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*Lean Skin

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Next Meet

"Wild Camping"

1st - 3rd March 2013

Next Social

AGM. Portland D136.

Thursday 14th March
8.00 pm

If you don't want this for a time, please comment it-Fabian !Next Ice Climb

Manchester Indoor Ice Wall
Friday 1st December at 8:30am

If you don't want this for a time, please comment it-Fabian !Next Climb

MPS Goes to the Alps 2008

Meet Report

Add yourself to the paps mailing list if you want to get in touch with everyone.

For anyone thinking of going to the Alps in the summer, this page is for discussing ideas, please note though:
The MPS Alps trips are not official MPS trips, but a group of people who know each other through MPS meeting up to do stuff together in the Alps. As such you will need to take responsibility for booking your own travel, flights, and alpine insurance (a must). If you want to do graded alpine routes then having some Scottish winter experience is a must.

And also a reminder of the BMC participation statement:
The BMC recognises that climbing and mountaineering are activities with a danger of personal injury or death. Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions.

If you require club gear you need to let me know. You need to pair up with one or two people and ask for a rope. It is not a club trip so I won't be bringing any spares, YOU have to decide what you need!!
As a bit of advice, I'd suggest a single rope for most of you and half ropes if you plan on doing something harder.

*Shotgun the new single yellow - Vince

Who might be going?

WhoFly/drive outReturnBooked?Comments
FrancoSat 21 June
BHX to GVA arr 1330
Sat 5 July
GVA to BHX dep 0920
YesLove Easyjet, so easy. Meet y'all at Argentiere.
GrahameSat 21 June
BHX to GVA arr 1330
Sun 6 July
GVA to BHX dep 1030ish
SteveSat 21st June
Birm to GVA arr 1330
Friday 11th July
GVA to Birm dep 1025
Ed (NIPS)Sun 22 June
Gatwick to Geneva arr 10.45
Sun 6 July
Geneva to Gatwick dep 14.55
MartinSat 21st June
Birm to GVA arr 1330
Friday 11th July
GVA to Birm dep 1025
Gerard's Car    
Gerard23rd June17th JulyYesLate night crossing from dover to Dunkirk. Mega Mix tapes will be developed!
Vince23rd June17th JulyYESReserve for conville course... Lame
Will23rd June17th JulyYesConville confirmed 25th -28th
Lou's Car    
Lou23rd June9th JulyYes 
Bill23rd June9th JulyYesConfirmed Conville 25-27 June
Cat23rd June9th JulyYesConville 25th-27th June
Hamish's Car    
Hamish22nd June16th JulyYesCar bought and ferry booked, feeling poor...
Chris22nd June16th JulyYescheap as chips
Someone else please...yesnono...else we're very poor
JohnEMA to GVA 26th june arr 16.2516th JulyYesArolla course June 29th
Other/not booked    
Jim (NIPS)5th July18th July  
AdamEnd June-Start JulyUntil dissertation needs doingno 
Various Explorers22nd June2 weeks later More people to socialise with in the campsite, maybe we could set up a Nottingham base camp?


Just a thought but having only one driver all the way to the alps will be one hell of an effort. Especially With foreign roads and opposite driving requiring extra concentration...thats why all the cars have two drivers!

  • Don't forget your first aid kit
  • Don't forget your warning triangle
  • Don't forget your headlight converters
  • I'm sure there are other things...


  • Don't forget to arrange a 'Green Card' with you insurer else you'll only have the French legal min cover G

Mike, are you able to stay out until approx 16th july? when are you heading back gerard? ----hamish
I've got to be back for my graduation on the 18th of July, so will head back early on the 17th for a ferry that evening. Gerard.
Should be able to stay until 16th, though if anyone else wants the car space on the return certainly give it to them, as I can't guarantee that date. - Mike
ok, i'd be keen to get 3 people in the car both ways to keep costs down. John B, have you got your transport sorted yet? ---hamish
I havent sorted my transport yet, Im completly relaxed about dates (having a "real" job, amazing, so much money) so Yes a lift back would be great. John B
sounds good -hamish

Where might we go?

