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Mountain courses equipment lists
A key concern of our clients is what equipment they should bring on a course. This is a valid concern as we run everything from ice climbing to Mont Blanc, and so the equipment used on courses is different. This page will assist you to plan what you need, and also how to save money. You DO NOT need everything on this page, and you will be sent a course specific kit list when you book on a course.

- Quick links to the equipment advice pages...
Jump to the relevant section
Click on one of the options below to review the kit types, example and advice for each of the items...
safety kit
Sleeping /
wild camping
Survival &
medical kit
The key equipment that you need to provide is exactly that which you would wear for a day of winter hill walking in Scotland or the Lake District. In other words you normally wear a wicking base layer, fleece jacket and waterproof jacket. On your legs you wear trekking trousers (with waterproof over-trousers if cold or wet), and gaiters. As with walks in the UK, the most important factor is that you have well fitting boots, especially if you are on a course with long ascent days (blisters could stop you climbing).
The key to selecting your clothing is a layering system to allow for the wide temperature range. In other words a thick lined jacket over a t-shirt is not as effective or versatile as thin base and fleece layers, with a shell jacket. The layering system should be applied to the hands, feet and legs as well as your torso. For all the reasons mentioned here, we warn against any cotton material clothing, and 'wet when warm' systems such as Buffalo for mountaineering / trekking / skiing.

SEASONS: The summer Alpine season includes all courses running from the end of May to the end of September. The winter Alpine season runs between December and March, though the coldest months are December and January when the days are shortest.

INDIVIDUALS: In identical conditions some people will be comfortable in a waterproof shell with a fleece layer underneath, whilst others may overheat. Only you know how you react to heat, cold, wind and wet, so adapt the kit list to how you normally dress.

TEMPERATURE: In summer it may be 35° in the valley and -25° on Mont Blanc, so you have to take into account a 60° change in temperature. In winter the valley is 0°, & you generally loose 10° for every 1000m height gain. Also factor in the likely wind chill.
Unless you plan to climb several times a year, it may not be cost effective to buy all the equipment. The Guides supply the ropes, and ice / rock protection on all the Guided days, so you don't need any of that, unless you wish to learn how to use your own kit better. Items such as harnesses, helmets, crampons, ice axes, and avalanche safety can be hired from us. If you are planning to buy any kit, those booking on our trips get a discount voucher of up to 20% off items from our technical mountain store in Windermere. Click here to visit our store.
General Equipment
Tick List

Sportiva Nepal Extreme
RRP c.£200

ITEM: 4 season leather boots or plastic boots, only graded B3
REASON: this rating ensures that they're crampon compatable
EXAMPLE: Sportiva Nepal Extreme, Scarpa Alpha, Asolo AFS
TIPS: only buy boots from a shop that has fitted them for you
WARNING: B2's (Makalu's & Manta's) aren't warm / stiff enough
COURSES: every course, apart from ski courses, need these
SAVE: instead of buying, you can hire boots in Chamonix

