Off the beaten track

Guided Ice Climbing, Europe

We take you to climb some of the best ice in France and Italy, where you can elect to climb anything from short one-pitch routes through to multi-pitch adventures.

Based from local hotels and with short hikes to the start of the routes each day, you have the option to climb in several of the best regions or stick to one and climb as many routes as possible within your timeframe.

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Difficulty Level Low ?
Fitness Level Low ?
Duration 7 days
Elevation 2,000M / 6,562FT
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Fast track your way to learning steep ice climbing skills - Suze Kelly

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Spectacular waterfall ice climbing - Suze Kelly

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Enjoy multi pitch climbing adventures - Guy Cotter

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Climb with fully qualified IFMGA guides - Guy Cotter

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Climbing areas are conveniently located close to our hotel accommodation - Suze Kelly

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An abundance of ice climbing opportunities - Guy Cotter

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Take in some of France and Italy's best ice climbing venues - Jon Bracey

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Climb at your own level - Guy Cotter

From December to March
Departs from Chamonix, France
RATIOS 7 DAYS
1:1 €3,380 EUR
1:2 €1,960 EUR
  • Overview

    • The fast-track to improving your steep ice climbing skills
    • Ice routes off the beaten track in France and Italy
    • Learn from and be guided by the professionals


    Areas we recommend such as Fournel, Chamonix or La Grave have an exceptional abundance of ice climbing opportunities and this certainly is the most civilised way to climb some incredible routes.

  • Why AC?

    We offer focused guide attention to ensure consistency across the program. Whilst other operators combine you with large groups on training days we know your safety will be better protected and the learning progressions will be enhanced with the attentive care of your guide and smaller guide to climber ratios.

    Adventure Consultants guides are BMG/NZMGA and / or IFMGA-UIAGM qualified mountain guides. They are professional mountaineers and operate to the highest industry standards.

    Being a technically proficient climber alone is not enough to work with us; our standards demand that trip leaders are great guides as well. You will find your guide friendly, approachable and focused on providing a safe and enjoyable trip in line with your objectives and comfort level.

    Success with the highest margin of care is always a hallmark of our approach; promoting the realisation that even extreme pursuits such as high altitude mountaineering can be undertaken safely.

    Adventure Consultants only employs IFMGA qualified guides for European ascents and courses and this is the only certification that is recognised in the French Alps. In order to gain these qualifications guides must undergo rigorous training and assessment on climbing skills, instructional skills, avalanche training and assessment, wilderness first aid, rescue training and much more. The qualification takes many years to attain and ensures you are getting a world class professional service.

  • Payment Conditions

    Pricing is for 7 days (2 days travel,5 days climbing). Shorter or longer duration options available, please contact us for a detailed quote.

    Account Information

    For our European ascents and courses, prices are in EUR€ and must be settled in EUR€. All prices are subject to change.

    All payments should be made by bank transfer to the following EUR€ bank and account:

    Bank of New Zealand
    Offshore Branch
    42 Willis Street
    Spark Central
    Wellington
    New Zealand

    for the account of Adventure Consultants Limited

    Account # 1000-594771-0002
    Account Type: Euro Dollars
    Swift Address: BKNZNZ22

    We can also accept your deposit and balance payments by credit card (Visa, Mastercard, Amex) plus a 3% credit card transaction fee.

    Please note that in order to reserve a guide we recommend that you book well in advance. This especially applies to the high season period (early-July to end of August).

    Deposit

    In order to confirm a guide and your trip, we require a completed Booking Form and a deposit of EUR500.

    Balance Payment

    Full payment is due 60 days prior to the start date for your course/ascent. We will send you receipts for all payments.

    Cancellation & Refund Policy

    Once you have paid your deposit your trip is confirmed, subject to payment of the balance of fees owing 60 days prior to your trip commencement date.

    • Cancellations outside of 60 days will result in the loss of the trip deposit.
    • Inside 60 days of the departure date we reserve the right to retain 50% of the full fee.
    • Inside 30 days of the departure date we reserve the right to retain 75% of the full fee.
    • Inside 15 days of the departure date forfeits 100% of the full fee.


    We recommend you take out trip cancellation insurance via your travel agent.

  • Itinerary

    The alpine winter in Chamonix brings us ice-climbing with reasonable access. The days will be full on mountain days, but they finish with hotel nights. You return to hot showers and beers.

