first trip to the Alps is your most
important and most rewarding, as you
begin your Alpine climbing career, and
learn safety skills that you will use
for the rest of your life in the mountains.
join our Alpine Intro course you need
no previous experience of climbing or
mountaineering. This course is suitable
for keen hill walkers, indoor wall climbers,
or ramblers, to introduce you to the
key technical aspects necessary for
key feature of the Intro course is that
you attempt a 4000m peak, such as Gran
Paradiso, at the end of the week. This
involves a day ascending to a mountain
hut for the night, and an Alpine start
the next morning to ascend the peak.
A great experience, and this will confirm
how much you have already learned.
Introduction courses focus on the
skills that you will require for ascents
on Alpine rock, ice and snow; including
ropework, glacier travel, navigation,
crampon & ice axe use, and equipment
if you have had no previous contact
with ropes, or any experience of ice
or rock climbing, by the end of the
week you will have climbed vertical
pitches of ice, a rock route and climbed
an Alpine 4000m mountain.
principal feature of this course are
the evening theory sessions, where you
learn the background theory, so that
the daylight hours are optimised for
your climbing time. You can read more
about these instruction sessions, which
cover ropework, Alpine weather, and
crevasse rescue, by clicking
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
Travel to Chamonix to arrive for the 17:00 check-in
followed by and course safety and itinerary briefings.
There is time for kit checks or rental of equipment.
Briefings are over by 19:00 and the team accompany
the group to pre-dinner drinks. Many clients opt
to travel out a day or two early to do an acclimatisation
weekend course to provide an extra night of accommodation,
and to ascend a 3000m peak. Night in Chamonix.
Gallery: Chamonix town
skills, navigation, route planning and snow
There are a huge range of options and skills
that can be covered today including climbing
to an Alpine summit via a steep ground, practice of hazard awareness, use of GPS & altimeters, moving on snow and emergency
Guiding ratio 1:6 (max). Evening theory session / meeting with course
Night in Chamonix.
Gallery: Alpine skills
to learn and practice using crampons and ice axes
on the Mer de Glace glacier (2000m). You also climb
vertical ice, create ice anchors, and learn glacier
travel skills. This is one of your most important
days of the course in terms of skills development
as it is essential to have good footwork on Mont
Blanc. Guiding ratio 1:6 (max). Evening
theory session / meeting with course hosts: click
Night in Chamonix.
Gallery: Mer de Glace
travel skills, practicing building snow anchors,
crevasse rescue, and probing for crevasses,
spent on a journey across either the Vallée
Blanche, Pointe Lachenal and the Col du Midi,
or the massive Argentiere glacier basin. The
day is essential for your acclimatisation
before Gran Paradiso. Guiding ratio 1:6 (max). Evening
theory session / meeting with course hosts: click
for info. Night in Chamonix.
Gallery: Lachenal & Vallee Blanche
morning of rock climbing skills, to learn
/ practice belaying safely and how to lead
/ set up safe anchors on rock climbs.
You climb either in the Chamonix or Aosta
valleys, depending on where the weather is
better. The drive to Pont below Gran Paradiso
takes just over an hour, and after lunch you
trek up to either the Chabod or Victor Emmanuel
hut on Gran Paradiso itself. Guiding
ratio 1:3 (max). Night in mountain hut.
Gallery: Alpine rock climbing
Gran Paradiso 4061m after an Alpine start
from the high hut, then after you have reached
the summit, you descend to the refuge for
lunchtime. After this you trek back down to
the valley in Pont, and make the return drive
to Chamonix. Celebrations
in Chamonix in the evening. Guiding ratio
1:3 (max). In
the evening there are optional drinks and
then a celebratory meal. Final night is spent
Gallery: Gran Paradiso 4061m
Breakfast then the accommodation check out is by
10:00. Most arrange their transfers for around this
time for a flight from Geneva about midday. Some
people opt to book a tandem paraglider flight in
the morning to celebrate the weeks efforts, and
prices for this are from 100€ 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.
