The Alpine Club, the world’s first mountaineering club, was founded in 1857.  For over 150 years, members have been at the leading edge of worldwide mountaineering development and exploration. 

With membership, experienced and aspiring alpinists benefit from a varied meets programme, regional lectures with notable guest speakers, reduced rates at many alpine huts, opportunity to apply for grants to support expeditions, significant discounts at many UK retailers, extensive networking contacts, access to the AC Library and maps - and more! 

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News

Alpine ClubCast 24 - 30th March at 19:30

Conrad Anker: Queen Maud Land, Antarctica


In 2017, The North Face dispatched a team of the world’s finest explorers to one of the world’s last great climbing frontiers: the Queen Maud Land territory. Here they spent a month climbing and establishing new routes on the remote frozen towers of the Wolf’s Jaw massif.  Jimmy Chin and Conrad Anker tackled a new route on the 3,600-foot
Ulvetanna; Savannah Cummins and Anna Pfaff summitted the towering Holtanna; and Alex Honnold and Cedar Wright, using techniques honed in Yosemite, blitzed up 13 different spires spread across the ice field.  In total the team climbed 15 peaks in just 17 days. 

Join us for an evening with Conrad Anker, one of the most prolific explorers and mountaineers alive today.

As usual the talk will finish with a Q&A.

Alpine ClubCast 25 - 6th April at 19:30

Nepal: The Wild West


The West of Nepal is one of the least explored areas in the Himalaya with hosts of unclimbed mountains over 6000 metres on the Tibetan frontier. Tonight we trace the origins in the 1960s of the trekking boom in Nepal, which came full circle for Henry Edmundson when he returned, after his early explorations, to climb Dhaulagiri 7 in 2007.  Then we head North West, with Becky Coles and Paul Ramsden, to a beautiful area which had received few visitors even by the mid 2010s. Both achieved first ascents, and Paul’s stunning line on Gave Ding with Mick Fowler was awarded a Piolet d’Or.
 

As usual, the three talks will finish with a Q&A.

Report: 3rd March 2021

This update is specifically for hikers and snowshoers.

The recent warm, Spring weather has given a false impression of the state of the footpaths.

Do not be fooled.  As consequence of the warm days and frequent use,  the paths can be very icy, especially the signposted snowshoeing trails. Good, mountain boots, walking poles and crampons are essential, as the possibilities for snowshoeing diminish.

It is also necessary to repeat  that the vast majority of the paths at altitude : Lacs Blanc/Chéserys/Cornu, Bel Lachat/Le Brévent, l’Aiguillette des Houches, Buet, Grands Balcons North and South, Tête des Prapators, the Jonction, the Pyramides, Nid d’Aigle etc are to be avoided in winter, as they are too risky and with areas of steepness where a slip would be very serious.

Here is a selection of outings which are possible for the moment, not necessarily with snowshoes, but with good footwear, poles and crampons:

-   Lac Vert/Les Ayères/Barmus starting from Servoz or Plaine Joux.

-   Chalets de Chailloux , there and back, from Plan de la Cry.

-   Chalet du Cerro or Chalet du Glacier des Bossons (but not continuing above).

-   Floria, there and back and the Petit Balcon Sud between Chamonix and Argentière.

-   Montroc to Vallorcine via Trélechamps and the Col des Montets.

-   Flégère, there and back, (but not continuing above), starting from the Golf club at Les Praz,.

-   The footpaths next to the ski de fond, (langlauf) tracks from Chamonix  to Les Bois, with a possibility to continue to Les Tines and return by the Paradis des Praz, and along the river Arve back to Chamonix.

-  Cols Posettes and Balme from Le Tour, (be aware of the ski tourers).

-  Chalets de Loriaz , there and back, along the forest road but not the summer path which branches off to the right shortly above Les Granges.

 

As a reminder, the path to the Chapeau snack bar is closed by council order due to a landslip at the start of the season, which has not yet been repaired.

The conditions are constantly changing, but the above information is likely to remain valid for several weeks.

