If you’ve got a spirit for adventure and are always looking for the next exhilarating challenge, then you should seriously consider the extreme sport of ice climbing. Combining much of the disciplines of traditional rock climbing, ice climbing ramps it up a gear so that you are scaling ice faces and glaciers instead of rocks. |
But this is about more than just adrenaline - practiced in stunning Alpine landscapes like those around the resort town of Morzine, this is a way to really connect with the harsh beautiful winter landscape (and get your thrills while you’re doing it!).
Although derived from rock climbing, the activity on ice does differ substantially enough to make training essential, even if you are already an experience climber. One of the most important differences is the equipment; ice tools come in the form of various axes which are used to swing into the ice and then used as a grip for pushing yourself up with your legs, and crampons are used to give your feet grip.
Learning in Morzine
Morzine, with its beginners and advanced ice climbing courses run by the Morzine-Avoriaz Mountain Guides, is an ideal place to learn or improve at this challenging activity. With coaching offered to make sure that you are secure in the basic techniques and use of the tools including ice axes, crampons and ice-screws, the instructors here will make sure all safety precautions are taken when you’re out scaling an ice face.
• Beginners course The Mountain Guides will take a small group (around six people) out on the mountainside for a day or a half-day course. Your first experience of ice climbing will take place on local icefalls which, although extremely slippery, are not too steep. This will enable the guides to instruct you in the basic techniques of the sport. Equipment provided includes: rope, helmet, ice axe, crampons and harness.
• Advanced course A course designed for experienced rock climbers and those with prior experience of climbing on ice. This is a much more challenging course in which the guides will take you to steep icefalls of between 120 and 250 meters and show you the best, safest ways to scale these sheer, slippery surfaces. Mountain Guides will also show those who are interested the skills of mixed climbing (a combination of ice and rock) and dry tooling (using ice tools to climb dry rock).
The benefit of learning this challenging skill in Morzine is that it is easily accessible from the UK, so a weekend break or longer stay are both equally achievable.
How to Get to Morzine
Only 50 miles from Geneva airport, Morzine is easily accessible to travellers wishing to fly. Geneva is served by a good range of airlines, from budget companies like easyJet and Monarch to national carriers. The transfer time from Geneva to Morzine is one hour and 45 minutes.
The most convenient way to transfer from Geneva to Morzine is by booking a private car or group vehicle online before you set off with a company like Shuttle Direct.
It is also possible to take the fast TGV train from Paris to Lyon and arrange a Shuttle Direct transfer to pick you up from the station and drive you to Morzine, with a journey of around two and a half hours.
Lukas Johannes is a driver for Shuttle Direct, the number one provider of shared and private airport transfers all over Europe and northern Africa. If you’re looking for an affordable transfer from Geneva to Morzine, Lukas and his colleagues can make sure that you and your luggage get to and from the airport swiftly and safely.
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