Chamonix is considered the Mecca of winter mountaineering. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned climber, the beautiful mountain peaks of this region will provide a challenging and exhilarating experience. Arm yourself with the best winter sports travel insurance ahead of time and then push yourself to the edge and beyond without a worry – here is a brief guide to both inform you, and tempt you, to come and discover all that Chamonix has to offer.
Mountaineering can be done all year round but it is especially challenging, and uniquely thrilling, when tackled in the winter months. Most winter sports travel insurance policies will cover you in the event that anything goes wrong, so you can whole-heartedly jump in without hesitation.
For those who are brand new to mountaineering, joining one of the available instruction classes will be an eye-opening experience. Courses will introduce the primary practical skills of alpinism and gives the opportunity to test those skills. Instruction usually begins with the Four Cornerstones of Mountaineering:
Good movement skills on all terrain, from walking to steep climbing and from rock to ice (sound cramponing is a key element of this).
Always roping together members of the team on a snow covered glacier.
Sticking to guide book time for the route – the need to be efficient and how to achieve this.
An awareness of objective hazards and how to mitigate them.
From Beginners to Advanced
Most courses provide all the necessary gear for your particular climb. Beginner classes practice the techniques you will need to climb both skilfully and safely; most will start with climbing bolted routes while also practicing lead climbing, abseiling and belaying.
The more advanced courses offered in Chamonix do require a minimum level of skill and experience. Harder climbs and longer routes will build on those skills challenging you to climb more efficiently over a mixed alpine terrain. These courses will test your knowledge as well as your physical and mental endurance.
Many would argue that mountaineering in snowy and icy conditions is more of a science than a sport. The skill level required to participate safely should not be underestimated, but being subject to the whims of Mother Nature and tackling mixed terrains is amazingly exciting. It provides an adrenaline rush that cannot be found among other winter sports. Travel insurance is simply a must – not only will it offer peace of mind but will also protect against unexpected losses due to inclement weather conditions.
Common sense measures, and paying attention to the vast amount of knowledge and experience that can be found in the local area, will keep you safe. Follow the rules of the Avalanche Risk assessment tools and plan accordingly. Although winter sports travel insurance seems like a no-brainer it is also important to remember that risks associated with mountaineering, such as avalanches, can happen in the summer months.
So, be sure to cover your bases and gain the skills you need to climb safely. The spectacular views and stunning terrain found only in Chamonix will make every bit of your hard work worth it.
Patrick Chong is the Managing Director of InsureMore, an award-winning team of specialists in global single trip, annual, family, business and winter sports travel insurance. Besides offering great deals on travel insurance, Patrick also collects and shares the best free travel competitions to help his clients get the most out of their holidays.