The Alpine Club, the world’s first mountaineering club, was founded in 1857.  For over 150 years, members have been at the leading edge of worldwide mountaineering development and exploration. 

With membership, experienced and aspiring alpinists benefit from a varied meets programme, regional lectures with notable guest speakers, reduced rates at many alpine huts, opportunity to apply for grants to support expeditions, significant discounts at many UK retailers, extensive networking contacts, access to the AC Library and maps - and more! 

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News

Video: 'Everest - East Side Story'

The video of Stephen Venables's lecture; 'Everest - East Side Story,' given at the opening of the 2021 Everest Centenary Exhibition is now available to watch in full via the Alpine Club's YouTube channel or by clicking on the player below.

 

                                                         

 

 

 

Report: 17 November 2021

It’s still inter-season in the valley.

Ski lifts are closed except for the Flégère gondola (access to Lac Blanc and the Chéserys lakes OK but a little snow on the top and signposts not in place; Via Ferrata des Evettes OK).

You can find the opening dates of the lifts and ski areas on this page of the Mont Blanc Natural Resort website.

The snow that fell at the beginning of the month quickly melted in the “moyenne montagne”. So at the moment no skiing, but let's keep our fingers crossed! The fog has been sitting on the valley floor for the last few days but above it's much more pleasant, with nice sun and pleasant temperatures. 

You can hike (on foot!) with no worries below 2200-2300m depending on the orientation. As a reminder, a large part of the signposting is no longer in place. There may be some snow/ice and slippery paths, so it is important to be well shod.

These anti-cyclonic conditions allow for good activity in the high mountains with generally good conditions in the gullies/mixed routes. Some classic routes (Aiguille du Tour, Mont Blanc by the Goûter, Dômes de Miage...) could also be doable but we have no feedback. Snowshoes are still very useful to get around on the glaciers. Beware of snow bridges which remain fragile at this time. 

Many people on the Pélerins side (Rebuffat-Terray, Beyond Good and Evil) or in the Rebell Yell goulotte: the Plan de l'Aiguille winter hut is full every night, think of bringing a sleeping bag and even a mat.

Many people at the Albert 1er (no more wood) and on the Chardonnet. The latest news is that the Charlet-Bettembourg (the rimaye was committing because of variable snow, pitches 1 and 2 are mixed) and the Escarra are in good general conditions, but not the Aureille-Feutren. No news of the Gabarrou 79. The Aiguille du Tour normal route, Tête Blanche or Petite Fourche should be possible for those looking for an adventure!

No news yet from the Argentière basin but no doubt there must be something to do (Lagarde couloir? Ginat?).

 

Report translated from La Chamoniarde.

 

 

 

Stephen Venables - 'Everest: East Side Story' YouTube Premiere

At 19:00 on Thursday 18 November, the Alpine Club will premiere a short film of a lecture given by Stephen Venables at the opening of the 2021 Everest Centenary Exhibition via our YouTube channel

The lecture, entitled 'Everest: East Side Story', intertwines Stephen's personal experience of Everest, (he climbed the mountain via a new route and without the use of supplemental Oxygen in 1988), with the larger story of the mountain itself. The talk is packed with humour and histoy, offering a unique insight into the mountaineering community's relationship with Everest over more than a century.

By subscribing to the Alpine Club YouTube channel, you will receive a notification when the film goes live. You can watch it on the channel as it goes out on November 18 or catch up any time thereafter.

 

 

 

2021 Christmas Cards Now Available

This year's club Christmas cards feature a charming watercolour painting of Everest by Howard Somervell, reproduced with the kind permission of the Somervell family.

As with our previous Christmas cards, this year's card does not carry a date and features a simple seasonal greeting.

The cards come in packs of 10 at a cost of £7.00 per pack. (Postage and packaging is £2 for one or two packs and £3 for three packs).

You can purchase the cards here.




Also available are a selection of cards from previous years. These are offered at the reduced price of £5 per pack, with the same postage and packaging rates as the new cards.

 

 

 

Report: 3 November 2021

The first real snowy episode in our mountains this week! It even snowed at the valley floor.
 
There is a dusting on the ground from 1400m.
 
In the "moyenne montagne", there is between 20 and 30 cm depending on the sector and the altitude (20-25cm at Planpraz; 20cm at la Flégère, 25cm at Lognan; 30cm at Montenvers). The webcams of the valley can help you to get an idea (be careful with the dates of the pictures).
 
We're going to disappoint you but it's still too early to get out your skis or snowshoes!
 
On the other hand, this complicates things for hiking. It is now reserved for those with a good experience of the mountain (absence of markers...) and correctly equipped (decent boots, warm clothes, poles...). The sectors above 2000m are to be avoided for the moment in our opinion. On the other hand, low level walks such as the lower balconies or the access to the various buvettes (Floria, Chapeau, Cerro, Bérard and Dard waterfalls etc) is all fine.
 
