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Become autonomous - Mountaineering

5 days from 885 € per participant

Guaranteed departure from 4 people

France Montagne Maximum altitude 3500 m Skill level : 2 Montagne Stamina level : 2

Pros

  • Course based in Argentière, one of the most beautiful areas on the Mont Blanc mountain range, offering hard orange granit rock, and short approaches to keep energy for ascents
  • A real training course, practical (rope management, use of protections) and theoretical (outing preparation, environment interpretation, decision taking, …)
  • Small sized groups to take into consideration everyone's goals

In a nutshell

Why gain autonomy ? Because an ascent can only be really fully appreciated if one is the actor. Far from overcrowded routes where the aim is to just reach the summit, the aim of this immersion in the mountains is to progress personally and together as a team.

Not everyone is destined to become a leader, but a good second climber is essential for the team up to the summit !

This tailorized trip mixes glacier progression and rock climbing, with a special focus on climbing.

Friends, family or just colleagues at work ?

You wish to customize one of our trips, among friends and at your own convenience ? No problem, contact us so we can adapt a trip to suit you, right down to the last detail ! Our trips are tailor-made so giving you what you want is as easy as 123.

  • Price (VAT inc)

Day to day

Day 1 – Settling in & introduction

Get together at the end of the morning in front of the Grands Montets cable car. We take the cable car and walk to the Argentière hut, settle in and after lunch, head off for the partially equipped climbing school that will help us deal with different techniques that we will go over in depth during the course: rope use, use of protection, belaying whilst in movement

Meals included: picnic & dinner

Accomodation included: mountain hut

 

Day 2 – Different means of belaying - practice

This will take place at approx.. 1 hr away from the hut on the Western shoulder of the 3040 m point (level 5c, length 180 m). Thanks to its distinctive dihedral, this route is ideal to approach and practice crack climbing.

Meals included: breakfast, picnic & dinner

Accomodation included: mountain hut

 

Day 3 – Rabouin ridge (level 4c, length 350 m)

This outing is slightly longer and more varied the yesterday’s. Today we will test our sense of orientation

Meals included: breakfast, picnic & dinner

Accomodation included: mountain hut

 

Day 4 – Central Dihedral, at the Plateau du Jardin (6a obligatory)

The dihedral strikes the entire face from top to bottom: great atmosphere ! The climbing is a little more vertical.

Meals included: breakfast, picnic & dinner

Accomodation included: mountain hut 

 

Day 5 – Last route : “Le Gâteau de Riz” (5c/5a, 230 m)

The route is a little shorter than the previous and will enable us to catch the cable car on time. Split up mid-afternoon.

Meals included: breakfast & picnic

 

Please note this is an example of a mountaineering progression course in the Mont Blanc mountain range. The guide may adjust certain itineraries according to weather conditions, cable cars and mountain hut accessibilty as well as participants' abilities. We kindly ask you to respect such decision. 

This trip was created in October 2018. Prices are based on  practices and customs of the moment. In case the latter are modified (ex: number of clients allowed per guide, for safety reasons), Azimut respects these guidelines, and we may adjust our prices accordingly.

 

 

 

Meeting and leaving

Meeting points

  • Argentière village - Grands Montets cable car

    See on the map

    Meeting time: 8.30 am
    Leaving time: in the afternoon

Get together - practical information

  • Please wear your mountaineering clothes on day 1.

On the last day, we try to get back to Oulx by 5 pm, but cannot guarantee this.

We always do our best, but we can't guarantee the exact time of arrival at the train station (due to traffic or weather conditions). Therefore we strongly recommend you to buy train tickets that can easily be modified. If you're travelling by car, we'll meet you at one of the indicated meeting points, or at one of the drop of points where you'll be able to leave your car during the entire trip.

  • Access

Train & TGV access: www.voyages-sncf.com

Car access: www.mappy.fr 

Car sharing: www.blablacar.fr

  • Parking

Public parking free of charge can be found in Briançon and Oulx (both unattended) or just in front of our accomodation.

How technical does it get ? How fit should I be ?

  • Skill level **

This is course is accessible for beginners on the ball ! No specific difficulty. However, you are advised to have some experience walking with crampons and to be used to walking off trail in the mountains carrying your backpack with some gear in it. You should be able to cope with walking at altitudes above 3000 minimum.  

  • Stamina level ***

You should be used to outdoors' sports and do endurance sports on a regular basis (cycling, hiking, cross country skiing, swimming). If this is not the case you should run at least 3 times a week (10 km/hr) two to three months before this alpine course. 