If you have any concerns, do not hesitate to contact a mountain professional, who will help you discover the best areas in the current conditions.

  

Himalayan Club Annual Seminar

AC Members have been invited to join the 2021 Himalyan Club Seminar. The event will feature talks from Natalie Berry, Mick Fowler, Bernadette McDonald, Mark Richey, Kristjan Erik, Jamling Tenzing, Peter Van Geit, Rupin Dang and Mingma Tenzing. 
 
The event runs from this Friday (05/03) to Sunday (07/03) with talks scheduled from 6:00PM to 8:30PM. We are assuming that this will be Mumbai time, which is 5 and a half hours ahead of the UK.
 
The talks will go out live and can be viewed on either the Himalayan Club Facebook Page or YouTube Channel.
 

Report 26th February 2021

Some information for the weekend!

The good weather this last week or so has encouraged activity both in the high and mid mountain.


Ski Touring :

This has proved popular with most of the routes being done.  The snow quality varies a lot from one sector to another. Depending on  the time of day and the aspect, some slopes have spring snow while on others the snow is very hard.  It is increasingly important to respect the timing, especially for slopes with early exposure to the sun.

There are no problems for the signposted “upski” routes at Prarion, Le Tour and Lognan, other than the crowds.  

Loriaz, Col de la Terrasse, Bosse des Charmoz, Col de Bérard, Salenton and Mont Buet are well frequented. Do not forget ski crampons (harscheisen) and take care, especially in the Berard valley where there is a lot of verglas and also numerous snowshoers.  The Col de l’Encrenaz from Col des Montets and the Crochues-Bérard from the Chamonix golf club are being done, but allow plenty of  time,

In the high mountain, the routes in the Argentière sector are also being done but some sections high up can be awkward due to either lack of or inconsistent snow. This is true for the Glacier du Milieu, where there is a lack of snow in the  narrows making it more like an ice gully.  On NNE of the Courtes and the Col de Cristaux the snow is unstable above 3400m. 

There is little information concerning the Mer de Glace sector . The Col du Tacul was done a few days ago, with a 60m abseil was needed to get into the couloir. No tracks were visible on Brèche Puiseux on 25/02.  The Mallet glacier appears to be very chaotic, (as seen from a helicopter).  Some bold, (and very fit!) people have gone up the Valley Blanche from Chamonix. 

There is no information for the Mont Blanc by the Grands Mulets, other than the traverse of the Jonction is OK,  (reconnaissance made by the warden up to the hut).

A lot of people are starting to ask about the Mettrier ridge and the N face of the Dômes de Miage, but nobody has reported back on these. The entrance to the Plan Glacier hut appears to have been cleared several days ago.  

There has been regular activity in the Contamines-Montjoie sector, which has mixed snow quality.  Several parties have been up to the Conscrits hut and on the Dômes de Miage traverse.  It is necessary to carry the skis part way to the Tré la Tête hut and, apparently, the descent by the Armancette is not too bad.  

Crampons are recommended for the roman road, (icy.) 

Be aware some of the winter rooms in the CAF huts are overcrowded


Alpinism/Ice Routes :

Due to the lifts being closed, there has not been as much activity reported as usual.  Several parties have been on the E face of the Tacul. e.g., Gabarrou-Albinoni, Super Couloir, Lafaille and Jager.

In the Argentière sector, parties have climbed the Lagarde direct (the bergschrund is awkward, then good conditions until the exit on inconsistent snow,) Petit Viking (the gully section OK but difficult to place ice screws and the upper section too dry,)  Y Couloir and the Couturier (climbed on 25/02 in good conditions, easy to protect ice , exit direct and descend by abseiling down the Whymper.

In the Plan de l’Aiguille sector, there has been  no information back for the Fil à Plomb or the Mallory-Porter. Parties have turned around on the  Rébuffat-Terray (first 5 pitches OK but then too dry) and Beyond Good & Evil (not good, too dry.)


