Ski Vallee Blanche, Chamonix

Dates: January to May

The world famous 18km journey with 2800m of vertical descent through some of the most stunning glaciated alpine scenery rarely disappoints!

  • Start altitude (Aiguille du Midi): 3777m
  • Finish Altitude (Chamonix): 1050m
  • Vertical Descent: 2727m
  • Length: 18Km
  • Season: Usually January to April
  • Time: Varies according to skiers ability and priorities but commonly 4-5 hours

This magnificent ski journey can be done in a short day by confident black slope skiers. Thanks to the height gain (2742m) given by the Aiguille du Midi cable car. The descent of the Vallee Blanche is often the highlight of a ski trip to Chamonix!

We provide fully qualified (IFMGA) Mountain Guides who work hard to ensure, that you have a safe, enjoyable and interesting descent. We are also able to offer interesting variations on the descent. Would you like to choose  steeper lines? Or include a short ski tour across to the Italian side before skiing down the classic route to Chamonix.

Requirements to ski vallee blanche:

If you ski confidently on a black slope you will be ready for THE vallee blanche with us!

Price: 350.00€* 

(* up to 6 skiers) 

Included in the Price: UIAGM / IFMGA mountain guide – a fully qualified and experienced Patagoniatiptop guide will accompany you, we provide you with an avalanche beacon and harness.

Not included in the price: Cablecar ride up to Aiguille du Midi 

Bad weather option:

If the weather or snow conditions are not suitable to ski the Vallee Blanche, we will not cancel the trip but follow an alternative off-piste skiing program. Chamonix offers perfect terrain for a guided off-piste skiing day.

Lift Pass:

A lift pass to access the Aiguille du Midi cable car and the Montenvers train is needed, the Mont Blanc Unlimited is the best option as it covers both.


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Ski touring Haute Route Chamonix – Zermatt

Dates: March/April/May

Haute Route Skitour from Chamonix to Zermatt…from the French to the Swiss historical alpine capital

This six day Ski tour on glaciers for the most part, offers exceptional beauty of the landscapes.
We start in Chamonix, at the foot of Mont Blanc and ski across the Wallis region of Switzerland.  The tour ends with a unique ski descent on the foot of the Matterhorn down to Zermatt.

Daily itinerary

Day 1: Chamonix – Refuge d’Argentière
Chamonix – Refuge d’Argentière
Elevation gain: 200m
Vertical loss: 800m

Day 2: Refuge de Trient
Ref Argentiere  – Refuge Trient
Elevation gain: 1100m
Vertical loss: 300m

Day 3: Refuge Prafleuri
Refuge Trient – Refuge Prafleuri
Elevation gain: 700m
Vertical loss: 2700m

Day 4: Cabane de Dix
Refuge Prafleuri  – Cabane de Dix
Elevation gain: 800m
Vertical loss: 450m

Day 5: Cabane des Vignettes
Cabane de Dix – Cabane des Vignettes
Elevation gain: 850m

Day 6: Zermatt
Cabane des Vignettes – Zermatt
Elevation gain: 900m
Vertical loss: 2100m

Price:

1560.-€ (min. 4 persons, max 6)
This spectacular tour can be done in many different ways. Add . Please contact us for more informations.

Included in the price: Organisation, mountain guiding, Private Transport Champex – Verbier Day 2,  half board in the huts
Not included in the price: Lunch & Drinks, Lift tickets, personal insurance*, personal equipment

*We strongly recommend the purchase of a cancellation insurance.
*We also advise you to purchase personal ski insurance .

Level requirements

This trip is for experienced ski tourers who have already done at least one hut-to-hut tour or a multi-day ski tour. You should be able to skin up to 5 hours with up to 1100m vertical gain per day, at a good steady pace.
Efficiency in your skinning technique and confident moving over a steep and exposed terrain should be no problem. You are expected to be comfortable and safe doing kick turns on slopes of over 35 degrees.
Are you an excellent off piste skier, confident and efficient in skiing in all snow conditions without losing control over your skis?  Skiing on slopes of 40 degrees is not a problem of you?
You should be physically fit, ready to hike and ski for up to 8 hours per day without being too tired the next day. You have to be able to move reasonably fast (climb 400m/h).


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Private Ski & Telemark Lessons, Chamonix Valley & Megève

Dates: December – First week of May

Professional privat Ski – and Telemark lessons in the Chamonix valley & Megève ski area from December until end of April. Learn from the Swiss Ex-world cup ski racer Ella Alpiger and her team.

Everything about Chamonix ski resort is big. In the shadow of Mont Blanc, the deep valley has more skiable slopes than seems reasonable. With several ski areas distributed across the huge mountain ranges to north and south, a thriving town in the centre and smaller, charming mountain villages in the valley, there’s something for everyone.

With the Mont Blanc as its backdrop, Megève ski area is in a lovely sunny setting and the village has a beautifully preserved, partly medieval centre. It’s the capital of the mountain way of life, an authentic village in the Savoy Alps that is covered by a carpet of snow every winter.

Many different slopes in all different colors and challenging Out-bound runs are waiting for you to be discovered.
Beginners and Experts are welcome to join the lessons!

We will analyze your skiing on video camera. Fast technical progress and more enjoyable ski days are the result of that.

Prices for Chamonix valley ski areas:

Daily Ski and Telemark lessons, Off – piste days and Ski touring intro courses:
1/2 day (3hrs), 09:00-12:00 / 13:00 – 16:00: 240€
1 day (6hrs), 09:00 – 15:00: 360€ / High season February: 410€

Included in the price: Teaching, Video of your progress

Please consult prices for Megève ski area.

 

Unlimited skiing

With the Chamonix Unlimited Skipass (more than 3 days) we can also enjoy skiing in Courmayeur (ITA) 15 Min., Verbier (CH) 40 Min. and Evasion Mont Blanc (Megève, St.Gervais, Les Contamines) (FR) 20 Min. by car from Chamonix.

Ski touring

Chamonix also offers great ski touring options not only for Experts. Let us introduce you to our favorite sport with a Ski touring Intro. Learn all about safety, snow and technique with an UIAGM mountain guide.

