If you are planning to climb the Matterhorn or The Eiger in the coming summer, it’s a great idea to participate in one of our training and warm up weekends in Snowdonia. This is a great way to hone the necessary skills, increase fitness and enjoy some great climbing. By making an early investment in your fitness and skill-base you can enhance your forthcoming trip and ultimately increase your summit success.
Our weekends offer quality instruction from IFMGA guides and the opportunity to meet like-minded people in a splendid environment. We can offer valuable feedback on your level of fitness and advice on your personal training schedule. In addition, we can review your equipment and make sure it is just right before your trip starts.
A successful ascent of the Matterhorn and The Eiger demands a lot from the mountaineer. Fitness and determination are paramount but also technical competence and sure-footedness are hugely important. On the summit day, you will need to be fit and confident, climbing fluidly on the easier ground and then able to step-it-up for the short, steep pitches and fixed ropes. Mental preparation is also important with the ability to concentrate on a long 8-11 hour day. On easier alpine peaks, simply having good fitness is enough, and the technical work can be learned ‘on the go’.
However, the Matterhorn/Eiger requires a more structured and determined approach. The best type of training is to mimic the Matterhorn itself by climbing up and down as many grade 2 and 3 scrambles as possible to get comfortable with the terrain. The priority is mountain fitness and efficient movement skills wearing the same boots as you will use on the Matterhorn, and carrying a rucksack. There are plentiful opportunities to do these types of days in Snowdonia. Examples of circuits could include:
On the first morning at 8.30am, we review the weather forecast, assemble suitable equipment and plan our route using maps and guide books. Typically our first hill day will be between 6-8 hours and will involve a mixture of scrambling and rock climbing. We focus on movement and sure-footedness using ‘big boots’. The morning is spent climbing a grade 2 scramble and the afternoon is spent practising on rock climbs graded D(difficult) and VD (very difficult).
A day with plenty of mileage, we step up the level to a grade 3 and get used to climbing for a full day, practising movement both up and down. Possible route choice includes:
The objective is to simulate the terrain and type of climbing experience on the Matterhorn. This can be chalked up as valuable endurance training and also gives you feedback on your fitness level, where you are at and what needs to be done.
Once back at valley level, we have a well-earned cafe stop and a final debrief over tea and cake before a late afternoon departure on Sunday.
The price includes:
The price does not include:
*local transfers may be possible if your guide will have enough space in a car
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This list contains our recommended clothing and equipment for our UK based Alpine Training Weekends. It is ideal if you can have 2-3 thin layers that you are able to put on/take off as the conditions change. Thin layers also allow better movement as opposed to one layer of bulky clothing. If you are uncertain or need further information, please contact us.
For these trips you need a B2 rated boot.
B2 boots are the best option for most alpine mountaineering trips. These are semi-rigid boots available in either leather or plastic/composite options. Leather boots tend to be more comfortable and breathable whereas plastic/composite boots are warmer and more waterproof. They are compatible with C1 and C2 crampons.
Key features of a good alpine mountaineering boot include vibram soles, a reversed leather upper (which protect the best side of the leather from scuffing and abrasion and improves durability and water resistance) and ankle flex and a higher cut which give control, mobility and support.
Boots can be hired but to avoid discomfort it is strongly recommended that you have your own pair which need to be worn-in.
These items are essential for all alpine mountaineering courses. All items can be hired from Mountain Tracks or from sports shops in the Alps. These items cost about £35-£45 each for 6-8 days hire payable in local currency in resort.
Despite holding the unfortunate title of the rainiest part of the UK, Snowdonia still manages to provide an impressive slate of fine weather in the summer months to match the exceptional variety of climbing locations present in the region. Igneous rock formations that are famous for producing some of the world’s finest slate, through the industrial revolution and still to this day, spoil climbers for choice, providing everything from scrambling and bouldering opportunities to multi-pitch traditional climbing routes.
At the heart of North Wales lies Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa in Welsh), the tallest mountain in England and Wales, and neighbouring Llanberis, a local hub for the region and meeting point for our Matterhorn and Eiger Training Weekends. These two-day courses aim to make use of the entire region, climbing the wide array of routes available on Snowdon’s northeast face as well as exploring the whole of Snowdonia.
Resort height: 1,085m (Snowdon Summit)
Highest lift: 1,065m (Snowdon Mountain Railway)
Nearest Transfer Options: The North Wales Coast railway line links Bangor and Llandudno to Crewe and Chester, from where almost all points of the UK can be reached. A limited bus service - Gwynfor Coaches 85, 86, Dilwyn’s Coaches 85C - links Bangor and Llanberis, although local taxis are available.
Llanberis lies on the A4086, running northwest-southeast from the A487 at Caernafon to the A5 at Capel Curig – from these points, the rest of North- and Mid-Wales can be accessed, and thence the rest of the UK.
It is a condition of booking that you are insured for your chosen activity and the cover must include medical expenses, personal accident, personal liability, third party risks and rescue (including helicopter rescue). You are strongly advised also to take out cover against cancellation and curtailment.
For more details and to purchase a policy online visit http://www.skiclubinsurance.co.uk/
If you need assistance arranging your personal insurance please let us know.
All our mountaineering trips are run by our team of IFMGA Mountain Guides. The team is led by Olly Allen, Matt Dickinson and Nick Parks.
I have no previous mountaineering experience but I am keen to learn the basics of using crampons and an ice axe and rope work. I would enjoy ascending rocky scrambles and easy angled snow and ice. I am a regular hill walker summer and winter and used to long days out, I am happy to walk for 6-8hrs per day carrying all my gear in my rucksack. For Via Ferrata trips a head for heights and some upper body strength is useful.
I have undertaken some previous rocky scrambling and short rock climbs, ice or easy alpine climbing. I am comfortable moving on rocky and snowy ridges and slopes of up to 40 degrees. I enjoy the challenge of more remote technical terrain. I would like to learn more about alpine rope work. I can improve my crampon / ice axe technique and could scramble on rock with greater efficiency.
I have previous experience climbing alpine PD+ or harder. I am undeterred by scrambling and have done some pitched climbing on rock or ice. I have a firm grasp of the rope techniques necessary for pitched climbing and crossing glaciers. I am confident when using crampons and ice axe. I relish the thought of climbing steep rock and ice or traversing an exposed ridge covered in snow and ice. I can abseil, know how to use a prussic knot and make myself safe on basic belay stances.
IFMGA / UIAGM / IVBV
The IFMGA / UIAGM / IVBV symbol is the logo of the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association.
Nick, Olly and Matt are all fully-qualified UIAGM Mountain Guides and members of the British Mountain Guides Association.
The International Ski Instructors Association is the world body for professional ski instructors.
The ISIA was formed in 1971 and there are currently 39 member nations representing the very best in ski instruction around the world.