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Alpine "Big 5" extensions 2020
Mont Blanc / Matterhorn / Eiger / Dufour / Paradiso
Icicle clients on the summit of Mont Blanc 4810m
FEEDBACK: "The extension was a great way to round off the already excellent week, and to
summit Mont Blanc was a magical experience
"
Amanda McA, Dover, 2002
Extensions overview
These are the guiding rates for two day ascents of the Mont Blanc / Eiger / Matterhorn / Gran Paradiso, or a three day ascent of Dufourspitze. These extensions are ONLY available to those who have just completed a week long Icicle climbing course (not trekking), to ensure that you are sufficiently trained, safe and acclimatised before your summit attempt.
Please note we do not offer stand alone two (or three) day ascents or bespoke courses of these peaks, as we are so sure that our itineraries are correct to maximise your summit chances. We do not match clients together where 1:2 ascents are possible. If you have no pre-existing climbing partner, you need to book a 1:1 ascent.
All the prices are for guiding, and driving & parking costs (Mont Blanc; Chamonix - Les Houches, Eiger; Chamonix - Grindelwald, Matterhorn; Chamonix - Tasch, Dufourspitze; Chamonix - Tasch, Gran Paradiso; Chamonix - Pont) only, with driving and parking up to a cost of £100pp. You must pay for you and your guide for the following: cable cars & mountain railways, bottled water, and half board in mountain huts.
These extensions can only be pre-booked with your main Icicle course, and cannot be booked upon arrival or whilst in resort. Guides and hut spaces need to be booked many months in advance, and we cannot take any bookings for these two day ascents within a month of travel for these reasons. Please plan ahead.
The extensions generally take the normal route on the mountain, so Mont Blanc via Gouter route, Eiger by the Mittellegi, and Matterhorn on the Hornli. Other routes are only ascended if required by force majeur, and may be subject to an upgrade fee. Note that on Mont Blanc the Trois Monts traverse is only available on a 1:1 guiding ratio, and the Gonella and Grand Mulets are rarely in condition after mid July.

If deposits are needed to secure a mountain hut booking, you authorise us to add the hut deposit to your invoice. For the Gouter this is c.£40pp, and Hornli is c.£50pp). Currently there's no deposit for Eiger hut. On the Mont Blanc you will be booked into one of the following; Refuge Gouter, Refuge Cosmiques, Refuge Tete Rousse, Base Camp Tete Rousse, or Rifugio Gonella.

We can also arrange bespoke ascents of any Alpine peak, or days of private guiding, prices from £340 a day. For full details and prices of tailor made bespoke guiding, click here.
Mont Blanc (Itinerary for the normal week long course, click here)
Course Duration: 2 days (normally clients opt for the Saturday and Sunday)
Instructor / Guide Ratio: 2 days IFMGA Guiding with ratio of 1:1 or 1:2 (see prices)
Previous Skills: Scottish Grade II/III Ice / UK Rock S or VSevere / Alpine PD+
Level of Fitness: High, especially stamina (capable of running a half marathon).
Prices: £1199 for 1:1 Guide ratio, or
£599pp for 1:2 ratio (2 per booking at same time).
Dates: Extension run on demand, with dates between mid June and early September.
Winter: For those who prefer a winter ski touring extension for Mont Blanc, the price is £1199 for a 1:1 Guide ratio and £599 for a 1:2 ratio (2 people booking at the same time). The pre-requisite experience for a ski Mont Blanc extension, is the same as that for the week long Ski Mont Blanc course (link).
Rachel on the summit of Mont Blanc
Matterhorn  (Itinerary for the normal week long course, click here)
Course Duration: 2 days (normally clients opt for the Saturday and Sunday)
Instructor / Guide Ratio: 2 days IFMGA Guiding with ratio of 1:1 only
Previous Skills: Scottish Grade II/III Ice / UK Rock S/ VSevere / Alpine AD-
Level of Fitness:
High, especially stamina (capable of running a half marathon).
Prices:
£1299 for a 1:1 Guide ratio, which is the only Guiding ratio allowed on this peak.
Dates: This course is run on demand, with dates between early July and mid September.
Eiger  (Itinerary for the normal week long course, click here)
Course Duration: 2 days (normally clients opt for the Saturday and Sunday)
Instructor / Guide Ratio: 2 days IFMGA Guiding with ratio of 1:1 only
Previous Skills: Scottish Grade III Ice / UK Rock HVS / Alpine AD
Level of Fitness:
High, especially stamina (capable of running a half marathon).
Prices:
£1299 for a 1:1 Guide ratio, which is the only Guiding ratio allowed on this route.
Dates: This course is run on demand, with dates between
early July and mid September.

Gran Paradiso (Itinerary for the normal week long course, click here)
Course Duration: 2 days (normally clients opt for the Saturday and Sunday)
Instructor / Guide Ratio: 2 days IFMGA Guiding with ratio of up to 1:3 only
Previous Skills: Scottish Grade I Ice / UK Rock Mod / Alpine F (beginner level)
Level of Fitness:
Medium, though good stamina (capable of running a 10km).
Prices:
£849 for 1:1/2/3 Guide ratio. This price is in total for booking together / alone.
Dates: This course is run on demand, with dates between mid June and mid September.

