We would typically choose to run this course outside of the areas where we tend to run our other Technical Ascents courses (i.e. Zermatt, Central Switzerland and central Oberland). We are happy to change climbing areas to achieve the best possible week’s climbing.
The list of routes we could choose from is almost endless. Here are a few possibilities:
This is very much a sample programme of this course as any number of different combinations of peaks and climbs are possible.
The course starts with participants and guides meeting at 6.45pm at the Tour D'AI hotel in Leysin. This is the chance for the guides to give you a thorough briefing and discuss the detailed plan for the week with you.
The plan for the week might start in the Arolla region with the ‘Arête de Tsalion’ as our first climb. This is an excellent route up a long and steep ridge on the Dent de Tsalion, next to the spectacular tower of the Aiguille de la Tsa (which we can climb as well if we are in good time). We sort gear and then drive around to Arolla and walk up to the privately owned Tsa hut.
This is a big day so we make a good ‘alpine start’ in the morning. Starting over awkward moraine, we soon reach the bottom of the arête, which is followed all the way to the summit - mostly pitched climbing with some strenuous sections up to grade V. From the top, a short traverse across a snow slope takes us to the bottom of the prominent tower of the Aiguille de la Tsa, which can be climbed in another four pitches or so, if there is time (and energy!). We descend to the glacier and traverse around to the Bertol hut.
There are several options for today depending on the conditions. The Dents de Bertol (3547m) is the closest and is a snow ascent to a mixed ridge. If there are good ice conditions the Tête de Chavannes (3671m) gives a great steep ice route. We descend via the Col de Bertol and back to Arolla. Overnight hotel.
A superb expedition for the second part of the week is traverse of the Grand Cornier (3733m). The South Ridge of this peak is a fantastic route in a wild and remote setting, climbed from the Dent Blanch bivouac hut. This is situated in an incredible position on the col underneath the north ridge of the Dent Blanche. We sort the bivvy food and gear, drive around to Ferpècle, and make the 5-6 hour ascent to the bivvy hut.
The climb starts straight from the hut and is mostly rock, so we don’t need to make a pre-dawn start! The difficulties are mostly on rock (pitches to IV) and the ridge itself is a very exposed and narrow crest. From the summit we descend the tricky rock crest of the North West Ridge, then over mixed ground onto the upper Moiry glacier, which gives a long but easy descent to the Moiry hut.
Our return to Ferpècle involves crossing the Moiry glacier again below the hut and then climbing easily up to the Col de la Couronne. From the col we can take in an ascent of the south ridge of the Couronne de Bréona (3159m). This excellent rock peak is seen prominently from the hut and gives a fine little route to round off he week. We descend to Ferpècle and return to Leysin and the Tour D'Ai hotel in the afternoon.
Breakfast is included before departure (or this is a rest day if you are continuing to another course).