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International School of Mountaineering

ISM - International School of Mountaineering

Why Choose ISM?

Our pedigree speaks for itself

Founded in 1965, ISM is by far the longest established provider of Alpine courses to English speaking clients. The majority of our clients come from the UK, although we attract English speaking clients from all over the world.

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UK Rock 5
Icefall Climbing 6

The ISM Team

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Adrian Nelhams

ISM Director and IFMGA British Mountain Guide

As a Director of ISM, Adrian splits his time between guiding, the ISM office, family and climbing for himself. During his 25 year commitment to the team, Adrian has played a key role in the development of ISM.

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Tom Bw

Tommaso Dusi

IFMGA Italian Mountain Guide

Tommaso is a an experienced Italian mountain guide and regular year-round ISM team member. He loves the mountains and helping people to connect and find happiness in nature.

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Christian Face

Christian Türk

IFMGA Swedish Mountain Guide

Christian was born in Sweden and had his first skiing experience in Austria as a youngster.

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Max Cole

Max Cole

IFMGA British Mountain Guide

Max has been rock climbing, mountaineering and skiing for over forty years. He has climbed in New Zealand, Yosemite, Morocco, Norway and extensively throughout the European alps and within the U.K.

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Christian Edelstam Tierra

Christian Edelstam

IFMGA Swedish Mountain Guide

Christian likes exploring the mountains in any mountain range and particularly loves the solitude and wilderness of northern Scandinavia.

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Meet The Team

ISM Historical

In the early sixties an ex-fighter pilot named John Harlin lived and worked in Leysin at the American College of Switzerland. A very determined and charismatic mountaineer, he was eventually joined there by Royal Robbins. Leysin became the 'basecamp' for leading American and British alpinists of the day, such as Gary Hemming, Layton Kor, Dougal Haston and Don Whillans. They began exploring the Leysin Tours (limestone towers above Leysin up to 500ft high) and many of the classic routes bear their names.

At that time there were still 'last great problems' to be solved in the Alps. The South face of the Fou was unclimbed and there were no 'Directissimas' on the Dru West Face or the Eiger Nordwand. With Robbins, Harlin succeeded on the first two objectives; then in 1965 he made another far-reaching contribution to mountaineering by founding ISM.

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Testimonials For ISM

“What an incredible week learning the basics of Mountaineering. The course is perfectly balanced between summiting high alpine peaks and learning rope, climbing and glacier skills.

William 2021

This was a fantastic trip. Paolo was excellent. The accommodation great. All helped along by wall to wall sunshine, stunning arctic scenery and some superb snow, so no problems as far as I'm concerned.

Steve (2017)
Ski Lyngen Alps Norway

​Good mixture of progressive instruction and learning, climbing and guiding. We climbed some very good mountains from good huts and made the best of the mixed weather conditions. The course also used a range of situations and locations to cover a wide range of skills and techniques.

Donald Connolly
Classic AlpinISM (Instructional Course)

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