Logistics

Paperwork

Please take the time to read the entire Logistics section in full. If you have questions, feel free to call the Alpine Ascents office or email us. 

Make sure you have submitted the following paperwork to Alpine Ascents.

⎕  Application
⎕  Passport Copy
⎕  Flight itinerary
⎕  Please see COVID-19 requirements for additional paperwork to enter to France and Switzerland

Trip Insurance & Evacuation Coverage

We highly recommend trip insurance as there are many unforeseen circumstances that can occur leading up to a trip. Evacuation and medical coverage may be required for this trip, please see paperwork section above. Please click here for more information:

https://www.alpineascents.com/trip-cancellation-insurance-trip/

Getting There

A day-to-day itinerary can be found with your confirmation letter.

Flight reservations for your expedition should be made as soon as possible after receiving confirmation of your climb.

Flying to Geneva, Switzerland

Arrival: Fly into Geneva, then travel by shuttle to Chamonix. You will need to arrive in Chamonix by the afternoon of Day 1 of your trip itinerary. If you need to (or opt to) arrive early and stay in Geneva, recommended hotels can be found in the Lodging section.

Shuttle from Geneva to Chamonix: You are required to make your own way to Chamonix. Shuttle buses are the best way to get from Geneva International Airport to Chamonix. We recommend Geneva Airport Transfers or Alpy Bus. Both cost around €25 and are easy to book online. We highly recommend booking your shuttle at least two weeks in advance. They will drop you directly at the Pointe Isabelle Hotel.

Team Meeting: Meet at 7:00am in the hotel lobby the morning of our first climbing day (Day 2 on itinerary). Your lead guide will send an email 7-10 days prior to your trip with details outlining the first climbing day and a possible gear list for that day.

Departure: Climbers should plan to depart Grindelwald for Geneva the morning of Day 9 by train. Train tickets can be purchased the afternoon before or the morning of departure. When booking your returning flight, be sure to account for the 3-hour train ride from Grindelwald to Geneva.

Arriving Early or Departing Late
Chamonix has an abundance of tourist attractions, shopping and dining for climbers and their families. Most popular is the famed Aig D’Midi cable car (the 3rd largest tourist attraction in all of France), which leaves directly out of downtown Chamonix and arrives at just over 3800m. Sightseeing and lunch can be enjoyed from this famous structure. In addition to the Aig D’Midi, the Montenvours train provides spectacular views of the Mer du Glace.

Hotels

For climbers who prefer single room accommodations, these arrangements can be made for an additional fee. Be aware that private rooms are available at hotels during our trip, but not in the mountain huts.

For climbers choosing double room accommodations, every effort will be made to pair you with another climber. A Single Room Supplement Fee will apply if a match cannot be made or there is a last minute cancellation. This will help keep our overall program pricing down since unlike other companies we do not charge more for smaller groups.

In Chamonix

Lodging in Chamonix is required on the first, second, fourth, and fifth night of the trip. These four nights of lodging are included in your trip cost. We stay at the Pointe Isabelle (subject to change). It is a centrally located and enjoyable place to stay. You can leave your luggage at this hotel in a safe storage area. We do recommend locks for you luggage and bags.
Pointe Isabelle: pointeisabelle.com

Moving to Grindelwald

On the morning of Day 6, the team will move to Grindelwald, Switzerland. Transportation to Grindelwald will be provided either by train or shuttle. Upon arrival in Grindelwald, we will drop our luggage off at our hotel. We will spend the night next two nights at the Mittellegi Hutte.

In Geneva

Lodging in Geneva is entirely optional depending on your travel plans and itinerary. Here are some recommended hotels:
Hotel Royal: hotelroyalgeneva.com
Hotel Tiffany: hotel-tiffany.ch

European Hut Life

One of the benefits of climbing in the European Alps is the amazing hut system in place for climbers. A tradition since the late 19th century, the huts serve as base camp, a refuge from the elements, and even a bunk house with restaurant. Huts are fully staffed with a guardian and cook staff. The system allows us to leave our sleeping bags, tents, stoves, and meals behind while we climb.

Dinners are typically comprised of soup, cheese, bread, a meat dish served with a grain and dessert. The huts can accommodate vegetarians. A typical French breakfast of bread & jam is served in the morning with coffee and tea. The huts all have indoor washrooms, though there are no showers and the sleeping rooms are bunk style. All of the huts provide ‘hut slippers’ for climbers to wear while inside the building. Huts typically sleep between 80-160 climbers and are often busy during the climbing season. Starting mid-day at most huts, you can purchase a “tarte d’jour” (tart of the day), an omelet, coffee, assorted beverages, and other snack food for an additional cost. Please be aware that the huts do not have WiFi.

Alpine Club Membership
If you are a member of an Alpine Club (American Alpine Club, British Alpine Club, etc.) we encourage you to bring your alpine club membership card as some huts offer discounts for members.
American Alpine Club http://www.americanalpineclub.org

Gear List

Please refer to your Gear List:

You are required to bring every item on this list as described, so be as precise as possible when packing. We are happy to work closely with you on finding the proper gear. Having your own equipment and climbing boots allows you to train and become familiar with your equipment prior to the trip.