Scarpa Eclipse
RRP c.£65
ITEM: comfortable & well worn in shoes, lace up / slipper style
REASON: some courses involve rock climbing days in the valley
EXAMPLE: 5:10's, Boreal, La Sportiva - all make similar models
TIPS: buy rock shoes that aren't too tight, as these may rub you
WARNING: on Alpine routes use shoes you can wear socks in
COURSES: you may even want these for evening wall climbing
SAVE: hire rock shoes in Chamonix for approx £4 each day
Macpac Pursuit 30
RRP c.£80
ITEM: an Alpine climbing pack is small & has no side pockets
REASON: this is the maximum size needed for Alpine routes
EXAMPLE: Mammut Extreme 35, Lowe Alpine Attack 40
TIPS: if there are too many straps on the bag, take them off
WARNING: unecessary straps may snag on technical routes
COURSES: if you need a bigger bag you are carrying too much
SAVE: there are good own brand bags eg: Decathlon shops
or LED
Head Torch
Petzl Zipka
RRP c.£25
ITEM: either halogen or LED bulb head torch + spare batteries
REASON: Alpine starts are (Mont Blanc at 1am) are very dark
EXAMPLE: Petzl Zoom (Halogen) or Petzl Tikka (LED bulbs)
TIPS: make sure that your helmet has fittings for head torches
WARNING: battery life can be affected by cold, so take spares
COURSES: useful on all courses, and for huts in the evenings
SAVE: LED head torches are more economical on battery use
UV Shades
or Mountain
Cebe Cecchinel
RRP c.£70
ITEM: with side patches or wrap around, that are close fitting
REASON: unprotected snow glare can cause snow blindness
EXAMPLE: Bolle, Cebe, Julbo - whatever fits your face best
TIPS: wear your glasses with a safety cord around the back
WARNING: a bad fit can let glare or snow get in to your eyes
COURSES: these are needed on all courses, summer & winter
SAVE: don't go for expensive glasses, as they often get broken
Pair of
Leki Makalu's
RRP c.£30 each
ITEM: should be bought in pairs with a choice of base fittings
REASON: poles help reduce the impact on knees on descents
EXAMPLE: Leki make the best range, with suspension springs
TIPS: you can climb with a pole in one hand & axe in the other
WARNING: get three section poles as these compress better
COURSES: you can use trekking poles for ski mountaineering
SAVE: Decathlon makes sturdy own brand poles that last well
Platypus Hoser
RRP c.£14
ITEM: these are plastic water pouches with pipes to drink from
REASON: you can drink on the move, & keep better hydrated
EXAMPLE: Platypus make a good range of hydration systems
TIPS: put sugary drinks in them to hinder them freezing up high
WARNING: even insulated tubes will not stop the pipes freezing
COURSES: on long ski tours (Haute Route) these are good
SAVE: many shops make own brand hydtation systems now
or Flask
Sigg 1.5 L Bottle
RRP c.£12
ITEM: get two water containers, that are watertight (no leaks)
REASON: water in huts is often undrinkable, so carry over 1L
EXAMPLE: Sigg and Nalgene make the most durable bottles
TIPS: you can pay for hot water in huts to make tea for climbs
WARNING: dehydration is a major cause of altitude sickness
COURSES: stay hydrated on courses. Flasks good in winter
SAVE: plastic mineral water bottles will do the job just as well
Technical Kit
Tick List
12 Point

BD Sabretooth
RRP c.£130
ITEM: 12 point mountaineering style (not technical crampons)
REASON: technicals aren't designed for walking & ball up lots
EXAMPLE: Grivel G12's, Charlet Super 12's, or BD 12 Points
TIPS: depending on the boot design, choose step in's or straps
WARNING: you need anti-balling plates (don't use Duck tape)
COURSES: these used on all our non technical / ice courses
SAVE: cheaper crampons or alloys wear quicker / risk breaking
Ice / Route

Grivel Rambo Evolutions
RRP c.£120
ITEM: step in style technical crampons with vertical front points
REASON: the points are for steep ice / very techncial routes
EXAMPLE: Grivel Rambos, Charlet M10's, or Charlet Darts
TIPS: opt for metal toe bails for a very close / secure fitting
WARNING: only use mono-points if the ice is in good condition
COURSES: for use on all ice & extreme level winter courses
SAVE: you can get new front points, rather than new crampons
Ice Axe

Camp Neve
RRP c.£60
ITEM: mountaineering style for classic routes (non-tech pick)
REASON: for classic techniques eg self arrest & step cutting
EXAMPLE: Stubai Mountain Star, Grivel Jorasses or Air Tech
TIPS: a lightweight axe doesn't last as long, but you go faster
WARNING: do not put a leash on a classic mountain axe
COURSES: these are used on all non techncial / ice courses
SAVE: semi-technical axes can be used on technical routes
Pair of
Ice Tools

BD Viper Ice Axes
RRP c.£175 each
ITEM: these have reverse banana shaped technical ice picks
REASON: these hook into ice, & come in hammer / adze pairs
EXAMPLE: Grivel Wings, Charlet Quarks, Simond Naja Cups
TIPS: use a leash on the weak hand, leashless on screw hand
WARNING: carry an allen key to tighten any loose picks up
COURSES: these are used on all ice and technical courses
SAVE: buy changable picks, to extend the life of your axes

