Winter Mountaineering Skills Course, Pyrenees

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Adventure Hosted by Rolfe

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Pyrenees, France
7 days
Max 8 per group
Hotel
Challenging

Adventure overview

Unlock Alpine Adventure: open up the world of alpinism with our comprehensive intro to mountaineering course in the French Pyrenees. Learn all you need for solo mountain adventures, from a world-class Everest Guide with over 30 years of experience.

Feel the excitement of clipping on your first crampon, learning ice axe techniques, and summiting a 3,000+ meter peak in winter.

Our Winter Mountaineering Skills Course is your gateway to adventure, offering hands-on learning in the best classroom going!

Day 1: Arrive in France, Transfer to Luchon

  • Before 12 pm - Arrive at Toulouse Airport before 12 pm
  • 12 pm - Transfer from Toulouse Airport to Luchon (included)
  • Rental equipment pick up (we'll send full kit list after booking)
  • Rock-climbing afternoon (all levels and optional)
  • Evening briefing
  • Night in guest house
  • Dinner included

Day 2: Transfer to Mountains

  • Snowshoe to mountain hut
  • Destination varies depending on conditions (Hospice de France, Valle de Benasque, Vignemale)
  • Learn more snowshoeing techniques and avalanche safety
  • Night in mountain hut
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner included

Day 3: Technical Mountain Skills

  • Technical mountain skills
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner included

Day 4 & 5: Mountain Ascent

  • Technical mountain skills
  • Ascent of a local peak (Le Mulleres, Vignemale, or Pico de Aneto)
  • Personalised feedback
  • Night in mountain hut/snow-hole/snow camping (your choice)
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner included

Day 6: Return to Luchon

  • Snowshoe out of the mountains
  • De-brief and review of learnings
  • Celebration meal in Luchon (not included)
  • Night in guest house
  • Breakfast and Lunch included

Day 7: Fly Home

  • Free time in Luchon
  • Transfer to Toulouse Airport - arrive at airport 3 pm ish
  • Breakfast included

 

 

DAY 1: Arrive Luchon

Settle into your guest house in beautiful Luchon. You’ll have time to pick up any rental equipment before kicking the trip off with an afternoon rock-climbing session (beginners welcome), which will allow you to familiarise yourself with the equipment and the basic climbing and abseiling techniques. We can lend you snowshoes, harnesses, crampons, ice axes and helmets if you don’t have your own. We'll send you a full kit list upon booking.

In the evening there’ll be a full briefing on the days ahead.

Night in the guest house.

(Dinner included)

DAY 2: Transfer to Mountains

The mountains are calling! Today we’ll snowshoe up to our mountain hut for the night. We’ll either head up to the Hospice de France, Valle de Benasque or the Vignemale depending on weather conditions, but it’s generally hard to catch these places on a bad day, so expect some excellent views as you learn the art of snowshoeing and avalanche safety.

Night in a mountain hut.

(Breakfast, lunch, dinner included)

DAY 3: Technical mountain skills

As you wake up in the middle of the mountains with your steaming cup of coffee, you can look forward to a day of crampon and ice axe training across various terrain. We’ll be building ice anchors and belays, focussing on crevasse rescue, the construction of snow holes and the importance of weather forecasting.

Night in mountain hut, snow-hole or snow camping (your choice)

(Breakfast, lunch, dinner included)

DAY 4 and 5: Mountain ascent in winter conditions

Today is the first day that we start to consolidate the skills learnt over the previous few days. We’ll take on a small peak, often Le Mulleres (3,010m), the Vignemale (3,298m) or Pico de Aneto (3,404m), all under instructor supervision. Time to put that ice axe knowledge to the test!

Night in mountain hut, snow hole or snow camping (your choice).

(Breakfast, lunch, dinner included)

DAY 6: Return to Luchon

We’ll snowshoe out of the mountains and have a de-brief on how the program has been and what we’ve learnt, before celebrating with an evening meal back in Luchon.

Night in a guest house.

(Breakfast and lunch included)

DAY 7: Fly home

Your flight time will probably dictate your plans, but if it’s later in the day, Luchon is a beautiful town to explore - get that last croissant in before you go home!

Transfer to Toulouse Airport. Arrive at airport 3pm ish so book your flights for 17.30 earliest, ideally after 18.00

(Breakfast included)

 

  • 2 nights of accommodation based on 2 sharing in a Luchon hotel or guesthouse with breakfast
  • Mountain hut for days on the mountain
  • Images below representative but we may need to use other accommodation based on conditions

 

Refugio de La Renclusa, Aneto

WHAT'S INCLUDED

  • Transfers - Airport transfers to and from Toulouse and to and from mountains
  • Guide - World-class mountaineer as your guide for the whole week
  • Gear - Some technical equipment. We can lend you snowshoes, harnesses, crampons, ice-axes and helmets if you don’t have your own (hire also available). Full kit list sent upon booking.
  • Food - while on the mountain and 1 town meal on arrival
  • Accommodation - 2 nights based on 2 sharing in a Luchon (hotel or guesthouse) with breakfast and mountain accommodation
  • Discount - 15% off at Cotswold Outdoor
  • Payment Plan - split the payments at no extra cost (select at checkout)

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

  • Flights
  • Additional kit - you'll be sent full kit list after booking
  • Insurance - required
  • Additional Accommodation - in town due to bad weather
  • Lunch - in town and final dinner
  • Alcohol
  • Early Exit Costs - any additional costs associated with leaving the expedition early

 

  • Flights not included
  • 12 pm pick-up - Toulouse Airport on start day
    • Ensure flights match these timings; otherwise, you may need to arrange your own transport.
    • Luchon is a 1h 40m drive from the airport
  • 3 pm drop-off - Toulouse Airport on last day

 

Food and Water

  • Drinking water from refuge or streams; bring purification.
  • High-quality, hearty meals in refuges.
  • Some snacks provided; bring your favorites for energy.

Accommodation

  • Guesthouse in Luchon and dorm-style refuges on the mountain with individual bunks.
  • Hot showers available, possibly at a small extra cost.

Health and Safety

  • Qualified leaders for emergencies; first aid, hospital transport arranged if needed.
  • Minimal risk of altitude sickness.
  • Must be 18 years or older to participate.

Kit

  • Kit list provided upon booking.
  • Wear waterproof boots that fit C1 crampons and a layered, warm jacket.

Course Details

  • Snowshoeing, safety in the winter environment, self-arrest techniques, assessing avalanche hazards, basic navigation, ice-axe and crampon work on varying terrain and conditions, building snow and ice anchors and belays, and moving together over snow and ice.
  • Construction of snow holes and weather forecasting, basic ice climbing techniques, ascent of a mountain in winter conditions
  • A greater understanding of expedition travel will be gained as further skills such as expedition nutrition, clothing and winter camp-craft will be demonstrated during the journey phase of the course.
  • Challenging trek with significant altitude gain - no technical climbing just a long walk

Weather

  • Variable mountain weather; prepare for all conditions.

Travel

  • Flights not included; midday airport transfers in Toulouse.
  • Bagneres de Luchon is 1h 40m away from the airport.

Insurance

  • Must have travel insurance covering medical evacuation and altitude.
  • EHIC card recommended.

Training

  • Be trekking-fit; focus on cardio and 6+ hr weekend hikes with a 10kg pack.

Electronics

  • No WiFi in refuges, limited mobile reception, and limited charging spots.

 

 

  • Free cancellation or date change up to 65 days before departure
  • Deposits are non-refundable unless the trip is cancelled by us, then you'll get a full refund

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Free date changes up to 65 days before departure, no questions asked

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