Off piste, powder courses

Explore the snow on the other side of the groomed run! If you have mastered the pistes and want to learn how to ski all trains off piste, come and sign up for our Off piste courses. We will teach you on all different slopes and terrains. Let’s train to get you fit to take a ski trip down the Valle Blanche!

Helicopter Skiing

Thanks to its exceptional geographical location between Italy and Switzerland, Chamonix is a major centre for Heliskiing from where you can reach a host of exciting destinations. For a day trip, there’s nothing simpler than getting dropped off by helicopter in Switzerland or Italy with a UIAGM – mountain guide, to ski the finest transalpine slopes of Val Veny, Cervinia, La Tile and Val Grisanche. Also exploring the mountains of the Valais in the areas around Trient in Switzerland, or even Zermatt.

Equipment

We proudly ski with K2 Skis, they offer a great range of skis and boots for all different kind of availabilities and snow conditions. Not sure which material to buy or rent? We are happy to recommend the perfect ski for you.

Accommodation

Do you want to sleep in down town Chamonix or rather a bit outside in the quite or maybe ski in and ski out? Chamonix has it all, let us find the perfect place for you!


How skiing came to France; did you know?

Skiing had come to Italy via Switzerland since about 1895. The natural thing for France would have been to copy the neighboring Italians. They went to the source instead, they wanted a missionary from Norway and in November 1902 one such providentially dropped in. A junior Norwegian army lieutenant called Herman Schultz that wanted to visit France as a ski instructor in order to get out into the wider world an learn French. Later two more officers where sent to France and they started a ski school to teach the French soldiers. Those soldiers showed a legendary marching ability and could accomplish to march up to 50 or 60 km a day on skis without really being worn out. They sometimes started at 4a.m. and didn’t return until 8p.m.

The ski school was so exhausting, both for teachers and the taught, that it only ran from Monday to Thursday, with the rest of the week free; for the French soldiery at any rate. On Friday and Saturday, the Norwegians were expected to teach the officers and on Sundays, their wives. The Colonel’s lady was particularly keen. The two instructors would support her on each side and she was wearing a hat and veil! …”Suddenly her skis broke trough the crust, and we ran on, but in confusion. It was not a dignified regimental commander’s wife who got her feet, covered in blood, with hat awry and tattered veil. Afternoon tea with her was cancelled. We didn’t see her for 14 days.”

first female skier in the French alps

 

Picture credit: vintage ski

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Chamonix freeride skiing week


Patagoniatiptop video


Dates: January to April

Our Chamonix Freeride weeks are a dream come true for everyone interested in backcountry skiing.

What to expect:

During the week you’ll get a chance to experience the scenic backcountry around Mont Blanc in the company of an UIAGM-licensed mountain guide. The Chamonix Mont Blanc area will leave nobody cold.  The most experienced free riders from all corners of the world come to ski this ski areas. A real skier’s paradise!

Our guides know the backcountry terrain and weather conditions extremely well and will make sure you’ll ski the best spots.

 

Tentative plan

Arrival day: 
Meet and greet in Chamonix, Equipment Check

Day 1: Les Grands Montets, Argentière
We will ski at the Grands Montets, Chamonix most famous off-piste ski area.
This ski resort has an immense range of off piste skiing. The snow stays light and fresh, due to the North Face of the Aiguille Verte which shields it from the sun.

Day 2: Vallee Blanche
We’ll ride one of the most legendary Glaciers of all time – the Vallée Blanche route, where you get to see the most amazing views of Mont Blanc.

Day 3: Courmayeur
Courmayeur (ITA) is just a 20 Minutes drive trough the Mont Blanc tunnel away from Chamonix and offers very nice off piste options. A real Italian ski day!

Day 4: Brévent – Flégere
We will check out the snow at Brévent – Flégere ski area accesible form Chamonix town today.

Day 5: Toule Glacier
The brand new Sky way cable car brings us up to Punta Helbronner. We ride the South side of Mont Blanc, on the Toule Glacier down into Courmayeur.

Prices:

2 skiers:  875€ per Skier
3 skiers:  660€ per Skier
4 skiers:  600€ per Skier

Included in the price:
Organization, 5 days UIAGM-mountain guide

Not included in the price:
Lift passes, snow safety equipment, personal insurances, transportation

  • We require all participants to carry full avalanche safety equipment (beacon, probe, shovel) and to obey given instructions to ensure amazing powder days.
Day Guiding:

Do you only have a day or two for skiing in Chamonix? We are happy to offer you a great shorter off-piste experience! Let us know.

Accommodation:

Let us know if we can help you finding your perfect accommodation.


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Women’s Freeride & Skitouring Camp, Chamonix

2018: April 15 – 19 (So – Th)

 2019: March 3 – 7 (So – Th) / March 31 – April 4

(Please ask us for private dates, also for mixed groups)

Highlights
  • 3 days ski teaching and guiding in the Chamonix valley
  • 4 nights at a cosy Chalet Hotel in the Chamonix valley with half board included
  • 2 Ski tours
  • Valle Blanche descent, the greatest ski descend in the world
  • Learn all about ski touring and back country skiing
  • Ski touring basics, including gear usage, uphill techniques, pacing, layering, and route selection
  • Avalanche awareness including terrain management and basic companion rescue strategies

 

Learn off piste skiing and ski touring with us!

Three days of world-class skiing with top, women-specific instructions from Ex-World Cup ski racer and certified ski instructor Ella Alpiger and IFMGA Mountain guide Federico Arletti.
This all-inclusive camp features the latest ski and ski-touring teaching techniques, avalanche safety informations and Chamonix unmatched Off-piste runs.

“It’s all about learning off piste skiing technique, backcountry skills, mountain safety, and most importantly, having fun in the outdoors!”

We will base out of Chamonix for 3 days of adventure skiing. Our goal is to ski the best places for the given conditions, and provide you with coaching and instruction in big mountain skiing.

“It’s a unique ski program that makes it easier, faster and more fun to learn to ski off-piste.”