Black Diamond Bod
RRP c.£50
ITEM: comfortable and fully adjustable, made in an Alpine style
REASON: padding can get wet, then freeze, & make you cold
EXAMPLE: Black Diamond Alpine Bod, or the Petzl Gourou
TIPS: for classic routes the weight is a key factor, as is comfort
WARNING: make sure that you double back all buckle straps
COURSES: these harnesses are more versitile than rock ones
SAVE: basic harnesses are cheap & best for mountaineering

BD Half Dome
RRP c.£50
ITEM: a plastic / carbon fibre helmet with strap head cradle
REASON: there's always rock / icefall in the Alps to beware of
EXAMPLE: Camp Rockstar, BD Half Dome, Petzl Ecrin, Meteor
TIPS: check if the helmet adjusts to allow for hats underneath
WARNING: a badly fitting helmet could endanger your life
COURSES: these are used on all our mountaineering courses
SAVE: essential piece of safety kit, & there's no savings here!
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Climbing Safety Kit
Tick List
Slings x3
long eg. 8ft
RRP c.£10
ITEM: long slings, 8ft circumference (4ft length), of sewn tape
REASON: long slings are essential kit for safety and rescues
EXAMPLE: most of the equipment manufacturers make slings
TIPS: a long sling can always be doubled up to make it smaller
WARNING: be careful using slings over sharp edges of rock
COURSES: carry slings carefully so crampons don't snag them
SAVE:make your own slings by buying & tying tape off the reel
3 (min) Large
Screw Gate
BD Airlock Screwgate
RRP c.£10
ITEM: large sized screw gates are easy to handle with gloves
REASON: these are for personal safety kit to carry at all times
EXAMPLE: choose a screw system that you find easy to use
TIPS: buy three karabiners (1 harness, 1 belay, 1 protection)
WARNING: avoid cross loading karabiners, as they may break
COURSES: these are necessary for every one of our courses
SAVE: Own brand karabiners are cheaper, and just as strong
Belay /

RRP c.£25
ITEM: heat dissipating devices, for ropes in belaying or abseils
REASON: the devices control the rope, and so not damage it
EXAMPLE: Black Diamond ATC, DMM Bug, Petzl Reverso
TIPS: a figure 8 twists ropes and doesn't provide much friction
WARNING: be careful that the device you use doesn't overheat
COURSES: learn how to use new devices before the course
SAVE: there is no need for both a belay device and a figure of 8
Loops x2
Edelrid 7mm cord
RRP c.£1 per metre
ITEM: two tied loops of 30cm diameter, made of 7mm cord
REASON: auto-locking knots that can be used in emergencies
EXAMPLE: if making them, buy two 1.5m lengths of 7mm cord
TIPS: if you are unsure how to tie stopper knots, ask a guide
WARNING: they must be correctly tied with double fishermans
COURSES: these can also be used to fix broken crampons
SAVE: these are the cheapest, most useful, bits of kit already!
Screw In
Ice Screw
Charlet Laser 15cm
RRP c.£50
ITEM: screw in ice screw to use as protection or emergencies
REASON: screw in type does not require a hammer to place it
EXAMPLE: the Grivel 360, or BD Express are quick to place
TIPS: get protectors for the bottom of the screw to protect you !
WARNING: cheap ice screws are hard to place and may break
COURSES: no need to bring any, as the Guides supply these
SAVE: no savings here - good quality screws are easy to place
Grivel Candela
RRP c.£7
ITEM: Abalakov hook are 20cm+ wires with a hook on the end
REASON: hook retrieves cord through screw holes for a belay
EXAMPLE: Simond make an Abalahook, and Grivel one too
TIPS: carry your Abalakov hook inside the tube of an ice screw
WARNING: be careful that the hook doesn't snag your clothes
COURSES: the Guides carry these, especially on ice courses
SAVE: use a spare length of stiff wire with a sharpened end
Knife /
RRP c.£5
ITEM: a well maintained clean knife with fold away sharp blade
REASON: can be used in emergencies & for every day tasks
EXAMPLE: Opinel knives now come with a lockable closure
TIPS: oil the hinges and ensure the knife is dry to avoid rusting
WARNING: ensure that the blade cannot open accidentaly
COURSES: not necessary for any courses - don't cut the rope!
SAVE: even small knifes cut a rope that is placed under load
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Winter Equipment
Tick List

