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Classic Alpine Ascents

A guided week of classic alpine mountaineering dedicated to achieving some great alpine climbs, without being restricted to attempting only 4000m summits.

Level 2 Guiding & Coaching

6 days, 7 nights

Ratio: 3:1

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

Price: £1565

 Course Dates

Many superb routes and peaks in the Alps fall short of the 4000m contour, and whilst we are happy to include a 4000m summit on this course, the emphasis will be on climbing the finest routes and peaks in our chosen areas at the right level of difficulty for course participants.

Course Highlights

  • A fun and relaxed week of classic alpine mountaineering
  • Expert guiding and instruction from experineced ISM Guides
  • Low ratios to enjoy some classic summits and routes
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Is This Course For Me?

The week is aimed at people with some previous alpine experience (e.g. our Level 1 - Summits & Skills 4000m course), but it is also open to people with experience in winter walking and summer UK scrambling. We normally tackle climbs around the grades of PD/PD+, a standard that typically involves moderate snow climbing with a single ice axe and easy rock scrambling.

To give you a varied climbing week, we like to visit two different mountain regions split with a valley based night in-between. When planning the week, we'll take into account your experience and any peaks that you've climbed previously and work hard to deliver a fun week of classic alpine mountaineering in a relaxed atmosphere.

Course Content

Peaks often climbed on this course

Swiss Valais

  • Mont Blanc de Cheilon (PD) - 3870m
  • L'Evêque - 3716m
  • Aiguille de la Tsa – 3668m
  • Pigne D'Arolla - 3796m
  • Pointes De Mourti - 3564m
  • Dente des Rosses - 3616m
  • Pigne de la Le' - 3396m
  • Fletschhorn - 3993m
  • Allalinhorn - 4027m
  • Strahlhorn - 4190m
  • Bishorn - 4153m

Mont Blanc massif

  • Aiguille du Tour - 3540m
  • Tete Blanche - 3429m
  • Aiguilles Dorees - 3519m

*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 of peaks and routes, but 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 the other course participants and your ISM Guide. After some introductions, we'll chat through an overall plans for the coming week, taking into account the group, weather and conditions. You'll also get a chance to chat through any equipment questions you may have.

Sunday - After breakfast you'll check out of the hotel and we'll head down from Leysin and then up the Rhone valley towards the village of Arolla at the head of the Val d'Herrens. Once there, we'll take a good walking track that leads to the Vignettes hut where we'll spend the night.

Monday - An early start, sees us walking with headlamps across the Glacier du Mont Collon heading towards the classic summit of the L'Eveque. The glacier steepens as we then head up the Mitre de L'Eveque via the 'Normal Route' to the summit - Alpine grade PD. We then descned the same way and return to the Vignettes Hut for a second night.

Tuesday - Another early start, but this time we head west to traverse the classic Pigne D'Arolla. This is a fantastic alpine glacial traverse over the summit of the 'Pigne' and down snow and glacier to another high mountain hut, the Cabane des Dix. This is a great hut perched on the 'Tete Noiure' overlooking the glacier de Cheilon and looking up at the beautiful North Face of the Mont Blanc DE Cheilon.

Wednesday - We leave hut after an early breakfast and make our way up to the Col de Cheilon. The 'col' gives us access to the Glacier du Gietro and the 'Normal Route' up to the summit of the Mont Blanc de Cheilon. The glacial walk weaves amongst beautiful rock ridges and towers as the glacier cascades down the mountain. The summits gives amazing 360 degree panoramic views across the Alps before we descend back down the glacier. We return to the Dix hut and then carry on down onto the glacier de Cheilon, over the col 'Pas de Chevres' and down an easy path back to Arolla where we stay the night. A night back down in the valley gives us the chance to freshen up befopre the final couple of days climbing.

Thursday - A later breakfast and after a much more relaxed start to the day, we head up the other side of the valley on good trails and walk into the Cabane Bertol where we'll spend the night. This is an easier day and gives us chance to enjoy the amazing views down onto the glacier du Mont Mine and looking east out towards the impressive Dent Blanche, Matterhorn and the Monte Rosa Massif.

Friday - After an early breakfast, we climb down steep ladders from the hut to access the glacier du Mont Mine. From the base of the ladders we then head north to 'Pointe de Bertol' and onto the smaller glacier de l'Aiguille below the Aiguille de la Tsa. The Aiguille de la Tsa is a fantastic rock pinnacle, which involves a short section of easy rock climbing to access the very small narrow summit. From the valley far below looking up at the pinnacle, it looks just like a 'mini Matterhorn' jutting up from the the ridge high up, like a sharp tooth. The views from the summit are incredible as is the exposure! Two abseils and we're back down on the glacier and walking back towards the Bertol hut. We don't head back up to the hut, but continue on down to Arolla. Once back in Arolla we'll stop for a coffee and have a relaxed debrief, reflecting back on the week and also giving you the chance to think about the next step in your own mountaineering plans moving forward. We then drive back to Leysin and a final night at the Grand Chalet Hotel.

Saturday - Breakfast at the hotel is included before departure.

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Course Dates

Week Start Finish Price  
24 8 Jun 2019 15 Jun 2019 £1565 Full
27 29 Jun 2019 6 Jul 2019 £1565 Full
30 20 Jul 2019 27 Jul 2019 £1565 Full
33 10 Aug 2019 17 Aug 2019 £1565
37 7 Sep 2019 14 Sep 2019 £1565 Full