Two day Swiss
snowshoeing trip to the monastery 2023
two amazing days snowshoeing in this area
steeped in history. Famed for the Saint Bernard
dogs, Napoleon crossing the Alps, and of course
the Grand Saint Bernard Hospice which was
founded in 1049, where you stay for the night
in the monastery.
course is scheduled to operate on a Thursday and Friday,
but extra dates can be scheduled on any days
for groups of two or more people who are booking
together. The monastery is busiest over a
weekend, so it may be preferable to consider
offset dates, if that could fit with your
key feature of this course, is spending a
night in the infamous Grand Saint Bernard
hospice. The monastery is still run by the
monks, and it was Pope Pius XI who confirmed
Saint Bernard as the patron saint of Alpine
mountaineers. The region is also famed for
Roman and far later Napoleons crossings of
are led by a very experienced and qualified
IFMGA / UIMLA guide, who will instruct you
in the use of snowshoes, and is there to guide
you and look after your safety in terms of
the weather and avalanche awareness. Note
that the safety equipment is provided.
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
an article written about this adventure, written
by one of our snowshoe guides, which gives a real
insight into the diverse history of the region,
and their personal ascent of Mont Fourchon. This
specific route is just one of many possible objectives
on the second day, but the article gives you a flavour
of the region. You'll also learn a lot about the
background to the monastery, and how it came to
be built - Link
certainly don't need to be religious to enjoy this
trip, and there's no need to attend any of the services
at the monastery if you don't wish too, though everyone
is welcome to. We find that this trip appeals to
those who are interested in the rich history of
the region, who want to stay in an amazing location.
The trip to the Grand Saint Bernard monastery is
one you will never forget.
key feature of this trip is that you don't require
any previous snowshoeing experience, and to keep
costs right down for you, our prices include the
loan of snowshoes, and avalanche beacon, shovel
and probe. You are shown how to use the snowshoes
and safety equipment, and are guided by an expert
in the region, so are in a very knowledgeable and
safe pair of hands, who knows the area very well.
closest airport is Geneva, so for those flying in
on the day, you can even arrange to meet the guide
in Martigny, which is a straight forward train ride
from Geneva airport. You can get dropped off here
on the return too, so avoiding the airport transfer
costs for going to Chamonix. Either option is fine
for us, so just let us know which option you prefer
once you've booked.
for the 09:00 check-in and course / itinerary briefings.
There is time for kit checks or fitting. Then
you set off from Chamonix for the eighty minute
transfer to Martigny and then south to the upper
Dranse river valley and the Grand Saint Bernard
tunnel, above which the snowshoe trek starts. For
those who have never used snowshoes, don't worry
as after only about 10 minutes instruction you will
be confident. You set off towards the monastery.
On the way up the route steepens as you pass through
slightly steeper ground and the ominous sounding,
but beautiful looking, Combe des Morts, before the
hospice suddenly comes into view ahead of you. The
guide will check you in, show you where the facilities,
and most importantly your bed is. There is also
a museum in the attic of the hospice, which details
the amazing history of the area and the monastery
itself. Before the evening meal some groups head
outside to take some more photos, and perhaps to
learn how to use the avalanche safety transceivers.
Then it's time for dinner, which is prepared by
the monks. The food is simple but hearty. During
the evening there is the opportunity for anyone
who is interested to attend the evening service
in the crypt with the monks, which is an amazing
and moving experience whatever your faith. Even
if you don't understand a word of the language,
the simple sincerity of the service will move you.
the early morning you emerge for breakfast, and
in the first light of the crisp Alpine morning,
you put on your snowshoes, and crunch you way over
the well frozen snow. There is a wide choice of
routes behind the monastery including the Col Ouest
de Barasson. Whatever
route is selected by the guide, they will be choosing
the best objective in terms of the weather, snow,
and avalanche conditions, as well as the group aims
and performance. Many of the possible objectives
will arrive at the Swiss - Italy border, and on
a clear day you are rewarded with the most amazing
views of the sunrise on the south face of Mont Blanc
and Gran Paradiso. After savouring the views from
the top, you loop down and around back to near the
Grand Saint Bernard monastery. Once down through
the Combe des Morts, you snowshoe down to the start
point again at the Super Saint Bernard where you
started the trek yesterday. Then it's time for the
return drive to Chamonix. If there's time, or you
aren't snoozing on the drive back, some groups opt
to visit Barryland in Martigny, which is the breeding
and visitor centre for the Saint Bernard dogs during
the winter months. You reach Chamonix by late afternoon
you are free to depart for home.