    Chamonix has very good ice climbs, some areas such as the right bank of the Argentière glacier are world class with classics such as Grand Blue, grade 4+ and Shivaling, grade 6, while the left bank has the easy-to-access classics Nuit Blanche, grade 6, and Déferlante, grade 4.

    Not far from Chamonix are a host of reliable ice climbing venues. A favourite area is the Cogne Valley, a world class ice climbing spot. Although there are some very hard mixed climbs (example: the X Files one of the first M10s, climbed in 1997 by the eccentric Stevie Haston) there are also an abundance of climbs ranging from the easy (Lillaz Cascade, grade 3, is arguably the the best climb of its grade in the Alps) all the way up. One that is worth mentioning is Lau Bij, grade 5, which finds a reasonable route through overhangs of icicles, producing a wonderfully airy situation with overhangs above your axes and a void below your crampons, all at a surprisingly reasonable technical level.

  • Add Ons

    Chamonix is located in the heart of the European Alps, and is central to much of the best mountaineering that the Alps have to offer. There is a huge variety of properties on offer in Chamonix and after many years of operating out of the Alps we have discovered the area's finest. At Adventure Consultants we spend a considerable amount of time reviewing the accommodation providers, so as to keep this aligned with our high standards.

    Contact us if you would like to upgrade your hotel before or after your European Alps trip, there are several superb properties in the area. We profile our favourite selection below:

    HOTEL MONT BLANC

    Why we recommend this property

    Originally built in 1849, this fine establishment is located in the heart of Chamonix. Surrounded by private gardens the hotel was recently renovated to be reminiscent of the elegant19th-century palaces. Each room has been interior-designed by renowned French designer Sybille de Margerie and is inspired by nature and the environment. Every room offers a stunning panorama of the surrounding mountains. The 14-metre outdoor heated swimming pool can be used year round and offers spectacular views of nearby Mont Blanc. 'La Mafatan' restaurant where chef Mickey Bourdillat produces cuisine that will take you on a culinary journey.

    Hotel Mont Blanc Room 600x400Hotel Mont Blanc Exterior Winter 600 x 400Hotel Mont Blanc Library 600x400 1Hotel Mont Blanc Exterior Summer 600x400

    HOTEL LE MORGANE

    Why we recommend this property

    This luxury boutique hotel is located right in the centre of Chamonix and offers guests top quality service. Chef Daniele Raimondi produces some of Chamonix's finest cuisine at 'Le Bistrot' restaurant. Offers a variety of rooms from singles, deluxe to suites, and every room features balconies allowing views of Mont Blanc or Le Brévent. Hotel facilities include a small lounge, library, relaxation pool and spa, a ski storage room and free WiFi. The loan of bicycles and electric bikes, as well as a valet car service is offered. 

    Le Morgane Terrace resized 600x400Le Morgane Junior Suite resized 600x400Le Morgane Exterior night resized 600x400Le Morgane Pool and Spa Resized 600x400

    4828 Steep skiing in CourmayeurWhy not complete your winter European Alps Experience with some backcountry ski touring with Adventure Consultants. Enjoy a full week of guided ski touring in Chamonix or Grindelwald, or complete the classic European ski tour Haute Route. With options from two to seven days or more, it's the perfect winter hiatus!

    Your family or friends may wish to join you on your holiday but don't like the idea of actually climbing a mountain. Let us know if this is the situation and we will be able to put together an itinerary that keeps them busy while you are up high. There are so many wonderful things to do, so contact us and we will help to organise the perfect programme.

  • Travel & Rescue Insurance

    Finding the right travel and rescue insurance for your mountaineering adventure can be tricky! Rest assured when you book with the expedition specialists here at Adventure Consultants we'll help by sending through advice on what you'll need, including:

    • Travel insurance including trip interruption and cancellation cover
    • Medical Evacuation and Rescue Insurance


    For further information check out our Travel and Rescue Insurance page or contact us.

  • FAQ

    • Contact Us

      The following is to serve as a helpful guideline but please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions. Our team is here to help!

      info@adventure.co.nz
      US: +1 866 757 8722 (Freephone from North America)
      NZ: +64 3 443 8711 (Monday - Friday, 8:30am - 5:00pm PST + 19 hours)

    • Choosing a Provider

      How long have Adventure Consultants been in operation?
      Adventure Consultants started in 1990 and we have been guiding internationally ever since. You can read the full story of AC's history here.

