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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    6

    Headed to Chamonix

    I'm headed to Chamonix for the first time. I'll be staying downtown and riding on 2/12 - 2/15 (and potentially 2/16) before heading to Whistler to meet up with the rest of the squad.

    Anyone in town and want to get some laps in on or off piste? I'd also appreciate any recommendations for a guide to hire. I'll be solo (girlfriend doesn't have BC experience), but I'll have my splitboard and gear with me. Any Chamonix beta is much appreciated. Cheap food? Beer? Ex-pats?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    33
    Did you already book your hotel? Some of them have a half/full board option that includes meals.

    Stayed at Alpina back in 2012 and it was the jam.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    MD/DC
    Posts
    560
    A good Anglo crowd usually hangs out at the bar/pub Elevation just across the street from the train station. Great burgers and it's pretty easy to meet potential partners there. Vet them carefully though. Too many ways to die in Cham to head out with a yahoo. There's also a big book in L'Office de Haute Montane (High Mountain Guide's Office) where people will write down name/info/objectives and look for partners. The partner book is more focused on ice/alpine climbing, but it's worth checking out if you're hard up for a partner.

    I was on a major dirtbag budget last time I was there (spent $550 including food/lodging/everything but my lift tickets) for a 20 day trip in 2011, so food seemed pretty expensive to me back then. Lived off mostly supermarket-bought cheese, ground/beef turkey breast, and baguettes. Lost about 12 pounds (against my wishes) in those 3 weeks so recommend a larger budget. Or dumpster dive. I did.

    If you're planning on doing much off-piste, better have a 30M rope, belay device, harness, 1-2 ice screws, prussiks, pulley, etc. And know how to use it competently. I took a crevasse fall, I fell in to my armpits and caught myself with my legs just swinging freely beneath me. Luckily I was able to climb out on my own power.

    For some reason, sun block was very hard to find (and incredibly expensive) and wound up having to spend $20+ on a small tube. Bring your own with you.

    I stayed at a hostel called Ski Station. It's right at the base of the Brevent lift. It was the best value I could find - only 13euro/night. Veronique is a lovely proprietor, and you can store gear for free in the giant 350 year old attic. If you're into architecture/construction at all, there is some very intricate mortise and tenon beam work up there. The walk down the hill to the telepherique in alpine ski boots could be annoying. Kinda steep on slippery old pavement. If you're in soft-soled snowboard boots or a Vibram-soled AT boot then it won't be an issue.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    6
    Thanks for the great info! We are staying in an apartment right in the middle of downtown, so hoping everything will be walkable / rideable from the front door. In terms of food, we'll have a kitchen, so hoping to do some meals that way (at least breakfast) and sandwiches on the mountain. Probably head to a pub or restaurant for dinner most nights. Good call on the sun block. I usually keep a tube in my bag, but I'll grab some extra. Luckily 3 months worth of beard covers most of my face.

    I've read that the Compagnie des Guides might be able to set me up with a guided group heading out, so I'll probably start there on day 1. I'm definitely very skeptical of tagging on to a group that I don't know. I'd be hard pressed to do it in Colorado let alone somewhere that I have zero first hand knowledge of snow conditions and mountain aspects.

    I was planning on having crampons, axe, whippet, harness with me, but figured I'd be relying on guides to provide ropes, screws, etc. if needed. Again, without firsthand knowledge, I'm not sure that i want to give myself the opportunity to screw up an on sight anchor.

    Most places that I've reached out to are obviously encouraging me to hire a private guide at $350 per day, saying that they don't trips that can be joined up with. We'll see if that holds true when I get there...

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