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The Alp s - Trek


The Alp s - Trek

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4,810m (15,781ft)

The Alps - Trek

2010 DATES: SAT 03 JUL – SUN 11 JUL SAT 21 JUL – SUN 08 AUG SAT 04 SEP – SUN 12 SEP
2010 PRICE: £1,495 (land only) We strongly advise that you check with us first that your holiday is 'up and running' before you book your international flights.

Style of Trip: Grade: Maximum altitude reached: Duration: Flights: Group size:

Hotels/Mountain Huts Strenuous (Exp. Grade) 4,810m/15,781ft 9 Days - 7 days of guiding

We strongly advise that you check with us first that your holiday is 'up and running' before you book your international flights. Maximum: 12 clients plus leader Minimum: 4 clients plus leader

Will the trip run?

Guaranteed to run for a minimum of 4 persons. In the rare event that we cancel a trip we will refund you in full and give you at least 6 weeks warning. During 2008 most trips were full, therefore if you want to secure a place(s) on the dates of your choice we do advise you to book early.

Your guide(s):

Your trip will be led by a qualified UIAGM mountain guide.

Tel: 01453 844400 Fax: 01453 844422 Email: Website:


At 4810m Mont Blanc stands as the highest mountain in Western Europe, and is a rewarding and challenging objective for the experienced winter hill-walker and/or climber. This 9 day itinerary, which includes 7 days of guiding, has been carefully designed to maximise your chances of achieving your goal of standing on the summit. Not only does our itinerary provide two superb acclimatisation peaks over 4000m, it also gives you two nights in the Tete Rousse hut in which to make your summit attempt on Mont Blanc. If the weather is not kind to you on the first day’s summit bid, you have another in which to make a second attempt. Most of our competitors do not offer two acclimatisation days and two days in which to make a Mont Blanc summit attempt. Given the length and quality of the trip, it represents exceptional value for money. Saas Grund provides an excellent base for acclimatisation as it is quieter than Chamonix and the huts will not be so crowded. The acclimatisation peaks are also absolutely stunning mountaineering objectives in their own right. You can be extremely proud to ascend such gems as the Weissmies at 4017m, the Alphubel at 4206m, or the Strahlhorn at 4190m. You will also have ample chance to refresh or learn alpine mountaineering skills on the Trift glacier, such as the use of crampons and ice axe, movement on snow and ice whilst roped, and simple crevasse rescue. You will be at 3200m on the glacier so gaining valuable acclimatisation too.

PLEASE NOTE that the itinerary below is a sample itinerary. The feasibility of alpine mountaineering is completely dependent on the prevailing weather conditions. The guide(s) will suggest alternatives if weather conditions dictate that ascending any of the acclimatisation peaks, and/or Mont Blanc is not feasible. The decision about each day’s activity rests with the guide. However, please be rest assured they will do all they can to ensure you have a varied and rewarding trip.

UIAGM Mountain Guide:
KEVIN O'NEALE. Kevin O'Neale qualified as a British Mountain Guide in 1992. This is an International guiding qualification which allows holders to work legally as a guide in the European Alpine countries. It is the highest internationally recognised qualification for instruction and guiding in rock and ice climbing, mountaineering and off-piste skiing and ski touring - the coveted IFMGA/UIAGM carnet. It is recognised throughout the mountain world as your guarantee of their professional training and competence in all aspects of mountaineering and client care. Kevin is also a member of the Association of Mountaineering Instructors and passed the Mountain Instructors Certificate - M.I.C. in 1989. He has been an instructor and mountain guide in the UK since 1978, having worked in North Wales, the Lake District, the Swiss & French Alps, as well as the Highlands of Scotland, and the Indian and Nepal Himalaya since then. Guiding from Chamonix for the Summer seasons 1990 to 1993, he has based himself in Saas Grund and the Swiss Alps from 1994 to the present.

