High Mountain Guides / What we do / Mountaineering in Chamonix / Chamonix Alpine Intro

Chamonix Alpine Intro

Mountaineering Training in the Mont Blanc Massif on an Alpine Intro Course

Whilst Chamonix is the capital of world mountaineering, you do not need to be a great climber to enjoy its vast mountain attractions. On the contrary one of Chamonix's real assets is that it has peaks and climbs suitable for all levels of challenge and for every step along the path to becoming an Alpinist. This training course is designed for those who are new to alpine mountaineering and want to either develop their skills to become independent alpine climbers or complete further climbs with a Guide. It would also be suitable for folk wishing to climb Mont Blanc after the course of heading off on an expedition to the Greater Ranges.

2015 Course Dates & Prices Here

During 5 action packed days this course aims to provide you with high quality training in all the alpine essentials whilst completing some fine peaks and routes along the way. This blend of training and guiding will give you both the practical skills and a suitable context in which to use them as well as having a fun sociable week completing some great mountain journeys.

Below we have outlined both the alpine training elements and suggested alpine routes (up to alpine grade 'PD') for this course which will be led by a fully qualified IFMGA Mountain Guide

There are four cornerstones to Alpine Mountaineering which those experienced in smaller and non-glaciated hills may not be familiar with. These four themes will drive the content of the training throughout the week. They are:

  • Good movement skills on all terrain from walking to steep climbing and from rock to ice
  • Always roping together members of the team on a snow covered glacier
  • Sticking to guide book time for the route - the need to be efficient and how to achieve this
  • An awareness of objective hazards and how to mitigate against them

Skills Covered During the Course

  • Crampon and ice axe training / skills,
  • Personal movement skills on a variety of types of terrain
  • Safe, simple and efficient glacier travel protocol & techniques
  • Efficient use of the rope on mountaineering terrain
  • Crevasse rescue techniques, keeping it simple and effective
  • Selecting appropriate equipment to be safe but also light and effective
  • Using mountain huts
  • The use of alpine maps and guide books and selecting appropriate routes
  • Alpine navigation including altimeter, GPS and mobile phone applications

Course Programme

  • Day 0 - Arrive in Chamonix, arrange any hire equipment. Check in to Hotel / campsite etc
  • Day 1 - Course Intro & equipment checks. Ascend to a high mountain glacier for crampon & ice-axe training & glacier travel techniques. You could also try your hand at ice climbing before moving up to the mountain hut for dinner and overnight accommodation.
  • Day 2 - Pre-dawn alpine start for glacier journey to climb a 3500m peak (e.g Aiguille du Tour or Petite Fourche). Fantastic views of the Alps, descend back to the Chamonix Valley to relax and sort any issues identified with your climbing equipment
  • Day 3 - Rock day based in Chamonix, rock climbing, rope work training, scrambling or via ferrata option
  • Day 4 - AM, Drive through to Italian Valle d'Aoste and ascend high Hellbronner lift to climb small peak / further glacier training & acclimatisation, PM, walk up to Vittorio Emanuelle Hut to spend night (pasta carbo loading!) and prepare for final ascent next day
  • Day 5 - Ascent of Gran Paradiso (4065m) highest peak> entirely in the Italian Alps, return to Chamonix
  • Alternative Day 4 & 5 - Ascent of a Swiss 4000m peak e.g the Weissmeis with a night in the lovely Almageller Hut en route:

Note: This itinerary is flexible and may change according to weather, conditions & client aspirations at the time.

Suggested Experience

Whilst it not essential to have any background of rock climbing or winter mountaineering any climbing experience, even at a climbing wall will be useful, as will any general hill walking and scrambling eperience. A good fitness level is required for alpine mountaineering days 6 - 8 hours in duration. The climb of the Grand Paradiso on the last day is particularly physical and you should be prepared for up to 10 hours on the go. This course would also be suitable for climbers with some technical experience who are keen to receive alpine specific training and develop their personal skills with a view to climbing independently after the course. Those who are keen to do longer and harder routes at a lower (1:2) ratio should look at our 'Chamonix Alpinist' course.

Equipment List

  • An alpine mountaineering equipment list is given below. In addition to good quality warm hill walking gear you will need technical equipment like; alpine mountaineering boots, crampons, ice-axe, harness and helmet. All this gear can be easily hired from us or in Chamonix.

Alpine Mountaineering

Kit list for Alpine Mountaineering


2015 Course Dates & Prices

Our intro alpine courses include 5 full climbing / guided days. The courses are run early and mid season which means you will hopefully experience 'classic' alpine summer conditions and give you the best opportunity to build on the skills learned during the course with your own alpine climbing afterwards if desired.

June 15-19

5 days, Monday - Friday Inclusive, 4 / 4 Places Still Available. (Enquiries: 2) Opportunity to Climb Gran Paradiso and Mont Blanc after this course.

Night spent in mountain hut on intended itinerary is June 18th.

July 6-10

5 days, Monday - Friday Inclusive, 4 / 4 Places Still Available. (Enquiries: 0). Opportunity to do our Becoming an Alpinist Course or Climb the Weissmies after this course.

Night spent in mountain hut on intended itinerary is July 9th.

August 31 - September 4

5 days, Monday - Friday Inclusive, 4 / 4 Places Still Available. (Enquiries: 0). Opportunity to Climb Mont Blanc or Climb the Weissmies after this course.

Night spent in mountain hut on intended itinerary is September 3rd.

2015 Price - £845

Minimum group size 2, maximum 4. Ratio of 1 Guide to 4 clients.

What’s included in the Price?

Our courses are priced on a 'guiding only' basis which means you pay the exact cost price for all other expenses like hotels, mountain huts and lift passes.

  • 5 full days mountain guiding with an IFMGA Mountain Guide
  • Transport during the course including travel in the Chamonix valley and across to the Italian / Swiss Alps as required
  • Discounted equipment hire prices
  • Management of the trip / itinerary and booking of all mountain huts

What’s not included?

  • Valley accommodation. This course is based at the excellent Chalet Tissiers 'Ice & Orange' in Chamonix which offers pleasant half board accomodation from 46 euros per night. They only charge for the nights you are actually there and will happily store luggage when away in the mountain huts. If this is full or you would like an alternative style of accommodation please see our recommended list for places to stay in Chamonix. Camping will significantly reduce the overall cost (starting from 9 euros) and there are several good campsites in 'Les Bossons', Chamonix, very close to Ice & Orange. Try 'Camping 2 Glaciers' for starters.
  • Mountain huts & lift passes, for you and the guides. Allow about 50 euros per night half board accommodation. The guides expenses are split between the group members and are discounted in huts and on lifts. The best way to deal with these expenses is to make a communal group 'kitty' which you contribute to and all expenses are paid out of. Based the above programme two nights will be spent in huts and two lifts will be taken at around 25 and 35 euros each.
  • Flights and transfers to Chamonix.
  • Mountaineering equipment. Check the kit list above
  • Insurance suitable for alpine mountaineering in Europe

Further Details & Booking

For more details on our terms & conditions, to fill in a booking form and make a payment, please visit our booking page via the link below:


We are always delighted to hear from past, current and future clients so whether you have a booking enquiry, want a conditions report, or some mountaineering advice please do get in touch to discuss your plans...

Good climbing & skiing,


High Mountain Guides

Tel: +44 115 888 2994

Skype: High Mountain Guides

Email: Please use the form below

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