DTS Tracker
RRP c.£200

ITEM: Appareil de Recheche des Victimes des Avalanches
REASON: device can be used to find buried victims locations
EXAMPLE: Ortovox F1, DTS Tracker - all 457kHz frequency
TIPS: practice using ARVA every week or two during season
WARNING: never use rechargeable batteries in ARVA devices
COURSES: provided free whenever they are needed on courses
SAVE: no savings - cheap ARVA's may take too long to locate

RRP c.£30

ITEM: collapsable probe, with central thread for construction
REASON: used to find avalanche victims after use of ARVA's
EXAMPLE: Ortovox or Black Diamond make the good probes
TIPS: buy probes with depth marks / colour coded sections
WARNING: carry your probe in an easily accessible location
COURSES: provided free whenever they are needed on courses
SAVE: cheap probes break easily and are slower to construct

Black Diamond - metal
RRP c.£40

ITEM: collapsable handle / shovel, so they fit in your rucksack
REASON: to dig out avalanche victim after the use of ARVA
EXAMPLE: Ortovox and Black Diamond make the lightest
TIPS: carry the shovel in a easy to locate section of your pack
WARNING: plastic shovels can break in hard snow / icy blocks
COURSES: provided free whenever they are needed on courses
SAVE: some shovels fit on to base of ice axes, to save weight

RRP c.£15

ITEM: a fleece balaclava that fits well underneath your helmet
REASON: on winter / altitude climbs, stops head from freezing
EXAMPLE: all the main manufacturers make their own models
TIPS: balaclava can be rolled up, to use like a normal style hat
WARNING: even though your head is warm, check your nose
COURSES: these are great on all ski, winter and ice courses
SAVE: the cheapest are about £5 from own brand outlets
RRP c.£30
ITEM: goggles with a adjustable headband to allow for helmets
REASON: to stop spindrift from being blown into your eyes
EXAMPLE: Cebe, Scott, Oakley, and most ski manufacturers
TIPS: double lens goggles don't steam up as much as singles
WARNING: check the fit is good to stop air fogging them
COURSES: on all altitude / winter courses, these are used
SAVE: cheap goggles can fit over UV shades to protect them

Skis &
Atomic & Black Diamond
RRP from c.£300

ITEM: touring skis have hinged bindings to allow for ascents
REASON: hinges allow walking movement when skins are on
EXAMPLE: all ski manufacturers make good touring bindings
TIPS: skins vary in style for the usage that you will require
WARNING: ensure you keeo the skins warm when not used
COURSES: the Reps can get you a dicount on hiring these
SAVE: for the first times, hire touring skis to try several types
GV Polar Trail
RRP c.£180
ITEM: snowshoes allow a non-skier to cross deep powder snow
REASON: the snowshoes base plate spreads your weight
EXAMPLE: GV Polar Trails, MSR Denali Evo's, or TSL 325's
TIPS: we have produced a snowshoe advice page at this LINK
WARNING: snowshoes are not for climbing, but for trekking
COURSES: for approaches on winter courses, & snowshoeing
SAVE: if you have never snowshoed before, rent these items

Outdoor Designs
RRP from c.£30

ITEM: this is essentially an adapted tent flysheet without poles
REASON: in case of winter snow storm or emergency situation
EXAMPLE: Outdoor Designs make a good range of shelters
TIPS: these should be taken out on every day in the mountains
WARNING: try to avoid any emergency bivouac in the winter
COURSES: guides carry this kit on many of the winter courses
SAVE: as this is a piece of safety equipment, don't scrimp
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Sleeping / Wild Camping Kit
Tick List

3 / 4 Season

ME Sleepwalker III
RRP c.£100

ITEM: three season for Alpine summer, four season for winter
REASON: bivouacing can give more flexibility than the refuges
EXAMPLE: good brands are Mountain Equipment & Ajungilak
TIPS: synthetic bags weigh a little more, but work even if wet
WARNING: keep a down bag dry to ensure it keeps you warm
COURSES: only on the Snowshelters course and expeditions
SAVE: if you have a 2 season bag upgrade it with a fleece liner