2010Mont_Blanc_Summit.doc Prepared: 01/10/09

Day 1 Days 2-5 Day 6 Days 7-8 Day 9 Meet in Saas Grund Ascents of Weissmies and the Alphubel, alpine skills Transfer to Chamonix, walk to Tete Rousse hut Ascend Mont Blanc, return to Saas Grund Trip ends

AWARD WINNERS Mountain Kingdoms holds the Association of Independent Tour Operators' (AITO) highest 5 star rating for Responsible Tourism. Additionally, in 2007 Mountain Kingdoms won AITO’s Award for Achievement in Responsible Tourism. OUR COMMITMENT Mountain Kingdoms is committed to responsible tourism, through policies and practices which permeate all aspects of its business. Our policies aim to ensure that we and our clients act in a way which is socially, environmentally and culturally sound. We feel strongly that all Mountain Kingdoms' holidays should benefit the local communities, protect the environment by minimising pollution, and respect local traditions, religion and heritage. We tread lightly - low volume, low impact trekking/touring is the best way of preserving the beautiful and fragile places we visit. We work with organisations such as Tourism Concern, International Porter Protection Group (IPPG), Tourism Industry Carbon Offset Service (TICOS), AITO and various Himalayan charities, to help achieve our responsible tourism goals. In 2007 & 2008 we set up and funded a project to provide English lessons for our sherpas in Nepal. PORTER PROTECTION At Mountain Kingdoms we feel that the issue of porter protection is immensely important. We support the work and the aims of the IPPG (International Porter Protection Group) and as such we have a set of guidelines to adhere to and which we apply worldwide, eg in Nepal all porters on Mountain Kingdom’s Local Lodge and camping treks are provided with insurance, wind/waterproof clothing, shoes, and goggles when crossing a high snow-covered pass. CARBON OFF-SETTING All Mountain Kingdoms trips are carbon off-set.

When we receive your booking we send you a full trip dossier which contains a suggested gear and clothing list and lots of useful information. If you do have queries at this initial stage do ring us and we will be pleased to offer advice.

2010Mont_Blanc_Summit.doc Prepared: 01/10/09


DAY 1 – SATURDAY: MEET IN SAAS GRUND - INTRODUCTORY MEETING We recommend you take a flight to Geneva, then train from Geneva to Visp, and by bus to Saas Grund Post bus station. You will be met at Saas Grund Post bus station by your guide, Kevin O’Neale, who will take you to your hotel. At around 7.30 pm there will be an introductory meeting, at which you will be given technical gear (crampons, ice axe, helmet and harness). Checks on gear and insurance will be made to ensure everybody is prepared for the trip. A weather report and discussion of the itinerary will be made for the first part of the trip. Overnight at the Schonblick Hotel. DAY 2 – SUNDAY: ‘ECOLE DU GLACE’ REFRESHER SKILLS TRAINING AT HOHSAAS At approximately 9.30 am you will be met by your guide and either walk or drive to the Hohsaas lift station where you will go up to Hohsaas (3200 metres). After leaving excess kit at the lift station, you walk onto the Trift glacier for 'Ecole du Glace' refreshing skills in the use of crampons, ice axe, movement on snow and ice whilst roped, assessing for crevasse areas, movement across crevasse zones, and simple crevasse rescue. All the while you will be gaining useful acclimatisation at 3400 metres. Descent to Hohsaas hut (approx 3000m) for the night. DAY 3 – MONDAY: ASCENT OF WEISSMIES (4,017m) Starting at 5 am you will make an ascent of Weissmies (4017 metres), by the NW Flanc. You will be travelling on all snow terrain through impressive seracs and amazing glacier scenery. By 3pm you will have descended to the valley. Overnight at the Schonblick Hotel (1539m). DAY 4 – TUESDAY: LANGFLUE/BRITANNIA HUT At 9.30 am you will be met by your guide, who will transfer you to either the Langflue hut or the Britannia hut. Depending on weather, snow conditions and preference you will make an ascent of Alphubel (4206m) from Langflue hut, or Strahlhorn (4190m) from the Britannia hut (3030m). This second ascent to above 4000 metres gives great benefit in acclimatising to altitude, and can make the difference on Mont Blanc between enjoying the ascent and suffering because of a lack of acclimatisation. Overnight hut. DAY 5 – WEDNESDAY: ASCENT OF ALPHUBEL (4,206m) / STRAHLHORN (4,190m) Today you will make an ascent of either Alphubel (4206 metres) from Langflue hut or Strahlhorn (4190 metres) from Britannia hut, after you will be transferred to the Schonblick Hotel. The guides will meet with you in the Hotel in the evening to make a final check of gear - torches, gloves, water bottles, etc before the trip to Chamonix and Mont Blanc. There will also be an update on the latest weather forecasts, conditions on Mont Blanc, and alternatives if Mont Blanc is out of condition. Overnight at the Schonblick Hotel. DAY 6 – THURSDAY: CHAMONIX (2HRS) TO TETE ROUSSE HUT(2HRS) You meet your guide at 09:00. From the Hotel you will drive to Chamonix (2hrs), stopping on the way at the meteorology office for the latest update on the weather. In Chamonix you can do any last minute shopping before going down the valley to Les Houches. From there you will take the short lift to Bellevue, where you will have lunch at a café. From Bellevue you will take a tram to Nid d’Aigle, then walk up to the Tete Rousse Hut (2hrs). Overnight at the Tete Rousse Hut (3167m). DAY 7 – FRIDAY: MONT BLANC SUMMIT (4,810m/15,781ft) Starting from the hut at approximately 1 am, you will aim to reach the summit of Mont Blanc by 8-9 am. Descending Mont Blanc you should get back to the Tete Rousse Hut by mid-day. If the weather conditions dictate that a summit attempt is not viable, then you will still have the possibility of trying for it the following day. Overnight at the Tete Rousse Hut.
2010Mont_Blanc_Summit.doc Prepared: 01/10/09

