Technical 4000ers

The Alps is an incredible playground of rock features and snowy summits and on this course we challenge ourselves on the more technical and adventurous 4000m peaks

Level 3 Guiding & Coaching

6 days, 7 nights

Ratio: 2:1

Prerequisites: Classic AlpinISM (Instructional Course) Or equivalent

Price: £2045

 Course Dates

This is perhaps one of the most demanding weeks of alpine mountaineering, pulling together all your learnt skills & experience and challenging you personnaly on these magnificent high summits.

Course Highlights

  • Climbing technical 4000m peaks
  • A challenging & adventurous week in the high mountains
  • Expert guiding & Instruction form experienced ISM Guides
P1040711Roger Brenva Webnew

Many of these challenging 4000m peaks are nonetheless very achievable objectives for alpine mountaineers, having had a good foundation in alpine mountaineering, some experience climbing other routes and summits and have a good level of general fitness to cope with the longer days out in the mountains.

The peaks are invariably big, strenuous undertakings, often with lengthy approaches, and we would normally climb two in a week plus an acclimatisation peak. We like to visit two different alpine areas, giving extra interest and variety to your alpine holiday.

We climb on a low 2:1 guiding ratio, which gives us flexibility to match levels of experience and fitness within the group so that we can tackle some demanding routes. Climbs on this course range from PD+ to D (mostly AD) and many of them are committing undertakings at high altitude.

Is This Course For Me?

You will need to have previous alpine climbing experience (to the level of our Classic AlpinISM course or equivalent). Participants should be comfortable scrambling on rock ridges and climbing moderate rock climbing terrain whilst wearing mountain boots and wearing a backpack. You'll also need a basic level of mixed climb wearing crampons on snow, ice and over rocks and using one or two ice axes as the terrain changes.

A good level of fitness and stamina is essential. On this course especially, some prior acclimatisation would be advantageous but not essential.

Course Content

Peaks that can be climbed on this course

  • Dom (4545m)
  • Lagginhorn (4010m)
  • Alphubel (4206m)
  • Lenzspitze (4294m)
  • Rimpfischhorn (4199m)
  • Dufourspitze (4634m)
  • Grand Cornier (3961m)
  • Breithorn (4165m)
  • Zinalrothorn (4221m)
  • Dent d'Herens (4171m)
  • Grand Combin (4314m)
  • Obergabelhorn (4063m)
  • Gran Paradiso (4061m)

* 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 ability for the course participants, taking into account the weather and conditions.

Saturday evening

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.

After breakfast we leave the hotel and head up the Rhône valley towards Sion where we turn off and head up the Val d'Herrens towards Arolla.



After a more relaxed start we head back down the glacier. We then drive to Tasch which is the gateway to Zermatt and the many 4000m peaks in this beautiful area. We have a night here in Tasch freshening up and preparing for the next nights up in the Rothorn Hut under the Zinal Rothorn.

A relaxed breakfast and then we head up into Zermatt. Once in Zermatt we take the relatively long and strenuous hiking trail steeply out of the valley until we arrive at Trift. From here, we continue up more easily to the Rothorn hut which normally takes around 4-5 hours walking.


An alpine start focuses on the south east ridge (via the Gabel) of the Zinal Rothorn. It's a great classic route up the south east ridge and climbing a couloir to a notch on the south west ridge known as the Gabel, finishing by the upper part of this ridge via the infamous 'Biner Slab'. Fantastic views again from this central 4000m summit looking across the whole of the Alps and back to the Dent Blanche that you climbed earlier in the week. The descent is back down the route in reverse arriving back at the Rothorn Hut later that day. Two options from here is that if there is still plenty of time left in the day, you'll continue on down to Zermatt and back to stay in Tasch the night, or you'll spend a second night in the Rothorn Hut.

If you stayed up in the Rothorn Hut the night, then you'll be walking out and back down to Zermatt and the vehicle in Tasch today and maybe planning on some rock climbing before heading back to our hotel in Leysin. If you did get back to Tasch in good time on the Thursday then there are more options for this final day. It could be another summit that can be accessed from lifts close by and around in the next valley of Saastal. Here in Saas Fee you could use the lifts to make an ascent of the Houlabgrat on the Allalinhorn for example. If not then you could have a good day multipitch rock climbing on an alpine rock route before heading back to our hotel in Leysin and the final night.

Saturday morning
Breakfast at the hotel is included before departure.

Tech 4000

Course Dates

Week Start Finish Price  
27 29 Jun 2019 6 Jul 2019 £2045
29 13 Jul 2019 20 Jul 2019 £2045
33 10 Aug 2019 17 Aug 2019 £2045
37 7 Sep 2019 14 Sep 2019 £2045