Camp itinerary
Day 1: Arrival day

We welcome you at the cosy Chalet Hotel in Chamonix and enjoy a first dinner together. Maybe you want to enjoy a bath in the hot tub with a nice glas of wine.

Day 2: Off piste skiing work shop
  • Off piste work shop in one of the many ski areas in the Chamonix valley. We ski where we find the nicest snow. Get tips on your ski skills and technique to help you improve in a variety of ski conditions and terrain. Work on technique and mental preparedness that will improve your skiing in the backcountry, in steeps, trees, narrow chutes and crud.
  • Learn how to search with your avalanche transceiver in the afternoon. An important skill you have to know!

Night and dinner at the Chalet in Chamonix, take a bath in the hot tub and relax by the fire place.

Day 3:  Ski touring intro
  • Off piste work shop in the morning. Practice the tips you have learned yesterday.
  • Now we are ready to bring our back country skiing to the next level. We start with a short ski tour in the afternoon where you learn all about ascending with skins on your skis, ski touring itineraries and snow safety information.
    Night and dinner at the Chalet in Chamonix, enjoy a glas of wine at the fire place and check out today’s skiing videos.

    Day 4: Ski tour & Valle Blanche
  • We take the cable car up to Aiguille du Midi and skin over to the Italian side towards Col d’Entrèves (+400m).
  • Later we enjoy skiing the famous Valle Blanche or Noire  glacier run. It might be the run you have always dreamed of. Stunning views, huge glaciers and us skiing with trough that showing our new learned skills.
  • The course finishes at about 2-3pm in Chamonix.

The programme is given as an indication only. Changes and adaptation may be made to suit current technical criteria, safety requirements and weather conditions.

  • Ella makes it possible for intermediate and advanced skier to move to the next level of expertise in the shortest time possible. Get confident with the avalanche safety skills and make your first ski touring experiences.All in a group session designed to foster camaraderie. A truly elevated experience.
    Tap in to the pro’s fitness traits off the slopes, with a stretching class and an inspirational talks about mental training.
    Than relax in the Sauna, dine and socialize in Chamonix.
    “I hope you can join me for this amazing opportunity!”
Personal Requirements

If you feel confident on black slopes and have some off-piste experience, you’re ready to join this camp.

Resort

Chamonix , French alps. In winter, with 4 large skiing areas, Chamonix Valley welcomes snow sports enthusiasts from all over the world and from all walks of life who come to test their skills on and off the slopes of the Mont Blanc range. Here, even if it primarily for fun, skiing is as intense and exciting as the locality where it takes place!

Transfer included from Geneva 

Transfers to and from Geneva airport with guaranteed flexibility to match your flight times allowing you to fly from your local airport at a time that suits you is included in the price. If you’re traveling by train from Switzerland, you can reach Chamonix via Martigny.

 

Our Accommodation: Luxury Ski Chalet Les Bois  

An elegant traditional chalet with great facilities, Chalet les Bois is located in one the most beautiful areas in the Chamonix Valley and within close proximity to the Flegere ski lift.

This extremely comfortable chalet boasts a unique 85m2 dining, lounge and entertainment area on the top floor, offering breathtaking views of the majestic Mont Blanc from panoramic windows and the south, east and west-facing sun terraces.  Guests can relax in front of the open fire with a glass of wine or enjoy the home cinema with Bose sound.

Eight tastefully furnished twin bedrooms can be found on the lower two levels of the chalet, along with eight Japanese style bathrooms, six of which are en-suite.

This chalet also features a large outdoor hot tub in the gardens perfectly situated to admire the breathtaking views.

Chalet features
  • Champagne and canapés upon arrival at the chalet
  • Three course gourmet evening meal  – including special menus for those with dietary needs, prepared by an experienced chef
  • Excellent quality complimentary French and Italian wine (selection of red, white and rose wines), beer & soft drinks with all evening meals.
  • Full breakfast every morning: hot and cold option including eggs, bacon, fresh bread, pastries, fruit platter and a choice of cereals
  • Afternoon tea – home baked cakes, fresh bread and jams with tea and coffee
  • Tea, coffee and other hot drinks available at all times
  • Private transport to ski lifts: Morning and afternoon pick ups.
  • Transport into town in the evenings in private minibuses (return transport is subject to availability and charged locally)
  • Hot tub
  • Television
  • Selection of DVDs, Playstation / Wii games, board games, books
  • Internet access – WIFI and hard-wired with large iMac for guest use
  • Docking station for iPods and MP3 players
Costs

4 Skiers:                                 1338.00€ per skier
6 and more Skiers:              1198.00€ per skier
Skiing only/min. 3 skiers:  600.00€ per skier  (accommodation/half board, ski pass and airport transfer not included)

Included: Pro teaching and organization, 3-days Unlimited Skipass, Luxury Ski Chalet – Hotel with half board in a standard double room, 2 ski tours, Valle Blanche descent (if conditions are good), video-analysis,  Airport Transfer, lots of information about ski touring and avalanche rescuing, mental training tips, free Bus in Chamonix

Not included: Lunches, drinks, personal insurance, personal equipment (let us know if you need ski touring and avalanche safety equipment, it can be rented in Chamonix). Would you like to sleep in a single room? The price added for that is 270.00€.

 

Proudly supported by: K2 Skis


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Ski tour Mont Blanc summit, France

Dates: March until beginning of June

Ski tour Mont Blanc:

“A challenging dream came true for me! I always wanted to ski that mountain and my mountain guide was fabulous!”

Ski touring up to the summit of Mont Blanc can be done from end of march until may and is a great spring 2-day adventure!

