients can share.
When you book on a trip, do not forget that most of the logistics and planning work is done in our UK office. Our environmental policies are just as important here, and we operate from a mainly paperless office.
All bookings are made online, so a paper copy never exists. We try to provide an enormous proportion of the information that anyone booking needs, on our website rather than in printed form. Paperless e-bookings and constantly developing the website rather than printed media are key to our policies.
Climate change in the future
Ozone holes grow, sea levels rise, sections of the Antarctic ice shelves break off, greenhouse gases build up, and glaciers retreat. It is not a rosy future at the moment, and the key question is how much of the this is attributable to humans? Yes, there are natural cycles of warmer and cooler periods (you will have seen images of the Frost Fairs in London on the Thames in the 18thC, and may have read that global temperatures were far higher than present in Roman times), but most scientists only agree that humans are accelerating the rate of natural temperature increase, but they are not sure how much. With the main governments seemingly powerless (for political reasons) to endorse significant measures to decrease the human impact on climate change, the power and responsibility must now lie with companies who have the ability to implement change. This page has given you an idea of how we are trying to help, but is it working and what are the effects in the Alps? The press has recently given a lot of focus recently to how Alpine glaciers are retreating and some routes have become unsafe. For the most part these stories are factually correct, but the implication of most of them is that this is a sudden occurance and realisation. This could not be further from the truth. Routes come in and go out of condition over the decades, and for the number of routes that are taken out of condition by climate change, many new ones become available. The doomsday secnarios are global, not just restricted to the mountains. Our hope is that the responsible use and enjoyment of mountains can become an impetus and symbol for future actions for our whole planet. We invite you to participate in our efforts, and if you have any ideas of how we could assist the environment further, please e-mail them to us.
Suggested reading and kit
To view the full course equipment list, with examples of kit, please click here.
Any further questions?
A 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.

Get in contact to arrange a meeting, and come in for a coffee to discuss your course in person with a trip advisor.

Facebook Icicle Instagram Twitter Icicle
Windermere & online shop technical kit clothing & shoes the book shop special offers
conditions|privacy|sitemap|copyright © 2022 Icicle, Church Street, Windermere, Lake District, LA23 1AQ
Icicle logo is the registered trademark ® of Icicle Mountaineering|UK company 413 6635. VAT 770 137 933