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anyone have any exp with "Chamonix Experience" Guides

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Am planning to use them - would love to hear
any experience you may have had with their guides/outfit.

post #2 of 7
Yes same here looking for guiding Chamonix in March next year. Want to do the Aguile Du Midi Glacier run 22kms.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

if you are looking to do only Auguile du midi - there are tens - if not hundereds of guides offering that. you can do it for as little as 70Euros for the day - including safety equipment. pm me - i will send you the info.

I am looking for a guided group - who i can hang with for 6 days. These guys have a 6 day off piste tour - that i am very interested in.
post #4 of 7

going to Chamonix in March 08. need trip advice.

We (20 instructors) are booked for 7days in March. Anyone had experience skiing there?
On and off piste. Euro web sites do not really give good maps or ability levels of the 4 to resorts in the area. I am looking for a mix of high speed groomers and nice powder with out the crevases. Abilty here, nerves getting old!
Any particular English speaking guide services recommended? Would venture off piste with same.
Can anyone list their favorite areas there and the reason why?

Thanks for any imput.
post #5 of 7
I wrote up my experiences at Chamonix. http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boa...opic.php?t=529

There are individual reports written up too http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boa...wforum.php?f=5

There are not a lot of high speed groomers at Chamonix. Generally, only 1 - sometimes 2 runs - are groomed off each major high-speed lift. They are destroyed by 11am by traffic. The wrong European resort for that when many others do it better.
post #6 of 7
Re guide. I can't comment first hand on Alpine Experience, but they have a good rep. I've used the Compagnie des Guides and have been very pleased. http://www.chamonix-guides.com/pages...n/hiver_uk.htm
Actualy, there are hundreds of guides in Cham : For a good feedback on english speaking ones, you could ask David from pisteshors.com or Idris on TGR.com.

Re Chamonix as a resort. Chrisc is spot on. Chamonix is all about off-piste and exposure. It's not conveniently laid out, not well groomed, the lift system is obsolete and crowded by wanabe (english speaking...) extremo poseurs. But it has a unique atmosphere and the most exposed terrain you can dream of. Take it for what it is and deal with the crevasses. The guides know their stuff anyway and a party of good skiers should have a blast.
For a mix of good groomers and powder, I would have booked in Val d'Isère or Verbier actualy. Or stayed in the States !

Re the different areas :
Les grands montets : where the action is. Gnarly terrain, huge verticals. Lifts can be a hassle.
Flégère / Brévent (interconnected) : More suitable for intermediates (for Chamonix). Snow can be lousy at the bottom. Killer scenery.
Le tour : the family oriented resort of the valley. Some gnarly and exposed offpistes runs though.

Edit :
Oh, and : Search function, Jongs !
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
here is some more info i picked up from the net. - unknown author. all credit goes to him.
Here's some of my personal favourite day trips ranked in (roughly) ascending order of difficulty/physical exertion. Any one of these would make a memorable day out with a guide, although be warned that the last two are big days and may not be ideal if you're new to uphill skiing. Any decent guide will also have plenty of ideas of their own so long as you are clear about the sort of day you want.

Downhill only

1. Double Valle Blanche: Pack a bagette or two for lunch and catch the earliest bin up you can (your guide will have priority) to the top of the Aiguille du Midi (3,800m). Descend the arrete (get your guide to short rope you down unless you have crampons) and ski the Envers du Plan variation - this is a steep route off left through the icefall and frequently yields outstanding powder. Tricky as far as the Salle a Manger at which point you descend to the glacier floor and blast on down. In mid-late Feb you should be able to ski all the way to Chamonix (1,000m). Otherwise take the train down from Montonvers. Hike back round to the Aig du Midi cablecar (a daypass gives unlimited trips even though 99% of people go up only once), back up to the top and this time ski the Vrai Valle Blanche variation. Share a beer or six - you'll have earned it!

2. Argentierre Glacier and the Pas de Chevre:
Get to the Grands Montets as early as you can and ride all the way up from Lognon to the very top station (again your guide will have priorty) known hereabouts as "ice station zebra" for the 100 or so steps you have to descend to get to the start of the runs. Start off down the standard black run for about 100m then track right (under the rope) on the open slopes above the glacier. There is an awesome ski down (800m vertical) with hundreds of route options eventually landing you on the floor of the Arg Glacier. Head down the glacier to the point where the icefall goes a bit mental (this is very obvious) then traverse left eventually re-joining the piste. Blast back down to Lognon then catch the cable car up to the top of ice station zebra again. This time head right at the top - under the rope and away from the piste and track left to reach the start of the Pas de Chevre. This is a truely outstanding off-piste descent which goes off the opposite side of the moutain to connect you eventually with the Valle Blanche Glacier. Choice of couloir for the descent (up to about 45 degrees), bit of tree bashing, really not a lot of folk so the snow holds up for ages, occasional need for roping down the rocky bits before final steep section down the base of the VB practically level with the Montonvers station. Cross the glacier feeling like a ski god to re-join the mere mortals coming down the VB for the ski out to Chamonix. Another day when you deserve a beer!

