Classic Climbs in the Alps France and Switzerland

IMG Classic Climbs in the Alps Itinerary

Day Itinerary
Day 0Plan to arrive in Europe at least the day prior to the start of the program. An extra day to work through jet lag is best. Best arrival point is Geneva, Switzerland. If you arrive in Geneva in the morning, there are hourly trains to Zermatt from the airport. IMG groups stay at the Hotel Alpenblick, address: Oberdorfstrasse 106, CH — 3920 Zermatt. Spend the day relaxing about town and sight seeing.
Day 1Program begins at the Hotel Alpenblick in Zermatt, Switzerland. Meet at 8:00 a.m. for breakfast. Have all your gear laid out on your beds for a quick gear check by the guides. The guides will meet the group at 8:30am at the hotel for introductions and gear inspection. We will then take the Gornergrat train up to the Riffelhorn (2928 m). This peak offers some nice rock climbing practice with spectacular views of the Briethorn, Pollux, the Monte Rosa and the Matterhorn. After a good day of rock climbing training, we will return to town and overnight at the Alpenblick.
Day 2Early a.m. departure from the hotel and gondola ride up to the Klein Matterhorn. We'll attempt one of the classic 4,000 meter peaks, the Breithorn. An overnight in the Val d'Ayas Hut (3425m) will help us to work on our acclimatization and allow easy access for the following day's climb.
Day 3Another day, and another enjoyable ascent of a 4,000 meter peak, Pollux. A snow approach, with rock climbing near the top. Descend to Zermatt, and overnight at the Alpenblick.
Day 4After breakfast, the group will travel by train to Interlaken then on to Lauterbrunnen and switch to a cog rail train for the last leg up to the high alpine village of Wengen, Switzerland (near Grindelwald). We'll walk up the hill to our hotel, and enjoy a drink out on the terrace before dinner. Overnight at hotel.
Day 5A cog rail train ride on the world's highest railroad from Wengen to Kleine Scheidegg, then upwards through the world famous tunnel bored through the Eiger to the Jungfraujoch, at 3571 m. We'll do an optional climb of the Monch (4107 m) which involves some rock scrambling and an airy snow ridge traverse to the summit. Then we will descend to the Monchjochhutte (3627 m), our lodging for the night. The hut is located right on the flank of the Monch.
Day 6Pre dawn wakeup to climb the Jungfrau (4158 m). The ascent involves a long, easy glacier approach and a spectacular summit of mixed snow and rock scrambling. This is a full and strenuous 8-hour day. We will return to the Jungfraujoch and ride the train down to Wengen for a celebration dinner and night at the hotel.
Day 7Train ride to Chamonix, France, with the afternoon available to stroll the streets of Chamonix. Overnight in hotel.
Day 8We will take a train up to the Nid Aigle above Les Houches, and then hike up to the Tete Rousse hut on Mont Blanc.
Day 9Summit day. This will be a long, arduous day, with a pre-dawn wake up. We will start with a rocky scramble up to the Gouter Hut, and then continue the long snow climb to the summit of Mont Blanc (4810 m). We will then descend back down to the Tete Rousse or Gouter Hut to recuperate for the night.
Day 10Descend to Chamonix. Free day and an evening to celebrate.
Day 11Optional storm day for Mont Blanc. We can spend an additional night on the mountain if weather requires a storm day. If we have good success on Mont Blanc, today can be used as a sightseeing/shopping day or the guides will lead a fun day climb out of the Valley for those who have energy left. There are countless options.
Day 12a.m. departure via train to Geneva, end of trip.

Non-climbing Spouse Additions to the Group Itinerary
Day 0Same as group itinerary.
Day 1Recommendations include riding the Gornergrat cog rail train up with the climbing team, then continuing on to the last stop, Gornergrat, a must-see view point and destination. If you are feeling adventurous, you can hike all the way back down to Zermatt in a couple of hours. Be sure to stop at one of the beer gardens along the way for refreshments. Otherwise, hike back down to the Rifflehorn, watch the group train and climb, then wait to descend back down to town with them.
Day 2You will definitely want to ride with the group up to the Kleine Matterhorn. After seeing the team off you can ride the elevator up to the observation deck on the top of the Kleine Matterhorn. You'll be able to watch the group head out on the glacier and then enjoy the magnificent view. In addition to the close-by Matterhorn, on a clear day you can see Mont Blanc and a 360 degree panorama of the Alps. Then time to ride back down to Zermatt, have lunch at an outdoor restaurant and do some sightseeing in town.
Day 3Another good excursion while the group is away is a moderate hike up valley to the small village of Zmutt. There are many good views of the Matterhorn on this walk in a pleasant pastoral setting. The early afternoon is a good time to take care of any shopping or gift buying you intend to do. Then have a drink out on the Hotel terrace and greet the group as they arrive back at the Hotel.
Day 4Same as group itinerary.
Day 5If you are adventurous, you might consider accompanying the group to the Jungfraujoch and spending the night with them at the Monchjoch hut. This is a very easy half-hour hike over a snow trail groomed by a machine for hikers to follow. An overnight at this hut will give you an idea of what the huts are like throughout the Alps. Usually very neat and clean with a large common dining area. The sleeping rooms adjoining a common hallway are very Spartan with two tiers of padded bunks. Each space is provided two blankets and a pillow. At almost 12,000 feet, you will not sleep very well, nor will anyone else. If you are interested in this option, please inform the office so that we make appropriate hut or hotel bookings for you.
Day 6You will want to descend to Wengen the next morning for a shower and a nice day in town. It is very reasonable to hike down alone to the train station and ride back down to Wengen after breakfast. The hotel will be expecting you. You can spend the rest of the day touring town, or there are several options involving travel by cograil train, gondola or foot:
  1. Ride the cog rail train down to the valley floor, then the funicular back up the other side of the valley to the village of Murren and its breathtaking views.
  2. Ride the cog rail train up to Grindelwald then hike back down to Wengen for a casual lunch in one of the outdoor cafes.
  3. Hop the Mannlichen cable car for a ride up to the Lauberhorn and some hiking and photography.

Whatever you choose, be sure to return to the hotel by mid-afternoon to meet the team out on the terrace as they arrive back from their triumphs. We'll all dine out on the town this night.
Day 7Same as group itinerary.
Day 8Definitely ride the gondola up to the top of the Aiguille du Midi. Spend a bit of time at the top, then consider taking the cable car over into Italy for lunch (be sure to bring your passport). A hiking option involves riding the gondola part way back down to Chamonix, and getting off at the Plan de L'Aiguille. Hike down 5 minutes from the station to a rustic hut, the Refuge du Plan and enjoy an outdoor lunch as you gaze down at Chamonix far below. You may either opt to ride back down to town, or hike the easy Grand Balcon Nord trail high above the valley floor to the Mer de Glace glacier and its exhibits. Ride the train back to town.
Day 9A good day for shopping and exploring town. This is the place to do your major gift shopping in the bustling town of Chamonix. During the day, pick out the most charming restaurant to dine at that night, or have a cozy meal at the hotel and call it an early day.
Day 10The group will return early in the day. Let them get showered and then take them around town and show them what you have discovered. We will enjoy a dinner of typical French cuisine at one of the many restaurants in town.
Day 11A day of sightseeing, shopping or hiking with the members who choose to stay in town this day.
Day 12Train to Geneva, end of trip.