Gallery: Icicle Windermere office
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.
days guiding, 7 days holiday in total
on the planner logo to the right to
see the real time live course availability
Course Inclusions: 1) UIMLA guide for
1 day and IFMGA guide for 4 days, 2) Chamonix course
hosts for logistics & briefings, 3) Evening
technical instruction / briefing sessions, 4) Six nights self-catered
accommodation in Chamonix (inc. linen, bedding &
towels) for the whole week, so you don't need to
move out when in huts, 5) One night half board in
mountain hut (inc. costs for guides), 6) Pre course
information booklet, 7) Equipment discount voucher
for UK shops, 8) Free 36 page technical Course Instruction
Booklet, 9) Road transport in Chamonix valley including
tunnel ticket and road transport to / from Gran
Paradiso, 10) Icicle discounts privilege card for
reductions in local shops and restaurants in Chamonix.
1) Travel to and from Chamonix, 2) Equipment hire,
3) Cable cars & uplift (c. 60 euros depending
on itinerary), 4) Personal laundry, telephone calls,
lunches, evening meals in valley, & any purchases
in mountain huts / hotels / restaurants, 5) Sunday pre-dinner
drinks, 6) Friday celebratory meal & drinks,
7) Activities insurance, & excess baggage charges.
This trip is guaranteed as soon as two people book.
In the highly unlikely event that just one person
books on a course, less guided days can be offered,
however accommodation will be provided for the week,
and guiding options / locations will be discussed
with you within the budget paid.
Many clients on this
trip consider upgrading with one or more of
the following course additions...
to single from
£300-£500 in addition to
standard course price,
depending on week.
Blanc two day;
1:1 £1199, 1:2 £599pp
(booking together). Eiger
or Matterhorn 1:1 £1399.
We can supply a good
packed lunch for each
day of guiding, for 5
days for £60pp.
night spent in
Chamonix, with choice
of self-guided or guided
on Sunday. From £50.
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
must admit that I was a bit scared
about my first trip to the
Alps, but the Icicle hosts and
Guides really looked after us,
and we were supported loads, especially
during our ascent of our first
4000m Alpine peak
, Alpine Intro
really rewarding course. The climbs
were great, and taught loads too
, Alpine Intro
you so much for a brilliant week.
We learnt more than we thought
there was to know, which is down
to the professionalism of the
guides, & the great set up
you have in Chamonix
Sue Thomas, Alpine Intro
data for this trip
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.
& photo gallery
choose this course
course is genuinely one of our favourites to run,
as those booking on it are declaring that they want
to learn as much as they can, and are seeking to
kick start their Alpine career by getting the key
skills and knowledge, before they attempt some of
the bigger and harder routes. This is a great attitude
with which to begin Alpine climbing, and is a very
if for example you have never worn crampons before.
skills & knowledge
to answer the questions below, and see how much
you already know. The answers are beneath. After
you complete one of our Alpine Intro courses, you
should be able to answer all these questions, and
much more with the greatest of ease.
What is the minimum length rope two climbers should
take for a wet glacier crossing?
They should take a 30m rope, as a wet glacier is
snow covered, so crevasses could be hidden. Each
climber should tie on the end of the rope and take
in chest coild until 10 to 12 metres are tied off
What is a foehn wind, and how is it generated?
A foehn wind is caused by the enforced uplift of
an airmass over a mountain, and as it cools with
altitude the humity condenses and precipitation
falls. On the descent the drier air mass is rapidy
compressed and warms quickly. The net effect is
that the air reaches the same altitude on the far
side of the mountain drier and warmer than on the
How can you retreat from a multi-pitch ice / glacier
climb without leaving any ice screws behind?
By constructing Abalakov belay systems, which are
two inter-connecting holes drilled into the ice,
using ice screws, through which some abseil tat
is threaded and tied off.
How do you tell a left and right crampon apart?
The buckles / strap attachments are always on the
outside of the crampon, to reduce the snagging /
trip hazard. Also looking a the crampons from above,
a left boot crampon bends to the right, and vice-versa.
full course equipment list,
with examples of kit, click
choose our trips?
our Alpine blog, by clicking on the Word-press
logo to the right.
flexibility to allow you to take full advantage
of the weather windows on any day, to maximise
your summit chances.
prices are fixed in £ Sterling, to protect
you from euro fluctuations, so you can budget
is a choice of routes to opt for, depending
on the weather, conditions, and your experience.
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