Rab Survival Zone Bivi
RRP c.£55

ITEM: breathable bivvy bag, preferably of the all enclosable type
REASON: this will keep you dry if wet and let condensation out
EXAMPLE: good makes are Wild Country and Mountain Range
TIPS: don't even think about using a survival bag as a bivvy bag
WARNING: dry out the bivvy bag after use to stop any mildew
COURSES: only on Snowshelters & Survival weekend course
SAVE: buy a cheap Goretex bag from military surplus for £50

UK / Alpine

MSR Hubba Hubba
RRP c.£330

ITEM: a mountain tent, of geodesic design, to withstand weather
REASON: warmer than a bivouac bag, and more space to live in
EXAMPLE: MSR, North Face, Wild Country make strong tents
TIPS: always pitch your tent as designed, in line with the wind
WARNING: never cook inside a tent, as CO gas can build up
COURSES: only on our Lake District wild camping & GR20 treks
SAVE: Decathlon / Quechua make a great range of cheaper tents


JetBoil Flash Carbon
RRP c.£85

ITEM: an efficient mountain stove set to cook & warm drinks on
REASON: snow needs to be melted / water purified by boiling
EXAMPLE: the industry leaders are JetBoil and MSR systems
TIPS: choose a fuel system that is readily available where you go
WARNING: if using gas, always choose re-sealable cylinders
COURSES: only on our Lake District wild camping & GR20 treks
SAVE: the cheapest system is military hex stoves on fuel tablets


Thermarest NeoAir X-lite
RRP c.£130

ITEM: mat made of foam, or of the self inflating roll mat types
REASON: this serves to insulate you, and to be comfortable
EXAMPLE: Thermarest make the classic self inflating mats
TIPS: a mat is as important as the bag to stop you being cold
WARNING: be careful the mat doesn't blow away in high wind
COURSES: only on the Snowshelters course and expeditions
SAVE: a foam mat will never puncture, and costs £5 maximum
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Thermal Kit
Tick List
ME Windstopper Guide
RRP c.£100
ITEM: fleece is a light material with excellent thermal qualities
REASON: the most important parts of your layering system
EXAMPLE: Mountain Equipment do a great range of Aquafleece
TIPS: look for patches for hardwearing areas such as shoulders
WARNING: thin fleece often isn't windproof, unless windstopper
COURSES: these are useful on all our courses & expeditions
SAVE: cheap fleeces are as good thermally, though weigh more
Quechua (Decathlon)
RRP c.£10
ITEM: top should be long sleeved to protect your arms in a fall
REASON: you often only wear these when climbing on hot days
EXAMPLE: Helly Hansen, Lowe, Mountain Hardwear, and TNF
TIPS: Don't ever plan to put on a thermal layer in mid climb!
WARNING: make sure that you select a good wicking fabric
COURSES: these are especially useful on winter & ice courses
SAVE: a cheaper alternative is a thin fleece top (Polartech 100)
Ortovox Piz Bianco
RRP c.£199
ITEM: useful as it is light, especially in bivvys & Alpine starts
REASON: the warmth to weight ratio is unbeatable by fleece
EXAMPLE: North Face make good jackets, with stow pockets
TIPS: keep jacket dry in rucksacks by keeping it in a plastic bag
WARNING: down looses its thermal capacities if it gets wet
COURSES: these are very recommended on all winter courses
SAVE: you can get ex-expedition duvet jackets at a good price
Hat &
Mountain Equipment
RRP c.£15
ITEM: excellent for lightweight thermal capabilities, even if wet
REASON: fleece is an efficient insulator and is quite windproof
EXAMPLE: almost every manufacturer produces these now
TIPS: buy gloves with reinforced fingers / palms for durability
WARNING: don't loose fleece gloves, by tying them to jackets
COURSES: these are used on every single one of our courses
SAVE: cheap brands eg Technique Extreme still do the job
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Waterproof Layer
Tick List