 

Good to know: If you haven't got the level required, the guide will be able to ask you to leave for the well-being of the rest of the group. If any doubt, please do not hesitate to ask us!

Group size

4 participants

Guiding

Azimut selected mountain guide.

We have a great bunch of mountain guides, and select our guides mainly for their sympathy, their teaching and organisational skills. We stay tuned in, work hands in hands, and make sure their working conditions are the best.

Meet our guides and instructors just around the corner

 

Daypack

You will have to carry your personal belongings, picnics and mountaineering gear. Your backpack will weigh approx 6 to 8 kilos (please leave behind any useless excess baggage). 

Ski lifts

Included in the price.

Pricing

The price includes

  • Trip logistics
  • Minibus transfers upon arrival at one of the indicated meeting points
  • Certified and expert mountain guide services for 3 days (including all his expenses: meals, accommodation, transportation, ski lift fares)
  • Half board for 2 nights in a mountain hut
  • Picnics for 3 days
  • All ski lift fares included in the training programme
  • Group security equipment 
  • AZIMUT welcome pack

The price does not include

  • Transportation to/from the meeting point
  • Drinks, including those with meals, personal costs and extras
  • Personal gear rental
  • Any fees incurred by a change in programme due to unsuitable weather conditions or if ski lifts are not working
  • Personal insurance
  • Any other costs not mentioned under the section “the price includes”

Payment

A 30% deposit, as well as the insurance cost if you choose to subscribe the latter, is required to secure your booking. You will receive a reminder email 35 days prior to departure for the outstanding balance due latest 30 days prior to departure. 

Insurance

We strongly recommend you to be properly insured for the chosen activity. You should be covered for medical expenses, personal accident & liabilité, third party risks and rescue (helicopter), as well as trip cancellation or curtailment.

Repatriation and research insurance are mandatory when booking a trip with Azimut. We have a full range of insurances on offer to suit the trip you select and the risks that it may incur. 

Tipping

Tipping is no obligation. However participants usually hand round an envelope for those who wish to tip the guide.

Getting around

Azimut's minibus is used throughout the whole trip. Not only does this make the trip easier, but it also makes it more pleasant and open: we can chat, sleep and listen to our own music !

Accommodation & meals

During the trip

  • Accommodation in dormitory in a mountain hut for 2 nights, bed linnen and towels not provided, blankets provided, sleeping bag liner obligatory, bathroom and toilets to be shared. For your personal purchases: cash only, credit cards are not accepted.
  • Breakfast and dinner will be served in the mountain hut, we have picnics for lunch (3). Picnics consist of good quality products: meat, cheese, bread, a chocolate bar and a piece of fruit or a compote (stewed fruit).
  • Snacks: details are important especially during demanding physical activity. We have chosen to provide tasty energetic and good quality cereal Mulebar. Mulebars are organic, vegan, digestive and all made of top quality products without conservatives nor additives nor food coloring. 

Before & after trips

Once we've received your booking, we'll provide you with a list of accommodation in case you need to book a night before or after the trip. All accommodation listed is close to the meeting points. You may often benefit from preferential rates.

 

Phone & WiFi

In case of emergency or delay, you can either contact your guide (a phone number will be provided before departure) or contact Azimut on: (+ 33) 04 92 23 07 24.

Please inform your friends and family with these details before departure.

No wifi available in mountain huts, and remember: cash only.

4G and mobile coverage is unreliable.

Equipment - clothing & gear

Technical gear

- Crampons

- Harness

- Ice axe

- Helmet

- Folding walking sticks recommended: those made by Z-pole are compact, light and easy to stow away in your bag

- Gear for the group (such as ropes) is provided 

If you don't have the adequate equipment for the trip, don’t worry and travel light: we rent out the required gear and hand it over at the start of the trip ! Our equipment is relatively new, if not brand new, of good quality and adapted to your choice of activity.

Prices of rental equipment during the entire trip (these competitive prices only take into account the number of days of the trip):

Full mountaineering pack (Helmet, ice axe, Crampons, harness and boots) € 135
Helmet € 30
Ice axe € 35
Crampons € 45
Harness € 30
Mountaineering boots € 50
Walking sticks € 30
   
   

You can choose to rent equipment when booking your trip, or lateron by clicking on “my account”. If any of the equipment that you’ve chosen is out of stock you’ll be notified and reimbursed.


