Courses are run by professionals who are expert ice climbers having a wealth of experience from around the world.
The Alps has always provided great winter climbing conditions with typically low and stable temperatures forming some amazing ice. Conditions are generally at their best during January and February. The icefalls in the Canadian Rockies come into their own during March, when the weather is slightly warmer and the days longer.
As with any climbing holiday you book, you need to travel to where the conditions are best. At ISM we are always prepared to travel to give you the best climbing week - at no extra expense to our clients.
In winter, inspiring ice lines form low down in the alpine valleys, giving superb climbing which is very accessible. Our depth of experience in this fragile world allows us to locate the best ice in some of the more remote regions.
During your course, we offer high quality climbing with expert coaching and instruction which is always tailored to an individual's climbing ability, experience and aspirations.
The Classic and Technical Icefall climbing courses have a low (2:1) client to guide ratio. This maximises your climbing time and minimises time spent waiting to climb. It also allows us to tackle the most ambitious climbs you are capable of in an efficient style. We like to climb in the quieter, more adventurous ice climbing venues so that you can enjoy the winter alpine environment to the full without the hassle (and often risk) of ice climbing at crowded venues.
Each course gives a full 5 days ice climbing (with 6 nights accommodation) and our programme caters for the full range of ability/experience. Complete beginners are welcome to join the Ice Climbing Skills week while Technical Alpine Icefalls will challenge even fit and experienced ice climbers.
Each course requires that people are fit and equipped for the demands of the winter environment (see Equipment page and note below). It is our intention that every course should be great fun, full of adventure and a rewarding learning experience, with top class instruction blended into a challenging programme of the best ice climbing in our chosen venues.
Classic Alpine Icefalls is suited to people wanting to improve ice climbing technique and to progress as far as possible in the space of a week, as well as those who just want to enjoy great ice climbs at the 'classic' grades of III and IV (with a chance to climb grade V for people who are climbing confidently). The course is perfect for 'improvers' who will benefit from expert tuition to climb more efficiently and work up confidently to harder ice climbs.
Technical Alpine Icefalls will suit the experienced ice-climber who wants a challenging alpine ice climbing course on routes of grades IV and V (i.e. with some sustained vertical sections requiring good technique and upper body strength) with a chance to try grade VI for the more ambitious. No two courses cover the same ground, and people who have joined our Alpine Icefalls courses previously can be assured of climbing fresh routes in new areas.
If you can’t take a full week’s holiday for alpine icefall climbing this winter, we offer our Ice-Blaster Weekend - two intensive days of building skills and climbing great ice routes, using private cars for rapid transport to the venues offering the best conditions. Climbers of any ability are welcome and we provide a blend of climbing and instruction according to individual needs.
Later in the season we are offering two dates for our Canadian Icefalls week in the majestic Canadian Rockies. These may be combined to give the ultimate two-week ice climbing holiday.
Our alpine ice climbing courses convene at our base in Leysin, the Hotel Grand Chalet, and onward transport is by private car provided by ISM.
Leysin is easy to reach from Geneva Airport and centrally positioned to access a wide variety of icefall climbing areas, a crucial factor in achieving as much as we possibly can on our courses.
Away from Leysin we stay in mountain resorts using comfortable hotels, which are most welcome after a day on the ice.
An Information Sheet on hotel accommodation, equipment hire, meeting point etc. is available on the website and sent out to clients well before course starting dates.