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Winter Alpine Intro, Chamonix 2024
Updated itinerary | 1:3 ratio | Includes guiding and accommodation
Course overview
This is our most popular winter course, and it's easy to see why. It is designed to launch your winter mountaineering career, and you'll develop skills for ice climbing and alpinism too.
Even with no previous climbing experience, by the end of the week you should have climbed grade 3 or 4 waterfall ice, and a famous Alpine PD / AD route in full winter conditions.
This course is suitable both for Alpine novices and for those who want to learn winter mountaineering and waterfall ice climbing (such as those who have attended a Scottish introductory or a summer Alpine introductory course). The itinerary is flexible at the end of the week.
Technical skills taught on the course include glacier travel, ice climbing, crevasse rescue, ice axe belays and anchors, ropework, crampon and ice axe use, avalanche prediction and using ARVA's (avalanche tranceivers), and equipment selection.
You learn key skills of waterfall ice climbing and mountaineering, and there is the option of a night in a mountain hut, if you select a route where an Alpine start is required. If you'd prefer not to stay in a hut, don't worry as valley accommodation is provided anyway.
There is a focus through the week on selecting routes in reaction to the avalanche forecasts each day, and each day you will need to be equipped with avalanche tranceiver, probe and shovel.
Dates: these 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 and invoice.
Gary and Kevin on the summit of Aiguille du Toule 3534m

Brief Course Itinerary

Travel to Chamonix to arrive for your accommodation check in from 16:00 on the Sunday afternoon, for those staying in with Icicle. In the early evening there is a course safety and itinerary briefing. There is time for kit checks or rental of equipment, including the hire of any boots or personal climbing equipment. Briefings and sorting equipment is over by 19:00 and then you are free to go out for dinner / drinks. Night in Chamonix.
The focus of the day is on learning key winter skills including route choice, with a focus on avalanche awareness and prediction. Generally you access the area by cable car, to maximise your time on the mountain. You will examine show profiles, perform stability tests, and learn how to use avalanche transceivers. You also develop winter navigation skills including safe route choice. Guiding ratio 1:3 (max). Night in Chamonix.
Day to develop and practice using crampons and ice axes on a glacier such as the Mer de Glace. You also climb vertical ice, create ice anchors, and learn glacier travel skills. Another option is to have a group mountaineering day, to focus on route choice, snowskills, snow anchors and belays. Either option provides you with key Alpine skills, and the choice is based on conditions. Guiding ratio 1:3 (max). Night in Chamonix.
Day of waterfall ice climbing, to develop your technical skills. You'll be climbing with a pair of technical ice axes (loaned for free) on steeper ice, and will learn skills including placing ice screws, building anchors, and ropework. Typically you go to a venue such as La Cremerie or Les Contamines, where there are options for setting up several top ropes on a range of ice climbs. Guiding ratio 1:3 (max). Night in Chamonix.
Today and on Friday, you have two days that are very flexible for your choice of either mountaineering or waterfall ice climbing. You can choose the objective, dependant on conditions. There is also the option of spending a night in a mountain hut (not included), if an Alpine start is required for a route. An example night be using the Torino hut for climbing Aiguilles Marbrees. Night in Chamonix / hut.
Your second day of flexible itinerary, for you to select another route. Popular objectives for technical ice climbs such as Deferlante and Mini Couloir. Mountaineering route favourites include the Aiguille du Toule from Helbronner, or a summit in the Aiguille Rouges such as La Floria, to put your skills in practice.
In the evening there are optional drinks and then a celebratory meal. Your final night is spent in Chamonix.
Breakfast then the accommodation check out is by 10:00. Most arrange their airport transfers to leave around this time, to catch a flight from Geneva about midday. Depart for home. Some people opt to book a tandem paraglider flight in the morning to celebrate the weeks efforts, and prices for this are from 90€ for a c.30 minute flight. These flights can be booked in resort up to the day before you wish to fly. Depart for home.
ITINERARY NOTES: Where possible we follow itineraries. Mountain adventures are weather and conditions dependant, so occasionaly we are forced to alter the plans. If this is the case, suitable alternatives are offered. Please use this itinerary as a guide to the types of route / activity you attempt.
Course Prices
Standard course
5 full days mountain guiding
7 days holiday in total, Sunday-Saturday
Live availability
Click on the planner logo to the right to
see the real time live course availability
Latest Availability
Secure online booking system
Standard Course Inclusions: 1) IFMGA Mountain Guide / UIMLA Leader, for five days, 2) Chamonix course hosts for logistics & briefings, 3) Six nights self-catered accommodation in Chamonix (inc. beddings & towels), 4) Pre course information booklet, 5) Equipment discount voucher for UK shops, 6) Free 36 page technical Course Instruction Booklet, 7) Road transport in Chamonix valley, 8) Evening technical instruction sessions.
Exclusions: 1) Travel to and from Chamonix, 2) Cable Cars (approx £100), 3) Extra equipment hire, 4) Personal laundry, telephone calls, lunches, evening meals, & any purchases in mountain huts / hotels / restaurants, 5) Road transport outside Chamonix valley, 6) Sunday pre-dinner drinks & Friday celebratory meal & drinks, 7) Activities insurance, & excess baggage charges.
Notes: Included in the course price are the loan of the following hire equipment (as required) during the week; avalanche transceiver, snow shovel, probe. Group sizes 3 people (max / min).
Standard course accommodation - normally clients are based in self-catered flats (details), so take a look, and decide if it's for you. For more luxury, contact us for quotes in higher standard apartments, or hotels of any standard required. If you have / source your own course accommodation, or we cannot provide an upgrade, the standard course price has a £100pp reduction applied on your invoice.
Current course availability

