Whether it is mountain ice or frozen waterfalls, Chamonix ice climbing is superb. The ‘thunk,thunk’ of your axes bedding into the ice, and the beauty of the mountains in winter is hard to beat… These Ice Climbing courses are great action packed weeks, ice climbing everyday and returning to our chalet base each evening for a well earned dinner and glass of wine.
SET WINTER 2017 DATES:
We offer both Ice climbing weeks and Ice climbing weekends – get in touch for bespoke quotes.
We run the Ice climbing course from our base in Chamonix, France. Chamonix is an exciting destination for any adventure enthusiast, it is the capital of alpinism and an incredibly inspiring town to visit. It is a 1h30 drive from Chamonix to Cogne in Italy, and if conditions favour we will spend the week in Cogne.
- Guides expenses
- Guiding fees
- In resort transport
- Chalet accommodation (BnB with packed lunch)
What's not included
- Transport to/from Chamonix
- Uplifts according to itinerary
- Equipment rental
- Travel insurance
- Evening meals when in Chamonix
Who is this for?
This course is suitable for novices and experts alike, as we have a huge number of routes to choose from, at all levels of difficulty. Equally, as we run these weeks on a 1:2 guide to climber ratio, we can make sure climbers are of a similar standard and have similar objectives.
So whether you want to climb hard routes, learn to lead or this is your first introduction to the world of ice climbing this is a great week.
Accommodation and huts
You will be based in our central Chalet Pele. The chalet has a fun atmosphere, there are often other like minded people staying in the chalets who are on various other courses. Chamonix town is a short 2 minutes walk away with plenty of restaurants, bars and cafes.
We meet in Chamonix at the chalet in the evening to go over the plan for the week and check equipment.
Day 1 – 5:
5 days ice climbing frozen waterfalls around Chamonix at venues such as the Argentiere basin, Trient, Chatelard and if conditions dictate, in the high mountains of the Mont Blanc massif. Likewise, we often spend time ice climbing in Cogne (1.5hrs drive) or Kandersteg (2.5hrs drive). This combination provides some of the best ice climbing in the world.
Good fitness will make ice climbing more fun and you’ll get more out of your week! Although we will tailor the course to your ability, we definitely recommend getting as fit as possible before you start. The process of training for your goal will help you focus on your goal – and having a goal will help you focus on your training. So all in all training is good!
Ice climbing is all about being able to exercise at a moderate intensity for many hours (typically 5 to 8 hours), with bursts of strength – and your training should reflect this. Training to mimic the real thing as closely as possible prepares your body as well as your mind (exercising for long periods in poor weather requires mental strength!). However not
everyone has the opportunity to do this and so alternatives such as jogging, cycling and gym workouts are good.
The focus should be on training Cardiovascular Endurance for long days in the mountains, and upper body strength for climbing.
For cardio cycling/running/rowing machines are much better than weight training. Try and exercise for up to a couple of hours at a time, 4 times a week. For climbing, core stability, flexibility and balance are as important as strong arms and shoulders.
Don’t just lift weights! Try yoga, swimming, pilates etc too. Remember to build up your workouts over time. If you are not used to exercising much, your muscles and joints need time to build up to avoid injury.
Try and choose an activity that you enjoy and keep a note of what you do and your times – this really helps with keeping the motivation up. If you are not used to training then your local gym will be able to advise you on a plan and schedule to help you achieve your goals.
Training does not work overnight!
The fittest athletes train as part of their lifestyles and have been doing it for years. Consider training for a good couple of months before coming out to the Alps.
The Effects of Altitude
As one climbs higher the air gets thinner and so there is less oxygen in each breath we take. The higher we go the less oxygen there is. This makes exercising much harder work than at sea level and so we have to slow down to help compensate. Because we have slowed down, we may feel colder.
Because there is less oxygen in the air as we get higher, this can lead to ‘altitude sickness’ or Acute Mountain Sickness which is like the worst hangover you have ever had (headache, nausea, weakness, fatigue, dizziness) and can develop into a very serious and even fatal (in extreme cases) problem.
To avoid these problems, enjoy the climbing and increase our chances of summiting we need to acclimatise by spending several days and nights at progressively higher altitudes, so our bodies can adapt. This is a very important part of our preparation.
1. Mountaineering boots. Warm and rigid mountain boots that will take ice climbing crampons.
2. Ice climbing crampons.
3. 2 x technical ice climbing axes.
6. Clothing. 3 sets socks and light coloured thermal tops
7. Clothing cont. Lightweight Gore-Tex top/bottoms, warm hat, thick gloves, thin gloves
8. Insulating layers.
9. Personal first aid – blister kit, ibuprofen.
10. Cash for additional hot drinks / snacks on the mountain
11. Water bottle (minimum 1l)
12. 3 sets socks and thermal tops
13. Rucksack (25 to 30 litre)
14. Head torch. (you never know!)
Remember kit should be lightweight but functional – you have to carry it! We can help with equipment rental in Chamonix.
To find out more about our course, availability, or to ask any questions, please get in touch through the website or by phone on +33 (0)845 527 58 12.
We take a 20% deposit to secure your place on one of our courses, and we ask for the balance to be paid 6 weeks before the course start date.
We strongly recommend getting specialist travel insurance that covers cancellation, medical and mountain rescue.
Make sure that it covers glaciated mountaineering and climbing. We recommend the Dogtag (www.dogtag.co.uk) – they have comprehensive policies and a good reputation.
Getting to Chamonix
It is best to book flights and airport transfers well in advance of your departure.
Easyjet have many cheap flights to Geneva from all over the UK. Swiss Air have cheap and convenient flights from London to Geneva.
Booking a place on a minibus airport transfer service is by far the best way to get from Geneva airport to Chamonix (it takes about an hour or so, is cost effective and is a door to door service).
How big will the group be?
Our Ice climbing courses need a minimum of 2 people to run with a guide ratio 2:1. The group is likely to be no bigger than 6 people.
Is it possible to book either rather than as a group?
Yes. You can either book individually into a group or you can book as a group and fill the spaces yourself.
What equipment will I need?
Please read the kit list above.
When is the best time?
January is generally the best month for Ice climbing in the Alps.
Do I need insurance?
Yes. You will need to take out a comprehensive ice climbing/mountaineering package to cover yourself for your trip.
What’s the weather like?
The weather in the Alps is always changeable, but generally we are confident to say that January will be cold, which means good ice! We tend to get cold, crisp sunny days in January.
How do you match up people on the course?
It is very important for you to let us know your previous experience and climbing level before booking with us. Then we are able to match you up to suitable groups with similar abilities to make sure you get the most out of your trip.
What will we do if the weather is bad?
Chamonix is perfectly situated on the border between France and Italy, with Switzerland within reaching distance too. This gives us ultimate flexibility to find the best conditions in the area. If needs be we will drive up to 3hrs away to find the best ice in the area.
Why choose Adventure Base?
3 reasons to choose Adventure Base for all your mountain adventures.
1. Safety means success – We have been guiding clients on ice for over 8 years with a very high safety rate. To date we have had no major incidents or injuries. This is due to us taking great care in assessing the current ice conditions, and educating our clients on mountain safety.
2. Fun times – We believe in fun times. Ice climbing can be a serious challenge. But who says it can’t be fun too? Our guides are full of energy, knowledge, fun facts and big smiles. They help create lasting memories.
3. Word of Mouth – Over 70% of new clients have been recommended to us by a friend or colleague. We don’t spend big on marketing campaigns, we stay true to our product, we pay attention to every detail and then let you do the talking.