I kind of fancy going to Chamonix to start with then move on somewhere if there's time because:
- I can climb the Forbes Arete,
- Some people might be doing a conville there,
- Everything is fairly accessible and I know where everything is so can get going quickly,
Other than that I definitely don't want to go to Zermatt and somewhere where I don't have to spend much money would be good.


  • I haven't done any mountain routes in Chamonix yet so quite fancy going there - at least to start with (steve)

  • Chamonix just feels like a bit of a cliche to me, but then I'm old and jaded. I haven't done many routes there so probably should. But Zermatt was awesome and we should definitely return some year to do the Monta Rosa traverse. - what is wrong with it? Franco

  • Can you ski the Monta Rosa traverse - one for winter?
  • Zermatt was expensive and hard to get places, otherwise fine.
  • We'll see if anyone gets on a Conville in Chamonix.


How about either Arolla (the location of the first ever Alps Trip in 2003) or Ecrins (see Alps Trip link at bottom of page though its not very informative)

They are slightly more away from the madding crowds (Franco!?) Ecrins also tends to have better weather as its southern alps


I might have changed my mind - I might be interested in Arolla now, I'll do some research. Chris

I'm still keen on Cham, it's not too far to drive, which would be good since i don't have that long. Plus would be good if Bill/anyone else gets on the conville course. Lou

Driving from Cham to Arrolla only takes around an hour, i did when i was out there. So we can still do both, I would love to go back there as the biggest peak L'avec, I think it's called we had to turn back due to bad snow. So would love a chance to get to the top of it. Gerard.

Sounds good then! Lou


  • If you're hoping to do graded routes in the Alps (Facile and above) there's a lot to learn, for example how to get yourself out of a crevasse and how to move quickly. These courses are a really good way to learn this in a short space of time and much better than relying on other people to teach you.
    • Most people already know about the Jonathan Conville Trust Courses. It's 68 for a 3-day course based at Argentiere in the Chamonix valley. Lots of people in the club have done this before so ask one of us about it.
    • There's also the Benjamin Brabner Award (scroll down to it) which is a 5 day course in Arolla for 100. Hamish will tell you all about it.
    • Petzl sponsor a free course in glacier travel. No idea what it's like/what is covers but might be worth looking into.
  • It might also be a good idea to read up/ask others about rope-work.
  • And come to Skye! This is an ideal place to start learning some Alpine techniques.


  • Alpine Introduction - By Rich Cross BMG. Quite a good article on ukclimbing. I think the summary line is particularly good:
    "Good practice in the Alps is to have a sense of urgency and to be alert. From the loose rock underfoot, to the change of weather on the horizon and the deteriorating conditions of the snow - a good Alpinist will be evaluating everything that affects the ascent, anticipate problems and avoid any time wasting."
  • A good gear article by Andy Kirkpatrick. Unless your name's Joe (maybe Gerard or Bill) just scroll to the bottom and read the last sentence.
  • A Climb Magazine article: First Time High, by Andy K again. I only read point number 3, but it all sounds good.
  • The Petzl Catalogue. Has some really good 'Technical Tips' notes, including setting up hauling systems for crevasse rescue. Good because they're in diagram form so you have to really think about what they're doing to understand them.


Hopefully it should be obvious that you need insurance...

Get BMC Alpine and Ski insurance. There are others available, some of which might be cheaper, but they probably don't give the same level of cover and Buying from the BMC is an easy way of supporting them.


If you don't know what gear you might need, ask here. But basically: It's cold at night, sunny and hot during the day, on alpine routes you'll be roped up most of the time, on glaciers you need to have everything with you to get yourself/companion out, you might want to bivy, you'll probably be camping in the valley..........

