It comprises five full days of top-quality ice climbing in such celebrated venues as Kandersteg and Cogne, as well as more remote valleys like Adelboden, Lenk and the Val de Bagnes. We steer clear of overcrowded icefall venues (such as some of those in the Chamonix valley) to give a safer, more aesthetic and adventurous ice climbing experience.
To get the most from the course, participants should have had experience of following ice routes of grade IV standard, whether in the Alps or on winter routes in the UK. If you don't already climb at this grade, you may wish to consider our 'Classic Alpine Icefalls' course as preparation.
The aim of the course is to build on your technical skills and ice climbing ability while enjoying classic grade IV and V icefalls in at least two different venues. To achieve this we give continuous expert instruction throughout the week, looking at your climbing technique in detail and trying to ensure that you climb as well and as efficiently as you can.
We adapt the course so that everyone has the right level of challenge. Keen, fit people will have the opportunity to follow routes at grade VI (which have sustained vertical sections) and everybody on the course will greatly increase their ice climbing experience. There are opportunies to learn lead climbing skills for people whose goal is to climb independently.
We operate in small teams and travel by private car, giving us great flexibility to climb where the ice is best and to visit areas/routes which are new to you even if you have joined us many times before. It can be critical whether we head north to the Oberland or to more southern areas - this flexibility, backed by the depth of knowledge of the ISM guides, is the key to giving you a great ice climbing week which won't be ruined by bad weather or poor ice conditions in any particular area.