course gives you the chance to climb some
of the best ice or Alpine routes in winter.
If you want to devote every daylight hour
to climbing some of the best ice that Europe
has on offer, this course is the one for you.
join this course you should have some previous
experience of ice climbing such as a summer
or winter intro level course, so you are competant
with basic ropework and the use of ice axe
course is aimed at those looking to develop
their ice climbing, on routes graded between
Grade II to IV ice. Sometimes you may even
be able to climb Grade V ice (e.g. single pitch top roped) on this course.
the week you have many route options, from
long multi-pitch waterfall ice or gully routes,
to shorter more technical routes. You also
have the opportunity to learn to lead on ice.
Chamonix valley has over 300 icefalls, and
within an hours drive you can reach an additional
1000 icefalls in Italy or Switzerland. A competitor
wrote in a newsletter that they "made
the best of some thin conditions", which
is laughable as there is always good ice in
the Alps. It is just a case of knowing where
to find it!
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
the scheduled dates don't suit, and there
are two of you, we can operate an bespoke
course just for you on any date at the same
course price. Get in contact with your prefered
Skills, tips & techniques
Ensure that your fitness is good for this course, as the approaches to icefalls or ice gully climbs can be tiring in deeper untracked or fresh snow. In terms of training, good aerobic fitness is the key element.
On icefalls twin axes with curved shafts are ideal, to give your hands clearance on bulges in the ice. For gully routes, more straight shafted axed are ideal, as they can be plunged into hard snow for traction.
The guide supplies all the safety protection equipment, so there’s no need for you to bring any ropes, ice screws, or protection kit, though if you have some of your own take it along on the course with you.
In terms of crampons, for icefall routes then technical crampons are ideal, though sharp 12 point crampons are fine too. For gully routes, 12 point crampons are generally best, as they shed any snow that balls beneath.
During the course, there are a series of evening instruction sessions (optional), where you are taught some of the more theoretical aspects that are easier to learn inside, rather than on the hill.
When ice climbing there is a vast amount that you can be taught. Below is a selection of skills to cover;
How to place ice screws
Building ice anchors
Ropework for multi-pitch
Assessing safety of icefalls
Selection of kit for ice climbs
Abseiling systems & backup
Using crampons & axes
Ice climbing techniques
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.
key feature of this course is that you have 5 days
of 1:2 guiding, so can climb multi-pitch ice routes
every day. Normally people use the first day to
refresh ice climbing skills on valley waterfall
ice, such as on Cremerie icefalls. There is also
a chance to practice placing ice screws, building
anchors and even some leading if the guide considers
it safe on the day. Guiding ratio 1:2 (max). Night
climbs include Deferlante, EMHM and Cascade du Tour. These
are all good multi-pitch ice routes. Deferlante
is positioned impressively above the Argentiere
glacier icefall, and you hear seracs far below you.
The EMHM icefall is named after the military mountain
school in Chamonix, who first climbed it. Cascade
du Tour is spectacularly located below Glacier du
Tour. Guiding ratio 1:2 (max). Night in Chamonix.
could tackle another of the options outlined yesterday,
or other ideas that are the most popular include
the Trient icefalls which are accessed from the
Col du Forclaz, and are just over the border into
Switzerland. These have a walk in that is less than
an hour, and there is a choice of longer multi-pitch
routes, or shorter more technical routes in the
gorge sector. Guiding ratio 1:2 (max). Night in
to consider for today include Mini Couloir above
the Argentiere glacier, Frigor at Chatelard, or
Micro Couloir on the Col des Montets. These routes
all really vary in terms of their style, from mixed
corners to freestanding columns, and a gully route.
As you will have discovered by now, there is such
an amazing choice of routes, you are spoilt for
choice each day.
Guiding ratio 1:2 (max). Night in Chamonix.
is your last day of guiding, and some options include
the ice climbs at Reposoir near the Col de la Colombiere,
or the Trient or Arveyron gorges icefalls. Again
your guide will outline the options with you, and
you can decide together which style and grade of
routes appeal to you most. In
the evening there are optional drinks and then a
celebratory meal. Your final night is spent in Chamonix.
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.
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.
full days IFMGA guiding, 1:2 max ratio
7 days holiday in total, Sunday-Saturday
on the planner logo to the right to
see the real time live course availability
Course Inclusions: 1) IFMGA Mountain Guide
for five days, 2) Chamonix course hosts for logistics
& briefings, 3) Pre course information booklet, 4)
Equipment discount voucher for UK shops, 5) Six nights
B&B accommodation in Chamonix (inc. bedding &
towels), 6) Free 36 page technical Course Instruction
Booklet, 7) Road transport in Chamonix valley, 8) Logistcs
support and evening instruction.
1) Travel to and from Chamonix, 2) Cable Cars (approx
£30), 3) Transport / tunnel ticket outside Chamonix
valley 4) Equipment hire, 4) Personal laundry, telephone
calls, lunches, evening meals, & any purchases in
mountain huts / hotels / restaurants, 6) Sunday pre-dinner
drinks & Friday celebratory meal & drinks, 7)
Activities insurance, & excess baggage charges.
This course assumes 1:2 guiding throughout. Note that
is there is just one person on a course, less 1:1 guiding
days can be offered, however accommodation will be provided
for the whole week, and guiding options and locations
will be discussed with you within the budget paid.
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
Course Dates Cham Technical Ice
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
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
prices are fixed in £ Sterling, to protect
you from euro fluctuations, so you can budget accurately.
is a choice of routes to opt for, depending on the
weather, conditions, and your experience.
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.