Don't forget that you need to sort out everything yourself, including the gear you'll need. This might involve booking it with Hamish, begging other people to lend it you or buying it. Some things you might not have thought of:

  • Really good sunglasses (cheapest to buy when you get there),
  • A sun hat,
  • Sunscreen (its very sunny!),
  • Spare batteries for your torch (its not sunny all the time!). And if you've only got a Petzl Tikka get something better because unless its a clear night you'll find they aren't much good for route-finding.
  • Something to cook your dinner on.
  • For glacier travel: a rope, a few slings and krabs, prussiks and at the very least one ice screw (the club doesn't have any and they are expensive),
  • If you can think of anything else put it here.
  • Whats the score with bivvying? How cold is cold at night(valley or glaciers)? Might have to invest in a new bag. VV
    • I don't really have loads of experience of bivvying out but I'd say you'd be fine with a 3 season bag. In the valley it probably got down to around 5 degrees and up high it doesn't get a long way below freezing. You should be climbing by dawn anyway and thats the coldest part of the night! Chris
    • Bivvy is awesome, I've done it on the glacier below Castor & Pollux at 3000m in a 3 season sleeping bag at it was fine.... providing it doesn't rain! Ed
    • I agree, get yourself one of these: and you'll be fine - exactly the same as the rab survival zone but cheaper! (rab survival zone is a proven lightweight bivvy bag). hamish
    • I'm looking at getting a bag before the alps as the one I have at the moment packs down to the size of a small child and isn't particularly warm... thinking maybe one of the alpkit ones, possibly the pipedream 400/600. Any thoughts?? Bill
    • The alpkit ones sound good but I don't think they're a great deal cheaper than Rab if you get 20% off at Cotswold. Chris
    • I think I'm talking rubbish. Chris
    • Chris! You never talk rubbish. ahem. After much research it was the alpkit one, bargain! Bill
  • I'm looking at buying a new tent - I was thinking of getting the Mountain Equipment Dragonfly 2. Anyone got any experience with it or any suggestions of other tents worth looking at? Steve
    • I've got the original Dragonfly. It's good: light, stands up to a lot of wind, really quick to put up, good venting, packs down small etc but not as hard wearing as say a quasar, but that's because it is so light (I think the newer models might be a bit heavier). I had a few problems with the inner tent attachment points snapping off but I think they've updated this on the newer model. Oh and after getting very wet sleeping under the Ben I can definitely say its too small for two people to go winter climbing with! Don't get a Terra Nova Voyager because it sounds like they're messed up the design recently. Hilleberg tents are best if you can afford them, actually I think the ME tents are designed by someone from Hilleberg. Chris, as usual I'm the first to look at this page
    • Lol, has your canvas one not recovered from its broken pole? I just got a dragonfly 2 for my birthday and it is great! True I have only used it indoors but its really easy and well made... Terra Nova Quasar? indestructible but a bit heavier.
    • Don't worry I've replaced the poles on my good old canvas one -however i think an upgrade is necessary - especially since I'm limited to 20kg hold baggage for the alps and i don't think it'll pass as hand luggage!? I've heard bad things about the new voyager as well and the quasars a bit heavy i think, looking into Hilleberg at the mo. Cheers
  • If anyone wants to buy a rucksack then I can do you a good deal! I've got an orange (good in photos) Lowe Alpine Alpine Attack which hasn't had much use. Pretty much all the same features as a Pod Black Ice but in a lighter fabric. Think its roughly 50 litres but very expandable/compressible. Chris
    • Unlikely that anyone is taking any notice of this but... I also want to sell an as-new, Paramo Aspira smock in large and my Paramo Velez smock which is a medium.
    • Oh and two pairs of Grivel 2F crampons! One crampomatic and one newmatic.
      • To anyone who wants to borrow crampons for the alps please bear in mind that if you lose one/two you will have to replace the set which could be costly, so it might be an idea to buy a second hand pair like these. You also get the satisfaction of owning your own poons, don't get me nagging you for them back, always have a set available and save wear and tear on club gear meaning cheaper trips for everyone! ---hamish
      • I agree! Chris
    • Rucksack now sold.
    • Anyone else want to donate to the alps fund? Also have a pair of la Sportiva Trangos and la Sportiva Makalu's to sell. Both size 44.
    • And a very nice bike.
    • More classified: Wil of unumc has a harness to sell. It's a DMM Super Couloir, it's like mine, I.e. nappy style, no padding but weighs virtually nothing. He wants 25 for it.

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Page last modified on July 07, 2008, at 04:42 PM