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Based in Switzerland, this is 3 days dedicated to learning all the essential skills and techniques you need to operate in the Alpine mountains. This course is aimed as a great introduction and for those who would like 3 days to either support the start of an alpine trip of their own, or part of a short holiday.
The main aim is to cover the basics and make you feel more confident to operate independently in the Alpine mountains. Being based out of Saas Grund, Switzerland, provides us with quick access to the mountains and climbing options, with mountain huts and glaciers and a variety of summits all close by. Learning about planning, route finding and glacier travel, the team will also experience an alpine start, staying in a mountain hut for one evening. The course is an introduction to all the basic alpine skills allowing first-hand experience of intro alpine routes with skills on the way, all working with our experienced IFMGA Mountain Guides.
You can secure your place with a deposit. Call the office on 01479 861 256.
Over the course of the trip, we will endeavour to cover as many subject areas as possible, our experienced Mountain Guides will make the best use of weather and conditions and share planning and decision making throughout. The aim is to help provide some training to compliment your holiday or intended further time planned in the alpine mountains. At a comfortable pace over 3 days we will aim to move over glaciers, rock ridges, stay in alpine huts, climb a couple of alpine summits and teach along the way. Beyond an alpine introduction the 3 days can be seen as a refresher for some and reassurance you and your team are operating safely. The aim will also be to provide some good advice and suggestions for either immediate plans or future alpine adventures.
This week is suitable for any experienced and fit UK mountaineer or rock climber. Some experience of rock climbing, scrambling, winter mountaineering (use of crampons and ice axe) and climbing is ideal but not essential. To make the best of this course some knowledge of these skills is advised.
The Alpine Mountain Skills course is suitable for any experienced and fit UK hillwalker, mountaineer, or rock climber. Ideally, you should have some experience of climbing or scrambling in summer or winter (or both).
An alpine day is often quite long and tiring so being fit and rested before attending this course is strongly advised. You should be capable of carrying a 10kg rucksack for upwards of 8hrs over rough terrain. The best preparation for any alpine mountaineering begins at home in the UK mountains, with long days walking and scrambling.
If you want to get a head start on what to expect, why not attend one of our Alpine Preparation weekends, based at Glenmore Lodge. This intensive 2-day course will answer all your questions and help with your pre course preparation.
It’s important to retain some flexibility and adapt to the weather/ conditions at the time, to get the most from the course. However, below is a sample programme of how a 3-day Discover Alpine Mountaineering course may run.
Meet at 18:45pm the evening before the start date – pre course meeting at hotel base in Saas Grund, Valais, Switzerland. Further information will be provided before to departure. Our evening meet up will chat through the plans for the 3 days, covering:
• Welcome and introductions, course intro and aims/objectives
• Weather and planning, maps, and guidebooks
• Equipment checks and packing
Our Instructors are available to chat – please contact the team click here
Day 1 – Intro Alpine skills and technique training
Short walk to Saas Grund-Hohsaas lift station and take the cable car to Kreuzboden at 2400m. An hour walk from this point puts us beneath the Jagihorn (3206m), a great place to introduce and practice mountaineering rope systems and basic rock-climbing skills. Day 1 here will also provide progressive acclimatization and a chance to check your own clothing and equipment systems. We will also aim to introduce glacial travel rope systems and crevasse rescue drills. Then back to the valley to review and reflect on the days learning and experiences.
Day 2 – Walk to hut and glacial travel skills
A short drive to the Moiry Glacier and walk to the Cabane de Moiry at 2825m. This will be our accommodation for the evening so a chance to look around relax and learn about how mountain huts work. We will then descend to the glacier and practice crampon technique and glacial travel rope systems, including further crevasse rescue drills. In the evening prior to dinner, we will have a short planning session and look over the weather forecast and maps/guidebooks for our alpine peak the next day.