Course Dates
Winter Alpine Intro
  • No Dates Available
NOTE: This trip has scheduled
dates, but if there are 3 who
are booking together, it can be
operated on any date you wish

Price: £1099 Book online

Alternative courses
Technical Ice & Classics
Winter Ice Weekend
Val de Cogne Italian Ice
Winter Alpine Classics

As featured in Adventure Travel magazine...
click here to view
Client feedback

Thank you for an exceptional week, it was a long held ambition to climb in the Alps, and to do so with such a knowledgeble and skilled team made the experience all the more enjoyable

Kevin M , Winter Intro

Just a quick note to say thanks for a great time on the Winter Intro course last week. Your help and support was first class, the guiding was excellent and you even ordered good weather!

Craig W , Winter Intro

A great week in the Alps. Thanks for all the coaching and support all week

Morris T , Winter Intro

Press & media
Films & videos
Photo gallery
Ascending to the Tête Entre Deux Sauts
Location data for this trip
The trips are based in the Chamonix valley in the French Alps, at the foot of Mont Blanc. It is easily accessed via a 90 minute transfer from Geneva airport.
Time Difference
GMT +1hr
Local Currency
€ Euros
Travel from UK
1hr flight
Suggested reading and kit
View full course equipment list, with examples of kit, click here
Why choose our trips?
See our Alpine blog, by clicking on the Word-press logo to the right.
Icicle Blog
Itinerary flexibility to allow you to take full advantage of the weather windows on any day, to maximise your summit chances.
Our prices are fixed in £ Sterling, to protect you from euro fluctuations, so you can budget accurately.
There is a choice of routes to opt for, depending on the weather, conditions, and your experience.
Trip report & article
An article written about this trip written by Suzanna Shute was published in the Adventure Travel magazine - Link to article. It can also be viewed by clicking the image below...
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. Many people opt for this service, and it is an integral part of what we offer, as we are keen to ensure that you are prepared as possible, and that you select a course that is suitable for you. It makes it easier and more enjoyable for you and us, if you are on the right trip.

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