More than halfway through the AMGA Advanced Alpine Guide’s Course on the early morning telepherique I learn that “it’s not nice to make the local guides get in before you!”… There is etiquette and manners and then their is the mountain guide hierarchy here in the chamonix valley. As an aspiring IFMG/UIAGM Aspirant Guide I’m very near to the bottom of the totem pole here in Cham. Despite the busy routes and the reputed eccentricities of french guides, most local guides we have met have been very accommodating and excited to see American guides training in their backyard.

Here are a few nice things to looks at from the past two weeks-

Possibly the biggest route that I did in preparation for the course was the Aiguille des Paigne accessed via the Papillon Arete. These photos of me were taken by a great guide and very helpful mentor Matt Farmer. This route resulted in a long walk down to the valley after missing the last ride down… Worth the effort for sure!

Looks Fake! courtest farmerFoto

Looks Fake! photo:farmerFoto

Farmer and I after the Lepiney Fissure photo: farmerFoto

Farmer and I after the Lepiney Fissure photo: farmerFoto

following the Lepiney fissure. photo:farmer

following the Lepiney fissure. photo:farmer

Here fellow course participant Kip Davis and I do a little mixed climbing before the course began. PS- It’s not really an expectation that you get on routes like this, but we thought it made for good training! This route called the Perroux Gully located next to the famous Chere Couloir had the same position and more technical climbing without the ice-fall hazard from climbers above.

[vimeo 4965484]

Unfortunately, the weather has been quite marginal for most of the course, so there are very few photos to show for it. The ongoing deluge is rumored to be on it’s way out this afternoon, so check back for more action from the course. Yesterday we took advantage of better weather in the valley and climbed a long rock climb (~10 pitches) with none easier than 6a!

Mike