Ice Climbing Intensive Weekend

Holiday Overview

An intensive long weekend introducing the techniques of ice climbing so you can explore the magical frozen waterfalls of the Southern French Alps!

The Fench Alps is a winter wonderland for ice climbers! So if you are looking for a challenge, and want to access places that normally you wouldn't dream of, then ice climbing is for you!

Due to the unique topography of the region there are a wealth of ice falls (frozen waterfalls!) variying in gradient, gentle beginner gullies and steeper, more technical ice cliffs to choose from including several world famous sites.

So whether you've tried ice climbing before and want to brush up on your skills or you are wanting a completely new challenge, there is something for everyone.

This is a progressive long weekend course where you will learn the basics of ice safety and security and essential ice climbing techniques. You will learn how to place your feet and how to hold and anchor your ice axes.

Our guides will also give you tips on technique and how to conserve your energy (which is very important for longer routes). After this intensive first day you will then be ready to explore more challenging multi pitch routes.

We use fully qualified UIAGM high mountain guides for ice climbing. We choose them for their professionalism, local knowledge and expertise. They will look after your safety whilst making sure you have fun.

Please have a look at our ice climbing page for information about ice climbing grades.


Itinerary Overview

In the Champsaur Valley there is some of the best ice climbing in the Southern French Alps and climbers come from all over the world to sample it. As such we have a wealth of sites to choose from and we will adapt the itinerary when you are here to make the most of local conditions.

This is a suggested itinerary to give you an idea of some of the ice climbing possibilities available in the area. For the first day you will be in a group of maximum 6 people with one guide and for the 2nd and 3rd day you will one guide for 3 climbers.

All the guides we use for ice climbing are UIAGM high mountain guides with lots of ice climbing experience and local knowlegde.

Day 1 - Arrival

We'll welcome you at your accommodation,  go through the holiday with you. Depending on what time you arrive you can go for a short walk, visit the local village or just relax in your accommodation and take in the views!

Day 2 - Introduction to Ice Climbing

Full day ice climbing learning the basics of ice safety and security and essential ice climbing techniques.

With your guide you will head for The Tourengs, a large 200m cliff with several waterfalls. The area is great for beginners as there are lots of routes of differing grades - some short pitches with the option of longer (up to 200m) multi pitch routes. It's the ideal place to get started on as you can focus on technique, rope work and safety without wearing yourself out!

You will start off on top ropes and learn the basics of placing your ice axes and crampons and optimising your energy and strength (very important for ice climbing)! You will also learn about different types of ice and its behaviour, rope technique and safety. As the day progresses your guide will focus on your individual strengths and weaknesses giving you exercises to do to perfect your technique.

Day 3 - Multi Pitch Technique

Full day ice climbing where you will learn multi pitch techniques.

After yesterday, you should have a good grasp of basic rope technique and have mastered to a greater or lesser degree the art of optimising your energy and strength!!

Today you might go to the falls in Moline, on the other side of the valley. Here, you will learn how to use the rope for longer routes. You'll look at different belaying systems, placing ice screws and other gear and removing them! The routes will be longer with 2 - 3 pitches so you can practice multi pitch climbing and there will be the opportunity for you to have a go at leading if you want to!

Day 4 - Ice Falls in Prapic

Prapic (1513m) is a beautiful little alpine village at the end of the valley. It is still inhabited all year round by four families and has preserved it's authentic alpine charm and architecture. It's also home to some fantastic ice climbing. There will now be a guide ratio of 1:3 and you should have enough skills to go for a longer and more technical climb.

Your guide will help you decide which route to do but the Pisse Bernard is a fantastic challenge at grade 4 with 7 pitches. There are also other slightly easier routes to choose from which are equally majestic!

There is a very good chance you will have the ice falls at Prapic to yourselves for the day and can really experience the tranquility and beauty of ice climbing in the Southern Alps! Look out for chamois and golden eagles.


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The nearest train station is Gap. Gap is on the SNCF train service which has links from Paris (overnight sleeper), Valence, Grenoble or Marseille.

The nearest airports are Grenoble, Lyon and Marseille, both approximately 2.5hrs drive from us here in the Alps. In the winter the local ski resorts are also served with a regular snow bus from Marseille airport.

We can arrange transfers from Gap train station or the local ski resorts for 50€ per transfer (up to 8 people per transfer).

We have become somewhat expert on accessing this hidden gem of the Alps.Please ask us about getting here when you enquire.

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