Snowshoeing/ Hiking :

The snow is slowly going from the valley floor and most of the routes described in the « Raquette à neige au Pays du Mont-Blanc » brochure, (free from tourist offices etc,) can be done without snowshoes, if you have good footwear and poles. Some sections are very icy, crampons could prove useful if not wearing snowshoes.

The only mountain lake accessible to hikers or snowshoers is the Lake Vert above Servoz, (giving the possibility to continue towards the Mollays and Barmus chalets.)  

The summer paths to the other lakes at altitude are not suitable for winter hiking.

The Loriaz hut, ( open for takeaways during the holiday period, ) is a good option for those seeking a bit of altitude and excellent views.   Keep to the forest track, there and back, as the summer path that branches of right just above the Granges is not to be recommended.

Flégère, there and back, from the Chamonix golf club is also feasible, but it is not recommended to go further, as the terrain is not very suitable for snowshoeing. 

The Chailloux chalets are also accessible, starting from Bettey and the Plan de la Cry.

Snowshoers can go up the pistes at Le Tour and Prarion but be aware that there will be a lot of ski tourers about.

If you have doubts about a route, do not hesitate to contact Chamoniarde for advice.  Many of the well-known summer paths are not practical in winter.

 

With this atypical winter, it has been difficult to collect information on conditions The Office de Haute Montagne/Chamoniarde is counting on you to report your experiences, either directly or through the online route book.  (notre cahier de course en ligne.) 

Egil Frederiksen

We were saddened to recently learn of the death of Egil Frederiksen, a Norwegian member, last August.

Members can log in to submit their tributes or send them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so that they can be posted on the website. 

Alpine Club Kyrgyzstan Expedition 2021


31st July – 28th Aug 2021 (TBC)

Mountains cover 95% of the territory of Kyrgyzstan and 40% of those are above 3,000 meters high. Many regions remain unexplored and the country offers huge potential for exploratory mountaineering on peaks over 4000m at a reasonable cost. An ideal first major expedition for confident independent climbers with Alpine experience, this exploratory expedition will aim to make first ascents of several virgin 4000m peaks. The size of the expedition is not fixed but should not exceed eight participants..

Report 8th February 2021

MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS 08/02/2021

Some brief info at the start of the week.

For the last few weeks, the weather has been very unstable with some warm periods and rain up to and above 2000m.  There was even sand on Saturday!

Conditions for ski touring have rapidly deteriorated, giving variable conditions.  The snow below 2200m is very humid, (for the moment.)  There have been numerous sluffs and avalanches in the couloirs and small valleys, leaving hard snow in some place and snow rubble in others.  Hopefully, the snow predicted for this week will improve the situation.

It is still possible to put the skis on at the valley floor, from 800/1000 m.  However, it will take a bit of skill and imagination to find a great outing.

The same is true for ice climbing.  Once again, the period when conditions were OK was very short. Climbing is possible on the Argentière glacier, (Mur des Dents de la Mer sector).

No news from the high mountains (gullies etc).

The snow makes it possible to snowshoe on the marked routes. Depending on the avalanche risk at the time, the more experienced can go to the Chailloux chalets, the Col de Balme or the Loriaz chalets.

 

Review: 2020 UIAA General Assembly

The 2020 UIAA General Assembly (GA) was held on 23-24 October. Owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, the annual meeting took place online for the first time in the federation’s 88-year history. A record number of delegates – 130 representatives from 68 countries – joined on Zoom and a further 250 member federation representatives and partners followed an accompanying livestream on YouTube.

Alpine Club Launches ‘Women Rise Up’ to Mark 150th Anniversary of Groundbreaking Year in Female Mountaineering

      

The Alpine Club has opened applications for attendees to join a trip to Zermatt, Switzerland to travel and climb in the footsteps of Lucy Walker and Meta Brevoort who, in 1871, made the first female ascents of a number of iconic European peaks, including the Matterhorn, Weisshorn and the Dent Blanche.

Dave Fisher

News has just reached us of the death of Dave Fisher, a member in Canada, who died on 1 July 2020 and had been a member for nearly 70 years

Members can log in to submit their tributes or send them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so that they can be posted on the website. 