      A few outfitters claim to have the same level of experience and prestige as Adventure Consultants. In this league, what makes you the first choice for your climbers?
      On all of the European courses and ascents that we operate, we offer focused guide attention throughout the course to ensure consistency across the programme. Whilst other operators combine you with large groups on training days, we know that your safety will be better protected and the learning progressions will be enhanced with the attentive care of your guide.

      Adventure Consultants guides are BMG/NZMGA and/or IFMGA/UIAGM qualified mountain guides. They are professional mountaineers and operate to the highest standard. Our guides are not only highly experienced climbers, but they are great guides with good people skills hence you will find that your guide is friendly, approachable and focused on providing a safe and enjoyable trip.

    • Food, Accommodation & Facilities

      What will the accommodation be like on my trip?
      During your nights in town, accommodation is provided on a twin share B&B basis in a comfortable hotel. These hotels all have laundry facilities and it is easy to leave any additional gear stored safely whilst you are away. In the mountains, we stay in alpine huts on a shared bunk room or dormitory basis. Washing and shower facilities are not available in the huts.

      A single supplement is not available in the mountain huts, but we are happy to arrange this for an additional cost at the hotels. If you wish to upgrade to a higher grade of hotel accommodation, then please get in touch to discuss the many fabulous options available.

      Please note that for some courses we incorporate camping nights. This will be clearly stated in the course curriculum.

      Which meals are provided?
      Adventure Consultants will provide breakfasts for the duration of your trip, plus dinners on nights spent in the mountains. You will be responsible for your own lunches, snacks and bottled water. We recommend you purchase snacks such as nuts, fruit, chocolate, muesli bars and baguette or crackers with cheese, ham and other fillings. On climbing days, lunch tends to start right after breakfast(!) and continue through the day as we keep energy levels high. Evening meals on non-mountain nights are also not included and this allows you to experience the exciting culinary options available in the alpine resorts. Should you decide to take a meal that is not in the programme, this is at your own expense. We can cater for vegetarians as well as many other special diets as long as we are informed of this prior to the trip.

      What is the hut food like?
      Breakfasts in the mountain huts usually consist of European-style bread with jam and cheese etc. A typical evening menu would include a hearty soup followed by a pasta dish or stew and then dessert. If you feel like a glass of wine or beer with your meal, please bring cash or a credit card. 

    • Travel

      Do I need to arrive the day before the trip starts? And when should I book my flight to leave?
      No, our trip programmes all have an arrival day and a departure day built into them. You are welcome (and encouraged) to explore your arrival/departure points before or after the trip if you have the time.

      When should I book my ticket?
      If on a course, we generally ask you to wait until 60 days prior to your trip start date to ensure that your trip has met the minimum numbers and will operate. If you are on an ascent or private trip, do feel free to book whenever suits. If you see a good deal and want to book your flights, you should ensure you can make changes to your tickets and it is a good idea to purchase trip cancellation insurance, in the event that you need to cancel.

      Where do we meet? Will I be picked up?
      For our European departures, we recommend that you arrive into Geneva International Airport, which is located just over the French border in Switzerland. Regular shuttles and train services operate up to Chamonix and private transfers can be arranged to Zermatt, Lauterbrun and Grindelwald. We are happy to assist in arranging any transfer requirements and the driver will meet you at the airport, as well as drop you off at your accommodation.

      What if I am arriving early or departing late?
      Adventure Consultants can make reservations for you and can often make recommendations for attractions you can enjoy while waiting for your trip to begin. Please let our office know your specific plans.

    • Clothing & Equipment

      Do you have a recommended list of clothing we should bring?
      Yes, you will get be sent a personal clothing and equipment list once our office has received your trip registration form and deposit.

      Do I really need all the equipment on the equipment list?
      Yes, these lists have been carefully prepared. Please bring everything on the list!

      How warm do we need our sleeping bags to be? Will there be extra blankets available if required?
      This will be clearly stated in your recommended gear list. It will depend on where you are going, but in general, you will not need a sleeping bag in the European mountain huts as bedding is provided. Adventure Consultants have an experienced Equipment Coordinator, so should any questions arise as to what is required, please do let us know.

    • Acclimatisation

      I will be climbing at altitude, so does Adventure Consultants take this into consideration?
      When planning our courses and ascent programmes, we seriously consider the altitude and ensure that all of our itineraries allow for sufficient acclimatisation and rest days, if required.

