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Chamonix Technical Ice 2024
Chamonix based | 5 days 1:2 guide ratio | Winter ice climbing routes
Course overview
This 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.
To 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 and crampons.

The 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.

During 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!
Dates: these 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 invoice.
Bespoke: if 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 dates.

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
Avalanche awareness
Selection of kit for ice climbs
Abseiling systems & backup
Using crampons & axes
Ice climbing techniques

Brief Course Itinerary

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.
A 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 in Chamonix.
Popular 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.
You 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 Chamonix.
Options 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.
Today 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.
Breakfast 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.
ITINERARY 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.
Ice climbing on Deferlante, far above the Argentiere Glacier icefalls
Course Prices
Standard course
5 full days IFMGA guiding, 1:2 max ratio
7 days holiday in total, Sunday-Saturday
Live availability
Click on the planner logo to the right to
see the real time live course availability
Latest Availability
Secure online booking system
Standard 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.
Exclusions: 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.
Notes: 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.
Standard 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 invoice.
Current course availability

Course Dates
Cham Technical Ice
  • No Dates Available
NOTE: This trip has scheduled
dates, but if there are two who
are booking together, it can be
operated on any date you wish

Price: £1499 Book online

Alternative courses
Technical Ice & Classics
Winter Alpine Intro course
Val de Cogne Italian Ice
Winter Alpine Classics

Client feedback

A brilliant week, with superb routes every day. Could not have believed how much I improved, and I was so glad not to have Scottish style walk ins

George J , Technical Ice

A perfect week for me to really develop my skills on ice, and become confident with it as a medium, after so many years on rock

Dawn B , Technical Ice

It's two weeks on, and my shoulders and arms still know about it. I know it's because I didn't trust my feet enough yet, but it serves to remind me what a brilliant week I had

Julie S , Technical Ice

Press & media
Films & videos
Photo gallery
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Location data for this trip
The 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.
Time Difference
GMT +1hr
Local Currency
€ Euros
Travel from UK
1hr flight
Suggested reading and kit
View full course equipment list, with examples of kit, click here
Why choose our trips?
See our Alpine blog, by clicking on the Word-press logo to the right.
Icicle Blog
Itinerary flexibility to allow you to take full advantage of the weather windows on any day, to maximise your summit chances.
Our prices are fixed in £ Sterling, to protect you from euro fluctuations, so you can budget accurately.
There 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.

Get in 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.

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