If you bring your own gear please make sure:

- your boots are rigid and suitable for crampons

- your crampons fit your feet and boots

- your harness and helmet are less than 5 years old

- you have a light ice axe (not a wooden one !) long enough to be used as a support for walking 

Clothes

This list of clothes is designed to give you an idea of clothes that it may be good to have with you. By no means do you need to have the latest brands nor the latest gear, but if you need to renew your wardrobe, this guide would be a good start. 

Headwear

- Light warm hat or buff / scarf / cap for approach walks / sunglasses suitable for glacier (category 4) / ski goggles for the Mont Blanc ascent

Tip for glasses and goggles: photochromic lenses adapt the light intensity and vary from category 2 to 4, they are very useful. 

Bodywear

- Base layer: a few breathable long and short sleeved tops (merino wool is breathable and has anti-bacterial properties and is therefore less likely to smell as opposed to synthetic fabrics, don't wear cotton, it will not dry). On a glacier and on snow your arms should always be covered in case you fall or slip.

- Mid-layer: a light fleece or lightweight hooded down jacket to wear during breaks under your Gore-tex or soft shell jacket.

- Outer-layer: it should have a breathable and waterproof membrane. Make sure it's lightweight and compact so it doesn't take up too much space in your backpack. 

- Bottom layer: long johns to wear during the ascent, lightweight mountaineering trousers and a pair of trousers with a breathable waterproof membrane (Gore Tex or similar) - those with long side zips are recommended for climbs.

- Hands: light gloves (fleece or soft shell gloves), and pair of silk liners gloves to go underneath. Waterproof and warm mittens (or a second pair of gloves) for ascent day. 

Footwear

- Hiking socks: merino wool socks are warm and breathable 

- Rigid mountaineering boots that are crampon compatible

- Gaiters are obligatory if you rent Gore-tex trousers

- Lightweight shoes for your comfort on approach hikes (we can leave gear in the mountain hut during our stay) 

Odds & ends

  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Flask - 1.5 liter capacity (Camelbacks are not recommended as water often frozes), small bottles are convenient to put under your clothes to avoid water freezing.  
  • Headlight with spare batteries
  • Pocket knife
  • Duck tape
  • Suncream factor 50
  • Duffle type bag holding up to 90 litres that will be left at the hotel or in a vehicle. No suitcases.
  • Backpack: 35/40 liter capacity with a loop to carry your ice axe as well as a padded hip belt.

To be perfectly well organised we recommend you to put your gear in several small and different sized bags.

Toiletries and first aid kit

- Personal toilet bag, only take essentials in the mountains

- Basic first aid kit with any medication you usually take as well as: plasters, bandages, disinfectant wipes, a good multivitamin cream, compeed plasters, elastoplast, anti-pain medication (aspro or any equivalent), antibiotics, anti-diarrhea tablets (immodium), factor 50 suncream, flagyl and spasfon. Information about making a first aid kit can be found online on Iffremont's website. 

If you usually take medication, do not change your habits without consulting your doctor first. But please inform the guide what medication you're taking. 

Need to get gear fixed ?

If your gear or even shoes need to be fixed, we recommend Yvan Jacques and his “climbing shoe clinic”. You can contact him by email info@clinique-du-chausson.fr or by phone (+ 33) 07 87 96 94 80

In partnership with

Our guides use the following brands for their gear and you'll have the opportunity to test them during the trip:

Official partner and service provider for Terres d'Aventure

And last but not least...

Don't forget to

  • Leave contact details with your friends and family
  • Bring your papers and I.D. (passport and visa if necessary)
  • Bring your contract number and documents related to your insurance (if you've chosen not to have insure coverage with us)
  • Bring your “carte vitale” and your European health card (EU member states) - if you don't have one you can order one for free online  www.ameli.fr
  • Check that you have the right equipment
  • Take spare batteries and a charger for your electronic devices (camera, video recorder, tracking devices etc)
  • Bring some cash and your credit card
  • Bring a delicacy from your home country or area to share with the group
  • Leave in a good frame of mind: we're going to have a great time even if we may not happen to not make it to the summit !
  • Before leaving: water the plants, empty the rubbish bin, turn off water and gas, and tell your partner that you're going to have a good time (please not by text message), that you've well deserved... If you don't follow the latter recommendation, you'll most probably kick yourself when you get back!

 

                                 See you in the mountains !

                           Have great climbs with AZIMUT !