Report 15th Jan 2021

MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS 15/01/2021

This was a week of mixed weather in the valley and the northern alps generally. The weather fronts from the NE have brought a lot of snow, with wind at altitude and a temporary re-warming, (giving some rain in the mid mountain.)

This has resulted in 50cm of new snow at the valley floor and 80cm to 1m at 2000m.

As one can imagine, the snowpack is particularly unstable. There is a high avalanche risk (4) which will remain for the weekend.   The avalanches could be impressive.

There is likely to be many people about, (especially tomorrow, Saturday, with a return of sunshine to the mountains.)  Nonetheless, caution is needed over the next days.

There will be numerous  PIDA* (avalanches set off by the pisteurs) on Saturday (lire l'info spéciale). Please, therefore, avoid these sectors at the times indicated.

Ski tourers should not go wherever.  Possible areas are at Les Houches, (Prarion), or where the slopes are less exposed ( < 30º) e.g.  Aiguillette des Posettes, there and back, chalets de Loriaz by the forest track, chalets de Chailloux, Tour des Ayères.

On foot it is best to keep to the signposted routes and to take snowshoes : e.g.  Granges loop (Vallorcine), Tines loop  (Chamonix), Bossons Glacier loop (Chamonix), Cerfs loop (Les Houches), Lac Vert loop (Servoz) and Barmus loop (Servoz). 

In general, the ice conditions are good but be aware of the avalanche danger, (on the approach and from the slopes above).  On Saturday morning the Argentiere true left bank is to be avoided due to PIDA. (setting off avalanches).

*PIDA (plan d'intervention de déclenchements des avalanches)

 

Alpine ClubCast 21 - 19th January at 19:30

Bagpipes and Blagging

Worldwide First Ascents with Uisdean and Tom

Uisdean Hawthorn and Tom Livingstone talk about their climbing trips around the world, including a busy few years where they spent 6 out of 12 months climbing and living together. The pair have been to Alaska, Canada, the Alps, Scotland, Pakistan and India... amongst others. They’ve climbed a new route in Alaska and most recently, Uisdean put up a new route on Mt. Robson in the Canadian Rockies.

As usual the talks will conclude with a Q&A

.

Report 06th Jan 2021

MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS 06/01/2021

The team at Chamoniarde wishes everyone a happy and successful year in the mountains.

The lifts remain closed, so the main activities are ski touring, snow shoeing and ice climbing.   

There is enough snow cover  to start skiing up from the valley floor, though be aware of stones on the descent, and also higher up in areas affected by the wind.

In the Chamonix valley the downhill ski areas, (Les Houches, Grands Montets, Balme) are popular with ski tourers.  Less popular are the Nants (Brévent) and Lanchers (Flégère) pistes.

Ski touring is also happening at Pormenaz from Plaine Joux, the Aiguillette des Houches, in the  Berard valley ("combat skiing" low down, average snow quality at Buet, better at the Col de Bérard) and in the Loriaz sector, (Tête de la Chevrette, Frête des Charmoz, Col de la Terrasse).

Glacier skiing has taken place to the Col du Tour Noir and over the Col du Passon (lack of snow low down on the Tour side, it is better to traverse to the Montagne de Péclerey path.)

Snow conditions are generally better at Val Montjoie, the Aravis and Chablais.

In Switzerland conditions are good at Bel Oiseau / Fenestral,  Catogne and the Col de la Forclaz (Croix des Prelayes, Pointe Ronde, Mont Arpille).

It is slowly getting colder and the conditions are improving for ice climbing. It is just possible to get something done at the Cremerie.  The artificial  site at Berard, (paid for and maintained by the Compagnie des Guides) is closed for the moment, (under formation.)  Conditions are good at the Argentière glacier, both at the rive droite (mur des Jumelles, count on 3/4 h for the approach with skis) and the rive gauche (mur des Dents de la Mer, EMHM : 1h30/2h ski approach).  Likewise, for the Cascade Loriaz area (here also best approached on ski).

