The Chamonix Classics course is a great week for anybody looking to experience first hand the best of the valley’s alpinism.
This is a flexible 6 day week which can cater for your specific ambitions according to your previous experience and prevailing conditions. We even have the option of relocating in the unlikely event that weather/conditions shut us down in Chamonix. Our low guiding ratio and flexible Chamonix accommodation allow us to make the most of the weather and climb the best routes.
This is also a great week to improve on your own mountaineering skills with the advice and the supervision of our expert guides.
It is also a great week to build experience before our Matterhorn and Eiger climbing weeks.
Clicking on the ‘Book Now’ button opposite, will open a new tab/window in your browser and direct you to our online tour booking system. Here you can check the course dates and availability.
- Mountain huts at full-board
- Guides expenses
- Guiding fees
- In resort transport
- Chamonix accommodation (Bed and breakfast)
What's not included
- Transport to/from Chamonix
- Equipment rental
- Travel insurance
- Uplifts according to itinerary
- Evening meals when in Chamonix
- Snacks, Bottled water, beers, drinks in huts
Who is this for?
Accommodation and huts
Our Chamonix Classics trips are based in our centrally located chalet. Rooms are on a twin shared basis and all have en suite bathrooms. The chalet have a fun atmosphere and there are often other like minded people staying in the chalet who are on various other climbing courses. Chamonix town is a short 5 minute walk away with plenty of restaurants, bars and cafes and mountaineering shops.
What to expect from mountain huts
They are basic but comfortable. They can cater for vegetarians. Food is usually on a set menu basis (3 course in the evening, hot drink and bread/jam/cereal for breakfast). Often there is no running water and you have to buy water to drink and wash with (no showers). You can usually buy tea, coffee, wine, beer, soft drinks, chocolate bars and snacks.
Sleeping arrangements are normally dormitory style bunkbeds (eg 6 people on the bottom, 6 on the top) with blankets or duvets. No sleeping bags are needed, rather a ‘sheet sleeping bag liner’ should be brought. The huts provide slippers for wearing around the hut.
You can always expect a good atmosphere and a stunning view!
The itinerary for this course is very flexible, so please let us know in advance if you have any requests, likes, dislikes, or things you’d particularly like to work on. Many people come back year after year to enjoy this course, so we try to change the itinerary regularly and make sure that we’re not repeating routes you’ve already done – just let us know and we’ll work with you.
Below is an example itinerary (please note this is just a guide and subject to change). Other options include the Aiguille du Peigne, Midi-Plan traverse, Papillon ridge, South face of the Midi, or classic rock routes such as the Frison Roche. The list of possibilities is limitless!
We meet in the evening at 6pm to discuss the weather/conditions and the plan for the week. There is time to pick up any hire gear you may need.
Valley rock climbing – Refresh your rock climbing skills with multi pitch climbing and abseiling in the beautiful Aiguilles Rouges. Stay in Chamonix.
Drive through the Mont Blanc tunnel to Italy and enjoy the stunning views of the south east face of Mont Blanc en route to the Traverse of the Entreves – an airy scramble and perfect way to get back into the swing of glacier travel, moving together on rock, and finding your feet in crampons. Stay in the Torino Hut.
An early start leaving the Torino hut before dawn to tackle the classic Tour Ronde or Dent de Geant – both spectacular climbs from which to enjoy a stunning alpine sunrise. Make your way back towards the Aiguille de Midi to enjoy a relaxing evening and night in the Cosmiques Hut.
A more relaxed day today but still plenty to learn and enjoy. Climb the classic Cosmiques Arete and/or Points Lachenal traverse – another mixed route with an exhilarating mix of snowy ridges, rocky scrambles, and short abseils. Take the cable car back to Chamonix for a relaxing evening in the valley and a nice hot shower.
A walk up to the Albert Premier hut is the perfect opportunity to hone your mountain safety skills, with a technical safety session on the glacier – incorporating ropework, crevasse rescue and more advanced ice axe and crampon techniques. Night in the Albert Premier hut.
Another alpine start and a long but exciting day – finishing off your week with something special. Head up the glacier from the hut towards the Aiguille de Chardonnet, alongside which runs the spectacular Forbes Arete – a mixed climb incorporating a bit of everything you’ve practised during the week. Snowy ridges, scrambling, traverses, rock and ice.
Enjoy spectacular views from the ridge, before heading back down to Chamonix to relax and congratulate yourself on a successful week of mountaineering!
To maximise your chance of success during this course it is important to get as fit as you possibly can. So we have partnered with Uphill Athlete, specialists in strength and conditioning for peak mountain performance.
Mountaineering is all about being able to exercise at a moderate intensity for many hours (typically 5 to 12 hours) and your training should reflect this. Balance is important too as you will spend many hours walking in crampons. For this a good chore strength is important.
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.
We highly recommend this 8 Week Basic Mountaineering Plan to get you in shape for the trip.
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.
Pre-Book with Adventure Base:
Black Diamond Saber-tooth crampon rental 6 days €45.00
Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe rental 6 days €35.00
Black Diamond climbing harness rental 6 days €30.00
Black Diamond Half Dome helmet rental 6 days €25.00
Select which extras you would like to pre-book at check-out. Please note we have limited stock so pre-booking is advised.
1. Ice axe – for general mountaineering (between 50 and 70cm depending on your height)
2. Standard steel mountaineering Crampons
3. Helmet – standard hard plastic climbing helmet.
4. Trekking Poles – Foldable
5. Mountaineering B2 or B3 Boots and Gaiters
6. Rucksack – Mountaineering specific 30-40L
7. Water bottles up to 2L
8. Harness (adjustable so that it is comfortable over all your layers), with 2 screw gate carabiners.
9. Sun protection including: sunglasses (category 4), goggles, sun hat, Factor 30-50 High Mountain sunscreen, lip salve/block.
10. 3 sets of socks and thermal tops.
11. Lightweight (GORE-TEX® or similar) hardshell hooded top and bottoms
12. Warm hat and 2 pairs of gloves. One pair should be warm, thick mountaineering gloves. The second pair should be a thinner pair suitable for mid mountain conditions.
13. Insulating layers. We suggest a thin lightweight fleece and a synthetic or down jacket.
14. Mountaineering trousers
15. Personal first aid – blister kit, aspirin, or Paracetamol.
16. Head torch and spare batteries.
18. Sleeping bag silk liner (you don’t need a sleeping bag itself as blankets/duvets are provided in the huts)
19. Cash for extra drinks / snacks in huts as well as any costs not included in the course price
21. Shorts, hiking shoes or trainers Nice to have to wear around town and on approaches to climbing days.
Please note this is a guide and you may be required to rent or purchase last minute equipment on arrival dependent on the weather and changes in itinerary.
We take a 30% deposit to secure your place on one of our courses, and we ask for the balance to be paid 10 weeks before the course start date.
We strongly recommend getting specialist travel insurance that covers cancellation, medical and mountain rescue.
Getting to Chamonix
British Airways, Swiss Air and Easyjet offer many flights to Geneva International from all over the UK and the rest of Europe.
Booking a place on a minibus airport transfer service is by far the best way to get from Geneva airport to Chamonix (1hour). We recommend CVT Transfers and you can book directly by clicking here: http://adventurebase.cvt.ski
We need a minimum of two climbers to run this course. Your booking will remain pending if you are the first to book onto a course and we will send you a confirmation as soon as a the course is confirmed. We recommend not booking flights till the course is confirmed. We will confirm the course at the latest 10 weeks before the start date.