 

Itinerary:

Day 1 : Chamonix – Grand Mulets hut 3051m
Afternoon ride with the first part of the Aiguille du Midi – cablecar up to Plan de l’Aiguille (2310m).
Skitour up to the Grand Mulets hut.
+ 800m, Night at Grand Mulets hut (3051m)

Day 2 : Grand Mulets Hut – Summit – Chamonix
We start early today with a technical ascent of the north face of Dôme du Goûter cramponning, slopes up to 40º to reach the normal route, than continuing over to Bivouac Vallot to the great summit of Mont Blanc (4810m). Ski down to Plan d’Aiguille or Chamonix.
+ 1700m / – 2600m or -3500m

Price:

1100.-€
(Included in the price: Organisation, IFMGA-mountain guide)
(Not included: Overnight stay at mountain hut, Liftticket, Food & drinks, Guide expenses, personal insurance)

  • This programme is meant as a guide only. Depending on the conditions in the mountains and the abilities of the guest, your mountain guide may alter the route.
Personal Requirements:

Very good physical fitness, expert skiing skills and to be well acclimatized to altitude are needed to do this tour.
If you have a solid experience in ice climbing and ski touring, you’re ready to let the dream come true.

How it all began, the Mont Blanc first ascent:

1786: The Frenchmen Michael Gabriel Packard and Jacques Palma were the first to reach the top of Mont Blanc.

After hundreds of failed attempts by dozens of aspiring mountaineers, Paccard and Balmat made history when they became the first climbers to reach the summit of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps. The mountain rises 4810m/15’711feet above sea level and is ranked No. 11 in the world in topographic prominence. The two Chamonix local ascended the summit on August 8th, starting the climb from the Chamonix valley.

The accomplishment was, and still is, considered historic. Eric Shipton, a British Himalayan mountaineer, described the feat, writing in his book Mountain Conquest:

“Theirs was an astounding achievement of courage and determination, one of the greatest in the annals of mountaineering. It was accomplished by men who were not only on unexplored ground but on a route that all the guides believed to be impossible.”

The first female climber

1808: The former maidservant Marie Paradis,  in 1808  became the first woman to climb Mont Blanc, joined by guide Jacques Balmat. For Paradis it was not an easy ascent. She was in such poor condition by the time the climbing party reached the summit that she actually had difficulty speaking and, reportedly, could not see the view from the peak. Her self designed outfit that she was wearing weighed just over 14 pounds.


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Hiking in Cornwall & Lake District, England


Patagoniatiptop video


Dates: May, June

What to expect
Cornwall

In Cornwall we will discover  landscapes where the sea turns turquoise in the sun, the sand is white and the natural light is sometimes blindingly bright, the land is adorned with a legacy of Bronze age standing stones. Huge granite burial chambers, Celtic crosses and holy wells. We will walk trough beautiful flower fields along the South Western Coast Path and might spot some seals on the way.

Lake District

Walking on the Fells in the Lake District National Park is something every walker should experience. 500 million years of geological processes have produced a tightly packed landscape of sparkling waters and superb rugged peaks of dramatic beauty. Within an area only 30 miles across, England’s highest mountains tower over its deepest and longest lakes, with picturesque stone-built villages, farms and country inns crowding into the valleys.

Highlights
  • Discover the Cornish coast walks
    Reach the highness fells in the North
    Sleep in an old castle
    Cruise on an old steamboat
Hiking Itinerary

Day 1: Mullion Cove
Transfer from Newquay Airport to Mullion Cove Hotel
You will stay at the magnificently sited Mullion Cove Hotel for the next two nights. The hotel is situated on the Lizard Peninsula in South Cornwall. The hotel stands on the cliff top overlooking the harbour and fishing cove with uninterrupted sea views.
There will be time for a short walk before dinner.
Dinner  be at hotel.

Day 2: Kynance Cove and Lizard Point
Today we’ll take our first long hike along the Cornish coast, directly from the hotel on the South West Coast Path. We’ll visit the dramatic Kynance Cove and Lizard Point, before proceeding to the pretty village of Cadgwith for a welcome pint!
10 miles, 2000 feet of ascent and descent.
Dinner at hotel.

The very westerly point of England

Day 3:  St Michael’s Mount and Land’s End
Today we’ll start very early to fit in a visit to iconic St Michael’s Mount and its 17th Century Castle, with access by its cobbled tidal causeway. If the tide is high, transfer is by small boat.
After that we can transfer to the little village of Porthcurno and hike along the South West Coast Path to Land’s End admiring the views from the most westerly point of the English mainland.
6 miles, 2000 feet of ascent and descent.
Dinner at Hotel

Day 4: St.Ives
Today you will hike from Lelant to Zennor. Again we follow the South West Coast Path through wonderful coastal scenery through areas of wild orchids, with views down to rocky inlets where the seals will be resting. An option today is to finish the walk in St.Ives to allow more time to shop and sightsee there. Otherwise the hike finishes in Zennor.
Using the train, allows the choice of length of stay in St.Ives and the journey takes just 10 minutes.
Leland to Zennor, 11 miles, 2700 feet in ascent and descent
Lelant to St.Ives, 3,5 miles

Lake District discovery

Day 5:  Transfer to the Lake District & The Swan Hotel
Today you will transfer by private minibus to Newquay airport and again transfer to the Lake District by private minibus from Manchester airport.
Depending on flight times, we should have time for a little hike up Hampsfell and a visit to the picture postcard village of Cartmel, famous for its races, sticky toffee pudding and its priory, before reaching our hotel, The Swan at Newby Bridge.
Dinner will be at the Hotel

Day 6: Scafell Pike, the highest point in England
Today, we’ll attempt an iconic British hike, to the top of England’s highest fell, Sca Fell Pike. The hike starts in Brotherilked, we go up past the waterfalls of Scale Gill and the River Esk, to magnificent Great Moss. From there we make a final ascent of Sca Fell Pike via Micklesore, and then descend steeply down the path by Lingmell Gill enjoying views over Wastwater. A short hop by minibus brings us to the Wastwater Hotel with its famous hikers bar. A long, but very rewarding day.
8 miles, 3100 feet in ascent and descent on rocky and uneven Lakeland paths with some steep sections.
Dinner will be at the hotel.