Day 3 – Ascent of an Alpine peak and consolidation of skills/further practice
After an early ‘Alpine start’ and breakfast, we will leave the hut and make the approach to the glacier, operating in teams and a great opportunity to work independently, we will rope up for our glacial approach to the mountain. Using all the skills practiced in the previous days, we will plan to climb the alpine summit Pigne de la Le (3396m) and consolidate all the alpine skills practiced. After the descent we will pause for a well-earned break at the hut and continue our walk back to the van and drive back round to Saas Grund base. Here will close the course with a short review and celebration drink/tea and cake.
|Date30/06/24||Cost (with accommodation)Call Us – Prices from £60pn||Cost (no accommodation)£685.00||Places|
|Date03/07/24||Cost (with accommodation)Call Us – Prices from £60pn||Cost (no accommodation)£685.00||Places|
|Need a different date? Call 01479 861 256 to arrange your own date, or email [email protected]|
For awareness our valley base will be https://www.pension-heino.ch/.
What’s NOT Included
Travel to and from the start of the course
Travel to Saas Ground
Getting to Saas Grund and Saas Fee on public transport is efficient and easy. The closest airports are Geneva and Zurich. Both airports provide excellent direct rail links to Visp, where you will transfer from the train to a bus. There are many direct trains to Visp and journey times are around 2 hr 15 minutes. For train time information click here Trainline : Search, Compare & Buy Cheap Train Tickets (thetrainline.com)
From Visp you can then connect with the Tourist bus. Again, these are cheap, frequent and take about 30 minutes to reach Saas Grund Visp to Saas-Grund (rome2rio.com) We recommend flying into your chosen airport early enough to allow you to catch the last bus up the valley. Buses run late into the night, but you have more choice earlier in the day.
In total it will take roughly 3.5 hours to travel from Geneva or Zurich airport to Saas Grund.
We recommend taking out an insurance policy that covers both rescue and medical, below are some options:
Membership of an Alpine Club – Optional (this will however give you discount in most mountain huts)
All Glenmore Lodge alpine courses will be staffed by qualified IFMGA Mountain Guides. More information on the work of Mountain Guides can be found at www.bmg.org.uk.
Occasionally we will use Aspirant Mountain Guides, who will work alongside qualified Guides in order to gain further experience; this is an essential part of their training.
Personal Equipment (* Starred Items are available to borrow from GL Stores – see equipment request form)
*Rock Climbing Harness with adjustable leg loops
*Helmet – for example Petzl Meteor or Elios.
*Belay device and locking karabiner – for example DMM Pivot and Phantom HMS
*2 x prusik loops and 1 x snapgate karabiner – 5-6mm cord tied with a double fisherman’s to produce a 30cm loop.
*2 x HMS karabiners
*1 x 120cm sewn Dynema sling- for example DMM Dynatec 11mm
*2 x Ice Screw 17cm plus karabiner.
*Ice Axe 50 or 60cm – for example Petzl Summit
*Crampons – for example Petzl Vasak (leverlock)
Mountaineering Boots – for example Scarpa Manta Tech or Mont Blanc Pro/ La Sportiva Nepal Evo GTX
Rock Climbing shoes – comfy!
Trekking Pole/s – optional
Waterproof Trousers – full length zips useful
Thermal Tops x 2 – long sleeves
Soft Shell Jacket
Soft shell Trousers
Lightweight Belay Jacket
Sun hut and Warm Hat
Sunglasses – CE Cat 4 rating for high altitudes.
Ski Goggles – optional
Warm Gloves: Thick and Thin
Compass and whistle – your Mountain Guide will have all the necessary maps and guidebooks.
Head Torch (charged) or spare batteries
Rucksack – 35 – 45 litres.
Water bottle – 1ltr Nalgene, camel backs tend to freeze and don’t handle boiling water very well.
Sun cream and Lip Salve – SPF 30 minimum
Personal first aid – some tape, Compeed (plaster for blisters) and your own pain relief (aspirin, ibuprofen, paracetamol)
‘Very Small’ wash kit for hut – Hand gel, wet wipes or facecloth and toothbrush/toothpaste
Sheet Sleeping bag –compulsory in mountain huts which supply blankets/duvet and pillows.
Ear Plugs – optional
Camera, Money, Passport.
Personal Clothing – for wearing in the valley. Shorts and t-shirts can often be worn on hut approach walks but these should be light as they will have to be carried the following day.
Can't find exactly what you are looking for? We are happy to create it for you. You can hire one of our instructors or guides from as little as £280 a day, including any equipment. If you’re a group, all of our courses are available on a date that suits you or if you would prefer we can tailor a course to your requirements. Simply get in touch to discuss your requirements.