Small amount of uphill

3. Point Helbronner and beyond: This is about as close to a perfect day's skiing you can get, although you'll need touring gear (very easy to hire for the day in Chamonix). Early start again (notice a theme here?). Catch the cable car to the top of the Aig. du Midi. Down the arrete then follow the duffers route past the Cosmiques hut and down the next section. Track right away from the route as it bends left and stop to put skins on (your guide should be able to help you). Climb easily on skins for about 40mins (no kick turns required!) to Point Helbronner. The ridge marks the border with Italy and you descend a fantastic and rarely skied route down to the mid-station of the Helbronner lift. The top is steep with an optional fixed rope descent or (since you're with a guide) some "what the hell" gullies. Look out for the bergschrund which you'll probably have to jump. Stop at the mid-station where you can have lunch at an astonishing good restaurant before catching the lift back to Point Helbronner. Track round to the right staying high to get to the top of (I think it's called) the Col de Priere. Whatever the name it's a completely awesome long powder slope on which you will inevitably ski like a demi-god. Eventually it flattens into a long traverse which enables you to re-join one of the various routes down the Valle Blanche. A fantastic day out.

4. Le Buet This is one of my favourite beginner day tours for the real sense of adventure. Start at Flegere and take the lift to the top of the Index. You can afford to ski around for an hour or two to warm up then catch a tiny little drag lift heading up into what looks like no-where (you used to have to walk/skin this bit but the lifties took pity). From the top put skins on and head off right following what will almost certainly be a pretty well worn skinning track. After an hour or so the track steepens requiring a zig-zag traverses with increasingly steep kick turns. At some point you'll inevitably give up. Get the guide to help you put your skis on your pack and to rope you up to boot up about 100-150m of fairly steep snow slope (50 degrees or so). At the top you'll be rewarded with a fabulous view and a thrilling ski down involving some exciting traversing above a very big drop to the left. Rest and grab a bite of lunch at the obvious point before turning left and skinning up another 30-40mins or so to reach the Col du Mont Buet. From here you have an unbroken 14 mile off-piste ski down on one of the nicest runs in the Alps. Steep at the top endless wide open snow fields and a long forest track out which usually involves a bit of combat skiing at the end to arrive finally at a tiny bar in the pretty little village of Le Buet. Beers in the sun with the dozen or so others who'll have made the trip that day before dashing across the road to the handily located train station to catch a local train back to Chamonix. One of my favourite day tours - must have done it at least once each of the last six years and it never gets dull.

Hard Days

5. Breche Puisseau: Start as early as you can. Ski the Valle Blanche (any route) to the bottom of the icefall just about the Salle a Manger (i.e. you start the day skiing the whole hard part of the VB). Cut right and put on skins to climb up the right hand side of the Glacier wall to the Breche Puiseau. Skin up is 1000m vertical (3-4 hours), steep and slotted in places with the last 200m involving booting up a 55 degree icy slope. Short rope and possibly crampons & ice axe required. Emerge onto a tiny precarious ledge and abseil down the far side (60 degrees plus) for about 30m. Put your skis on carefully and traverse delicately round to the left to the safe spot taking care not to fall into the Bergschrund. Awesome ski down untouched slopes to the base of the next glacier round from the VB eventually re-emerging (to the amazement of any VB skieres) where the two glaciers meet above Montonvers station. Ski on down to Chamonix if the snow (and your legs) hold up.

6. Argentierre to Champex: This is the first two days of the Haute route (Verbier variation) rolled into one and is a fabulous day out for a fit party. Start as early as you can (seriously it's a long day) ride the cable car to ice station zebra at the top of the Grands Montets and ski down to the glacer. Cross the glacier, put skins on and climb the Col de Chardonnex (3 hour climb). There's a standard abseil down the far side (50m) or (better) climb a bit higher to the left to find the (so called) "guides col" which is steep (55 degrees) but wide and with a safe run out. Get your guide to lower you down the first section (30m) then ski it from as high as you dare. Nutters will ski from the top. From there long traverse in awesome surroundings to the Fentre de Salenia. Climb on skis as far as possible then resort to booting up (250m vertical 1-1.5 hours) to reach the stunningly beautiful Trient plateau. Cross the platueau staying well below the Hut (usual stopping point) to pick up the start of the day two route. Drop down a short (but steep) icefall - may need roping before a short (20-30m) climb up the final col to reveal an absolutely heaven on a stick descent (10-15miles), often in perfect powder all the way down to Champex. Get the guide to organise taxi/bus back to Chamonix.
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