To the northern Lake District area

Day 7: Rydal Water and Grasmere
Today’s we’ll enjoy a shorter hike as we transfer to the North Lake District. Starting in Rydal Water on the coffin route, we’ll ascend little Loughrigg Fell high above pretty Rydal Water. We’ll then descend to Loughrigg Terrace where the bluebells will greet us before crossing over to White Moss and Wordsworth’s house. It is possible to have a guided tour of Wordsworth’s house, a fascinating insight into 18th century domestic life, as well as the great poet.
Grasmere village itself is a picture postcard of pretty slate houses, shops and pubs.
4 miles, 1300 feet in ascent and descent
Your hotel tonight is Armathwaite Hall and Spa, where you will have dinner.

Day 8: The Newlands Round, Keswick and Derwentwater
Today we will drive into the heart of the Newlands Valley to Little Town, the starting poing of one of the Lake District’s most famous hikes, The Newlands Round. First we will ascend the spectacular wide ridge of Hindscarth to reach Dale Head and one of the best views in the Lake District over Buttermere and Crummock Water. From here we will descend over Maiden Moor down to beautiful Derwentwater and the jetty at Brandlehow. You will then catch the Victorian steam launch across the lake to the market town of Keswick, where there are plenty of shops and cafes, before catching your private minibus home, via the ancient stone circle of Castle Rigg.
9 miles, 2900 feet in ascent, 2400 feet in ascent, on rocky and uneven Lakeland paths. Some steep sections.
Your dinner tonight will be at Armathwaite Hall.

A cruise and a train ride back to London

Day 9: Ullswater and transfer to London
Today you will transfer to Pooley Bridge to catch another Victorian steamer and enjoy a trip down the deepest lake in England, Ullswater. You will enjoy a gentle walk along the shores to the pub in Patterdale. There a private minbus will transfer you to Penrith station for your First Class train journey back to London.
5.7 miles, 1100 feet in ascent and descent.


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Chamonix Hut to Hut hiking short trip


Patagoniatiptop video


Dates: June/July/August/September

  • 3-Day trip

“Rustic hut charm with incredible views!” 

This short trip is perfect for hikers that like to enjoy stunning views over the Mont Blanc mountain chain, sleep in two mountain huts and spot some ibex and wildflowers along the way. Your local guide makes sure that you will get to the huts just in time to enjoy a delicious mountain dish and that you don’t have to worry about anything but taking the nicest pictures of the famous Lac Blanc mountain lake.

Hiking – Itinerary

Arrival day 
19.00: Information and meeting at the hotel.
Night in Hotel

Day 1: Refuge Bellachat
We hike from Chamonix up to the Refuge Bellachat (2152m). The Refuge offers one of the nicest views over the Mont Blanc mountain chain. You might want to enjoy a drink on the terrace that overlooks the whole Mont Blanc valley and wait until the sunset puts the mountains in a pink coat. The family style dinners will soon be served in the cosy mountain hut.

  • 4-5 hrs, +1100m, overnight at the Refuge Bellachat

Day 2: Lac Blanc
An early breakfast at the mountain hut with the fantastic views towards Mont Blanc. Our trail brings us up to Brevent summit for an even more breathtaking view. We reach Col du Cornu via the Col du Brévent and traverse to the Lac de Cornu (at 2276m), which is situated in of the most beautiful environments in the valley. After a picknick lunch we continue the descent through the Combe de la Glieres and hike up to the mountain hut Lac Blanc (2353m). The Lac Blanc mountain lake is the perfect location to take some stunning pictures of a perfect mountain scenery with the Mont Blanc in the back.

  •  7-8 hrs, overnight at Refuge Lac Blanc

Day 3: Aiguilles Rouges
We eat a good breakfast overlooking the Aguilles Rouges mountain before leaving this beautiful spot. Our way down to Argentière will take us to the Lac Cheserys and either Argentière or the Col du Montets. Those that want to hike a bit longer can join the guide on the Petit Balcon Sud all the way back to Chamonix. Lunch will be served at local restaurant in the famous ski resort of Argentière.

Costs per Person
  • 455€ with a minimum of 6 guests (340€ without the first night at Hotel)
  • 525€ with a minimum of 3 guests (420€ without the first night at Hotel)

Included in the price: Organisation, UIMLA-guide, 2 nights at mountain refuges with half board, 1 night at Hotel in Chamonix with breakfast, 2 pack lunches, one lunch at Restaurant, hiking map copy
Not included: personal insurance, drinks

Guide:

Local, certified UIMLA – mountain leader


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Self guided Trekking tour around Mont Blanc, TMB


Patagoniatiptop video


Dates: Mid June to late September

11- day program

The Tour du Mont Blanc, a complete circuit of the Mont Blanc, is the ultimate long distance mountain walk, and has some of the most stunning scenery.

The TMB is a 168km route that passes through France, Italy and Switzerland. The track offers cultural delights, picture book Alpine villages, the vibrant towns of Chamonix and Courmayeur, and mountain huts with majestic views.  Almost each night we stay in a different location. Accommodation varies from small family run village hotels, auberges and mountain huts.

Detailed Program:

Arriving day:
Independent travel to Les Houches in the Chamonix Valley (hourly buses from Geneva airport)
Dinner  and night at the hotel in Les Houches

Day 1: Les Houches (1007m) to Les Contamines (1167m)
Cable car ride up to Bellevue and ascent to Col de Tricot. A great lunch waits for you after a steep descent to the alpine village Chalets du Miage. You pass the Refuge de Truc and finish the day in Les Contamines.

Night in Hotel in Les Contamines
• total ascent 400m
• distance 14km

Day 2: Les Contamines (1167m) to Les Chapieux (1554m).
Over an old Roman bridge and trough a alpine cow pasture you make the beautiful ascent to the Col de la Bonhomme (2329m). Than you traverse the hillside to the slightly higher Col de Croix de Bonhomme before a descent to the hamlet of Les Chapieux.
Night at les Chapieux or village du Glacier
• total ascent 1320 m
• total distance 20 km

Day 3: Village du Glacier (1554m) to Courmayeur. 
You follow the well marked route up to Col de la Seigne (2516m) where you cross the border into Italy. From the Col you descend slightly down to Val Veny and take a bus to the alpine city of Courmayeur.
Night in Courmayeur
• total ascent 1000 m
• distance 15 km

Getting into Italy

Day 4: Courmayeur (1226m) – Rest day.

