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Mountaineering Training

Movement Skills Training with Ice Axe & Crampons

Good crampon technique is perhaps the single most important skill for the mountaineer to have and worth spending a lot of time training on

Basic Glacier Travel Skills Are Essential for Alpine Mountaineers

More important than technical crevasse rescue skills are the basics of roping up appropriately for glacier travel and knowing what to do in the event of falling in to a crevasse, or your partner falling in one!

Chamonix's 'Mer de Glace' is an Excellent Mountaineering Training Venue

Here the fundamentals of good crampon front-pointing technique are being practiced. Contact with 4 crampon points is maintained with steady and low heels; small positive steps are taken keeping the centre of gravity above the crampon points. Boots are kept discreetly independent and a dynamic, flexible and balanced posture gives a rhythmic pleasure to steady cramponing.

Ice Climbing on Chamonix's Mer de Glace

Doctors preparing for the alpine mountaineering section of the Diploma in Mountain Medicine

Mid-Winter Mountaineering Training on Chamonix's 'Mer de Glace'

The watchful west face of the Drus looks on and many Vallee Blanche skiers cruise past whilst we focus on alpine mountaineering & expedition training. Crampon & ice axe skills; glacier travel & crevasse rescue; using a jumar to ascend a fixed rope; a spot of ice climbing and even some snow shoeing!

Crevasse Self-Rescue Training

A simulated crevasse fall self rescue is performed using a rope man and a prussik, both placed above the tie-in point once alpine coils have been taken and tied off. The ropeman is an extremely effective device to use here and it's size & weight mean it is entirely practical to always carry as part of a standard glacier travel kit.

Moving Together on a PD Alpine Ridge

A team of 3 climbers in training for a Mont Blanc ascent move together along an easy but narrow snow ridge with the rope snug between them. Higher up on the ridge the ground becomes more mixed and rock spikes can be used at running belays / anchor point. In this style the terrain is covered relatively swiftly but not hurried. Sound cramponing and general movement skills remain the principal focus of concentration.

Placing a Cam Runner Whilst Moving Together on an Alpine PD Ridge Traverse

One of the great skills of alpinism is the ability to make judgements about the terrain and employ the rope effectively accordingly. Even very early on during this day the rope had been employed in 4 different ways. Roped together a long way apart for the glacial approach; moving together quite close with the odd rock spike as protection on easy scrambling ground; pitched climbing from one belay to another for a short tricky section and finally moving together further apart, placing runners on a harder scrambling section

Spring Rock Climbing in the Scottish Highlands

We are organising more and more UK based mountaineering training courses for people preparing for their summer alpine trips. Tough days of scrambling, rock climbing & hill walking in the Scottish Highlands & Snowdonia provide an excellent basis on which to build the alpine elements of mountaineering, glacier travel, rope work and other fundamental alpine skills...

Team Multi Pitch Abseil Descent Training - North Face of Pointe Lachenal

An exercise in concentration & organisation - A multi pitch abseil descent requires care but gaining the skills involved unlock the potential to climb routes & summits with technical descents as well as giving the re-assurance of having the skills to effect a safe retreat if the route can not be climbed for whatever reason. A strong personal anchor system style Cows Tail (Eg like the Grivel Cows Tail) is a useful tool in this process.

Leading The Way - On The Multi Pitch Abseil Descent

Is the anchor secure? Have I threaded the ropes correctly? Attached my belay plate correctly? Prussik? Where is the next anchor? Does the rope rub over sharp rock? Is there loose rock to avoid? Where are the ends of the rope? These and many more questions form the complex basis of a safe multi pitch abseil descent. No picnic!

Making An Ice Thread (Abalokov) Abseil Anchor

In good ice, making 2 threads links together forms a strong anchor to abseil off and only requires leaving some basic cord. Trying to make 1 really big thread often results in missing the thread - thus 2 slightly smaller equalised ones can be as easy to create and forms a good anchor. Thus most alpine teams will want to carry a threader tool on any alpine route involving ice.

Front Pointing With Crampons On The Ice Of Chamonix's Mer De Glace

A skill crucial for alpine mountaineering - solid cramponing and front pointing on steeper ice. Good training venue here on the dry glacier below Montenvers Hotel / Train Station. Heels are kept low in precisely applying the front 4 points of each crampon to ensure the best possible grip in the ice. This is a secure technique when well applied but can be tiring over long sections. Lots of training required!

Paul Enjoying Steep Solid Ice Climbing Training On The Chamonix Mer de Glace

Excellent movement skills training can be had on steep ice in the crevasses and valleys of the Mer de Glace. Focussing on strong front pointing technique with crampons and solid axe placement builds skill, efficiency and confidence when tackling less steep but more sustained terrain on many classic alpine north faces. Managing ice axe, tethers, ice screws and multi pitch techniques can all be well trained here too. A useful, if wet day today in mid June 2016