/ Is there a better option than Chamonix?
I've not been there myself, but Cham seems to be the best option I've had suggested.
Is there anywhere else I should be considering? (<12hrs drive from Calais, or with super cheap flights from Manchester)
Not sure about "better" but there are certainly plenty of alternatives. Chamonix is great for strong climbers but perhaps rather intimidating and dangerous for beginners. It is also terribly busy and pretty expensive.
All the main Alpine areas are alternatives. Switzerland is very expensive. Austria is cheap and smart. Italy is cheap and rustic. France is of course just France, love it or quite like it (who could really hate it?).
Lauterbrunnen? A spectacular setting. I'm not sure about climbing in the area though.
Another vote for the Ecrins, but I do live there, lots to do for every level and I moved there for the climbing,
If you won't more help or info get in touch
Also you could look up dream trail on Facebook it's mine and has lots of pic of the area and activities on it.
IMO the simple answer is "no" :-)
For beginners or the more experienced. There are many other great climbing areas but I don't think any beat Chamonix, even with the concrete of the town itself. Just walking down the street, looking up to the Aiguilles or Mont Blanc.... lying in your tent at night listening to the lightning run along the crests, it has an atmosphere of its own. And that's even before the climbing.
My vote also goes to the Ecrins - there's so much to do there and the climate is generally more stable too. Saas Grund in Switzerland is also a great base for a multi-activity holiday, though it's expensive at the moment due to the exchange rate.
Thanks for all the replies, keep them coming! Ecrins looks good (some spectacular views on Google).
Have you visited Barberine/Gietroz? I was of the same opinion until I tried there this summer. Some excellent routes there.
Is that the arve valley stuff? I've never really gone down there, been to the crag by the kids park thing (le fayet? Easy angled slab on the lower tier and then a steep shaly sort of upper tier with loads of flatties) but no further.
Any specific crags you'd recommend, primarily for high 6s and 7s...?
I see our messages passed in the ether :)
Unfortunately the crag page on here isn't too well filled out and I don't have the guidebook to do it.
Thanks all was picking folks brains over the weekend on a winter climbing course, and have settled on Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
We're going do the Zugspitze/Aplpspitze tour (up past the Hollentalanger Hut,spend the night at the Munich House then take the Jubiläumsgrat to Alpspitze and descend by the Alpspitze via ferrata and then cable car). After/before that (if folk have the energy, we'll do a bit of bouldering/sport climbing/tobogoning/spa-ing (the wet type not the MT type).
Will definately consider some of the options on here for next year (never even looked at going to the Ecrin area before).
That's a great trip - if you need any more information about the Jubiläumsgrat, huts on the way or climbing and other via ferratas in that area, send me an email!
Cheers. I may well take you up on that offer.
Elsewhere on the site
Last year, Finn McCann wrote an article about climbing El Capitan with his terminally ill father Seamus, who had been... Read more
Manchester Climbing Centre is showing Reel Rock’s Valley Uprising on Tuesday the 11th of November at... Read more
A fantastically versatile little pack; whether out running in the hills, hitting the trails on the bike or just running for the... Read more
Pete Whittaker has flashed the 32 pitch route Freerider 5.12d on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley over three days,... Read more