Today you have a rest day in Courmayeur. There are great shops, cafes and bars. We also suggest a trip up the brand-new cable car to point Helbronner. Fantastic views of Mont Blanc and the glaciers of the valley blanche.
Night in Hotel in Courmayeur

Day 5: Courmayeur (1226m) to Refugio Ferret. 

You head up the Mont de la Saxe Ridge and the Bertone Refuge for a coffee. Then along the ridge with some of the finest views of the Mont Blanc range, to the guesthouse Chalet Ferret(2025m). A peaceful mountain guest house next to a mountain stream.
Night at Chalet Ferret
• ascent 860m
• distance 12 km

Getting into Switzerland

Day 6: Chalet Ferret (2025m) to La Fouly (1610m).
A gentle traverse of the mountainside to the Rifugio Elena for a morning coffee followed by a climb up to the Grand Col Ferret (2537m) where you cross the border into Switzerland. Down through the flower meadows to the small village of La Fouly.
Night in a Hotel in La Fouly.
• total ascent 900 m
• distance 20km

Day 7: La Fouly (1610m) to Champex (1466m).
An easier day as you follow a Swiss mountain valley before a short ascent to Champex, a picture book Alpine village.
Night in a Pension in Champex.
• total ascent 420m
• distance 15km

Day 8: Champex (1466m) to Trient (1279m).
You walk along the Bovine trail up to the Bovinette alpage where you can enjoy a delicious apple pie or a home made soup. Enjoy stunning views down to the Roman town of Martigny and the Rhone valley as you walk to Trient for the night.
Night in a Pension in Trient
• total ascent 750m
•16 km

Back to France

Day 9: Trient (1279m) to Argentière (1252m).
The last Col of the tour… The hike over the Col de Balme brings you back into the Chamonix valley and down to Argentière.

Night at Hotel in Argentière
• total ascent 1100m
• distance 13km

Day 10: Argentière (1252m) to Chamonix (1000m).
From the Col des Montets  you walk through the Aiguilles Rouges Nature Reserve  to the famous Lac Blanc which provides a magnificent view of the Mont Blanc Massif. Your last walk down of the tour to La Flégere (1875m) and than a  cable car down back to Chamonix.
Last night in a Hotel in Chamonix
• asscent 1100m
• distance 8km

Difficulty

This is a challenging route with an accumulated height gain and loss of over 9,000M. The route crosses from valley to valley via  mountain passes, with long and some steep ascents and descents. This tour is ideal for regular walkers that are physically fit. The terrain on this trail is diverse with country lanes, forest trails, rocky mountain paths, and high mountain meadows. In early season you might have to walk over a few snow patches.

 We can arrange a luggage transfer between accommodations to make the tour easier for you.

Rates

2,505 CHF per person, double occupancy
355 CHF single supplement

Included in the price:
Organisation, guide-book, 10 nights with breakfast in nice hotels and guest houses, 6 dinners, detailed route directions, detailed French IGN Topo maps, 1;25,000 scale, covering the route, complete listing of all hotels with contact information, bus schedules, and nearby emergency medical contacts, pre-trip information with gear list,  Pre-trip telephone support with an experienced  hiking guide to answer your questions

Not included in the price: lunches, transportations, luggage transfer (we are happy to organize that for you), meals that are not listed above, personal insurance (accident, travel, annulation etc.), drinks

Self guided hiking trips

Do you have the experience and skills to hike a route on your own, but may lack the time or expertise to plan a hiking itinerary in a foreign country? Our self-guided hiking tours are for those independently-minded hikers and walkers who would like the freedom, flexibility and adventure of hiking on their own. We are happy to arrange self-guided hiking trips for single travelers as well as families and groups of up to 12 or more.

 


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9 Reasons why you should hike the Tour du Mont Blanc

There is a never-ending battle over which city or region is truly the best “mountain town,” “trail city” or “outdoor heaven.” East versus West, mountain access versus desert singletrack, dense forest versus world-class crags, even the local craft-brew scene comes into the debate. Europe doesn’t have this problem—there’s a clear winner.
Chamonix, France is nestled at around 3,000 feet at the base of the picturesque Mont Blanc Massif and is about as close to a true outdoor heaven as a town can possibly be.
Chamonix’s crowning attraction for adventure-seekers, though, is its location along the Tour du Mont Blanc, a 170 kilometer (105-mile) circuit that observes the massif from all sides through three countries. More of a shrine to the Alps than a simple walk in the mountains, the TMB is the definition of a Bucket List Hike.

So, why should you stick the TMB on top of your list? Here are a few good reasons.
1. The Difficulty

Never-ending panoramas along the Tour du Mont Blanc. Matt Guenther
The trail acts as a rite of passage for those addicted to serene alpine environments, climbing to 2,500 meters five times and totaling somewhere around 30,000 feet of total elevation gain. Each section of trail is comprised of a major uphill slog, usually followed by an almost equally brutal descent. It’s certainly no walk in the park, but the rewards are well worth the effort.

2. The Scenery

This one is a no-brainer. With hardly any forest cover, the mountain views are panoramic and never-ending. From almost any point along the trail there are million-dollar views of the massif’s glaciers and of Mont Blanc itself. You’ll want to keep your camera handy!

3. The Food

The TMB gives hikers the option to forego the “just add water” meals and incessant food daydreams that usually characterize a lengthy backpacking trip. Villages with stores and bakeries can be found almost daily, and more than 50 trail refuges offer semi-reasonable prices for hot food. Don’t worry, the physical demands of the hike will erase any guilt you might have about culinary indulgences. When in Europe, right?

4. The Accessibility

Many people shy away from backcountry trips that take longer than 2-3 days, the standard time/distance threshold where the risk goes up and the ability to bail goes way down. One of the most appealing characteristics of the Tour du Mont Blanc is how accessible and well marked the trail is. The path winds around some of the most sought-after terrain in Europe, so people are always nearby and help is readily available if needed. There are plenty of points to get on or off the trail, giving hikers the flexibility to create their own itineraries.

