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Learn all skills and techniques in the real environment as you discover the high mountains. You will learn to use crampons, ice axes, basic rope work, moving safely on a glacier, snow safety, route planning, navigation and completion of some challenging routes.

Always included in our holidays

Full mountaineering equipment

Lift pass (if needed)

Instruction or guiding


All meals

Friendly & social atmosphere

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1. Be prepared for the weather! The weather in the mountains can change very quickly, so you must be prepared for all weather conditions. Layers are key! Always check the night before and the morning of the climb. If the predicted weather is ​bad, your UCPA instructor and your group will discuss altering plans for the week.

2. Make sure you have light. This is a vital bit of equipment not only for wondering round refuges in the middle of the night, but most mountaineering routes set off extremely early whilst still dark. A head torch will not only help you out at sunrise and sunset, but can also help signal rescue crews if you find yourself lost at any point.

3. Eat a big breakfast. It is not always easy to get food out of your back packs, so it is really important to start the day right. We suggest a big bowl of porridge to provide slow releasing energy. Remember to bring along food to keep your energy up throughout the day and plenty of water to keep hydrated.

What kit do you need?

All necessary technical equipment is provided by UCPA and is included in the price of your holiday (e.g harness, ropes, ice axe, backpack, crampons etc). Personal clothing is not provided. You should have clothing suitable for the conditions, e.g. appropriate lightweight, waterproof, windproof outerwear and warm and breathable base and midlayers. For the refuge stay you will need a sleeping bag liner.

How fit do you need to be?

This is an introductory course, so no previous experience is necessary, however, you do need to have a good level of fitness. Previous hill walking experience and/or climbing experience will be very useful.

What will I be able to do by the end of the week?

You will learn to use crampons and ice axes, basic rope work, moving safely on a glacier, snow safety, route planning, navigation and completion of some challenging routes.

What skills should I already have?

If you have already attended an alpine course, have walked in crampons with a roped partner across glaciated terrain, been pulled out of a crevasse during rescue training, summited an alpine peak and have an urge to climb more, then this Alpinism course is perfect for you.

Do you have to have rock climbed before?

You should be familiar with the rope techniques required for mountaineering, but it is not vital on the improver course to have rock climbed much. If you are an experienced climber (sport or trad) this is very beneficial and you will be put in a more advanced group than those with basic skills.

What will I be able to do by the end of the week?

The goal of this course is to progress your mountaineering techniques and help you develop skills in analysis and decision making to bring you more autonomy. You will begin to feel comfortable to build safe anchors and select good lines.

What skills should I already have?

You should have a good level of fitness and your skills/experience should include; walking with crampons, moving as a roped group on a glacier, using an ice axe, avalanche safety, crevasse rescue, rock climbing.

What level climber do I need to be?

UCPA suggests that you should be comfortable on AD level alpine climbs or climbing HVS. You will benefit hugely from this level if you have previously done some ridge routes and have multi pitch experience. If you do not have this experience, drop us an email with the details of the alpine routes that you have completed and we can check your suitability with UCPA.

What will I be able to do by the end of the week?

The objective of this course is to make you feel confident in safety techniques on glaciated terrain and on mixed or rock routes, and to learn the right considerations in your approach to the mountains. You should feel that from now on you can be much more self reliant and safe in the mountains.

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