Lastly, there are plenty possibilities on the signposted tracks, either with good footwear and poles or with snowshoes. The more adventurous can go to the chalets de Chailloux or Loriaz or in the Bérard valley. As a reminder, the buvette du Chapeau sector is closed because of a large landslip (lire l'arrêté).

 

Report 18th Dec 2020

MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS 18/12/2020

Some information at the start of the holidays.

The snow is well established in the valley.  Recently it rained up to 2000m which has degraded the snow quality (now often crusty or like concrete in places lower down).  There is just enough to ski tour at La Balme or Les Houches on what would normally be  pisted areas. However, as they are not pisted for the moment, one needs to be a good skier. The cover is thin and stones are never far away.  Conditions are better in neighbouring areas (Aravis, Chablais) where there is slightly more snow and the underlying terrain is grassier.

As a result of the snow conditions, hiking in the valley floor is limited.  Information on feasible signposted tracks is here.  Experienced hikers  with good footwear and poles could try the “petit balcons”, La Floria, Le Chapeau or the Mottets snack bar (from Les Bois).  

There is still not enough snow in the valley floor or on the dedicated trails, for snow shoeing.  More experienced snowshoers could consider going to the chalets at Chailoux or Loriaz.

Very little information is available for the high mountain, especially concerning conditions for mixed climbing. (If the weather allows, it is a matter of go out and see!)  Even though the glaciers are reasonably well filled in, it is just the start of the season.  The return by the true left bank of the Argentière glacier is very awkward.  

Do not hesitate to contact the Office de Haute Montagne to discuss the feasibility of your projects and to help others by logging your experiences in the cahier de course. (route book.)

 

Up Close with Henry Day

Interview by Melanie Windridge

Colonel Henry Day, past Vice President of the Club and past Chairman of the MEF, discusses his early climbing and the first British ascent of Annapurna fifty years ago.

How did you get into climbing?  

It was one particular year at school (I can’t remember which) after we finished our summer exams.  We didn’t used to be allowed to go home after the exams, so they dreamt up entertainment for us.  By the time the list reached me the only vacancies that were left were on a trip going up in the old school bus to North Wales.  And it was a revelation!  We stayed at Helyg.  That first evening we walked out to Little Tryfan.  The masters put top ropes up.  We bounded up and down and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The next day we did one of the pinnacle ribs up on Tryfan and I remember jumping across from the top of Adam to the top of Eve.  The whole thing was absolutely marvellous!  

One thing led to another and onto the Alps.  I was hooked!  One thing we saw [on an early trip] was the Miroir d’Argentine, and that’s still on my list of routes I have to do.  It’s been suggested I do this on the year of my 80th birthday, which is coming up.

Crispin Simpson

We are saddened to learn of the death of Crispin Simpson, a member for over 50 years.

Members can log in to submit their tributes or send them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so that they can be posted on the website. 

Doug Scott

Doug Scott

It’s with great regret that we announce the death on 7th December, of our former president Doug Scott, the first Englishman to climb Everest and a major figure in the history of post-war mountaineering. He influenced the British climbing scene in a myriad of ways, through his writing and his long service with a number of organisations, and still found time to run the charity he established, Community Action Nepal. Current president Victor Saunders said: ‘Doug was easily the most charismatic person with whom I shared an expedition. He was an absolute giant. I’ll miss him as a person and feel privileged to follow in his footsteps at the Alpine Club.’

Guardian Obituary

Reinhold Messner sent this message of support to Doug Scott as Doug embarked on his staircase challenge, his final act of fund-raising for Community Action Nepal as he faced his final illness. Shared with thanks to John Porter.

Appointment of Librarian (full time)

Salary: £28,000 - £32,000 per annum

The Alpine Club Library is seeking to appoint a Librarian from mid-January 2021, or as soon afterwards as possible. This post is central to the life of the Alpine Club, with the Librarian working closely with Club members, staff and visiting researchers interested in mountaineering, mountain culture and the mountain environment.

Inge Cochin

News has recently reached us of the death, in July, of Inge Cochin.

Members can log in to submit their tributes or send them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so that they can be posted on the website.