Erik Decamp

Mountain Guide

Ice climbing

Waterfall ice climbing was born in countries where the climbers had to be creative in order to find playgrounds. They developed this new activity, the techniques and the specific equipment. As is often the case, it took some time for the alpine countries to realize that something new was born. In France, a few pioneers in the Pyrenées started to play the game. It was exciting, committing and enjoyable. After a few years most alpinists had tried it and ice climbing developed. Now it is an activity in itself and, as for rock climbing, you can enjoy it in rather accessible places. But take care, ice climbing requires experience!

Beginners You dream of trying ice climbing, but you have no or very little experience of climbing. We will teach you all the basic skills in a very progressive way, fully adapted to your abilities. After a few hours you will be able to climb a pitch, you will know about belaying, rappeling, and you will know the basic techniques for climbing. After a few days you will feel much more self-assured, and all your techniques will improve rapidly.

Introduction course (5 days). The best duration to get introduced to the basic techniques, get some training and do some good climbs.
Weekends. Excellent for a first experience on ice. Then you will want to come for a longer course!

Advanced You are a rockclimber or an alpinist, but ice is new for you. You are a beginner on ice, but you already have some general know-how about climbing and mountaineering. We will help you discovering another way of climbing.
You have some experience in ice climbing, and you want to learn more, get better, and do some good climbs. You will pass the next step with us.

Advanced course (5 days). A nice warm-up to re-visit your skills, then you're ready for the next step. Steeper, longer, and maybe some leading. The ideal duration.
Weekends. Validation of your skills, a few pitches on ice, a first approach of ice climbing.

Second youth/ice You are an experienced alpinist, you have done a lot of good climbs when you were younger. As time went by, your job and your family required your attention and you had no time left for mountaineering. Now, you are a bit more available, and you can afford hiring a guide. You've always followed the developments of mountaineering, and you've heard about ice climbing. You would like to try. You are the ideal companion for a guide. Welcome!

Weekends, weeks, special destination. Why don't you contact me?

When is the best season?
Iceclimbing on frozen wateralls is a winter activity. In the northern Alps, January is usually the best month, but the season starts in December in some places, and in cold areas you can still do some good climbs in late winter.

From a weekend to a full week
Chamonix is close to Geneva, and it is easy to come iceclimbing for a weekend. A long weekend, 3 or 4 days, is a perfect time period to warm up, improve your skills and confirm them on a longer or more difficult climbs. A 6-day course is perfect to get really into it, incorporate good practices and enjoy a major climb.

How many people with one guide?
Iceclimbing requires the same precautions as alpine climbing. A guide climbs with one or two people.

How much does it cost?

The fee is based on a daily rate of 400€/day for the guide, to be shared by the participants. This does not include rentals, accommodation and transports.

Where do we go?
The courses take place in the region of Chamonix, within a hour drive. It includes the Chamonix valley and the high Arve valley, Swiss Wallis, and the very famous Italian valleys of the Val d'Aoste : Cogne, Valsavarenche, val Gressoney, Valdigne.
We are based either in Chamonix or in Cogne. Other fantastic destinations are possible upon request, like Norway or Canada.

What do we need?
For ice climbing you need a complete set of alpine equipment with very high quality clothing because it can get quite cold! The technical equipement, such as crampons and ice axes, is specific. You can download a complete list of equipment, with suggestions of models.