Dufourspitze (Itinerary for the normal week long course, click here)
Course Duration: 3 days (normally clients opt for the Saturday to Monday)
Instructor / Guide Ratio: 3 days IFMGA Guiding with ratio of up to 1:2 only
Previous Skills: Scottish Grade II/III Ice / UK Rock S or VSevere / Alpine PD+
Level of Fitness: High, especially stamina (capable of running a half marathon).

Prices:
£1899 for 1:1 or 1:2 Guide ratio. This price is in total for booking together / alone.
Dates: This course is run on demand, with dates between late June and mid September.

Current course availability

These extensions are run on demand all the summer after a suitable week long course. The best seaon for each peak is noted after the details for each of the mountains, so that you can select a suitable date for your main course.
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Location data for this trip
The trips meet 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
Your questions answered
What about an extra day?
We only offer the extensions as two days guiding. If you would like any extra days, then we recommend a standard week long course. For mountains of this stature, we consider that our week long courses are the best itineraries to allow for weather windows, acclimatisation, and summit success. We do not offer any tailor made alternatives for any of these peaks, as we are so sure our itineraries are correct.
What if there is bad weather?
If the weather / conditions / safety is too bad for you to attempt the mountain (i.e. you don't even attempt to reach the hut), then you will only be charged according to the daily Guiding rates for whatever alternative you climb. The mimimum Guiding rate will be charged as from £400 per day, and you will be refunded the difference from the amount that you have paid in the form of a voucher towards a future Icicle course (valid for 12 months). The decision as to the level of refund and suitable alternatives offered is made by Icicle staff. This policy must be in force, as the Guides are booked up front, and need to be paid for two days work anyway. If you attempt the peak you originally booked for, and are turned back by bad weather / conditions (including but not limited to stonefall or avalanche risk), you are entitled to no refund. No summit is guaranteed, and this is the luck of the draw. The Guides safety decision is final as to whether they even attempt the mountain, or if they propose alternatives, or turn around on the summit attempt.
What ratios are allowed?
For Mont Blanc, a Guide can take one or two clients (depending on your choice and the Guides / Icicles assessment of your abilities). No Guide can take any more than two clients. We have been asked in the past if it is permissible for a "separate" roped team to "shadow" the Guided group. This is NOT possible, as essentially the other team is Guided. If anyone is thought to be trying this behind our backs, we give the Guides our full backing to turn around. On the Eiger or Matterhorn, we enforce a 1:1 Guiding ratio as the highest that Guides can operate with, even though on some easier routes on the Eiger a 1:2 ratio is legally permissable. We stick to our 1:1 ratio to improve safety and speed, and therefore summit chances.
Suggested reading and kit
View full course equipment list, with examples of kit, click here
Budget for extra costs
As an estimate you should allow for the following expenses. Prices were corrected at the start of the season, but are from external providers, so are subject to change.
Mont Blanc 1:2 - Cable car Les Houches to Bellvue (c.18.50€pp return), Tramway Bellvue to Nid d'Aigle (c.24.50€pp return), Gouter hut (c.65€pp client, c.45€pp guide, diner & breakfast c.33.25€pp + c.16€pp). As a realistic maximum, budget on uplift total c.129€ (ignore if you already have a week long lift pass and guide has annual pass), half board hut c.322.75€ hut (of which c.120€ is normally a pre-paid deposit) which divided by 2 clients = c.161.38€ each. This excludes buying bottled water for you and guide.
Mont Blanc 1:1 - Costs as above, but 1:1. Budget on c.86€ uplift total (ignore if you already have a week long lift pass and guide has annual pass), half board hut c.208.50€ (of which c.80€ is normally pre-paid deposit) so a balance payment for the hut of c.128.50€. Excludes buying bottled water for you & guide.
Eiger 1:1 - Grindelwald / Eismeer / Jungraujoch railway (c.150CHFpp return), Hut (c.75CHFpp). Note you pay for both you and the guide. This budget excludes buying bottled water for you and guide.
Matterhorn 1:1 - Taxi / train Tasch to Zermatt (c.20CHFpp return), Cable car Zermatt to Schwartzee (c.43.50CHFpp), Hornli hut half board (c.150CHF client, c.140CHF guide). Note you pay for both you and the guide. This budget excludes buying bottled water for you and guide.
Dufourspitze - Taxi / train Tasch to Zermatt (c.20CHFpp return),Mountain railway Zermatt to Rotenboden (c.74CHFpp return), Monte Rosa hut half board (c.95CHFpp/night). Note you pay for both you and the guide for two nights. This budget excludes buying bottled water for you and guide.
Gran Paradiso - Chabod / Victor Emmanuel hut half board (c.50.50€ per client, c.40€ guide). Note you pay for both you and the guide. This budget excludes buying bottled water for you and guide, but there is normally free drinkable running water at the huts.
Valley accommodation - You check out of our Chamonix valley accommodation on the last day of your week long course (i.e. on the morning of your extension, so usually Saturday morning), and we can store your baggage until you return. If you elect to stay extra nights, you can book this yourself, or we can generally book you into a chalet for a night after (c.£50-60pp / night based on a twin room for two).
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.


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