5. The Prestige

The trail is famous for its beauty, but this fame extends far beyond some pretty pictures in a magazine. For over a decade now, Chamonix and the TMB have hosted thousands of trail runners each August for the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB), which has developed into one of the most prestigious and influential ultra races in the world. Hundreds of the fastest mountain athletes flock to Chamonix weeks before the event to train for what may be their biggest race of the year. The UTMB follows the TMB counterclockwise starting and ending in Chamonix, and the fastest runners finish in under 24 hours.

6. The People

One of the best aspects of any popular hiking destination is the people that you meet on the trail. The fact that the Tour du Mont Blanc is such a global attraction elevates this to a whole new level. On any thru-hike it would not be unusual to hear ten different languages being spoken and to see an incredible age range of people using the trail. The trail is also open to mountain bikes, so it’s common to see cyclists resting on the trail’s high-elevation cols before an exhilarating descent. Swapping trail stories is even more fun when your campfire pals are from all over the world.

7. The History

Most high mountain areas have a history of adventure, and the Mont Blanc Massif is no different. The first ascent of Mont Blanc was in the late 1700’s, not too long after the first circumnavigation of the massif itself roughly along the Tour du Mont Blanc’s path. Some of the trails that comprise today’s TMB route are even older than this, though, because they follow old trade and transportation routes used for many centuries between mountain villages—some dating as far back to the days of the Roman Empire.

8. The Culture

In international travel, getting from Point A to B efficiently can sometimes restrict cultural immersion. Hiking is the perfect way to reverse that. As the trail wanders through quaint and historic hamlets in France, Italy, and Switzerland, hikers are able to gain an intimate look into local life and culture at their own pace without the distractions of modern transportation.

9. The Distance

Backpacking over mountainous terrain is tough, especially for the first few days. When a hiker is able to continue working through the soreness and discomfort on a longer trek, a new world of empowered enjoyment can be found. A thru-hike of the TMB takes 9-12 days for most hikers, giving anyone plenty of time to adapt to the terrain and to thrive in the mountains. This is the perfect distance for an international trip that calls for a full-scale adventure in a compact timeline.

 


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Dolomites hiking week, Italy


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Dates: June/July/August/September

The Dolomites might just be the world’s most beautiful construction, on this both architect Le Corbusier and alpinist Reinhold Messner can agree. See and experience true South Tyrolean beauty whilst pondering the towers of Three Peaks (Drei Zinnen) or basking in the last rays of evening light that redden the mountains around Pederü mountain lodge. Hike along the Dolomites High Mountain Trail (Dolomiten Höhenweg) and enjoy the very tasty, local food in a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Dolomites: “Born as coral reefs 250 million years ago, today they soar skywards proud and confident as white towers of rock.”

Hiking Itinerary

Day 1: Cortina d’Ampezzo
Meet at the hotel in Cortina
Dinner and night at the hotel.

Day 2: Tre Cime di Lavaredo
+ 350m – 350m / aprox. 5 hrs 9,5 km (aprox. 3,5 hrs)

We are at the foot of the vertical rock needles Tre Cime di Lavaredo, summiting at almost 9900 ft, so famous for their rock climbing routes. We begin with a gentle hike around the Tre Cime. A loop around the range takes us back to the start of the hike.
Night and dinner at Hotel in Cortina.

Day 3: Around Croda di Lago
+ 920m – 400m / aprox. 6 hrs
Hike to the Palmieri mountain hut, located at the foot of the imposing Croda da Lago. We can admire the Mondeval alpine pastures from the Forcella Ambrizola, continue to Forcella Giau and meet our minivan at Passo Giau.
Night and dinner in the typical mountain restaurant in Cortina.

Into the mountains we go…

Day 4: Lagazuoi, Fanes Nature Park, Pederü
+400 m -1300 m / aprox. 6 hrs
At Lagazuoi peak the past has left many evidences of courageous enterprises from the Italian and Austrian soldiers. One can still see war bunkers and visit galleries to measure the craziness of past battles in the area.  Our route follows the Alta Via Dolomiti trail and its beautiful landscapes until Forcletta del Lago pass. The trail continues through a wide alpine valley that leads to Fanes hut and down to Pederü.
Night and dinner at Pederü hut.

Day 5: Refugio Fodara, Sas dla Para
+500 m -580 m / aprox. 5 hrsWe hike up to the Fodara hut, accessible thanks to an old military road, dug and carved into the mountain. We can also continue on and reach the summit of Sas dal Para to admire the incredible panorama from the top.
Night and dinner at Fodara hut.

Day 6: Refugio Biella, Ra Stua
+350 m/+750 m -800 m/-1300 m / aprox. 7 hrs
Beautiful hike to the altiplano across fields and sedimentary rock. We stop at Refuge Biella for a short while. Optional hiking up to Seekofel/Croda Rossa and back. Then our trail goes down into the Scuro alpine bowl to Ra Stua hut.
Night and dinner in Cortina, Pizza night out

Day 7: Passo Giau – Refuge Averau – Col Falzarego
+350 m -470 m / aprox. 4 hrs
We will reach the summit of Nuvolau and stop at the eponymous hut for a rewarding, and contemplative break. On the way down we hike past many remains from the Great War.

Day 8: Departure day
Breakfast at the Hotel in Cortina.

Please press on the booking button to send us an e-mail to find out more about prices and dates!


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Rock climbing Bariloche, Refugio Frey – Patagonia

Dates: October through April

“Granite spires in an uncomparable setting!”

Climbing experience:

Rock climbing from 2 – 5 days with a certified UIAGM – mountain guide. There is something for every level of traditional and sport climbing. A wide spectrum of climbing from the clean cracks to challenging heady sport cracks to chimneys to off widths with each ending atop some precipitous spire with a view.

Imagine a wonderland of endless spires of quality granite bathed in alpine sun amid a backdrop of snow capped volcanoes, enormous alpine lakes, soaring condors, and friendly Argentines that know how to make pizza, beer and chocolate. Indeed such a land does exist nestled on the east side of the Andes a short steep hike up from Bariloche in the lake district of Argentina.

