UKC Alpine Festival 2010 at Plas y Brenin

© Jonathan Griffith
In April 2010 Plas y Brenin are set to host the first ever Alpine Festival. This unique weekend is made up of a series of opt-in workshops covering almost every form of Alpine preparation along with plenty of opportunity to consolidate your existing skills, developing your experience and boost your confidence for the coming Alpine season.

On the Kuffner at sunrise with an inversion just below  © Jon Griffith
On the Kuffner at sunrise with an inversion just below
© Jon Griffith

Do you have Alpine Ambitions?

This information-rich event is an opportunity to celebrate Alpine achievements and aspirations, bringing like-minded people all together, under one roof.

The festival is perfect for anyone with Alpine ambitions, whether you've scaled numerous alpine summits or have yet to take you're first steps into the Alpine environment, there will be something to learn for everyone.

Learn from experts and each other....and socialise with like-minded climbers

The 'experts' sharing this knowledge and experience are all hand picked top UK Alpinists and British Mountain Guides. But they won't be the only ones to learn from. Every minute is an opportunity for discussion and sharing of ideas with other 'festival-goers'. This is a unique opportunity not only to be inspired but also to have the chance to question, learn from, drink with and chat to people who have been there and done that. Wherever you plan to go, you're sure to find someone who's been there and who is more than willing to share experiences and lessons learnt.

Skills Workshops, Demonstrations and Lectures

A programme of interactive workshops and inspirational lectures span the entire weekend, allowing you to select what topics suit you best from a 'workshop menu', ensuring an individually tailored experience.

Supporting the workshops will be the 'Expert's Corner', where you will be able to quiz some of the Country's most experienced Alpinists to make sure you get as much as possible from the weekend.

Accommodation, Food, Coaching, Tuition and Speakers for £130 all in

All of this for just £130, included in that is two nights accommodation, all your food, world class coaching and tuition, and guest speakers on Saturday night. Perfect timing prior to the Alpine Summer ahead, it's just too good to miss!

Alpine Gear Prizes in the Alpine Quiz

Several companies who make and distribute alpine gear will be at the festival, you can ask them questions, watch demonstrations and have a look at the kit. But more than that though, there will be an fun ALPINE QUIZ with great prizes - there will be lots of chances to win - from the companies below. More details of the prizes soon.

Goody Bag For All

Beal Folio Rope Bag

Everyone who goes on the Alpine Festival will get a goody bag. The goody bag itself is a Beal Folio Rope Bag kindly donated by Lyon Equipment and Beal. Yes that's for everyone who goes on the Alpine Festival.

The Beal Folio protects your rope form the dirt on the ground and also reduces the likelyhood of twisting or knotting your rope. And best of all you don't have to coil your rope!

The Beal Folio Rope/Goody Bag contains (so far...we are working on filling this up)

  • A discount voucher from Joe Brown's Shops: good for a month.
  • A Lyon Equipment crampon bag
  • A Petzl key fob
  • Petzl posters
  • A Rockfax guidebook
  • Samples of Nikwax
  • BMC stuff
  • 50 years of Plas y Brenin Book


See below for the Festival skills workshops and importantly how to book your place.

Alpine Festival Workshops

Planning and Organizing your Trip

This is something to get right first time, an opportunity to learn from our experts. Ensure you have a successful and rewarding time, take this chance to gather some advice on planning your alpine trip. Find out where you should or could go and when it's best to go there. During this workshop you will find out what considerations you need to make before hand and what to expect when your there. This is a crucial stage in your trip, which can make or break it.

Guidebooks and Alpine Maps

Get a 'hands on' session on how to interpret alpine guidebooks and maps. In this workshop you will see the different guidebooks and maps on offer and which is going to work best for your style of alpine trip. You will feel more confident with there use but also become aware of how they may differ from our UK maps and guidebooks. This will also be an opportunity to see the very latest publications and developments that are available.

Self-portrait with Am Basteir, Skye  © wee jamie
Self-portrait with Am Basteir, Skye
© wee jamie, Jan 2010

Alpine Rope Work

Having the skill and technique to use the rope in a variety of ways over very differing styles of terrain can be the key to safe and efficient travel in the Alpine mountains. Our experts will expose you to these skills and techniques explaining the concept of working the rope. Equally important is the ability to anticipate rope systems and how to make swift transfers to a different rope technique. This can really help towards a less stressful and successful day out. You will find out which technique is best suited for the terrain and its limitations. Skills such as moving together, efficient abseiling, quick pitched climbing and smooth short pitches will be explored.

Trekking in the Alps

Not all adventures lie in the snow line or high in the glacial mountains. There are some magical treks in all the alpine regions taking in some breath taking scenery. There are long multi day hut-to-hut routes as well as day tours in and around some of the most stunning mountain resorts. Here you will find out what is involved and how rewarding these adventures can be. What equipment is required and how fit do you have to be? What trekking possibilities are out there and how can I find out more information? All your questions will be answered during this inspiring workshop.

Alpine Rock

Long, sustained and challenging rock routes on beautiful pillars of granite baked in sun is what most of us dream of, and in the Alps there is more than a lifetime of this kind of climbing. We will look at the venues and the skill required climbing such routes and also how these differ from our long rock routes in the UK.