DAY 8 – SATURDAY: DRIVE BACK TO SAAS GRUND Today offers you another chance at the summit if weather conditions were not conducive to an attempt yesterday, and are clear today. If Mont Blanc was climbed yesterday, after a late breakfast at the hut, you descend to the valley via tramway and Bellevue lift. You should arrive back in the valley by midday and will then drive back to Saas Fee. Overnight at the Schonblick Hotel. DAY 9 – SUNDAY: END OF OUR SERVICES Breakfast at the Schonblick Hotel, and dispersal.

Experience and skills required to climb Mont Blanc
What it is? • • Western Europe’s highest mountain - 4,810metres We attempt Mount Blanc summit via the Gouter Route. This is an Alpine PD climb, which means it has a little technical difficulty.

What it entails: • • • • • • • • 7 hours approx. climbing from Tete Rousse hut to the summit, and back by the same route Roped-up Glacier traverse Use of ice axe and crampons Good degree of physical fitness and stamina Confidence on rough terrain and walking on snow slopes Walking on exposed snow crest towards the summit 2:1 client/guide ratio on Mont Blanc 4:1 client/guide ratio on acclimatisation/training days

Experience/skills required: • • • • Use of ice axe and crampons – anyone considering Mont Blanc must have had some winter hill-walking experience with the use of ice axe and crampons. If no experience of using ice axe and crampons, attendance on Introductory Winter Mountaineering Course or Alpine Skills Course (where crevasse rescue is covered) would be beneficial, although crevasse rescue skills will be covered on the trip. Strenuous trekking or hill-walking experience Good head for heights

Technical gear needed: • Mountaineering boots (plastics are not necessary) – phone Niki in the office for advice Mountaineering boots can be hired (at a cost) from an outdoor shop in Saas Grund, although there will be no chance to wear them in. • Gaiters • Climbing Harness (can be provided without cost) • Ice axe (can be provided without cost) • Crampons (can be provided without cost) • Helmet (can be provided without cost) • Prussic loops and karabiners will be provided, without cost, by our agent