If you plan to rent gear through Alpine Ascents (available for climbers based in the U.S.), your rental form must be submitted at least a month prior to expedition start date. Please call our office or e-mail [email protected] with any questions.

Most of our gear is also available to buy through the Alpine Ascents Store, where our climbers receive a 10% discount. Use coupon code CLIMB.

Renting Gear in Chamonix

For climbers based outside of the U.S. who need to rent gear for this trip, you can rent in Chamonix. We recommend Snell Sports or Concept Chamonix. We highly recommend emailing the store ahead of time to reserve your rental equipment. This equipment should be picked up your first day in Chamonix.

 

Other Information

Packing Tips

People generally take too much “stuff” rather than too little. Study each item before you pack it. Eliminate redundant items, extra changes of clothing, and excessive “nice to have” luxuries. You will benefit from traveling light because of the costs of excess baggage and because of the frequent loading and unloading of bags. Take everything on the required equipment list and little else. Remember to review your airline’s weight limits and pack accordingly. If your airline enforces a strict weight limit, you should be ready to have your boots and another heavy item transferred to your carry on.

Gear Lexicon

If you’re confused by items and/or language on the Gear List, we encourage you to refer to our Gear Guide for explanations on layering systems, differences between boots, etc.

Expenses & Budgeting

Currency

We recommend using credit/debit cards on this trip to avoid changing currency.

In Switzerland the Swiss Franc is used. In France the Euro is used. If you are traveling from the U.S. and planning to use cash on this trip, we recommend exchanging to Euros in the U.S. prior to departure.

ATMs: ATMs are readily available throughout this trip.

Credit Cards: Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted. American Express is not.

Itinerary Adjustments

The seven-day climbing itinerary has been our tried and true program for many years. This program has allowed the highest success rate by providing climbers four days of mountaineering training and acclimatization prior to the summit portion on The Eiger. If climbers cannot successfully complete the first four days of the itinerary, they may be asked not to attempt the summit portion. Guides will work with climbers to find suitable alternative climbing options around Chamonix. If this is the case, climbers will cover any additional cost accrued for itinerary adjustments.

Early Departure/Evacuation

If you need to leave the expedition early, you are responsible for all incurred expenses (evacuation fees, transport, extra hotel nights, etc). A comprehensive trip insurance plan is recommended, which can cover these costs in the event that they occur.

Additional Expenses & Tipping

Food & Water

Other than the welcome dinner on Day 2, you are responsible for your own meals while in town in Chamonix. Breakfasts are included at the hotel. Dinners can range from €25–50.  While on the mountain, breakfasts and dinners are provided by the huts. These meals are included in the trip cost. You will need to purchase bottled water at the huts, which can range from €3–5 for 1.5L. The huts also offer wine, beer, and soda for additional costs.

You are responsible to supply your own snacks/lunch food while climbing. A grocery store is located adjacent to the hotel. Lunch costs for the duration of the climb can vary greatly with each individual. Plan on spending between €75–€100 total for lunches. Please bring traditional power bars, Gu’s, and Shot-Blocks from home as these are not easy to find in Chamonix. We recommend 5-7 power bars, 3–5 energy Gu, and 2–4 Shot Blocks energy snacks for the trip.

Tipping

Our guides make every effort to ensure your climb is safe, successful, and as enjoyable as possible. If you have a positive experience, gratuities are an excellent way to show your appreciation. Amounts are at your discretion and should be based on your level of satisfaction and ability. The suggested amount is $250, with a general recommended range of $200 to $300. These amounts cover all guides on your program and are shared equally. Any contribution to the guides’ tip pool can go directly to the lead guide on your program and will be appreciated by the entire team. If you tip by check, please make it out to the lead guide by name. Please do not make the check out to Alpine Ascents

Alpine Rescue Insurance

In many European countries, climbers must pay for any rescue situation they are involved in. If helicopters are required, which is typical in the Alps, the bill can be very expensive. For this reason, climbers should consider purchasing mountain rescue insurance. We recommend the Austrian Alpine Club – British sector membership, which includes rescue insurance, or REGA of Switzerland. Global Rescue is another good option. Both must be purchased in advance of the trip start date.

On the Mountain

Changing Conditions

Recent summers have been unseasonably warm in the European Alps. This has led to increased hazards in the mountains. Typically, this happens when there are long stretches of significant warming with a high freezing level. During these times, we often see increased rock fall, icefall, and other mountain hazards. Our guide team is privy to the situation and monitors conditions daily. We also coordinate and work directly with many other guide services and guide bureau offices in the Alps. When mountain hazards increase, the guide team is ready to adjust plans to an alternative mountain if required. Please be aware of this possibility.