It’s regarded by many as the best rock climbing area in South America. Honey-coloured granite pinnacles surround a beautiful  basin with a laguna. The rock is weathered, solid and breathtakingly beautiful.

To climbers, Patagonia means rumbling glaciers, ceaseless wind, and world-class alpinism. Frey, a pair of connected alpine cirques in northern Argentine Patagonia, borrows from both of these perceptions. It’s the Patagonia of steep splitters and looming spires. If you’d rather climb than scowl over bleak forecasts, Frey’s one- to 10-pitch granite routes, following steep splitters and huecoed faces, might just be Patagonian paradise.

Prices:
  • 2 days of guided rock climbing:

1 person: 600 USD
2 persons: 300 USD each

Every following day: 300 USD
(max. 2 climbers/guide)

  • Price does not include transportation, huts, meals, insurances
Frey Hut, 1700m:

A two-story stone Refugio above tree line, a mere frisbee toss from frigid Lake Toncek that servers delicious food and Argentine wine and their own beer. You can camp out or sleep in the dorms.

The Frey mountain hut in Bariloche lies on a beautiful lake in the mountains

climbing-guide-bariloche

Getting there:

A flight to Buenos Aires and a 21 hrs deluxe tour bus ride, or a 2hrs  direct flight from Buenos Aires to reach San Carlos de Bariloche. A 10km +700m hike from Villa Cathedral brings you in 3-4 hours up to Refugio Frey.


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Kyrgyzstan ski touring adventure

4th – 13th of February 2019  

What to expect:

Imagine waking up in a traditional Yurt, in the middle of the snow caped Tien Shan mountains.  You are ready for a day of ski touring with your friends…! Your dream can come true.

We would like to introduce you to a fascinating country. Kyrgyzstan, a country of nomads, in the heart of Central Asia. Largely unexplored mountains offer a wonderful playground.

We take you to yurt camps in snowy summer pastures. That offers us immediate access to endless skiing terrain with mountains up to 3,400-3,600m.

Traditional, cosy yurts will be ready for us swell as a traditional Russian Sauna next to a river with refreshing spring water. All yurts are heated by wood burning stoves.

 

10-day program / 7 skiing days:

  • 4th of February: Arrive early in the morning at the airport in  Bishkek. Meet with the group and join the privat transfer to Karakol  (6hrs). We drive along the north shore of Issyk Kul lake, the second biggest alpine lake in the world
  • 5th-10th of February: Yurt based skiing days in Jyrgalan and Aksuuvalley
  • 11th of February: We ski in the morning and go back down to Karakol in the evening. The night is spent in Karakol.
  • 12th of February: You will have some time to explore Karakol in the morning before we travel to Bishkek. Last night and farewell dinner in Bishkek.
  • 13th of February: Flight back home
Prices per skier: 
  •  2495€  (minimum 4 skiers)

Included in the price:
Guiding with IFMGA mountain guide Federico Arletti, organization, all accommodations as mentioned in the program (Hotel, guest house Yurts), all meals, all transportations from/to Bishkek

Not included in the price:
Flights, personal insurances, alcoholic drinks, personal equipment

Kyrgyzstan… a fascinating country in central Asia:

A welcoming landlocked oasis located at the heart of Central Asia. It’s surrounded by Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and China. Kyrgyzstan is a  in a remote, always fascinating, sometimes volatile, and oftentimes misunderstood part of the world. With an average elevation of 3,000m (9,840ft) and 30% of its landmass buried under permanent ice and snow. The country’s landscape and people are defined by a ruggedness utterly unique to the highlands of Central Asia. The republic is a little smaller in area than the UK minus Northern Ireland.

Home sweet yurt
Yurts are the archetypal shepherd shelters. Circular homes made of multilayered felt stretched around a collapsable wooden frame. The outer felt layer is coated in waterproof sheep fat, the inner most lined with woven grass matting to block the wind. Long woolen strips secure the walls and poles. The interior is richly decorated with textiles, wall coverings, quilts, cushions, and ornately worked chests. Floors are lined with thicket felt and covered with bright carpets and sometimes yak skin. Look up: the central wheel-like tuneup that supports the roof is none other than the design depicted in the middle of Kyrgyzstan’s national flag.
People

Native Kyrgyz make up around 70% of the country’s population. The remaining percentage made up mostly of Uzbeks and Russians. Kyrgyzstan gained its independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991. Many Kyrgyz today follow the nomadic traditions of their ancestors, erecting hand-crafted yurts in the high mountain pastures above their villages. There they graze their animals and live for the summer.

The central Tien Shan mountains
This region offers many superlatives of Central Asia. The highest mountains, the coldest temperatures, the longest glaciers and the strangest natural phenomena. It’s a region of ice, snow and unexplored peaks. The world’s fourth longest glacier and an amazing disappearing lake can be found here. You will be discovering the valleys close to Karakol where the temperatures are more pleasant. The Chinese were the first to explore this foreboding mountain zone, but it was not until the middle of the 19th century that European explorers penetrated the region. The snow that falls on this former Soviet state is particularly light and fluffy. This, combined with the country’s mountainous geography, makes it something of a paradise for powder-loving backcountry skiers.
 
Food
  • All food is prepared by local chefs. Our breakfast menu is Western-inspired, featuring omelets, frittatas, burritos, pancakes and french toast, and always the option of muesli or porridge. The dinner menu highlights traditional Kyrgyz cuisine.
Getting to Kyrgyzstan by airplane
  • Bishkek’s Manas airport is the main hub with relatively inexpensive international connections on Turkish and Pegasus (via Istanbul), Flydubai (via Dubai), Ukrainian International (via Kiev) and Aeroflot (via Moscow).
Visa
  • Around 60 nationalities can stay for 60 days or longer without a visa. Citizens of most major Western and former Soviet countries are included in those.
Language

Kyrgyz is a Turkish language that has the usual characteristics of that language group. Most notably vowel harmony, which is strictly adhered to. As part of the Kyrgyz-Altay group of Turkic languages, it is most closely related to the Altai language and fairly similar to Kazakh. Russian is also an official language and Uzbek is widely spoken in the south.


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