Jun, Jul, Sep
Evening meeting in Chamonix, France, to discuss logistics and the week that lies ahead.
The course gets underway with a quick list ride to reach the Col de Balme and from here we hike to the Albert 1er Hut – our first hut of the week. After a lunch break, we spend the afternoon venturing onto the Glacier du Tour. Here we will practice how to walk using crampons, using an ice axe and about different rope techniques as we explore the numerous caverns and crevasses found here. Evening at the Albert 1er Hut.
The day starts off early – with your first alpine start. We head up the Tour Glacier to reach a steep pass that allows access to the vast Trient Glacier. The views are majestical from here as we head off across the glacier, past the Trient hut to reach the Cabane d’Orny – or Orny hut.
In the afternoon, you will become familair with a different medium – rock climbing. You will learn about different knots, how to belay, abseil and move with balance up the steep rock walls. All the while admiring the stunning views of the glaciers and surrouning peaks. Early evening route preparation for the following day’s ascent.
Night at the Cabane d’Orny.
Today will be a fairly casual start as since today we are climbing rock – one of the stunning spires that lies behind the hut is named after the Cabane or hut itself. Our goal of the day is to reach the summit of the Aiguille de la Cabane by one of the stellar routes all of which are on immaculate granite rock. In the afternoon, we head up the moraine and scree slopes to reach the Cabane de Trient our new base camp for the evening.
Night at the Cabane de Trient.
This will be your first real alpine start of the week and following a short breakfast, we will head out onto the Orny glacier and travel towards the French border to reach our destination of the Aiguille du Tour. This interesting climb includes some snow and finally rock to reach it’s summit block where the 360 degree views are amazing. We will be able to learn and put into practice glacier related skills and navigation. The return is via the Trient glacier back to the Trient hut.
Night at the Cabane de Trient.
Today brings us more alpine fun with the final traverse across the Trient Glacier and plateau to reach the base of the Tete Blanche. The Tete Blanche offers a steep yet straightforward snow climb where we will put into practice our snow skills. The descent is via the Tour Glacier and finally back into the village of le Tour. Late afternoon celebrations in town with course debriefing before returning home.
F - AD - grade 3. Easy to moderate snow, mixed terrain and rock.
Technical Level: 2 out of 5
Here is what you will typically have in your pack when going to a hut and or climbing. (Items with * can be rented in most alpine areas such as Chamonix or Zermatt):
Gore-Tex (or similar breathable hardshell clothing) Jacket and pants
Lightweight softshell climbing pants
Lightweight thermal top (polypro, smartwool or capilene)
Fleece or synthetic insulation jacket
Warm ski gloves w/ leather palms if possible and a shell over-mitt
Spare pair of lightweight spring gloves or wool liners
Warm hat or balaclava
Baseball cap (for the sun)
2 pairs of socks
Glacier glasses or Cat 4 sunglasses
Harness * w/ 2 locking carabiners and a belaying device
2 prussik loops
1 long sling
Ice axe * typically anything over 60cm is too long
Crampons * w/ anti- balling plates
Mountaineering boots *. Leather is the preferred choice. Make certain your crampons work on them !
Rock shoes *
A small rucksack 30-35l (2000c.i.) is plenty big enough
Headlamp with new batteries
Telescopic poles - help take a load off you legs and back
Small compact camera, GoPro or just simply your camera phone (avoid bringing along a heavy DSLR)
Personal first aid kit (second skin, aspirin, toilet articles)
Sun block and lip cream
Water bottle 1 liter minimum - I prefer metallic bottles
Sleeping bag liner for the huts
IFMGA/UIAGM Mountain Guide
I am a professional mountain & ski guide. I have been guiding now since 1994. I have always been into the mountains – skiing at age 4 and secretly sneaking away for overnight bivouacs in the mountains behind my parents house. At age 13, I decided to pursue my airy scrambles for something that looked a bit more fun. I went to work as an assistant bringing out other young teenagers on exciting hiking and more importantly to me, climbing outings. One thing led to another and before I knew it my world revolved around the mountains.
At the age of 18 I moved to France to pursue my passions, later becoming actively involved with the French Alpine Club in Dijon and organizing outings and putting up climbing routes here and there in Burgundy.
In 1992, I entered the infamous ENSA or French guides school in Chamonix and became the first American to receive international certification (UIAGM/IFMGA) through this prestigious school.
Since then I have been making my living as a full time professional guide, climbing and skiing in many of the worlds great mountain ranges. I speak fluent French, some Italian and I am now learning German.
Previously I have worked as a technical consultant for Petzl, and Grivel.
If you are looking for a great adventure, skiing or climbing, please get in touch with and let's discuss about it.
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