Why Choose ISM?
Founded in 1965, ISM is by far the longest-established provider of
alpine mountaineering and climbing 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. Our courses provide
valuable instruction and learning opportunities along with fantastic
guided experiences leading to many long-lasting friendships and
We are owned, managed and operated by a team of vastly experienced IFMGA guides.
believe in the mountaineering and climbing school mentality, delivering
both skills and experiences to our clients, help them learn, develop
and grow as independent mountaineers and achieving their own person
goals and objectives whilst having an adventurous and fun experience.
ISM has a fantastic safety record, but we are never complacent about safety. To achieve as much as we do with our clients while maintaining the right safety margin demands a carefully thought-through programme and sound judgement on the mountain. Our programme is the result of over 50 years of operating experience, and a great strength of ISM is that courses are devised and run by the same team of very experienced IFMGA/UIAGM Guides. All guides working alongside us are thoroughly briefed.
Except for in a few clearly stated instances (where a particular ground cost can vary too significantly to make a fair charge for it) your course fee covers everything apart from your drinks bill, leaving you free to enjoy your holiday without having to dip in your pocket for things like lunches, rental of mountaineering equipment, mountain railways and cablecars. This makes our courses excellent value compared to others where such items have to be paid for as 'extras' (and are often underestimated).
Click here for full details of what your course price includes.
Course Fees Safeguarded
All course fees paid to ISM are held in a Trust Account until your course is completed. This complies with UK Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours regulations and gives our clients full protection should the organisation ever become insolvent. We also guarantee not to make any surcharges once payment has been made.
When the weather and conditions in the mountains prove fickle, flexibility in choosing the right alpine area is crucial to having a great mountaineering holiday. Unlike programmes which convene in one particular alpine valley, working from a central location like Leysin gives us the flexibility to change plans when we have to and to climb where the weather and conditions are most likely to be favourable. We adhere to course itineraries whenever possible, but hate to see you wasting your precious holiday time sitting out bad weather.
Reaching Us Is Quick and Simple
In a pleasant train journey of less than 2 hrs from Geneva airport you will arrive at our hotel base in Leysin. We take care of all onward transport from there using minibuses and cars. This saves you both time and money by not having to arrange your own transport to other alpine resorts, and means that you can experience many superb areas that may only be reached by private transport.
Great Climbs On Our Doorstep
The limestone rock towers that dominate the skyline behind Leysin are perfect for learning and developing your climbing skills. What better way to experience climbing than to follow in the footsteps of great pioneers like John Harlin, Royal Robbins, Dougal Haston and Layton Kor, who were based in Leysin in the sixties and seventies.
... and great skiing too
Leysin is a ski resort in winter and within easy reach of the massive interlinked ski area of Gstaad-Diablerets-Villars, which has some of the best on and off-piste skiing in the Alps (without the overcrowding of Chamonix and Zermatt). Several of our ski courses take place in this area.
Testimonials For ISM
Thank for an amazing couple of weeks! Matt and Stu were fantastic. I learned so much but also had a lot of fun. I have come home feeling like a proper mountaineer, having made some great new friends and with some unforgettable memories. I plan to come back next year!
Hi Eira! It is Maite from Spain again! Just a message to tell you that I spent a wonderful week and that both guides (Paolo and Christian) were superb.
Thanks for organising an excellent week. The course format, accommodation and set up was perfect. The guide was outstanding and gave us a full week of constructive tuition. I was able to put his training into practice the following week when I met up with a friend and did the Cosmiques Arrete.
R W (2017)
Classic AlpinISM (Instructional Course)