Alaska Intermediate Course Itinerary
Confirmation package with trip logistics, gear lists, training suggestions will be sent upon registration
Meet hotel de L’Arve, Chamonix at 7pm in hotel lobby for group dinner.
Meet at 7:30am for breakfast and orientation, followed by a check of our equipment. Afterwards we go into downtown Chamonix and pick up any last minute items along with lunch to go. We will ride up the Flegere-Index lift to 2600m in the Aiguille Rouges. From the top of the lift there is incredibly and stunning views of Chamonix and the Mont Blanc Massif. We will be spending the day working on rock climbing skills and movement skills in out boots. In addition skills such as belaying, rappelling, and anchors will be incorporated into the day. We will return to Chamonix and spend the night at Hotel de L’Arve
Starting the morning by riding up the Montenvers railway to reach the Mer de Glace just below 2000m. Today we will focus on practicing snow-climbing and ice skills, the basic foundation of all mountaineering skills. These skills will be learned on the dry glacier spending lots of time learning and practicing crampoing, ice axe, and glacier travel skills. In the afternoon we will progress our skills to integrating steep snow/ice climbing by climbing out of crevasse.
These are the most important skills to master in order to be a safe climbing team member on glaciated mountains. For this reason, we’ll spend whatever time necessary to ensure everyone is building a solid foundation for further learning, and to climb safely over the next week. We will return to Chamonix and spend the night at Hotel de L’Arve.
Now that we have a foundation of technical skills we will start to integrate them into climbing objectives. We will meet in the morning at the hotel and plan on spending 1 night in the field at an alpine hut up on the Mont Blanc Massif. We can leave our extra equipment and luggage locked up at the hotel. We will ride up the world renowned Aig du Midi tram taking us to just over 3800m. Stunning views of the alps can be captured as we will spend the day traversing the Valle Blanche working on more in depth rope skills and crevasse rescue. After practicing and learning more skills we will make our way across the glacier to the Tornio hut (3370m) were we will eat dinner and spend the night. During the evening at the Tornio hut your guides will go over a map and compass lesson. This includes instruction on how to produce a climbing plan for the day’s climb.
With help from last night’s planning session the climbing team and guides will come up with a safe climbing objective for the day near the hut. There are many options, but peaks like the La Tour Ronde, Aig du Rochefort, Aig Entreves and Aig Toule. In the afternoon we will descend and make our way back to Chamonix and spend the night at Hotel L’Arve.
Summit portion to climb Gran Paradiso (4,061m).
We will meet for breakfast at Hotel L’Arve and go over a gear check. All our extra equipment and luggage can be locked up and stored at the hotel while we are in the mountains. We will drive through the famous Tunnel du Mont Blanc arriving in Northern Italy. After driving two hours through the beautiful Italian Alps covered with vineyards and historical villages we will reach Grand Paradiso National Park. We will start walking at (1900m) up the Valsavrenche Valley for 3 house before reaching the Chabod Refuge at (2759m). The Chabod hut is a pleasant and hospitable refuge that has amazing coffee and snacks. We will eat dinner in the hut and spend the night here preparing for our summit attempt the following morning.
Summit day! Breakfast and leave the hut for an alpine start to make our ascent up Gran Paradiso (4,061m). From the hut we find ourselves ascending a short rocky talus field to reach the glacier. Here we will put on our technical equipment (harness, crampons, etc..) and rope up to start the glacier ascent. A steady angle up the glacier brings us to a large flat section around 3800m just before the steep summit ridge. The final summit ridge is exposed and we get to put our technical skill learned in the prior days to work as we gain the summit where there is a large statue of Madonna. We will retrace our steps back down the steep section and to the flat glacier sections at 3800m. From here we will descend down a different valley to the Emanuele hut that over looks a pristine alpine lake at 2700m. We will enjoy a large Italian hut dinner after our hard work.
Getting to sleep in a bit after our summit day we wake up and have breakfast at the Emanuele hut before descending down the upper Valsavarenche Valley to reach our vehicle. We will spot and have lunch on the drive back towards Chamonix. We will spend our final night back at Hotel L’Arve in Chamonix, France.
The program was excellent. It covered a variety of materials in 8 days time, all of which was useful. I participated to learn specific skills and came home with those skills and more. I will be a safer and more confident climber for having had the opportunity to take your course.