/ Alternatives to Chamonix
Being nagged by a friend who wants to go to the Alps (this summer), he has very little leading experience or trad experience and no Alpine experience, so I was wondering if anyone has any good suggestions as to a good place for us to go rather than Chamonix.
We'd be looking for basic mountaineering routes and possible some longish but easy rock routes.
Any suggestions appreciated.
Saas Fee/Grund..Lots of mountaineering routes plus rock routes.
Also have a think about the Bregaglia/Bernina in Switzerland. Super Alpine rock climbing, and if you are early enough in the season, terrific snow and ice routes. Glorious walk ins.
Thanks for all those suggestions, looking them up at the moment.
Aosta valley in Italy is good. Lots of lower peaks and classic routes. Friendly, good.food and wine etc
The Ecrins are very pleasant. Lots of big single and mulitpitch sport (and some trad) in Ailefroide at all grades, and up the valley there's a lot of amenable accessible alpine routes off the Glacier Blanc if your friend was looking to dip his toes in those waters. It was the first area of the Alps I ever visited as a climber (firstly as a rock climber, and a few years later as a 'debutant alpinist'), and I've been back several times since.
> Ecrins (( La Berarde or Ailefroide)
I started Alpine climbing in Ailefroide back in 2003, then went back two more times before branching out. It's an absolutely beautiful place, with multi-pitch granite cragging and bouldering in the valley, and some amazing Alpine routes up high. We got fit - by the end of each trip we'd be smashing out high mixed routes in a day from the valley base.
I was in the same position last season. We ended up going to Austria...
Bolted alpine routes, lots of easy grades
Paint marked routes, decent routes always double bolt belay
Great rock, great situations, less altitude
Cheaper huts, friendlier and less elitist
Shorter walk ins, more to reach without glacier travel
In general we have found the weather more stable
Guide books are crap, though lots of free online topos which are simple to translate
If you want more info, give me a message. There is a hut (if you sleep in the winter hut its 5 euro a night) which serves loads of great routes and the guardians are English speaking. They can link you into loads of local routes, most of them they have set and checked yearly themselves. I also have a load of cheap places to stay and fly into and if you fancy doing more commitment higher altitude routes, there is always Grossglockner Studlegrat!
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