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.
⎕ Passport Copy
⎕ Flight itinerary
As there are many unforeseen circumstances that may occur during or leading up to the trip, we strongly recommend trip insurance for your expedition. A variety of options are available through different providers.
There are two basic policies: ‘standard trip insurance’ which can cover injuries or illness, or ‘cancel for any reason,’ which covers a wider variety of situations. Note – these more comprehensive plans are considerably more expensive, and if paid out usually covers 75% of the trip fee.
Please see complete specific policy information for our recommended plans.
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 should plan to arrive in Chamonix the day before your course in the afternoon. You are required to make your own way from Geneva to Chamonix. Upon arrival in Geneva and after clearing customs, walk through the airport and look for individuals holding up signs for the shuttle bus to Chamonix. The shuttle will drop you off at your hotel: Pointe Isabelle Hotel in Chamonix. If you need to (or opt to) stay in Geneva, recommended hotels can be found below.
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 a.m on Day 1 in Chamonix at Pointe Isabelle Hotel in the main lobby for our group gear check. 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 Chamonix for Geneva the morning of Day 8. Shuttle reservations for this return should be made in advance of your trip. When booking your returning flight, be sure to account for the 1-hour shuttle ride from Chamonix 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.
For climbers who prefer single room accommodations, these arrangements can be made for an additional fee.
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.
Lodging in Chamonix is required on the first, second, and seventh night of the trip. Hotel reservations for these nights will be made by Alpine Ascents and is included in the cost of the course. 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
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.
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.
• Pack everything in two layers of sturdy plastic. (Trash compactor bags work best and are equivalent to two layers of plastic)
• Bring one large trash bag to completely and easily cover the inside of your pack.
• You will help carry some of the group equipment, so make sure there is some additional room in and on your pack.
Oftentimes when packing for a trip it’s easy for the extras to pile up and weight to quickly build.
Read our blog post on How to Downsize your Pack to help with those critical item considerations for your upcoming course!
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 & Tipping
We recommend using credit/debit cards on this trip to avoid changing currency.
In Geneva, Switzerland the Swiss Franc is used. In Chamonix, 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.
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.
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
Food & Water
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, lunch/snack food, and dinners are provided by Alpine Ascents. These meals are included in the trip cost.
You are required to supply your own supplemental lunch and snack food during the trip. 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 €100–€125 total for lunches. Please bring traditional power bars, GU, and Shot-Blocks 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.
All breakfasts and dinners in the mountains are included in the trip cost. Lunch items will include dried meats and fruits, cheeses, nuts, and crackers/bagels.
On the Mountain
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:
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.
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 update our operation as additional information about the virus becomes available.
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 5 days of their trip date will be asked to reschedule their trip. All climbers are verbally screened for these symptoms on arrival to Alpine Ascents, and all staff are screened daily.
Vaccinations & Testing
We highly recommend all climbers attending this program to be vaccinated against COVID-19. All climbers will share tents and communal spaces.
Face masks are optional. We recommend using a face mask while traveling and inside buildings and vehicles.
From 10 Day Cascades Course: Overall I had one of the best experiences in my life during this trip. The program was great – from the first 6 days on Mt. Baker to summiting Rainier via Kautz and getting back home safe. The guides carefully selected our camping and training spots so that we were all […]