Alpine autonomy course

This course will really help you become more autonomous in the Alps. It is a mix of climbing in some of the most stunning areas of the Mont Blanc massif, and learning skills that will be useful in your climbing after the course. If you want, you will be able to climb without the guide's help (but under his control ...).

We deeply wish to help you realise your first ascent in altitude, using all the skills you will have learned during the course. That is why we worked out this special educational and playful program covering all the aspects of mountaineering. We begin the stay on the Argentiere glacier to begin the glacial environment and small passage the next day on the side of Aiguilles Rouges to evolve rocky and mixed medium. The rest of the stay will in altitude to apply the elements acquired during technical schools. During this week you will learn all the technical details of which are presented in the section: Route.

Itinerary

  • Day 1Chamonix - Argentiere Glacier - training in snow and ice technics - Chamonix

    See you in the morning with the group and your guide in the center of Chamonix. Rental equipment for those in need, check bags and distribution picnics by the guide, then you go on personal vehicles to the village of Argentiere.The cable-car takes you in 10 minutes to Lognan, up to 1970m above sea level. From here you take the hiking trail that allows you to reach the left bank of the Argentiere glacier and taking to the ice. Revision of the first notions of crampons, ice ax use, rope : so many things to know in order to go aloft.
    Back to Argentiere in the late afternoon.
    For the first start in June, the Argentiere glacier will be replaced by a day on the Mer de Glace because the lifts to Lognan only open in July.

    Nb time (s) walk: 3 to 4 hours
    Elevation gain +: about 500m
    Height difference -: About 500m
    Accommodation: Chamonix Valley Cottage

  • Day 2Aiguilles Rouges - School progression rock and mixed

    Learning day belaying and progression in rock techniques. Climbing small rocky peaks in theAiguilles Rouges (Brevent or Index), equipped for learning. On the program: rope maneuvers, rope climbing and head relay installation, abseilings, etc ...

    Accommodation : evening meal and night in a chalet in Chamonix.

  • Day 3Aiguilles Rouges - School progression rock and mixed

    New day in the Aiguilles Rouges, in a other sector than the guide will introduce you, to make new technical schools in climbing.

    Accommodation : evening meal and night in a chalet in Chamonix.

  • Day 4Aiguille du Midi - crossing the Vallée Blanche cable car

    Today we go to Aiguille du Midi and 3842m. From there we will discover the fantastic view of the Mont Blanc before taking the cable car to the Vallée Blanche and across to the Helbronner peak. From there we will go to the Col d'Entrève to admire the Italian side then we start crossing the Vallée Blanche crampons to reach the Cosmiques hut.

    Accommodation : evening meal and night in the Cosmiques hut.

  • Day 5High altitude day

    From the hut we start practicing snow and ice school side of "Pointes Lachenal". Then we shall then turn to the Aiguille du Midi to take the cable car and reach Chamonix

    Internship late on Friday between 16h and 18h.

Important :
This program may be modified by the guide or tour organizer decision, taking in consideration mountain and weather conditions, required physical condition of participants and above all the interest of safety. For the safety reasons, as well to ensure the conduct of the announced program, we need to ensure that all participants have the required level of mental and physical condition demanded by the program. We reserve the right to end your participation if your technical and /or physical form does not match required level. In no case, the interruption cannot result in a reimbursement or payment compensation.

Dates & prices

From To Price per person Guaranteed
€925.00 Ask for availability
€925.00 Ask for availability
€925.00 Ask for availability
€925.00 Ask for availability
€925.00 Ask for availability
€925.00 Ask for availability
€925.00 Ask for availability
€925.00 Ask for availability
€925.00 Ask for availability

Trip reference: ASIAL

The price includes

- The technical organization of the stay
- Supervision by mountain guide
- Accommodation in gite and refuge
- The picnic - lunch
- The collective technical equipment (ropes).
- The lifts necessary for the trip  (Argentière, Aiguille du Midi, Flégère,  Vallée Blanche cable-car).

 The price does not include

- Drinks and personal expenses
- Energetic bars (cereal bars, dried fruit, chocolate bars, etc ... at your convenience)
- All the transfers
- Application fees (18€)
- Insurance / Assistance
- Anything that is not in "the price includes"  

To be paid on site

- Rental of personal equipment if necessary
- The lifts if necessary  Insurance

 The 30% of deposit to be paid at time of inscription and registration; the rest should be paid 30 days before departure


Insurance
We can offer you two options (To subscribe to our insurance is mandatory to be domiciled for tax purposes in Europe):
- Cancellation Insurance- 3% of the price of your stay: for any accident or illness, dismissal or event occurring before your departure that could prevent you from caring out with the journey
- Multi risk Insurance - 4% of the price of your stay: it takes the "cancellation" above and covers you during your stay, it covers also research and rescue costs, as well as possible hospital coast and medical expenses.  If you do not wish to subscribe on our insurance, you need to return us, mandatory, the discharging insurance sent to you with your registration confirmation.
- Rapatriation assistance contract -2% of the price of your stay: assistance to persons in the event of illness or injury during the journey.

