I enjoy doing all the research and planning for alpine trips, but I figure it can't hurt to ask for some feedback / advice / alternative suggestions from those with personal experience.
I'm looking to spend June in the Alps. I'm pretty comfortable climbing up to AD+, I've been climbing in NZ's Southern Alps Summer and Winter the last few years, and have been trad climbing for 20yrs. Given it's my first time in the (European) Alps, I'm keen to get some local expertise in the form of guiding, and Jagged Globe have an attractive (if pricey) course that looks about right, with a mix of 1:2 and 1:1 guiding, from 9 to 16 June. It's around 2800 euros for six days, and I don't really want to spend more than that. That said, does anyone have any recommendations of other companies or individual guides?
My plan is to fly to Geneva, transfer to Chamonix, and spend a few days acclimatising with day hikes / easy solo climbs - any suggestions?
Then do this course, and, following that, rent an apartment in Chamonix for the next couple of weeks, finding partners and objectives as dictated by conditions. Ideally I'd like to focus on some of the more moderate 'classics', having been poring over the Larouche / Lelong 'Classic snow ice & mixed climbs' book, the Moran 4000m guidebook, and the Batoux 'Finest routes' coffetable book. Then fly home from Geneva.
Is this a reasonable plan? Or should I be basing myself somewhere else? Is it easy to find partners for moderate climbs? I'm travelling by myself.
Your thoughts / feedback / suggestions much appreciated.
Hi there. Sounds you have a level headed and sensible plan there. It is very early to be definite but I am a professional walking guide due to lead the TMB in 28th June and I was thinking of going out early for some private climbing in the week beforehand so I might be around the same time as you. I am very experienced in trad British climbing though I now live in France and in recent years mainly sport climb. However I have a shoulder tendon problem which makes that impossible for the moment and next summer is planned to be moderate grade Alpine routes. I will be in Saas Grund and Zermatt for a month later in the year. If you are looking for a rope partner the week of 21-28 June get in touch. firstname.lastname@example.org is the email contact. If not, best wishes for a successful trip.
It you've been Trad climbing for 20 years, I doubt you'll be happy getting herded into some standard course for 6 days.
Rather hire a private guide (who might offer you a similar rate if you guarantee 6 days).
Wouldn't be surprising if a good experienced guide had _you_ doing the leading by the second or third day (at least for non-crux pitches).
. . . (I know some who are oriented that way, but I want them to be free for _me_ next June).
also . . . Chamonix is not a great place for solo acclimatization climbs.
Might want to learn about non-expensive chemical tricks.