Classic Alpine Icefalls
Level 2 : Guided Climbing
In ice climbing, perhaps more than in any other area of mountaineering, gaining good technique enables you to progress confidently through the grades and ultimately to achieve climbs at your full potential.
Building your icefall climbing technique, skills and experience on this 'Classic Alpine Icefalls' course is the perfect way to progress and develop your icefall climbing on some of the best classic grade icefalls in the Alps. This course is a great progression from our Level 1 - 'Ice Climbing Skills' course, which will have taught you basic skills.
Climb some of the classic icefalls around the Alps
Develop your skills and experience icefall climbing
Enjoy a progression of both skills and grade of ice climbed
Expert guiding and instruction from experienced ISM Guides
Is This Course For Me?
This course is a perfect progression in terms of developing skills and experience after having completed our Ice Climbing Skills course, or if you wish to develop your experience and climb some of the classdic icefalls in the Alps. We focus the week on climbing multi-pitch routes, taking into consideration the weather and conditions. The course should give you the expereince to develop and grow as an ice climber and a chance to enjoy some of the fantastic icefalls the Alps has to offer.
We pace the week to suit you. We begin on the first day refreshing your skills and techniques on more moderate ice, and then as the week progresses we aim to get on steeper and longer routes as the abilities of the group develop.
A Classic Icefalls Week
You'll get the chance to climb in some of the finest icefall climbing venues in the Alps, moving around the different areas as the weather, conditions and importantly temperature dictate. You can climb as a second for
the whole week and simply enjoy a brilliant week of 'middle
grade' ice climbing, becoming fluent in the skills and techniques. Alternatively, if your ultimate aim is to learn to lead-climb on ice, then as situations arise and we're confident of your ability, we will include a session on lead-climbing skills, which will enable you to climb independently with the best possible safety margin
- Refreshing your icefall climbing skills and experience
- Developing your personal climbing technique
- Understanding icefall conditions, the effect of temperature and the weather
- Snow pack and risk assessment
- Climbing some 'classic' alpine icefalls
- Placing ice screws and other specific equipment
- Ice belays and anchors
- Ropework for belaying and lead climbing
- V-Thread anchors and abseilling
- Grades and understanding icefall guidebooks
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.
The course starts with a briefing at 6.45pm at the Tour D'Ai hotel in Leysin. This is a chance for you to meet your team mates and Guide and go through the details of the course. There will also be time for you to sort out any equipment you need and for you to ask questions. Dinner will follow the briefing.
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 you the right foundation for more challenging climbs later in the week.
Tuesday - Friday
You will climb in some 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 you. 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. We spend Friday night back at the Tour D'Ai in Leysin.
Breakfast at the hotel is included before departure.
Accommodation throughout the course is in mountain hotels with excellent, plentiful food, helping us to relax, refresh and rest well each night to be ready for another full day on the ice.
Course Dates & Booking
Please call +44 (0) 1539 721561 for availability
Meet the Team
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.Read More
IFMGA Italian Mountain Guide
Born in NW Italy in a region surrounded by mountains, Paolo started to ski and trek as a kid, always wanting to explore 'beyond the next hill'.Read More
Please check the vital information below to help when booking a course
- Fully Inclusive Prices
- Getting to Leysin
- Insurance Information
- Paying Information
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Testimonials For ISM
"I loved the course and Terry was great. I learned a lot and had a lot of fun and feel confident and secure in my technique".
Thanks for a fantastic week. It was really one of the best things I have ever done. I learned a lot during the week, not only about climbing technique, but also about attitude.
Bernese Oberland 4000ers
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.
Ski Lyngen Alps Norway