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Classic 4000ers

The highest peaks of the Alps, have held a special allure for climbers and mountaineers over the generations. ISM offers you the chance to climb any of these 'Classic 4000ers' in a lower ratio group size to fit with the changing conditions the Alps has seen over the past few seasons.

Level 2 Guiding & Coaching

6 days, 7 nights

Ratio: 2:1

Prerequisites: Summits & Skills 4000m (Instructional Course) Or equivalent

Price: £1995

 Course Dates

ISM wants to offer more of the 'Classic 4000ers' and the only way to do this is on a lower guide to client ratio. The Alps has undergone huge changes over the past few seasons and we have therefore adapted this course to suit the conditions found in the Alps now.

Course Highlights

  • A guided climbing week of classic 4000m peaks
  • More choice of potential 4000m peaks to climb
  • Expert guiding and instruction from experienced ISM Guides
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This course offers a fantastic week, climbing any number of classic 4000m peaks throughout the Alps. With our new lower ratio group size, you now have much more choice of summits to climb rather than being restricted to a few very easy peaks. Some previous mountaineering experience is necessary (such as gained on an ISM Summits & Skills 4000m course or equivalent) and the focus of this week will be on climbing rather than instruction.

There will of course be ongoing coaching and advice from your ISM Guide, which is a key element on all our courses and instruction will always be given whenever we see it would be helpful.

Our exact itinerary is normally finalised after taking into account any 4000m peaks that participants have climbed previously and the weather and conditions at the time. Please mention any peaks you have climbed on your booking form.

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Is This Course For Me?

Competence with an ice-axe and crampons is required, as well as the ability to climb/scramble over moderate broken ground on rock. Participants should normally have completed an ISM Summits & Skills 4000m course or had equivalent alpine experience. Routes climbed are normally in the range from F+ to PD+.

You need to have a good level of general fitness and stamina - climbing any 4000m peak can be physically demanding! Do prepare yourself well with regular aerobic exercise before the course.

Course Content

Peaks that can be climbed on this course

  • Dom (4545m)
  • Dufourspitze (4634m)
  • Gran Paradiso (4061m)
  • Mt Blanc du Tacul (4248m)
  • Grand Combin (4324m)
  • Briethorn (4164m)
  • Castor (4226m)
  • Alphubel (4206m)
  • Rimpfischhorn (4199m)
  • Nadelhorn (4327m)
  • Allalinhorn (4027m)
  • Weissmies (4023m)  
  • Lagginhorn (4010m)

*Please note that this course normally runs without taking mechanical uplift and is priced accordingly. If uplift is taken (with agreement of course participants) it is charged as an extra.

Sample Programme

There are many combinations when planning a week around the classic 4000m peaks and we do our best to deliver the week at the right level of abilitiy for the course participants, taking into account the weather and conditions.

Saturday - The course begins with a briefing meeting at 6.45pm at The Grand Chalet Hotel in Leysin. Here you will meet  your ISM Guide and other team members. We will make an overall plan for the week, taking into account the group, weather and conditions. You will also be able to sort out any equipment you need.  Dinner follows the briefing.

Sunday - After breakfast you will leave the  hotel and head up the Rhone valley towards Tasch, a small village below Zermatt. From here we will drive up the steep winding road to Tasch Alp from where you will walk on a good track up to the Tasch Hut to stay the night. 

Monday - A pre dawn start sees the team walking by headlamp up good trails towards the glacier Alphubel. Once on the glacier we continue up and over the Alphubeljoch and onto the Fee Gletscher. We then head north up the steepening glacier, over the 'Ice Naso' and on to the summit of Alphubel. The descent is back down the broad glacier to the Alphubeljoch and then we continue down to the Tasch hut where we'll spend a second night.

Tuesday - After a more relaxed start, we leave the Tasch hut and go down the valley and drive back to Tasch. From Tasch we take a short drive around to Saastal and up to Saas Grund. From here we take the Hohsaas lift to Kreuzboden and walk into the Weissmies hut. We should have the afternoon free and you will have the option of climbing a rocky peak (the Jagihorn) which is an hour's walk from the hut or do some rock climbing closer by. You may also be able to refresh your glacier skills such as crevasse rescue on the Trift Gletscher. We will stay in the Weissmies hut the night.

Wednesday - A pre-dawn start, sees the team walking up the steepening track towards the Lagginhorn Gletscher to climb the 'Normal Route' on the Lagginhorn. This is a great summit with the route steepening as you near the summit and one which earlier in the year isn't possible with a larger ratio group. From the summit cross, you'll enjoy fantastic views down into Italy, across to the high summits of the Mischabel Range and the huge Monte Rosa Massif behind, with over thirty 4000m peaks laid out in front of you. The descent takes us back down the same route, past the Weissmies hut and on down to the Hohsaas lift and Saas Grund below where we'll spend the night. This night in the valley will give you a chance to freshen up after three nights in mountain huts.

Thursday - More of a relaxed start to today and a short drive up to Saas Fee. From here we will take a long hike up to the Mischabel hut to climb the Nadelhorn.

Friday - A pre-dawn start with headlamps to walk up the Hohbalm Gletscher towards the WIndjoch and the North East Ridge of the Nadelhorn. Once on this snowy ridge there is fantastic and steeper climbing with amazing views all the way to the summit. The summit offers great views across to the classic Dent Blanche, Matterhorn and all the other inspiring 4000m peaks in the area. The descent is back down the North East Ridge, returning to the Mischabel hut and  on down to Saas Fee before travelling back to Leysin for a debrief and final dinner at the Grand Chalet

Saturday morning - Breakfast at the Grand Chalet Hotel is included before departure.

Course Dates

Week Start Finish Price  
25 15 Jun 2019 22 Jun 2019 £1995
28 6 Jul 2019 13 Jul 2019 £1995
30 20 Jul 2019 27 Jul 2019 £1995
32 3 Aug 2019 10 Aug 2019 £1995
34 17 Aug 2019 24 Aug 2019 £1995
36 31 Aug 2019 7 Sep 2019 £1995