Alpine enthusiasts from around the world gathered in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc from 13-15th June to hone their technical skills and learn from Europe’s top mountain guides at the third Arc’teryx Alpine Academy.
With over 400 participants from over 20 countries in attendance, the three-day summit provides a unique opportunity for mountaineers of all levels to develop their technique and safety knowledge mentored by guides from the association of British Mountain Guides and Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix, as well as international Arc’teryx athletes.
Taking place at the Aiguille du Midi, the event has become internationally recognized amongst the alpine community. 900 clinic places were available on a range of courses from crevasse rescue to ice climbing to navigation, with technical mountaineering level 1 & 2 and introduction to ice climbing being the most popular.
Participants are split into small groups enabling them not only to progress but also develop new friendships. “What I find amazing about these workshops is that the learning is made through sharing. Participants form friendships and really help each other out, it goes much further than just training, there is a real desire to learn and as guides we have time to explain, interact and demonstrate in a real-life environment,” said Isabelle Santoire, mountain guide & Arc’teryx athlete.
Other Arc’teryx athletes in attendance included Jacob Slot, Luka Lindič, Stian Hagen, Ines Papert, Tanja Schmitt, Matthias Scherer, Mina Leslie Wujastyk and Nina Caprez. Fresh from sending ‘Hélix au pays des Merveilles’, her first 8c+ / 5.14c and the route’s first female redpoint, Nina’s talk on ‘How to Achieve your climbing goals’ was one of the most popular talks on Friday night’s seminar night, which also featured workshops on camera logistics, rope-handling and emergency first-aid.
The Compagnie des Guides provided 40 guides for the weekend supported by the association of British Mountain Guides: “We’ve had 20 BMG guides working at this year’s event, some of whom are resident in Chamonix and others who’ve flown in specially for it. It’s really satisfying for us to be able to pass on our experience of mountains in general and the Chamonix area in particular. It’s great to see students finishing their day with a head full of knowledge, keen to go out and do more, equipped with the tools to assess the risks of alpinism and deal with them appropriately!” commented Andy Perkins, BMG.
The base station at the Aiguille du Midi was buzzing with events organized by Arc’teryx and the partner sponsors. Highlights included the new Alpine Challenge Education Parcour, the Friday Night Seminar night, Instagram competition and the Gore-Tex sewing station, which offered both repairs and demos. Petzl were on hand with sharpening tools and demo-kit was available from all sponsors.
The Alpine Movie Night was a huge success with over 600 people cramming into the Midi base station to watch two-hours of the latest shorts and feature films, some of which were presented by the films’ stars or directors. Highlight films were the premier of `Velocity`, an artistic ice-climbing film with Tanja Schmitt and Matthias Scherer by Franz Walter, the premier of the Luka Lindič portrait `Determination` by Jacob Slot, and of course David Lamas `Cerro Torre`, presented by Red Bull.
The Arc’teryx Alpine Academy will be back in 2015.