The course starts with participants and guides meeting at 6.45pm at Le Grand Chalet hotel in Leysin. This is the chance for the guides to give you a thorough briefing on the details of the course, sort out any particular personal equipment requirements and for you to ask any questions that you may have!
The beautiful limestone peaks above Leysin provide an ideal venue to practice and perfect rope and climbing techniques. A climbing day on the Leysin Tours refreshing skills, acquainting the guide with your climbing standard and covering all the ropework and climbing techniques that will be used throughout the week in the high mountains.
Drive to Arolla, park in the village, then walk up the valley to the Pas de Chevres. From here it's a chance to break up the hike into the Cabane des Dix to practice some alpine ropework, climbing the rocky ridge to the Pointe du Pas de Chevres and then looking at techniques to descend safely again. Once down and back at the pass, you'll then descend steep ladders onto the Glacier de Cheilon. The Glacier de Cheilon is a 'dry' glacier which you'lll then cross to access the Cabane des Dix, where you'll spend the night. It's a fantastic hut, perched on the edge of the rocky 'Tete Noir' overlooking the glacier and up to the beautiful north face of the Mont Blanc de Cheilon.
We wake early and head up to the Col de Cheilon with a focus on safe glacier travel and ridge scrambling techniques climbing the Mont Blanc de Cheilon. The route takes us first over the steep and sometimes very icy Col de Cheilon to access the Glacier du Gietro. From here, we traverse the head of the Glacier du Gietro heading first south to where you can then safely start to head east and then curving back north navigating a steep glacial tongue that spills down from a subsidiary summit. The glacier squeezes through some amazing rock scenery as it descends steeply down creating a superb backdrop to this glacial ascent. If conditions allow, then from the subsidiary 'winter' summit of the Mont Blanc de Cheilon we continue on and climb a very exposed rocky ridge to the 'true' summit which has the most amazing 360 degree views of the Alps before you. Descent is by retracing your steps back down through the glacier giving thought to safe glacial travel and route finding, navigating back to the Col de Cheilon and another night at the Cabane des Dix.
An early alpine start to catch the snow and glacier at it's best, sees the team descending onto the Glacier de Cheilon en route to climbing and traversing the Pigne d'Arolla. It's a mainly glacial travel day where we hope you'll get to put into practice many of the skills learnt from the previous days both in the best rope techniques for the particular terrain that your going to travel on, navigation and route finding through crevassed terrain. It's another classic summit and great views of many of the peaks around. From the summit, you'll descend a steepening glacier down to the Glacier d'Otemma and the Vignettes Hut where you'll stay the night.
To tackle Petit Mont Collon we have to descend a little on the Glacier d’Otemma until we can climb up to a hanging glacier on the peak itself. Snow fields then a spur lead up to the saddle between the summits from which an interesting mixed ridge leads is taken to the higher (E) summit at 3555m. This is a fine peak and seldom climbed since the classic North Face lost its permanent ice cover. We descend by the same route to the Vignettes hut.
The elegant spire of L’Évêque is our objective today. A long steady glacier ascent gets us into a snowy bay between L’Évêque and the equally impressive Mitre de L’Évêque. The first part of the summit climb is on snow early in the season but is often an ice climb later, making it much more demanding. Above this, climbing on steep rocks takes us to an easier ridge leading to an airy summit with fabulous views all round. A careful descent by the same route gets us back to the glacier, which by now will be softer and more serious, demanding good ropework for a safe passage to the hut and back down to the valley . We return to Leysin later for dinner.
Breakfast at the hotel is included before departure.