Glacial Travel and Crevasse Rescue

This is a key skill when intending on travelling in the high-glaciated mountains. This is a great new skill to learn but is also something that is worth practicing with existing knowledge. Our experts will guide you through this practical session of glacial travel including crevasse rescue, using ice screws, snow belays, carrying coils, prussiking, distances between each other and hazard avoidance. Using alpine huts

The network of mountain huts in the Alps is vast, and they often prove important to us as mountaineers and trekkers. In this workshop we will look at how to use them and what to expect. Most mountains regions in the Alps have a variety of huts to choose from, which is best for you? Used properly, staying in a mountain hut can really add to the experience and can often be the key to a successful and enjoyable mountain journey.

Sunset over the Aiguille du Plan and Dru and Verte in the far background  © Jonathan Griffith
Sunset over the Aiguille du Plan and Dru and Verte in the far background
© Jonathan Griffith

Alpine weather and Hazards

The Alpine weather is very unlike what we experience in the UK and it's important to be able to act upon and interpret varying weather forecasts. Once on the mountains it's is equally important to be able to recognise changes in weather and make the right decision. During this workshop we will look at the different weather you are likely to experience in the Alps, weather forecasts and information sources, and what to expect to see once you are on the mountains that may be differ from the UK.

Dealing with Altitude

An opportunity to speak with some experts in this field and get some advice on dealing with altitude, considerations on acclimatization programmes and AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness).

Women's Issues

There are many issues that face women in the Mountains around the world. Whether you're trekking or mountaineering this session focuses on the practical considerations, hygiene issues, mountaineering clothing and equipment, the limitations and what they have to offer.

Photography and Film

It is always great to record your fabulous experiences, especially when you're surrounded by some of the most photogenic mountains ever. Here we can give you some technical advice and training in the use of you're camera, both photo and film.

4000m Peaks

If you have high mountain ambitions then this is the magic number, and you're often surrounded by this kind of peaks in the Alps. Where to find them and further advice on how to go about climbing these peaks can be found in this workshop. Everything you need to know about the 4000ers is right here.

Alpine Equipment/ Going Lightweight

Equally important for trekkers and climbers, having the confidence and the ability to cut down on weight will make a big difference in comfort and enjoyment and may increase your chances of success! During this workshop you'll get to hear top tips from cutting edge climbers and mountaineers on how they prioritise the kit they carry and how you can adopt this discipline to your own adventures, whether trekking or alpine climbing. On display will be the latest technology in lightweight gear and an opportunity to actually feel the difference.


Food and Nutrition

Dealing with all aspects of food and hydration. Focusing on the nutritional value of lightweight food and giving you some suggestions/ ideas for what to eat when in the mountains. It will be a chance to hear what the experts eat and drink in a variety of situations, either whilst climbing an alpine north face or for one day trek. The very latest lightweight food and snacks will be available to look at!

On the Tacul NE arete  © Jon Griffith
On the Tacul NE arete
© Jon Griffith

Emergency Procedures

Something we all don't want to happen but is important to consider. During this workshop we will give you coping strategies you and your team as well as a structure on how to manage a situation. In the Alps help is nearly always close to hand, but this should never be relied on and in the mountains it's good to be resourceful and independent. This is also a good opportunity to consider the type of equipment you are likely to have with you and its limitations. In the event of an emergency whether it is a minor injury or something more serious, this session should give you greater confidence and leave you feeling better prepared.

Aid Climbing/Big Wall Climbing

Tackling the practical skills of aid climbing and living on a wall for days on end should help you to get ready for the really wild stuff. This is a very transferable and useful skill, having the ability to apply this in certain situations could prove essential on big hard routes in the alpine mountains.

Placing pro on the crux of the Rebauffat, Midi south face (E2, 5b?)  © Jonathan Griffith
Placing pro on the crux of the Rebauffat, Midi south face (E2, 5b?)
© Jonathan Griffith

Climbing North Faces and Multi day Routes

These are some of the greatest and most famous challenges that lay within the alpine arena. During this session you will find out what skills are required to climb a North Face or a multi day route. You will also get first hand knowledge of what it is like to be on a north face and what preparation is required.

The Alpine Environment - Flora and Fauna

An important element to travelling through and over the mountain of the Alps is an understanding and appreciation of its environment. This session may open your eyes to what is actually around us in the mountains, the environment around us is delicate and during this session we will look at how we can minimize our impact yet be amazed at what the mountains have to offer.

BOOKING DETAILS Alpine Festival 2010 at Plas y Brenin £130.00:

Arrive Friday evening 23rd April. Includes two nights accommodation at Plas y Brenin, all your food, world class coaching and tuition, and guest speakers on Saturday night.


More information

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4 Feb, 2010
A rope bag gift for an Alpine Festival?! Is it for polybagging?!)
No, it is for holding all the other free gifts! Alan
5 Feb, 2010
There are 18 workshops listed, if some are running concurrently it would be useful to see a timetable so that we can plan which to go to and which to leave out (save having to make hurried decisions on arrival) even if they can't be booked until arrival...
There are still a few places left on this fantastic weekend and the free goody bag is filling up just as quickly! Read more here
There doesn't appear to be a fixed agenda at this point but I have checked up and most of the courses will be repeated more than once allowing people to choose their own programs. Alan
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