2010Mont_Blanc_Summit.doc Prepared: 01/10/09


HOTELS: SAAS GRUND: Schonblick Hotel – This friendly run hotel is very welcoming and has good views of the surrounding mountains. It is comfortable, relaxed and has a distinct “family run” feel. Many of the rooms have balconies which are great for relaxing, sunning yourself, and especially, drying out any kit. The accommodation in mountain huts is dormitory style. Bed and breakfast in Saas Grund. Breakfast and evening meals in huts. Lunches at your own expense. Cable car passes/tramway journeys will be at your own expense. Please note international flights are not included in the price. We strongly advise that you check with us first that your holiday is 'up and running' before you book your international flights. If we have to cancel the trip you have booked, we cannot be held liable for losses incurred relating to any flight booking you have made.



GETTING TO SAAS GRUND: We recommend taking the train from Geneva airport to Visp, and then taking the bus from Visp to Saas Grund. This is a quick, efficient and environmentally friendly way of reaching Saas Grund. To plan your journey on Swiss public transport, please consult the following website:
IMPORTANT NOTE: As mentioned in the Introduction, with trips such as this there will doubtless be changes to the itinerary above, in terms of anything from the choice of acclimatisation peak, choice of mountain huts, and whether or not a summit attempt on Mont Blanc is feasible, depending on the prevailing weather conditions. Your alpine guide will have the final decision about which routes are taken, based on his or her extensive knowledge of the mountains and good judgement. An easy-going nature will be appreciated!

THE PRICE INCLUDES: A qualified UIAGM mountain guide Transfer from Saas Grund Post bus stop to the hotel Transfer Saas Grund-Chamonix-Saas Grund Hotel accommodation in Saas Grund at Schonblick on bed and breakfast basis

Accommodation in mountain huts on days specified in the itinerary with breakfast and evening meals included Hire of equipment – see ‘Technical gear needed’

THE PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE: International flights Transport to/from Saas Grund on arrival/departure days Travel insurance Single supplement for hotel in Saas Grund (see box on the right) Lift passes/tramway Lunches Evening meals, except in mountain huts where they are included

OPTIONAL SINGLE ROOM SUPPLEMENT AT HOTEL SCHONBLICK ONLY (not available in huts): £60 INSURANCE: From: £42 (please contact the office for details)

2010Mont_Blanc_Summit.doc Prepared: 01/10/09

The pre-Mont Blanc climbs were more demanding and more useful than on a previous (unsuccessful) trip with another company. Liked the provision of technical kit eg crampons. Mr I, Warwickshire

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Unlike most of our competitors, our programme includes 7 days of guiding, and two 4000m acclimatisation peaks to help increase your summit chances on Mont Blanc. Unlike most of our competitors, our itinerary includes two nights at the Tete Rousse Hut which will give you two summit attempts. Our itinerary provides excellent value for money. Your guide - Kevin O’Neale is a highly experienced UIAGM guide – a Brit, who has based himself in Saas Grund in the summer since 1994 so has extensive knowledge of the area. We include an alpine skills day including use of ice axe and crampons, roped glacier travel, and crevasse rescue. You will be based in Saas Grund where the acclimatisation peaks are stunning, with excellent views of the Mont Blanc range. Saas Grund is quieter than Chamonix so the huts and acclimatisation peaks will be less crowded. Hire of crampons, ice axes, harnesses and other technical kit is free of charge, and given to you in Saas Grund so it doesn’t add to your flight weight limit. We impose a maximum group size of 12. No hidden costs. We state clearly in our trip notes what is included and excluded in the trip price. We routinely research and make a reconnaissance of our new trips ourselves. If you have any questions about this trip, please contact Niki Morgan at the MK office.

Mountain Kingdoms Ltd, Old Crown House, 18 Market Street, Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire, GL12 7AE Tel: 01453 844400 Fax: 01453 844422 Email:
2010Mont_Blanc_Summit.doc Prepared: 01/10/09

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