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 outline
itinerary as a guide to the types of route / activity
that you will attempt.
2 full days snowshoe guiding, 1:6 max ratio
2 days holiday in total, Saturday-Sunday
on the planner logo to the right to
see the real time live course availability
Course Inclusions: 1) 2 days snowshoe guiding
by IFMGA / UIMLA guide, 2) Chamonix hosts for logistics
and briefings, 3) Pre course information booklet, 4) Equipment
discount voucher for UK shops, 5) Free 36 page technical
Course Instruction Booklet, 6) Logisticcs support and
in-resort hosts, 7) Transport from Chamonix to Grand Saint
Bernard and back, 8) One night half board stay in a mountain
hut for you and guide.
1) Travel to and from Chamonix, 2) Boot hire, 3) Activities
insurance, & excess baggage charges.
sizes: 2 - 6 people per UIMLA
/ IFMGA mountain guide. For group sizes of over 6 people,
there are multiple guides, and the teams travel independently
of each other.
The loan of all technical equipment for each client
is included in the course price as required: snowshoes,
avalanche transceiver, avalanche probe and shovel.
Skills Training £75 (throughout the season)
you ever put a price on safety? No you can't, but
these courses are run at a fixed low price to minimise
the risks of people putting off getting these key
safety skills. The courses take place in either
Chamonix or Courmayeur, and you are taught the use
of avalanche tranceivers, shovels, and probes, details.
Course Dates Grand St Bernard
No Dates Available
This trip has scheduled
dates, but if there are two who
are booking together, it can be
operated on any date you wish
booked as I was obsessed with Saint
Bernard dogs, and I love snowshoeing
too, so it was an obvious trip for me.
Thanks for giving us such a great guide,
who knew so much about the area, and
clearly loved their job so much Sue
N , Swiss Snowshoe
you for an amazing trip. Your expertise
and knowledge about the area really
made the trip so special for us Jon
D , Swiss Snowshoe
was great to meet you and Max, and thank
you very much for guiding us and for
keeping is safe all the time Natalie
P , Swiss Snowshoe
data for this trip
trips all start in Chamonix valley in the French Alps,
at the foot of Mont Blanc. It is easily accessed via a
90 minute transfer from Geneva airport.
€ & CHF
snowshoeing advice page (click
here) outlines the key equipment you should
bring. Snowshoes are loaned FREE of charge anyway, as
are avalanche safety beacons, so all you need to arrive
with are walking clothes, waterproofs, a small rucksack
and well worn in walking boots (not trekking shoes).
report & article
article written about the Swiss part of this adventure,
written by one of our snowshoe guides, which gives a real
insight into the diverse history of the region, and the
ascent of Mont Fourchon. You'll also learn a lot about
the background to the monastery, and how it came to be
built - Link
to article. It has also been published by the
Snowshoe Magazine, and can be viewed by clicking the image
full course equipment list,
with examples of kit, click
why choose us?
are true specialists in snowshoeing. See our blog,
by clicking on the logo (on the right).
flexibility to allow you to take full advantage
of the weather and conditions each day, so that
you maximise the amount of time spent skiiing each
prices are fixed in £ pounds sterling, to
protect you from euro currency fluctuations, so
that you can budget accurately.
have a team of over 30 IFMGA guides, and a resort
support team, who all want you to have the best
snowshoeing possible! For more details on the guiding
team and qualifications, please click
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.
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.