Anyone out there looking to go out to the Alps this year for the first time to do some alpine mountaineering? Me and my partner are and are wondering what other people are doing for their first time? E.g courses or by themselves.
We are looking at doing a course/guiding as we do not have anyone to learn from. Problem being that the guiding is expensive and we are going to struggle to get one with our budget.
Me and my partner are looking at hiring a guide for training for around 3 days in the Saas Valley in Switzerland. As we are novices to the Alps we are looking at getting training in crevasse rescue, glacier walking, moving together etc.
The guide we are looking at using we have used before in the Lake District for a couple of days climbing.
The guides price is the same per day whether there is 1 person or 4. So there will be me and my partner so if anyone else is interested in coming with is or even 2 others then let me know. The price will be split between us making it alot cheaper.
I have managed to get a good deal aswell with the guide and he will be paying for his own lift pass and hut cost if we stay in one.
I'm looking to do my first 'alpine' trip this year. The mrs and I are thinking of going to stubai in Austria. We are going to be un-guided but we are setting our ambitions relatively low to suit; 3000m peak(s), a bit of glacier travel and easy via ferrata. We are both capable climbers and I have had a week of Scottish winter mountaineering with glenmore lodge. We also purchased the bmc alpine skills DVD which is very useful.
I guess it all depends on your aims and current skill sets.
I posted this on another thread earlier today but seems pertinent here
When did this idea that you need a guide or a course as an introduction to alpine climbing come about ? At the time I first went to the Alps as a teenager (mid 70s) the idea didn't even occur to us. Fairly sure that would have been true a little earlier for Al & his generation & seemed to be true in the 80s when I was involved with uni clubs.
Guess it gave some of my friends an extra career option & some became guides & instructors but why the change ?
In reply to Doug:
At the time I first went to the Alps as a teenager (mid 70s) the idea didn't even occur to us.
Exactly! That's how it was when I first started going in the 1960s, we never even considered Guides )apart from when I skied the Haute Route where I think his local knowledge was invaluable, particularly going through seracs and heavily crevassed areas, and in avalanche prone sections ).
IIRC the thinking at the time was cut your teeth on the Eastern Alps which are smaller and generally less serious, then with a couple of trips, and experience, under your belt move onto the Western Alps. However this wasn't a hard and fast rule and many folk went straight for the Western Alps.
My first alpine trip was the Frendo Spur on the Midi. Being guided up a route diminishes the achievment IMO. Undertaking a course to learn the techniques however is a good option if you can afford it. Personally I would rather spend the money on another trip to build up experience.
>"I think I maybe best lowering my ambitions and starting. Easy and working my way up."
I hope that means going to Saas Grund and warming up on the Jeggihorn and Mitaghorn (3000m peaks) then have a go at the Allalinhorn (all easily done in one day each using the lifts).
If that all goes well you can think about pushing the boat out and going for the Lagginhorn from Wiesmies hut or Wiesmies from the Amagelar hut to get the full proper Alpine experience. If it all starts to feel too hairy, just turn round...
All the above have either none or only minimal crevasse danger.
> All the above have either none or only minimal crevasse danger.
Weeeelll, whilst handy for the cable car I grant you, I went waist deep into two crevasses on our traverse of the Weissmies on the descent a few years ago. Some newish snow meant the bridges were none too obvious, and we had to pretty much break trail (unusual for such a busy peak). Being on a rope of 4, it was no issue whatsoever, but I do think the Hohsaas approach is fairly well crevassed tbh, and relies on some good tracks to make it straightforward.
If you mean from/back to the Almageller, you are 100% correct, but it's a slog back down is it not? Most folks do the traverse, yes?
In reply to mc2006: While it's possible, you'd be hard pressed to kill yourself on walk up the Allalinhorn.
The bergshrund can be pretty scary in a bad year but most years there is a good trail. You will not be alone, there is always a crowd.
Ok, well I think we are just going to book a week out there and take it from there.
Our only concern is crevasses as we have not learnt about rescuing. We have watched the bmc alpine dvd though which was useful. So until we have practiced crevasse rescue/glacier trekking we will stay to safer routes with no glaciers.
Possibly do some smaller peaks which you have mentioned.
I don't know if it fits your circumstances but I'm going on an Austrian Alpine Club introductory course, it's £700 for 5 days guiding, accommodation and food, but if you're an AAC UK member you can apply for them to pay up to 50% of it.
There's some pretty big crevasses on the Weismeiss traverse when coming down to the Lagginhorn side. They are changing year to year as well. The rock ridge above Almagellar hut is good for an acclimatisation day if the weather falls right.
In reply to mc2006: Don't go off the idea! I did Lagginhorn and Weissmies on my own as a first alpine trip and met up with some random others on the way. Looking at your logbook I would suggest Pinnacle Ridge, St Sunday Crag in summer to get you up Weissmies from Almageller hut and something grade 3 and slabby to get you over the crux of Lagginhorn from Weissmies hut.