Little information concerning the high mountains, we note about 50-60 cm at the Aiguille du Midi and there was a lot of wind.
 
Beware of the risk of avalanche (the first avalanche reports of the year are already out).

Skis or snowshoes will be useful for the approaches and it will be necessary to dig out the gullies!

 

Report translated from La Chamoniarde.

 

 

 

Report: 25 October 2021

At last some information but still not enough considering the activity at the weekend! To be continued...

Thanks to all the contributors who feed the information chain.

Watch out, the glacier approaches are laborious when you have to break trail (breakable snow crust) and remain delicate (crevasses and snow bridges only just covered).

 

Albert 1er Sector

- Chardonnet: teams on the Migot - the Escarra goulotte. The normal descent route from the top of the Chardonnet and the Col Adams Reilly are tricky. Beware that there is a false track too far to the right on the way down from the summit and many climbers get lost. The Charlet-Bettembourg is tracked without more information.

- Aiguille du Tour is being done by the normal route and the SW ridge of the Table de Roc only has a bit of snow on it. The Table de Roc couloir is not very attractive: a little more patience is needed.

 

Aiguille du Midi Sector

- South face of Aiguille du Midi : you can climb the Rébuffat : 1 snow patch on the 1st pitch.
- Sightings of teams on Vent du Dragon: no information.
- Arête des Cosmiques, Lachenal traverse and traverse of the vallée Blanche are being done.
- Triangle du Tacul: Chéré couloir is in good condition (abseiling down the route) - a team has been seen on the Contamine Mazeaud.
- One track of a descent on the normal route of Tacul: ??? No info.
- East face of Tacul : A team has been seen on the Super Couloir - Valéria goulotte on the Petit Capucin: Good conditions.
- Rognon du Plan: Some people on Pas d'Agonie I: Good conditions. It looks like Pas d'Agonie II is also possible.

 

Torino Sector

- Traverse of the Aiguilles Marbrées: In good condition
- Tour Ronde - north face / grand Flambeau : see our route page

 

Aiguilles Rouges

The rock is dry on routes with the right aspect. Be careful with the aspect: it is autumn and the sun is "dropping" quickly in some areas, even in the south and it gets cold quickly! (Example: Frison Roche route at Le Brévent).

 

Hiking

This is the magic time of autumn! Paths with the right aspect are dry but be careful with the aspect because a covering of snow and/or ice (from about 2200m) can make some passages tricky even at medium altitude.

Equipment and markings have already been removed in many areas, so you will need to be independent in terms of navigation. Some footpaths are currently closed for work; a list of current closures is available on The Chamoniarde website.

 

 

 

Women With Altitude - Joint Exhibition to Highlight Female Alpinists of the Last 100 Years

Women With Altitude - Joint Exhibition to Highlight Female Alpinists of the Last 100 Years

2021 marks 100 years since the foundation of The Pinnacle Club, one of the UK’s only all-women climbing clubs. As part of their centenary celebrations, the Pinnacle Club have partnered with the Alpine Club to host ‘Women with Altitude’, an interactive exhibition that profiles ground-breaking female alpinists from the last 100 years of both clubs.

As in so many areas of history, the lives and accomplishments of female climbers have often been overlooked, forgotten or diminished. This exhibition seeks to rebalance that narrative by making the biographical details of these women’s lives accessible and by foregrounding their stories with the use of their own words and possessions.

Alongside biographical displays for the 12 featured climbers, visitors will also be able to listen to audio recordings via QR codes, (a smartphone will be necessary for this element of the exhibition), and view a number of films featuring the profiled climbers. It is our hope that a combination of traditional exhibition materials, such as artefacts and displays, alongside these interactive elements will bring these women to life for a modern audience and allow us all to more fully engage with their stories.

 

Micheline Morin, Nea Morin & Alice Damesme at the Aigle Hut after completing the Meije Traverse
Dorothy Pilley

The exhibition will link these historic stories to the present using a timeline of women's achievements that runs up to the present day and shorter profiles of contemporary female mountaineers.

The exhibition is located at the Alpine Club’s premises of 55 Charlotte Road, London, EC2A 3QF and will run from 8 November to 8 January with closures on the 9 November, 14 December and for the Christmas period of 20 December to 5 January.

It is open 10AM – 5PM Monday to Friday, with extended opening to 9PM on Thursdays.

Entry is free and on a drop-in basis, but we do ask that larger groups of 8 or more visitors make a booking in advance by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to ensure we can accommodate you. 

