/ Is there a better option than Chamonix?

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
mmmhumous on 09 Feb 2013
Hi all I'm looking for a suitable destination for a multi activity trip walking/mountaineering/via ferrata/climbing this summer. I'm after somewhere with stuff to do for 'non-swimmers' newbies and experienced alike.

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)
Erstwhile on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to mmmhumous:

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?).
Andy Clarke - on 09 Feb 2013
I love Cham, and try to get there each year, but it's not well-endowed with via ferratas, and if the high stuff is out of nick, the low-level cragging isn't particularly good. I'd say the Ailefroide side of the Ecrins offers the best mix of what you're looking for. You've got some excellent limestone valley crags, big multi-pitch stuff on the granite at Ailefroide, plenty of enjoyable via ferratas at various levels of difficulty, quality MTB and some classic mountaineering stuff fromn the huts. Also excellent for white water.
AdrianC - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to Andy Clarke: +1 for Ailefroide / Ecrins.
the power - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to mmmhumous:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=3793 cham is for people who don't know any better
kate8 on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to mmmhumous:
Lauterbrunnen? A spectacular setting. I'm not sure about climbing in the area though.
summo on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to mmmhumous: camped in Brigg, Switzerland before. It's a very normal, less touristy town, so prices are lower and it's central for a lot of different places.
badmarmot - on 10 Feb 2013
In reply to mmmhumous:
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.
Cheers rob
Andy Clarke - on 10 Feb 2013
In reply to mmmhumous: Forgot to add: Ailefroide area also offers plenty of excellent walking. In fact, since there are no chair lifts to the huts, if you want to do big mountain routes it demands plenty of excellent walking!
Bruce Hooker - on 10 Feb 2013
In reply to mmmhumous:

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.
Mark F - on 10 Feb 2013
In reply to mmmhumous:

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.
mmmhumous on 14 Feb 2013
In reply to mmmhumous:

Thanks for all the replies, keep them coming! Ecrins looks good (some spectacular views on Google).

David Rose - on 15 Feb 2013
In reply to mmmhumous: The Ecrins is certainly a worthwhile area. But a few warnings are in order. First, there are no cable cars or other forms of uplift except one to the middle station from La Grave, which is only useful if you want to do the north face of the Meije. This can limit how much you get done. Second, there aren't many good snow or ice routes in summer. The glaciation is a lot less than Chamonix. Finally, although there are some high mountain peaks with solid granite - principally the Sialouze, Dibona, Tete Rouget and Pic Nord des Cavales - a lot of the rock is mediocre or even terrible. This can make certain routes feel much more serious than their technical grade might warrant. The valley granite at Ailefroide and La Berarde is good. The quality of the limestone in the Durance valley varies. Again, some of it is quite poor.
helix - on 16 Feb 2013
In reply to mmmhumous: Ailefroide sounds great, would it be suitable for family summer holiday with climbing, biking, messing around in water, eating, drinking etc?
AJM - on 16 Feb 2013
In reply to Andy Clarke:
> I love Cham, and try to get there each year, but ... the low-level cragging isn't particularly good.

Have you visited Barberine/Gietroz? I was of the same opinion until I tried there this summer. Some excellent routes there.

http://andytheclimbingpunter.blogspot.com/2012/09/chamonix-cragging-barberinegietroz.html

conorcussell - on 16 Feb 2013
In reply to AJM: If you want even better cragging, go the other way down from cham to Bionassay.
conorcussell - on 16 Feb 2013
In reply to conorcussell: Would have helped if i'd spelt it right... http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=17133
AJM - on 16 Feb 2013
In reply to conorcussell:

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...?
AJM - on 16 Feb 2013
In reply to AJM:

I see our messages passed in the ether :)
conorcussell - on 16 Feb 2013
In reply to AJM: Yes, Valle de Arve! The crag i posted is the only one we went to. Incredible looking stuff in the mid 7's. I only tried stuff up to 6c+. There is a 40 meter 7b+ called massive attack which looked really good. And some good long 6cish stuff.

Unfortunately the crag page on here isn't too well filled out and I don't have the guidebook to do it.
ads.ukclimbing.com
mmmhumous on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to mmmhumous:

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).

Stephi on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to mmmhumous:
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!
mmmhumous on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Stephi:

Cheers. I may well take you up on that offer.

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.