Alpine Club Membership

If you are a member of an Alpine Club (American Alpine Club, British Alpine Club, etc.) we encourage you to bring your alpine club membership card as some huts offer discounts for members. www.americanalpineclub.org

Leave No Trace

Alpine Ascents International practices Leave No Trace principles on all expeditions. We believe that given the proper information most people will do all they can to help protect and maintain the environment. Before your climb, please become familiar with Leave No Trace:

7 Principles of Leave No Trace

Climbing in the Alps

Light Packs

Many of our climbers are accustomed to carrying heavy (50+ lbs.) packs while climbing in wilderness areas in the United States. Because of the accessibility of the climbs and greater infrastructure in the European Alps, we climb with smaller and much lighter packs. Please follow the recommendations in your Gear List and bring a pack of appropriate size. You will be glad to save the weight!

Other Climbers

Along with lighter packs, the accessibility of this region also leads to greater use than what some of our climbers may be accustomed to. There will likely be many other climbers on the route at the same time. Your guides will instruct you in passing other parties or letting them pass as appropriate. In these interactions, we aim to be respectful and courteous to all others climbers we encounter.

Other things to know

Electricity

You will need a European outlet adapter for your electronics.

Clothing

Because we will be spending time in town, consider bringing “street clothes” in which you feel comfortable dining and walking around town. Luggage with items you are not bringing on the mountain can be kept at our hotel in a secure storage area. We do recommend locks for your luggage.

Covid-19 Protocols

Please note that Covid protocols, both best practices and entry requirements, are changing frequently. While we cannot eliminate the risk of exposure to COVID-19, we do carry out a variety of measures designed to mitigate the risk of illness for climbers and staff. It is important we work together with the same team-oriented perspective we rely on in climbing, and we greatly appreciate your partnership. Please take a few moments to thoroughly read the information below and know that we look to improve our operation as additional information about the virus becomes available.

VACCINATION TO ENTER SWITZERLAND AND FRANCE

Entry Requirements
Alpine Ascents requires all climbers must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. All participants are required to bring two (2) Covid-19 rapid antigen test to be used at the guides discretion. We do recommend taking a test before departure for your own safety and the safety of other climbers. Please note some countries may require a PCR test for entry.

To travel into Switzerland, you will need to:
For more information on entry into Switzerland we recommend reviewing this website.

  • No current COVID policies to travel into Switzerland

To travel into France, you will need to:
For more information on entry into France we recommend reviewing this website.

  • Present valid proof of vaccination – please note that from February 1, 2022, in order to be considered fully vaccinated you must have received a booster shot. 

Please check with your airlines to note if further documentation is required. Note that entry requirements can vary depending on citizenship.

TO RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES

At this time there are no covid testing requirements to return to the United States from international travel.

To get a Covid-19 test in Chamonix: This can be done at the Mirialis Biogroup Chamonix laboratory. You do not need to book an appointment ahead of time, but please be aware of the limited hours the laboratory is open.

GENERAL COVID-19 PROTOCOLS

Masks
Climbers will be asked to wear proper facemasks in all public places while not on the mountain. This includes while in towns, while being transported and while in hotel premises or during meals.

Lodging
Lodging will be in shared rooms and tents unless a single room is requested. Subject to change based on conditions.

Dining on the Mountain
Due to the nature of climbing in the Alps we will follow sleeping protocols outlined by the hut guardians. Expect to wear a face mask when not eating. A sleeping bag liner is required. Meals might be served outside weather permitting. Huts do accommodate over 100 climbers a night.

Screening
If you experience fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea please immediately contact Alpine Ascents. Anyone experiencing these symptoms within 14 days of their trip date will be asked to reschedule their trip. All climbers may be verbally screened for these symptoms on arrival.

Mitigation Measures
Hand washing and hand sanitizing facilities are provided throughout the program. We encourage you to regularly clean or sanitize your hands while on this journey, especially after touching your face, sneezing, coughing, using the bathroom, eating, or drinking. Common areas, high-touch surfaces, and restrooms are sanitized regularly.

Even when things didn’t go as planned last year because of weather, Jonathon showed grace under fire. Jonathon and Lee lived up to their reputations again this year. As always, they were safe, professional, knowledgeable and patient.

ALPINE ASCENTS BLOG

  • Strength Training for Mountaineering: What does your physiology have to do with it?

    by Lyra Pierotti, CSCS and Alpine Ascents Senior Guide Climbing big mountains requires incredible endurance. You don’t necessarily have to move fast, but you have to keep moving for hours, days–sometimes even weeks. Training to have an excellent aerobic base is critical, not just for that continued movement ability, but also for your body’s ability […]

  • How to Downsize Your Pack

    by Lyra Pierotti, Alpine Ascents Senior Guide Outdoor equipment has certainly evolved from the days of external frame backpacks and wool knickers, but the goal is the same: Minimize the stuff you’re carrying and you can go further, higher, climb harder, ski more fluidly, enjoy the movement—so long as you have everything you need. As […]

  • Revealed: Alpine Ascents New Guide Training

    by Kate Keith-Simms After building up your climbing resume, assembling the required certifications, and submitting your application materials to the Alpine Ascents Guide Manager, you finally receive that long awaited email… Congratulations! After making a very favorable impression during the interview process in addition to excellent references and an impressive climbing resume, we are happy […]

Partners & Accreditations

Alpine Ascents International is an authorized mountain guide service of Denali National Park and Preserve and Mount Rainier National Park.
© Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved. Alpine Ascents International