If you choose some other insurance and assistance company, please be so kind to verify that a part considering “Research and rescue by helicopter” is well adapted: coverage area, amount, risks covers. For information, a minimum of 15,000€ is recommended to cover Research assistance. Cards Credit offer little or not much of desirable guarantee. 

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Equipment

Supplied equipment:

- collective equipment (ropes, ice screws)
- blanket or quilt in shelters

Technical equipment:

- Mountaineering boots that you can fit crampons onto (with rigid soles)
- A comfortable mountaineering backpack (40/45L)
- Ice axe, crampons, harness , helmet (all of them can be rented : ask prices)
- Carabiners (no rentals available)
- One or two collapsible walking poles (depending on what you are used to)
- A water bottle (1L minimum)

Individual equipment: 

- A warm hat
- A sun hat and/or a scarf
- Sun glasses for glacier, cat. 4 sun protection that are closing well on the sides + ski goggle
- a pair of warm gloves or mittens
- a pair of fleece or wool gloves or mittens
- a pair of silk gloves or mittens
- 2 or 3 breathable undershirts, preferably long sleeves (e.g. Capilene or polypro) 
- Fleece or heavy jacket
- Down jacket (optional but highly appreciated during the summit day if the weather is very cold)
- wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Gore Tex or similar)
- a pair of comfortable mountaineering pants.- wind and waterproof over pants (Gore Tex or similar)
- long underwear or running tights (e.g. Capilene or polypro)
- 2 pairs of socks : a warm one and a lighter one
- gaiters
- Toiletries : only tooth-brush and tooth-paste in refuge
- sun cream (face and lips)
- A head lamp with spare batteries and bulb
- Pocket knife
- A rain cover for your backpack (optional)
- A liner for refuges

Luggage:

- During the training and the climb, you will carry our own personal equipment and packed lunches in your backpack (40-45L)
- The rest of your luggage will stay in Chamonix and can be kept in another bag (travel bag)


First aid kit

Your Stages Expéditions guide will carry a collective first aid kit.

However, it is important that you brought your individual pharmacy :
- analgesic (avoid aspirin)
- anti-inflammatory (pills and cream)
- bandages and second skin
- elastoplast (excellent to prevent blisters)
- sun cream, after-sun cream
- pills to cleanse the water (e.g. Aquatabs). Water in bottles is VERY expensive in huts.
- Light sleeping drug (if you need some) and/or Quies ear plugs
- you own medecine... 

Practical information

Passports / visas

Please contact your ambassy to check the passports and visas rules to come to France.

Staff

This trip is supervised by a qualified High Mountain Guide whose main objective is to train you in basics technics, to help you improve your skills and to enable you to complete a safe course and gain autonomy. In any case, he will take care of you and assure you your security.

Accommodation

Mountains refuges have mixed, shared, dormitory style accommodation but provide mattresses, pillows, blankets and even slippers. Toilet and washing facilities are basic.

Food

Meals :Your breakfasts and evening meals will be traditional and copious (prepared in Chamonix or by refuges' keepers).
Lunches : packed lunches.
Drinks : water is very expensive in refuges.

Weather

In the Mont Blanc massif, the weather can change very brutally : the wind can suddenly blow very hardly and the snow can fall abundantly until low in the valley, even in full summer. That is why we do our best to anticipate the evolutions of weather reports and if it is necessary we adapt our programs the weather conditions.

Recommandations : 

For this trip, you must be fit : you can train with other sports such like running, cycling, swimming or sportive walk. To have a reasonable chance of success a high degree of fitness and stamina, and some previous experience of altitude are highly recommended.For more information about our trips' levels, please go to the "Level" section of our website.

Hygiene : 

In mountain, you will often see water, but be careful, it is not always drinking water ! Ask your guide's advice before drinking, and keep with you pills to cleanse it.

Altitude :

Mountaineering courses usually take place at altitude lower than 4000m, that is why acclimatisation is not a big difficulty.

Books / sheets / web : 

IGN sheets 1:25000- 3531 ET St Gervais- 3630 OT Chamonix