Chamonix's superb granite attracts climbers from the world over. First-class mountain and climbing routes, grandeous north faces and accessible boulders. Combine this with an undertaking of French language at Insted's language school and you have an adventure holiday of a lifetime dripping with the immersions of French living.
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With some 27 principal climbing sites from Albertville, a short train or car ride away to beyond Vallorcine, accessible by train – Chamonix well caters to all. The Gaillands rocks are located just 2km south of Chamonix, next to the Gaillands lake and offer a wide variety of easy to more difficult routes. Bouldering at the Col des Montets is an easy 10 km from Chamonix, over the Col and just before Vallorcine. The Aiguilles Rouges nature reserve in this valley offers ideal bouldering terrain with different sized granite blocs for climbing with and without ropes.
For the experienced climbers the 4013m Dent du Geant is a fine rock spire on the frontier ridge between France and Italy. The normal route is on rock (AD) and is in a tremendous situation overlooking the Mer de Glace and the Val d'Aosta. While the Forbes Arete on the Aiguille due Chardonnet is one of the best known ridges in the Mont Blanc Massif and it is justifiably popular. An interesting and quite steep snow climb leads to the knife-edge snow aręte which continues to the summit in a breath-taking situation.
For the more classic climber, the Mer de Glace Face of the 3482m Aiguille du Grepon offers a longer good quality traverse across the neighbouring Grands Charmoz. The options continue with a good commencement to ice climbing at La Tour Ronde, a short steep north face route at just 55 degrees! Arguably the most famous rock peak is Le Petit Dru, which offers a difficult and satisfying ascent for a fit team.
Now is the time to take this summer by the horns and book yourself in to a week or a semester long French course in Chamonix. Select from 1 week to up to 13. Insted can help sort your accommodation too – shared or private and can offer great local advice on hiring gear if you're not planning to bring your own.
Climb & Study this Summer in Chamonix. Book Summer 2010 now. Courses start June 21. www.insted.com
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