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Recommendations for an Alpine course?

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Recommendations for an Alpine course?

Postby Jukka Ahonen » Mon Aug 02, 2010 4:47 pm

Hi everyone,

I am located in Finland, North Europe, and after a few ascents in the Nordic region, I am contemplating about moving to something a bit more demanding with a couple of my friends. Since Finland does not offer much in terms of mountains or glaciers, we're forced to look for our challenges as well as experiences elsewhere.

Since none of us have previous experience, we are interested in courses. The scope of the course would be glacier travel, alpine climbing with appropriate safety techniques and hopefully a summit somewhere around 4000 m / 13k feet. We have experience in rock climbing, hiking, winter condition camping.

So my question to you guys would be to ask for recommendations. Price is also a factor, so if you happen to know incredibly cheap but good courses that fit the description, please dont be shy ;)


cheers,
Jukka
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Postby jnp701 » Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:56 pm

are you looking for spots in europe? because i think i could point you towards a couple in the US if you're in the mood to travel haha
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Postby Jukka Ahonen » Fri Aug 06, 2010 7:06 am

Well, I guess it is worth a consideration, at least! Getting there might be a bit more expensive, but if the offering would otherwise fit the description, I would not mind visiting US :)
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Postby CBakwin » Thu Aug 12, 2010 1:59 pm

In that case the most popular and a very professional outfit, is RMI on Mount Raineer in Washington State. There are also good courses in what you are asking about in Alaska.
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Postby Dan Shorb » Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:48 pm

Dubzion wrote:Well, I guess it is worth a consideration, at least! Getting there might be a bit more expensive, but if the offering would otherwise fit the description, I would not mind visiting US :)


Hey I sent you an email, but you should check out In the Company of Guides. They all work in Europe and the States, and build cheap courses for folks all the time. They are cool. I've done ski and climbing trips with them all. Very Experienced, yet chill. They're fully certified in ski, rock, and alpine, and do trips for all levels.

Their motto is "We Hook It Up."

http://inthecompanyofguides.net/In_The_Company_of_Guides/In_The_Company_of_Guides_Home_Page.html
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Postby Jukka Ahonen » Fri Aug 13, 2010 7:00 am

Alright, thank you both, I will check out your recommendations!
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Postby Diego Sahagún » Fri Aug 13, 2010 7:22 am

Perhaps a journey from Finland to The Alps is cheaper than to Alaska. You should consider it
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Postby Buz Groshong » Fri Aug 13, 2010 2:33 pm

CBakwin wrote:In that case the most popular and a very professional outfit, is RMI on Mount Raineer in Washington State. There are also good courses in what you are asking about in Alaska.


If you are going to spend the money to go that far, you'd do better to go to Peru and take a course with Skyline Adventures ( http://www.skyline-adventures.com/).
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Postby barrys » Fri Aug 13, 2010 3:01 pm

Hey,

There's loads of options in the Alps. How economical it works out to be depends on how many of you are there and whether you need to hire multiple guides between your own group, or can join an existing course. Spend a bit of time on google to find the cheapest options. A single guide in the french alps can be hired for about 300euro a day (depending on distance travelled, effort involved, refuges etc.) Normally they are fine with taking groups up on glaciated terrain and easy routes for training. If things advance and get more difficult you could be talking about 1 guide per client but for doing an ice shool, crevasse rescue course and learning the basics you guys should be able to hire one guide and split the cost. Prices for guides are quite standardised in Switzerland and in Chamonix - you might save yourself money by initially looking at one of the agencies in the Ecrins area, or in the Vanoises (or Italy - but I can't speak from experience as I have none with Italian guides, or Austrian for that matter). In terms of ease of access though it's hard to beat the Mer de Glace or Grands Montets in Chamonix as a learning ground. Check out the bureau des guides in Chamonix, Saint Gervais or Megeve for this area. For the Ecrins there are multiple options, amongst otheres there is a guide agency in Ailefroide, one in Serre Chevalier, one in La Grave (which has great access to glaciers and quality routes in the area) and Les Deux Alpes (which has easy glacier access).

As a place to start here's some links -
http://www.revedecimes.com/alpinisme.htm#stage
http://www.montagnesetcompagnie.com/uk- ... eering.htm
http://www.guidelagrave.com/index.php?i ... d=&ws=1280
http://www.guides-briancon.fr/alpinisme.php
http://www.guides-serrechevalier.com/presentation.htm
http://www.montagne-virtuel.com/
http://www.guidesdesarcs.com/index.php
http://www.alpesexploration.com/Program ... amonix.htm
http://www.herens-montagne.ch/index.php?&page=team_bis

There's hundreds more, Aosta, Zermatt, Saas, Arolla, Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen - you'll find agencies and guides working out of all these areas and many more. How good the experience is will depend on what you tell them you want out of it and the personality of whoever is showing you. You'll probably also find links to several agencies advertised around SP. I would have thought you'd find courses in Norway too but perhaps it works out just as cheap to go to the Alps, I don't know. I don't think Alaska as attractive as it is, can compete with 100euro one way flights between geneve and helsinki for someone who says price is important. Peru is cheap though once you get the flights out of the way!!! It has certainly got me thinking......
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Postby etai101 » Fri Aug 13, 2010 7:30 pm

completely agree with you
you got the freaking alps 4h by plane.
if price is a consideration in Europe it is actually a good thing since the Austrian Tirol mountain offer great routs wonderful accommodation and way more reasonable prices than say France or Switzerland.

2 people i believe is best for a entry level course you share the cost and you get the proper attention from the guide.
if you are more people try to be in even numbers.

there is another place i would recommend but its a little difficult to get to kind of an adventure at least i t was for me , bezengi in Russia great beautiful glaciers and mountains and good instructors.
its cheap on the living and guide expenses just as i said a drag to get there.
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Postby Jukka Ahonen » Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:32 am

FortMental wrote:Stick to Norway.

At least you can drive there for MUCH cheaper than you can fly yourself, your friends, and all of your gear to the US, or the Alps.


Actually, I just spent a couple of weeks in Norway this summer, and visited some mountains. Unfortunately, you would be wrong to think (as we did) that it would be cheap to drive there: Norwegian gasoline is apparently made of solid gold, and costs as much. It would have been a lot cheaper to fly to Italy, for example, than it was to drive to Norway and back.

And at least Jotunheim area was pretty crowded, for example we spotted what must have been close to 100 people walking over a glacier, roped up, in two lines, when coming down from Galdhøpiggen.

Aaanyway, a lot of good posts, and certainly a lot for me and my friend to think through. Thank you everyone, again, for your feedback!
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