Chamonix Alpinist Week

Fitness level
Tech level
Number of guiding days
Guiding ratio

Our Chamonix Alpine Climbing Holiday is ideal for mountaineers who have completed an alpine training course, or done some UK rock/winter climbing before and now want to cut their teeth on longer, more technical routes and high quality alpine summits. Chamonix is justly famous for its high concentration of classic routes across all grades and styles of climbing: classic multi-pitch rock routes, ice gullies and faces, mixed routes, and classic alpine ridges are all potential objectives.

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Wow guys, I’ve just had a few weeks to reflect on my week with Big Tim and young Ben – awesome! We had a week of perfect weather and cool and assured guiding and leadership from Tim. Cruising around above Chamonix and then being tested totally on the harder pitches on the Peigne and Geant – it really was just the week I needed. After a few years without being guided, having fun on easier stuff with mates, it felt like money well spent. I feel that I certainly improved my all round alpine skills and got up stuff that I couldn’t possibly of led myself. Thanks Guys for getting it all sorted and a big thank you to Tim.

Phil Warner

We had a great time with both Rob and with Al. Many thanks to them both as well as to you, Rich for help organising things. Chalet Tissieres also looked after us very well. The guiding was great – we learned quite a lot without it being too “instructional” and … the weather was exceptionally favourable so we managed a superb program of enjoyable and yet challenging (for us) routes. Matthew is already wondering when we can tackle other, slightly harder routes such as the Matterhorn and the Eiger. I think we will give it another couple of years but we do hope to be back in due course.

Simon Theobald

I’m back in London: life here is not quite as exciting as climbing the chere couloir! Maybe I’ve acquired a new addiction! I loved it actually, Mark did a great job and made the most of the variable weather to do some great stuff. I also learnt how to climb at pace, or somewhere starting to approach it, at least. The course with Al was fantastic too, and it was great to be guided by people clearly at the top of their game and happy to share their knowledge and skills. If I’m lining up another trip next year or I’m in the Chamonix area again for e.g. skiing, I’ll definitely get in touch.

James Tindal-Robertson

We just wanted to touch base with you before we have too many beers this evening and let you know how much we have enjoyed our week with Lori. He has been a great guide and taken us to some awesome places as well as managing to keep both Giles (who is far more experienced than me) and I happy. We both learnt a lot, had some great climbing and really enjoyed his company. We very much hope to spend time with him again on a future Alpine Guides adventure. Thanks again for organizing a great week, we are already looking forward to Stubai!

Laura Newnham

Had a phenomenal week climbing and mountaineering with Rich around Chamonix. Climbed the Aiguilles Marbrees, Aiguille d’Entreves, Cosmiques Arete and Papillons Arete as well as a number of other multi pitch rock routes. Am looking forward to coming back next year, to take on some bigger routes!

Chris Viggor

Trip overview

Our Chamonix Alpine Climbing Holiday is ideal for mountaineers who have completed an alpine training course, or done some UK rock/winter climbing before and now want to cut their teeth on longer, more technical routes and high quality alpine summits. Chamonix is justly famous for its high concentration of classic routes across all grades and styles of climbing: classic multi-pitch rock routes, ice gullies and faces, mixed routes, and classic alpine ridges are all potential objectives.

Please visit our Covid-19 Climb Information page for Covid FAQs, details of our new participation requirements, travel advice and what to expect on your trip.

Download factsheet (PDF)

Trip Info

Chamonix is hard to beat in terms of variety, scenery, quality of climbing and sheer ease of access thanks to the fantastic cablecar network in the valley. This makes it possible to pack in an impressive amount of climbing into one week, whether that be hut accessed or day trips using the uplift. Easy access to Italy via the Mont Blanc tunnel, or across into Switzerland also provides lots of bad weather options to keep us climbing at every available opportunity.  Climbing at 2:1 all week allows us to tailor the program to your particular ambitions, ability and the prevailing mountain conditions, with typical grades in the range PD+ to AD+.

Trip Reports >> Report 1, Report 2, Report 3


This is an intermediate level trip. To take part you should be at Fitness Level 3 and Tech Level 3 (see our Fitness/Experience guidelines below). To get the most out of this trip you need to either have prior alpine experience or have climbed at least Scottish III in winter and UK rock grade VS (or equivalent).  A Lake District classic rock weekend would be a great Uk based warm up for this trip.

Guiding ratio

One IFMGA guide climbing with 2 clients.

