My last year’s alp trip went bonkers for reasons told. This year will be hopefully different. Fingers crossed that there won’t be any unforeseen issues rising just before the D-day 🙂
My previous trips rope mate – Lauri – has other intentions set. As well as does Markus, my Swiss friend and Nepal tent mate and who I was supposed to go last year. So I was left with two choices: find someone else to go with or go on my own. Quite fast I started to incline on the latter one, but I wouldn’t like to go solo on nothing else but the easiest routes or snow plods.
I had set my eyes already last year for two quite interesting events held right in the heart of Chamonix. First would be Alpine Academy organised by Arcteryx and for second there is Chamonix Mountain Festival which is “organised by mountaineers for mountaineers”.
The Alpine Academy is run for the second time this year and it actually ended week ago. The event has three days of various activities or “clinics” available for different levels ranging from total beginner to advanced climbers. Activities have something from all the aspects of alpine activities. You can choose climbs from acclimatization to multi-pitch rock climbs or long alpine excursions. Or then you can choose one of the non-climbing sessions like mountain photographing, overnight bivy or crevasse rescue courses. All these are individually priced so you can freely choose what you want to do on each day. The “clinics” are followed with evening program. Apparently the Alpine Academy has gained quite a good reputation as the clinics seem to sell out pretty soon after the registration opens. All the clinics for this year were sold out well in advance. The only way to then to attend those would have been to win a competition they ran which would have got you flights, clinics and gear for you AND you friend. Not too shabby price, isn’t it? Quite obviously I did not win 🙂
I’m sure the the event would have been of great fun and I was looking for it, but at the time I was choosing out, most of the clinics were already sold out. Also being just for three days it is a both good and bad. Three days is quite short time to get into alpine stuff, but it is also short enough to hop in for just a extended weekend. For me it was a bit of a minus this year as I was going to go solo and do not know how easy it is to find people to climb with from Chamonix outside events like this. If interested, you can check their show-off videos from previous years.
As mentioned, last year I also had my eyes on another event: Chamonix Mountain Festival. I’m not 100% sure about what exactly is the organizing party behind it, but I’ve understood that they are a bunch of mountaineers who just started to run this event for fun. The event sound quite intereasting: a week of climbing with a very reasonable price. For me the price was actually one of the key points that caught my eye. For the price around 500€ (around because it is bit different whether you pay in one chunk or in two) you get lodging in UCPA in center of Chamonix, ski passes for the week, breakfast, dinner, packed lunch, free snacks and gear to test from sponsors and different evening events. It does sound quite interesting, doesn’t it? There isn’t organized guidance as such, but there are few places to book on some guide tours by some sponsored athletes.
Personally I do not know anyone who would have participated this event before, but somehow the whole thing seemed quite appealing to me. After some considering I booked a place for myself and then the flights to settle the deal. One reason was that I should be able to find people to climb with relative ease during the whole week and also not having that “clinics” based stuff, I could perhaps concentrate on the routes and climbs I’m interested with. If I’m able to find a buddy to do those, that is.
After I had signed up they have posted quite a few new sponsors and things they’ll have during the event which definitely has not decreased the value. Later on I also heard that one of my other climbing buddies is going to Chamonix around the same time aiming to climb the Mont Blanc via the Royal Traverse route. Could be that I have some day to climb with them also.
It will be seen how the festival turns out to be, was it a good choice or not. I’ll certainly will share my experiences later on. Now it is only a few days left until I’m leaving. I’ll be flying in already on Friday morning and arriving in Chamonix at around noon. I’m trying to get to do something already on Friday, but with who and what, I do not know if anything. The festival starts on Saturday now, which actually is one day earlier than they had initially programmed. Don’t know what is the thing with that. Anyway I’ll try to hit the hills latest on Saturday, though I would need to find someone to go along before that. If I still have time I’ll post a few routes I would like to try out, but there is actually quite a lot happening this week and don’t know if I can squeeze another post in. You’ll need to read about about what I had really done then.