      I want to give myself the best chance of success on my climb; what advice does Adventure Consultants have to help me succeed?
      If you are concerned about how you will cope at altitude, wish to refresh your climbing skill, or simply just want to give yourself the best chance of success, then consider the 2-day Pre-Course & Acclimatisation Programme. This pre-course has been designed to kick-start your acclimatisation and refresh your climbing skills before heading onto the main objective of your course or ascent.

    • Guides & Team Members

      How many guides will be assigned to our group?
      The ratio of climbers to guides is stated on each trip’s web page in the downloadable 'Trip Notes' section above.

      How much weight can we carry on the climb/course?
      When initially climbing up to the mountain huts, you will be required to carry all of the equipment that is needed for the following day's course or ascent. From the hut, you will carry your day pack with your technical climbing equipment, warm clothes, water, snacks, sun block, camera and whatever else you need for the day. Generally, it will be around 10kgs/20lbs.

      Who goes on your trips?
      Our climbers and skiers come from a wide variety of backgrounds, interests, countries and skill levels ranging from those seeking skill development to those seeking assistance in view of climbing the world's highest mountains, or purely adventure. We provide courses, expeditions, treks, ski tours and guided ascents for all levels of outdoor enthusiasts.

      I would like to arrange a private trip, is this possible?
      We are happy to arrange a private group trip to the destination of your choice and we have run many successful private trips and expeditions including summits of Europe's more technical and challenging peaks. There is no specific group size, but obviously larger groups are more cost-effective. Please contact the office for more information or visit our Private Customised Expeditions page.

    • Health & Fitness

      What kind of physical condition should I be in?
      We encourage you to work on your fitness prior to your course or ascent. When training, it is recommended you carry a pack for long periods on hills and uneven terrain. Over time, increase the pack weight until you are comfortable with 15-20kgs. Gym training, swimming, running and cycling also add to your base fitness and are a great addition to a pack training program. Visit our Fitness Training page for more details and check out the training programs and online coaching services that we offer in conjunction with our partners at Uphill Athlete.

      How do I know this is the right trip for me?
      We offer trips to suit all levels of ability and ambition, from your first mountain experience to extreme ascents and everything in between. To help you navigate the choices available, our trips are graded by both the level of physical exertion and the level of skill required, allowing you to find your perfect expedition match. These ratings are displayed in the icons at the top of each expedition page, with a further explanation available by clicking on the accompanying question mark. A full run-down of the categories can be found on our Difficulty Ratings page and our team is more than happy to discuss your experience to find the right trip for you.

    • Communication & Electronic Devices

      Will there be any access to a satellite phone? If yes then what would be the charges for usage?
      In Europe, there is no need to use a satellite phone as you will find that there is cell phone coverage in most of the towns and mountain huts that we utilise (with the exception of the Vittorio Emanuele Hut). Your guide will also stay in touch with our European Coordinator in Chamonix with updates on the trip. It is very easy to purchase a European SIM card but do remember if using a French SIM in Italy, you will be charged international rates and vice versa.

      I want to contact my friend or relative, who is on one of your trips, how can I reach them?
      The best place to reach a loved one is through our office. As mentioned above, your guide will stay in touch with our European Coordinator who is based in Chamonix, who then relays messages between your guide and our NZ office.

      Can I charge electronic devices while in the mountains?
      Generally charging is not available so please ensure that your phones, iPods and kindles etc. are well charged up before leaving the hotel for your climb.

    • Weather Forecasts

      What weather report service do you use? How often do you receive a weather report during the trip?
      Forecasts are posted daily in the huts and information relayed through the hut guardian to the guides. Your guide will also be in cell phone communication with our Operations Coordinator and/or Chief Guide for weather updates throughout the trip.

    • Insurance

      What insurance do we need to get?
      We highly recommend comprehensive travel insurance and trip cancellation insurance, as well as evacuation and medical insurance. Read your policy's fine print to make sure it covers you for trekking or climbing, depending on what trip you have booked and that it covers you for helicopter evacuation.

      Do I need evacuation insurance?
      Yes, it is very important. Evacuation insurance is required for members of our European Courses & Ascents to cover your evacuation from the mountain in the case of your injury or illness. You must ensure that your policy covers you for mountaineering as many policies exclude these activities from their schedule of benefits. In the European Alps, rescues are coordinated by the local authorities and the very high costs are charged directly to the user i.e. you/your travel insurance company.

