Summits & Skills 4000m
Level 1: Instructional Course
Our six-day Summits and Skills 4000m course is designed to give you the best possible introduction to alpine mountaineering and in addition, a chance to climb a 4000m peak to culminate the week.
This is a fantastic week, where you will learn all the basic skills required to have a fun and enjoyable time summer alpine mountaineering.
This course is a great introduction to alpine mountaineering, which culminates with a chance to practise your new skills climbing a 4000m peak.
An ISM Level 1 certificate will be awarded at the end of the course to confirm the level you have achieved.
A fun week learning alpine mountaineering skills
Climb your first alpine summits including a 4000m peak
There are no extra uplift or cable car costs
All your food is included in the course price with no hidden costs paying extra for lunches or evening meals
No hidden hotel or hut accommodation costs
Free climbing equipment for you to borrow
Low ratio client to guide learning environment
ISM certifiacte recognising your attendance to this course
Expert instruction and coaching from professional ISM Guides
Is this course for me?
ISM has designed this course to give you a safe and fun introduction to summer alpine mountaineering. Each day is different, starting with the beginings of basic rock climbing and ropework, to putting on crampons and using a mountaineering ice axe for the first time, through to understanding the mountain environment and climbing your first alpine summits. After learning these basic skills we pull all that learning together, and climb a 4000m peak at the end of the week.
An Introduction to Alpine Mountaineering
The course is structured to teach you all the basic skills and techniques around alpine mountaineering at an easy pace, to give you the chance to both enjoy and practise the skills delivered. We'll then put all your newly aquired skills into practise climbing your first alpine summits. These summits will also give you a chance to develop your experience and understanding around alpine mountaineering in a fun and relaxed environment.
This course is aimed at those new to alpine mountaineering and covers all of the basic climbing and alpine skills, including:
- Introduction to basic rock climbing and ropework
- Using crampons and a mountaineering ice axe
- Safe glacier travel and crevasse rescue techniques
- Navigation and interpretation of maps and guidebook
- Climbing a number of alpine summits as well as a 4000m peak
- Staying in alpine huts
The course starts with a briefing at 6.45pm at Tour D'Ai hotel in Leysin, Switzerland. This is a chance for you to meet your others on the course, your ISM 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.
The beautiful limestone peaks above Leysin provide an ideal venue to practise and perfect basic rope and climbing techniques. We cover everything from tying in, belay set-ups and belaying techniques, movement over rock, abseiling and prussiking, taking coils and shortening the rope for moving together on alpine terrain. The multitude of friendly climbs in this area gives plenty of scope for introducing the complete novice, as well as coaching and improving the technique of those with previous climbing experience. We return to the hotel for dinner.
We travel to the Moiry glacier, an excellent and easily accessible venue, to learn the basics of movement on ice and glacial terrain. We cover crampon and ice axe techniques on different angles of ice, the use of ice screws for protection, belays, taking coils and good rope technique for safe travel over glaciated terrain.
At the end of the day, we carry on up the glacier a short distance to the Moiry hut, where we spend the night. An evening session at the hut covers the use and interpretation of a map and guidebook, relating it to the terrain around us.
An early start to climb one of the peaks above the Moiry hut, normally the Pointe de Bricola (3658m). The Moiry glacier and approach provides an excellent opportunity to practice glacial travel, route planning around glacial hazards and terrain to learn moving together rope techniques. From the summit, we descend back onto the upper Moiry glacier where there is an excellent spot to stop and learn the basics of building safe snow anchors and practice crevasse rescue techniques. We return to the Moiry hut late afternoon, for a second night.
Another early start and we head off to climb the Pigne de la Lé (3396m). The mixed climbing on the summit ridge provides excellent ground for practising those short roping and moving together techniques, and you may have the opportunity to lead the rope during the ascent and descent of the peak. From the summit, we descend back onto the Moiry glacier consolidating glacial travel techniques and rope work as we head back top the Moiry hut. We then descend from the hut and back to the parking and then drive down to the Rhone valley to Saas Grund where we spend the night in valley based accommodation.
After an early breakfast we go to Saas Fee where we take the Alpine Express lift and Alpine Metro to access the Fee Gletscher at the foot of the classic Allalinhorn (4027m). The route up the Fee Gletscher and NW flank of the Allalinhorn will allow you to consolidate and practise many of the alpine skills you will have learned throughout the week. During the ascent you may get a chance to lead the rope and practise route finding and making decisions as the first step in gaining valuable experience to help you become more independent in the mountains.
The Allalinhorn is a great first 4000m peak and provides a fantastic
vantage point for many other 4000m peaks in the surronding area.
You'll be inspired looking across at the Matterhorn and the huge Monte
Rosa massif, along the spine of the Mischabel chain and in good weather
all the way to the Grand Combin and Mt Blanc behind. From the summit we
descend the Fee Gletscher and return to Saas Fee.
If down early enough from the Allalinhorn and the weather is stable, then the best-case scenario would be that we'll have a late lunch and head straight up the Hohsaas cable car lift and enjoy the short walk to spend the night in the Weissmies Hut. If not, then we'll spend a second night back in Sass Grund down in valley-based accommodation.
Today pulls together the skills you have developed around rock climbing and basic ropework, such as belaying, building a safe anchor, personal rock climbing technique, route finding, prussiking etc. The Weissmies hut gives great access to a number of different venues suitable for all abilities. There are several options today including climbing a fantastic alpine rock pinnacle - the Jagihorn (3206m) which is a longer multi-pitch climb, or single pitch rock-climbing close to the hut or climbing the Jagihorn via ferrata. After a day here we will descend using the lift system to Saas Grund where we'll spend a second night.
The last day pulls together the skills you have developed around rock climbing and basic ropework, such as belaying, building a safe-anchors, personal rock climbing movement, route finding and prussiking etc. The Weissmies hut gives great access to a number of different venues suitable for all abilities. There are several options for the day if based at the Weissmies Hut including climbing a fantastic alpine rock pinnacle - the Jagihorn (3206m) which is a longer multi-pitch climb, or single pitch rock climbing close to the hut or climbing the Jagihorn via ferrata. After a day here we will descend using the lift system to Saas Grund and drive back to Leysin late that Friday afternoon.
If already down in the valley then the day will be spent covering many similar rock climbing and ropework skills but from a valley base before again returning back to Leysin late that Friday afternoon.
You'll spend the last night and enjoy a final dinner back at the Tour D'Ai in Leysin.
Breakfast is included before departure.
Course Dates & Booking
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
ISM DIrector and IFMGA British Mountain Guide
A well known international climber, Steve has climbed and explored all over the world.Read More
ISM Director and IFMGA British Mountain Guide
Terry learnt to climb on the gritstone edges of the Peak District then after graduating from Leeds University he decided to make his living in the outdoors, moving to North Wales to work at Plas y Brenin…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
- Booking Conditions
Testimonials For ISM
Brilliant!! I was a walker at the start of the week. By the end had been on glaciers and climbed a 4000m peak!! It was a wonderful, wonderful, experience which i will never forget. It was excellent value for money and I hope to be joining you for years to come.
Summits & Skills 4000m (Instructional Course)
Please pass on my very, very sincere thanks to Thomas, Daniel & Christian. They are truly quality people! Patient, understanding, professional, and wonderful ambassadors for your company. I have experienced many guides over my 50 years in climbing and they rank right up there with the very best.
Mont Blanc Ascent
The classic alpinism course last week led by Swedish Daniel was excellent! The itinerary was really well planned taking into account the less than perfect weather and the abilities and aspirations of the group - we all learned loads.
Classic AlpinISM (Instructional Course)