Some feedback from our 2015 training courses:
After experiencing our week with Mont Blanc Guides in Chamonix, I can now attest to how incredible the MB preparation course in North Wales really is! If you live in the UK (or anywhere in Europe for that matter), I would highly suggest making the journey to spend the weekend learning with Graham and his team. You will cover so much, and leave the weekend feeling both better prepared and more confident in your chances for a successful week on Mont Blanc. Personally, I found both the classroom and practice sessions very useful. Indoors, Graham walked through the required kit in detail, bringing his own pack to demonstrate what will be needed. As a result, Max and I were the best equipped and most organised team on the mountain. He also discussed the two possible Mont Blanc routes and told us exactly what to expect through pictures and his own experiences. From this, we good base understanding of the possible ascent options, which was critically important for the ever changing weather and subsequent plans in our particular week! Graham also taught us how not to ‘faff’ (i.e. – digging around in your bag for things unnecessarily): while it doesn’t sound like a big deal, I can assure you that this skill alone is reason enough to sign up for the weekend!
Out on the mountain, we spent our days walking similar rocky ridges to the Grand Couloir, the summit of Grand Paradiso and the Cosmiques Arete. We learned basic scrambling and climbing techniques including the use of equipment (slings, cams, etc), and spent the second day completely roped together (in Gale Force winds mind you!). What I experienced in Wales proved incredibly useful on Mont Blanc, and felt completely comfortable climbing and trekking tied to my guide, sometimes in windy and cold weather. I was also very thankful for the practice time on exposed ridges of lose rock under the watchful eye of guides – it really prepared me for the real thing, and allowed me the chance to get used to the height and terrain. Finally, throughout and at the end of the course, Graham was sure to provide each participant specific feedback, on fitness, gear, climbing technique, etc. You left the weekend with a solid game plan to improve your weaker areas and ensure you give yourself the best chance of success on Mont Blanc. I genuinely feel my weekend with Graham was the best money we spent on our Mont Blanc preparation, and I would have not enjoyed my week with John and the team as much as I did without it!
Robyn Agoston, May 2015.
Just a quick note to mention how brilliant the weekend in Snowdonia was. Having actually done what I didn’t think I was capable of has certainly settled my nerves in terms of what to expect when I get there, the kit and gear I should bring with me as for a novice it was great for Graham to show us what’s in his bag and also to show us and talk through what to expect on both climbs. Both Graham and Theo were brilliant and just filled us with their confidence as we went along. Having done it I’m not sure how I could conceive going to Mont Blanc without having gone through this huge learning experience. I have some video and photos which I will try send to Graham but it’s certainly something every newbie should seriously consider.
Declan O’Shea, May 2015
North Wales Training Course Details here