ME Paclite 3 Firefly
RRP c.£165
ITEM: a breathable windproof jacket is worn every Alpine day
REASON: the jacket is windproof & waterproof for when in snow
EXAMPLE: most durable jackets are around the £200 mark
TIPS: repair any rips with Goretex patches or Gaffer Tape
WARNING: Goretex jackets need reproofing every year or so
COURSES: this is essential for every course we operate
SAVE: you rarely climb in the rain, so 3 layer fabrics are OTT
or Trousers
ME Drilite Plus Pant
RRP c.£60
ITEM: essential for ice climbing, and when breaking trail in snow
REASON: they stop legs from getting cold / wet, & are durable
EXAMPLE: bib type salopettes eg TNF Mountain Salopettes
TIPS: choose salopettes with crampon patches on the inside leg
WARNING: make sure that the leg bases can fit over your boots
COURSES: these are used an all winter, ski, and altitude trips
SAVE: cheap trousers won't last, but you won't cry if they rip
(not mitts)
ME Guide Gloves
RRP c.£40

ITEM: outer gloves should be able to fit over base layer gloves
REASON: their dexterity is far better than by using full mitts
EXAMPLE: Extremities make a great range of durable gloves
TIPS: you can treat your gloves with re-waterproofing products
WARNING: make sure that gloves are dried out after each use
COURSES: these are needed on every course that we operate
SAVE: some gloves are sold as a complete (3 layer) system

Outdoor Designs X-creme
RRP c.£40
ITEM: quality, well fitting, breathable gaiters of durable material
REASON: these stop snow or water getting into your boots
EXAMPLE: Mountain Hardwear venti-gaitors are durable & fit well
TIPS: when the bottom strap wears out replace it with wire
WARNING: gaiters should be worn all times if crampons are on
COURSES: needed for all courses. No Yeti gaiters in summer!
SAVE: half height gaiters are as efficient & good in summers
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Survival & Medical Kit
Tick List
ITEM: any medication that you usually require (eg. Ventolin etc)
OTHER: tell the Guide & Reps of any medication you are taking
Personal First
Aid Kit
ITEM: the basics to keep you going, eg blister kits & plasters
OTHER: the Guide will carry a more comprehensive first aid kit
UV Sunscreen
or sun-block
ITEM: a high factor sunscreen (25+) is needed to stop sunburn
OTHER: take a small pocket sized tube for frequent use
& Whistle
ITEM: your personal survival equipment to carry at all times
OTHER: a compass may be affected due to iron in granite
ITEM: very lightweight and very efficient in case of emergencies
OTHER: blankets can only be used once, but are small & cheap
ITEM: a high visibility bag to be used in emergency situations
OTHER: use a bivvy bag as a survival bag, though not as warm
Back to top    
Personal Items
Tick List
Personal electrical items (eg. shavers)
Continental travel electrical adaptor
Casual clothes for valley / evening wear
Personal medication (minor ailments)
Aftersun cream
Personal first aid kit (and blister kit)
Personal kit (alarm clock, watch etc.)
Personal toiletries, towel, sleeping bag liner & wash kit
Camera with spare film (& case)
Documents (passport, credit cards, insurance policy etc)
Photocopy of European health card & passport as well as originals
Icicle's 'Course Information Booklet' & flight details
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1) Keep a list of important numbers (passport, cards etc) in case of loss or theft.

2) If extending your stay, bring your own protection gear, ropes etc, if you plan to climb.

3) Use this list in conjuction with the detailed itinerary (eg if sleeping kit is required).

4) Classics, Summer Ice, Extreme etc: on these courses you require technical Ice Axes* & Crampons*. Mountaineering crampons & ice axes can be lent free if needed.

5) Ski touring courses require no Sleeping Kit, gaiters, or mountain boots. You do require all the other equipment on this list above, including all the Technical Kit. As well as these bring touring skis & boots, skins, ski crampons, & skin glue.

6) Off-piste courses only need to bring normal ski wear, including goggles, poles, skis, boots, hydration system, rucksack, two pairs of gloves, and a harness for glacier skiing.

7) Trekking and snowshoeing courses will not require the majority of this equipment, but should have good hill walking clothing, and well worn in boots.
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Get in contact to arrange a meeting, and come in for a coffee to discuss your course in person with a trip advisor.

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