      Who do you recommend for insurance?
      Coverage varies based on your nationality and the trip that you are taking with us. When you have booked on for a trip with us we will send you comprehensive information on various insurance options which will serve as a good starting point for obtaining the best coverage available for yourself.

      What is trip cancellation insurance?
      Trip cancellation insurance is an option that may allow you to cancel your trip without losing the total cost of the trip. Adventure Consultants highly recommends cancellation insurance for all of our trips as it is not unknown for people to have unforeseen circumstances that force them to cancel their trips for reasons such as family illness, injury to self, etc. If circumstances cause us to cancel a trip (e.g. minimum numbers are not reached) then we refund your fees paid but trip cancellation insurance covers your airfare and any other costs you may have incurred.

    • Fees & Payments

      Can I pay by credit card?
      We can accept both the trip deposit and balance payment on credit card. Please note that there is a 3% fee for all card transactions. Please contact our office or visit our online payment system.

      What is included in the cost of my trip? Does it include airfare?
      Please see the 'Payment Conditions' section above for the inclusions and exclusions for this particular trip. There is also a downloadable pdf document in the 'Trip/Course Notes' section above. International airfares are not included in the trip price. We can however recommend excellent travel agents with whom we have worked should you require help with arranging your international airfare.

      Why are you sometimes more expensive than other operators?
      Many of our trips are very similar in price to our competitors. Some companies even wait for us to set our prices and use ours as a guideline!! Some of our main selling points, which sometimes do cost more, are internationally qualified guides, proven dependable local operators, small group sizes and safe client-to-guide ratios, quality equipment and high summit success rates, among other things. You do get what you pay for which is why we stand out from the rest. Many clients come to us after failing on one of our competitors ‘cheaper’ trips.

      How do I sign up for a trip? 
      The best way to reserve your space on a trip contact our office or complete our online booking form (click 'Book Now' below). Your deposit can be submitted by bank transfer (please see 'Payment Details' in the 'Payment Conditions' section above) or via our secure online payment system.

      info@adventure.co.nz
      US: +1 866 757 8722 (Freephone from North America)
      NZ: +64 3 443 8711 (Monday - Friday, 8:30am - 5:00pm PST + 19 hours)

    • Photography

      I love the photographs in your brochure and on your website, are they for sale?
      Yes, our images are available for licensing or purchase. Please contact our office for more information.

      What is the best equipment for photography in alpine environments?
      Remember photos are wonderful records of your trip but keep camera gear simple and light to best enjoy the trip you are on. Disposable and digital cameras are the lightest weight, but all cameras have maintenance issues that need to be carefully considered before bringing them to high elevations.

    • Employment

      I want to become a mountain guide, where do I start?
      Those with limited experience generally start by taking an alpine climbing course and then go out and climb for a few years. You generally should have at least 5 years of climbing and/or teaching/guiding experience. You need avalanche and medical training and then you can apply to do an NZ Mountain Guides Course or the equivalent in your country, aligned with the IFMGA.

      Please see Adventure Consultants Mountain Guide Scholarships on our Career Opportunities page and check the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association for more information.

Book Now

Guy Cotter Euro Ice Climb

The Guide was fantastic. Very informative, not only about ice climbing but about the general area as well. Noting it is the end of the season he was very professional in the choices of routes we climbed. He found the right balance of setting goals for me to achieve without pushing to hard.
Cogne Ice Climbing Weekend, 2017

Aaron Coutts
New Zealand
Rob Smith II

Yes I would, AC has a sterling reputation and why that is was made apparent before and during my trip. The level of organisation and quality of the guide were both excellent.
Mont Blanc Course & Ascent, 2016

Robert Smith
United Kingdom
IMG 0245 SK

Absolutely professionalism personified.
Cogne Ice Climbing Weekend, 2017

Aaron Coutts
New Zealand
IMG 3364

What I got was far superior to the normal experience with local guides (on many levels)… superb guides who will teach in an environment with reliable weather, a massive variety of routes, and push you fairly hard but also stick within an acceptable margin of safety.
Europe Private Instruction Course

Ashley Alder
Hong Kong
remarks july 2010 010s steve off

Super knowledgeable, very well organised and prepared, highly skilled guides and you guys go pretty much everywhere!
Europe Private Instruction Course, 2016

Matt Cooper
Australia