Chamonix is a world Mecca for high mountain rock climbing. The Mont Blanc Massif is brimming full of perfect granite cliffs set in a stunning alpine & glacial environment. On the other side of the Chamonix Valley, the ‘Aiguilles Rouges’ provide some brilliant, sunny and easily accessible mountain rock climbing. When combined with the option of climbing a classic rock route in Italy or Switzerland for the day, Chamonix becomes a fantastic base for mountain rock climbing and we warmly welcome you to join us and sample the quality ‘Alpine Rock’.
We offer Chamonix based alpine rock climbing courses from 1 day experiences to 6 day courses combining training and guiding. Contact us to arrange a private guide or check out dates for our 5 and 2 day courses below.
These courses are designed for folk who already have some outdoor rock climbing experience and want the challenge of climbing some longer routes in an inspiring mountain environment. Check out the suggested 5 day alpine rock climbing itinerary below. Those without any rock climbing experience already may want to take our Chamonix Intro Rock course to receive some more basic training and tackle easier routes.
Below are some of the skills taught on our Chamonix Alpine Rock course
- Personal climbing movement skills & rock climbing techniques with the aim of climbing efficiently & enjoyably, even with a pack on
- Refresher and coaching points on technical & ropework skills, tying in to the rope, belaying, tying in to anchors efficiently
- Becoming a good ‘second’ rock climber, and using protection equipment (slings, nuts, cams, hexes etc)
- Multi-pitch rock climbing skills, stance management, route finding (guidebook / topo use), placing an early first runner
- Descending or retreating safely from rock climbs by abseiling on single and multi-pitch cliffs
- Lead climbing skills, placing protection, clipping runners, constructing anchors & tips for keeping yourself as safe as possible
- Alpine rock skills, managing the rope on easy ground, taking coils & moving together
- Alpine mountain skills, approaching a rock climb with a snow or glacial approach. Use of ice-axe & crampons.
5 Day Chamonix Alpine Rock Itinerary
This is a suggested itinerary based on good weather. It may be necessary to change the programme to make best use of local mountain conditions.
- Pre-Course – Climbing training so that you arrive feeling fit, ready and climbing well
- Day 1 – Multi-pitch rock climbing training in a high valley setting e.g Les Cheserys. Lots of multi-pitch climbing at around F5a – F5c as a good warm up day with constant opportunity for training and refining of your multi-pitch rock climbing ropework. The aim is to start working as an alpine team & become fast and efficient for the long mountain routes later in the week.
- Day 2 – Long mountain multi-pitch route in the Aiguilles Rouges e.g. Chappelle de Gliere or South Ridge Aiguilles Crochues (F5c). This day gives both an opportunity to practice the skills refined yesterday and develop on them with the need to move together on easier alpine terrain between steeper rock pitches (taking alpine coils & moving together)
- Day 3 – We aim to spend the final three days of the course climbing Chamonix Granite in the Mont Blanc massif. Today we take the Aiguille du Midi lift to the Plan de l’Aiguille and climb one of the brilliant granite mountain routes between 1 and 2 hours walk from the lift station e.g. Papillons Arete, Les Lepidopteres, Les Minnettes, Couzy Route on the Aiguille de l’M.
- Days 4 & 5 – Our last 2 days our spent on a ‘high mountain rock expedition’ on the golden granite crags above the huge upper Vallee Blanche glacier. Approached from either the Aiguille du Midi top station or the Italian Punta Hellbronner lift we can spend the night in either the French Cosmiques Hut or Italian Torino Hut (depending on conditions and your food preference!). From either side magnificent mountain rock climbs can be approached over the glacier and climbed in a real high alpine setting with stunning views of the Mont Blanc massif. Just a few possibilities from a wealth of options are the ‘Roi de Siam’ (5c) on the Petit Capucin, West Face of the Aiguille d’Entreves (6a) Voie Salluard on Pointe Adolphe Rey (6a) or, a little easier but still with a superb classic tough alpine rock feel, the Pyramide du Tacul (5b)
Rock Climbing Experience Required
Rock climbing experience is required for this course as the intention is to make a rapid progression in to climbing in the high mountains. You will already be able to second climbs to at least F6a (UK HVS-E1 / U.S. 5.9 – 5.10 / UIAA V-VI); have done at least some abseiling before; have a good level of general and rock fitness and are keen and determined to rock climb and mountaineer in the mountains.
Course Kit List
As this is a rock climbing course that takes place in an alpine mountaineering environment you will need all the rock climbing equipment in the list below as well as all the relevant alpine mountaineering equipment. For alpine rock climbing make sure that you have comfortable rock shoes which you can wear all day with a pair of socks.