Classic Alpine Icefalls

In ice climbing perhaps more than in any other aspect of mountaineering, gaining good technique enables you to progress confidently through the grades and ultimately to achieve climbs at your full potential.

Level 2 Instruction & Coaching

5 days, 6 nights

Ratio: 2:1

Prerequisites: Ice Climbing Skills Or equivalent

Price: £1745*

* Fully inclusive price

 Course Dates

This ice climbing course offers an opportunity to gain or refresh all the important ice climbing skills whilst enjoying 5 days of top quality icefall climbing in the 'classic' grades.

We begin the week on routes of Grade III and grade IV standard and aim to be enjoying the challenge of 'vertical' grade V ice by the end of the week, the rate of progress being entirely geared to the abilities and ambitions of course participants.

We operate in some of Switzerland's finest icefall-climbing areas, doing classic climbs throughout the week. You can climb as a second for the whole week if you wish and simply enjoy a brilliant week of 'middle grade' ice climbing.

For people whose ultimate aim is to lead-climb on ice we are happy to incorporate a session on lead-climbing skills which will enable you to climb independently with the best possible safety margin.

Is This Course For Me?

The course is designed primarily for people with some ice climbing experience who want to improve technique and climbing grade, in order to be able to tackle more ambitious ice climbs with confidence (either as leader or second).

Technical roped climbing experience is important as well as some previous experience with ice axe and crampons. General fitness and upper body excercise such as indoor or outdoor rock climbing will be found beneficial.

Sample Programme

The course convenes at the Grand Chalet Hotel in Leysin with a course briefing at 6.45pm. This will give you the opportunity to meet your guide and sort out any equipment you need . Evening meal follows.

Day 1 - Monday
Climbing on the Lauenen Icefalls near Leysin, which offer routes up to 3 pitches long in beautiful quiet surroundings. Here we focus on climbing skills, teaching or refreshing the most effective use of ice tools and crampons on various angles of ice and analysing your technique, thereby giving the right foundation for more challenging climbs later in the week.

Days 2 - 5 (Tuesday - Friday)
Climbing in two of Switzerland's premier icefall climbing areas, typically the Val d'Herens and the Val d'Arolla in the Swiss Valais, and the amazing icefall venue of Kandersteg in the Bernese Oberland. We are happy to be very flexible to ensure that we climb where conditions are best and attempt the routes most suitable for course participants. If the weather is better in the south we can drive through the St Bernard tunnel to the ice-climbing mecca of Cogne. Our choice of venues will take into account prevailing conditions, the weather forecast and the needs of the group and we use private cars to move rapidly between areas.

Saturday - Breakfast at the hotel is included before departure.

Technical Skills Covered

During the climbing programme we teach such technical aspects as rapid ice screw placement and removal, racking equipment for steep ice, double rope technique, setting up stances and belays, retreating safely from an ice climb, assessing ice conditions, mixed-climbing techniques and adapting technique for higher-grade climbing. At the guide's discretion we teach lead climbing on suitable terrain.

Note: This course is the perfect preparation for our more advanced Technical Alpine Icefalls week, and the two courses may be taken consecutively for a superb two-week holiday in a variety of world-class ice-climbing venues throughout the western Alps.

Course Dates

Week Start Finish Price  
3 12 Jan 2020 18 Jan 2020 £1745 Full
4 19 Jan 2020 25 Jan 2020 £1745 Full
5 26 Jan 2020 1 Feb 2020 £1745 Full
6 2 Feb 2020 8 Feb 2020 £1745 Full
7 9 Feb 2020 15 Feb 2020 £1745 Full
8 16 Feb 2020 22 Feb 2020 £1745 Full
9 23 Feb 2020 29 Feb 2020 £1745 Full
10 1 Mar 2020 7 Mar 2020 £1745 Full