Included in price

  • 6 days of guiding
  • All guides expenses
  • 4 nights accommodation in the Chamonix valley, including breakfast and evening meals**
  • 3 nights accommodation in mountain huts, including breakfast and evening meals
  • Local travel in the guide’s vehicle to complete the course itinerary

Excluded from price (see course factsheet for cost estimates)

  • Cable cars
  • Lunches and drinks
  • Travel to resort
  • Insurance
  • Equipment hire


Our meeting point and Chamonix valley base is Chalet Tissieres in Les Bossons, just 5 mins by car/bus from Chamonix centre. The chalet stands in its own 2000m2 alpine garden with stunning panoramic views of Mont Blanc and the entire Chamonix valley. It offers simple but comfortable shared rooms, a large lounge/dining area, honesty bar, and a huge balcony for al fresco dining on warm summer evenings: a great place to relax after a big day in the mountains. The chalet serves a buffet breakfast and varied 3 course evening meal**, with special diets catered for upon request. Rooms are provided on a twin (or occasionally 4-6 person) sharing basis, but if you prefer a single room please let us know and we will confirm availability. **The chef has one night off each week – this day will include bed and breakfast only, but the chalet will recommend an alternative local restaurant. Hotel details can be found on our Accommodation page.


For overnights in the high mountains, we will use mountain huts. For more info please read the Using Alpine Huts article which provides an overview of typical facilities, average costs to help you budget for lunches/drinks, and general info on hut etiquette.

(NB ‘Course Only’ Options are also available. If you’d like to book a place on the course only and arrange your own accommodation, then please get in touch).

ABTOT Protected

This trip is protected by ABTOT – Alpine Guides Ltd, Membership Number 5394.  For further information, please visit our Financial Protection page.

Detailed Itinerary


You should arrange outward travel on Saturday, arriving by 5-6pm latest in time for the briefing at your accommodation. Your guide will run through safety routines and kit checks, as well as hand out any rental equipment for the week, before we go on to discuss everyones ambitions for the week, together with the current weather and mountain conditions and how these affect our planning. We’ll also have maps and guidebooks to show you. If you’ve any further questions or last minute requests, then this is the ideal time to bring them up before we head on to dinner. PM Overnight in the valley.


Acclimatisation Climb

Ascent of a high quality mountain route in order to acclimatise and brush up on alpine skills.

Day 1 is normally a warm up day in order to find your feet on alpine terrain again and get used to the altitude.  Typical outings might include a mid altitude rock route in the Aiguilles Rouges or Chamonix Aiguilles, an alpine ridge climb like the Aig D’Entreves, or a shorter face climb like the Aig du Toule NW Face.

Overnight in valley.

Monday to Tuesday

2 Day Trip – staying in an alpine hut overnight.

Our plan is to climb 2 good quality routes, with an early alpine start on the second day in order to attempt a longer, more involved objective.

Here are some typical objectives – this is just a tiny sample, as there are thousands of good climbs at all grades in the range.

Multipitch Climbs:

  • Tacul North Face Routes
  • Pyramide du Tacul
  • Chapelle de la Gliere

Ridge Traverses:

  • Table de Roc Ridge
  • Aiguille D’Entreves

Technical Summits:

  • Tour Ronde
  • Aiguille du Peigne

Please let us know any climbs in the Mont Blanc range that you have done before, so we can plan accordingly.

Tue PM return to Chamonix. Overnight in valley.

Wednesday to Friday

3 day trip – staying in huts Wed and Thur nights.

This gives us more time to access some of the more remote huts in the Mont Blanc massif. Possible objectives include:

Couvercle Hut

  • Aiguille du Moine
  • La Nonne-Eveque Traverse

Monzino Hut

  • Aiguille Croux
  • Punta Innominata

Argentiere Hut

  • Aiguille du Genepi
  • Aiguille d’Argentiere.

If you have any particular ambitions or specific objectives in mind for the week, then please let us know when you book – so that we can tailor the itinerary accordingly, in order to give you the greatest chance of success.

Fri PM – return to the valley for a debrief, exchange of photos etc and farewells.


Return travel should be arranged on Saturday morning, after your final nights accommodation.

Early departures – if you choose to depart on Friday night, please leave plenty of time for repacking and airport transfer. You will typically be back at the hotel by 4-5pm at the latest, so choose a flight departing after 9-10pm.

Location and Travel

We base ourselves for the week in the famous French resort of Chamonix, in the shadow of Mont Blanc. Chamonix is one of the most famous Alpine centres in the world, with an unparalleled range of quality climbing across all grades and styles, and much of it with convenient cablecar access. The most common way to reach Chamonix is fly to Geneva, then take a shared taxi transfer to the Chamonix valley – transfers will drop off at the destination of your choice, but must be booked in advance.

Flight and transfers

  • Fly to Geneva with numerous budget airlines: for an overview of the best options check out the excellent Sky Scanner flight comparison website.
  • Airport transfer from Geneva to Chamonix: Mountain Drop-offs offer the best all round service, with regular reliable transfers through the season. They offer a shared minibus taxi service which meets you in the airport and drops you off at the door of your hotel. Book your transfer here and use promo code ALPGUID to receive a discount on your journey.
  • Alternatively hire a car at Geneva airport (1.2 hrs drive to Cham): /

For flights and other travel options, including train, coach and driving, visit our Travel Planning page.

Fitness and Experience

To enjoy this trip you should be comfortable operating at Fitness Level 3, and Tech Level 3 (as appropriate for the style of climbing on this trip ie Alpine, rock climbing or ice climbing).

Fitness Level 3
You do 3-4 hours CV training/sport per week. At this level you are happy doing a 5-6 hour hillwalk, 50 mile cycle or 3-4hr mountain bike ride without being totally exhausted. If you are into challenges – then the thought of doing a road sportive, or training to do a 1/2 (or maybe even a full) marathon, wouldn’t seem too ridiculous. Eg: you should be able to do the full Langdale Horseshoe: Langdale – Pike of Stickle – Angle Tarn – Bow Fell – Crinkle Crags – Pike of Blisco – Langdale in a day without finishing up exhausted.

Tech Level 3
Intermediate climber. Leading single or multi pitch trad rock climbs at Severe – VS / ice climbing experience seconding routes to Scottish grade 2 – 3 / familiar with multipitch abseil descents / alpine peaks at PD – easy AD standard.

To view all climbing Technical and Fitness Levels, and for advice on trip preparation and training, please visit our training advice page.


Summer Alpine Kit List

Above all, alpine climbing kit needs to do the job, but be as light as possible. We work with various manufacturers including Arc’teryx, whose products we can thoroughly recommend.

Technical Clothing

  • Wicking thermal top – long sleeved and light colour is ideal!
  • Softshell Jacket – mid weight, wind resistant, light insulating layer (or a mid weight fleece jacket)
  • Spare warm layer – lightweight synthetic/down jacket or other warm layer
  • Waterproof jacket – lightweight breathable model
  • Mountain trousers – light/mid-weight windproof softshell model
  • Overtrousers – with long side zips
  • Socks – warm ‘Smartwool’ type, plus thin liner socks and spares
  • Gaiters – made from breathable material (or trim fitting trousers with ankle volume adjuster)
  • Thin gloves – windproof ‘hardfleece’ model is good
  • Warm insulated gloves – wind and waterproof
  • Warm hat – must fit under a helmet

Personal Items

  • Water Container – at least 1 litre
  • Headtorch and batteries
  • Map, compass and whistle (optional, but a good idea)
  • Personal medications and blister kit – zinc oxide tape, compeed, painkillers etc
  • Sun Glasses – CE rated 3 or 4 with side protection
  • Goggles – for windy/snowy conditions
  • Sun and lip cream – factor 30+
  • Sun hat
  • Shorts
  • Wallet and passport
  • Alpine Club/BMC card (if you are a member) and insurance docs

Hut Overnight Items

  • Small wash kit
  • Spare lightweight t-shirt/socks/pants
  • Silk sheet sleeping bag liner
  • Ear plugs
  • (Hut slippers for indoor use, and blankets/duvets and pillows are provided by the huts)

Technical Equipment

  • Rucsac – 35/45l is perfect for general use
  • Rucsac – superlight 15/20l model, for taking on long multi-pitch rock routes (for technical courses/private guiding)
  • *Rigid mountaineering bootsAxe, Boot and Crampon advice
  • Rock climbing shoes – must be comfortable enough to wear for several hours (can be hired in resort if nec)
  • Approach shoes or trainers
  • Trekking poles
  • Harness, locking karabiner and belay device
  • 2 prussik loops + karabiner – if in doubt, bring 3m of 6mm climbing cord!
  • 120cm sling + locking karabiner
  • Climbing helmet
  • Crampons with antiball plates
  • Ice Axe classic type for intro and general mountaineering courses
  • Technical Ice Axe and Hammer – required for parts of the Tech Alpine/Cham Alpinist/Ice and Mixed/North Faces courses

Your guide will have ropes, climbing rack, first aid and survival equipment.

*Boots: These are VERY important to the success of your trip! Its best to have your own boots and break them in well before the start of the trip – see advice below.

Recommendations and Advice
Visit the Knowledge Base section of our website or our blog for equipment advice. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please get in touch!

Purchasing Equipment
Backcountry UK in Otley offer an excellent walking boot fitting service and general equipment advice.

Hiring Equipment
Please see our Equipment Hire page for more details.


For this trip you must have specialist travel insurance providing medical, emergency search/rescue and repatriation cover for climbing and mountaineering activities as outlined in the course itinerary. We also strongly recommend that you purchase cancellation cover, in case you’re unable to attend your trip due to personal circumstances or injury. Please arrange your insurance as soon as your trip is confirmed to run.

Please find further details on our insurance info page.

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