As part of the exhibition, the Pinnacle Club and Alpine Club have commissioned the production of teaching materials to be used by visiting school groups. The materials are linked to the national curriculum and are designed to accommodate children from KS2 to KS4 (11-16 years of age). If you are aware of any schools or youth organisations who may be interested in arranging a visit to the exhibition, please get in touch with us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further details.

 

 

Report: 21 October 2021

A beautiful end to the season allows us to enjoy the mountains. Here is some summary information about the high mountains.

The Aiguille du Midi lift reopens on Saturday 23 October until Sunday 7 November inclusive.  

There has been a lot of activity around the Albert 1er hut. The classics (Aiguille du Tour, Petite Fourche, Tête Blanche) are in good condition. The Chardonnet is a little dry, but some teams have done the Forbes arête and the Migot spur (rimaye ok, variable snow below the spur, reasonable ice on the mixed section, easy snow and ice on the summit slope). The rimaye below the col Adam Reilly and the crevasses on the Glacier du Tour are tricky.  

Some activity on the North face of the Grandes Jorasses without further information Linceul; Colton-MacIntyre(hard snow, top part very dry) Desmaison, Rêve Ephémère (descending via the Canzio bivi hut and a few Abalakovs below the col des Grandes Jorasses on the Chamonix side to get down on to the Mont Mallet glacier). 

Climbing is still possible at low-level around the Envers des Aiguilles (depending on today’s bad weather).  

Thanks to the opening of the Plan de l'Aiguille lift last weekend several teams have done the Rebuffat-Terray as well as Beyond Good & Evil. Conditions may have deteriorated thanks to the warm weather in the middle of the week. Beware of overcrowding.  

The North face of the Aiguille du Midi still seems dry. 

Aiguille du Midi sector: we will know more after the opening of the lift. Remember that the Cosmiques hut is closed (but the Simond bivi shelter is accessible). There may have been teams on Pas d'Agonie and in the Supercouloir probably without topping out. The goulotte Valéria on the Petit Capucin is said to be in good condition. 

Lots of activity around the Helbronner (the Skyway lift is open until 2 November as well as the Torino hut). The Marbrées traverse is being done regularly as well as the Tour Ronde and the Rebuffat couloir. The Gervasutti couloir, the North face and the normal route are also being done. The goulotte “Filo di Arianna” on Mont Maudit has been done but we don’t have any further details.   

It continues to be a beautiful finish to the season on the normal route on Mont Blanc. Remember that it's much more committing at this time of year with winter conditions (cold, fresh snow, trail breaking often needed). The ascent to the Goûter is more technical and huts and lifts are closed. Only consider it if you have lots of experience in the high mountains. 

A few teams have done the traverse of the Bionnassay. The rock section is OK but the East ridge is said to be narrow and icy. 

Lots of people around the Conscrits hut in this good weather. Be careful of crevasses in the centre of the Trè-la-Tête glacier. The traverse of the Dômes is OK.    

Finally hiking and climbing in the “moyenne montagne”. Nothing particular to report apart from magnificent autumn colours. 

The Planpraz lift opens this Saturday 23rd October until Sunday 7th November inclusive. The Montenvers train and the Plan de l'Aiguille lift are also open. Days are getting shorter so think about leaving early and giving yourself a bit of extra time. 

 

 

Everest Exhibition Catalogue Now Available Online

Everest Exhibition Catalogue Now Available Online

Following the end of its run, the accompanying catalogue for our exhibition 'Everest by Those Who Were There - 1921, 1922, 1924'  is now available to view online via our Publications Page.

Written by the Alpine Club's Honorary Librarian Barbara Grigor-Taylor and with a foreward by mountaineering writer Peter Gillman, the catalogue wonderfully captures both the depth of historical material and the many human stories that were so wonderfully explored by the exhibition.

Replete with high quality photographs from the expeditions themselves, along with art works and artefacts, the catalogue places these early expeditions in the context of the time, detailing everything from how the idea of climbing Everest first came to be, all the way up to the blow-by-blow movements of Mallory and Irvine on their fateful summit push.

We are pleased to be able to make it free to all online so that anyone who was unable to attend the exhibition can still engage with the material. Whether you are an Everest expert or entirely unfamiliar with this era of mountaineering, you will doubtless find it an absorbing and informative read.

Read it here.  

 

 

Victor Saunders Receives Jon Whyte Award for Mountain Literature

Current AC President Victor Saunders has received the Jon Whyte Award for Mountain Literature (Non-Fiction) for his new book 'Structured Chaos'. The prize was awarded as part of the Banff Mountain Festival.

Jury member Bernadette McDonald commented: "In his unique, conversational style, Victor Saunders has taken us on a wonderful journey; sometimes heart-breaking, often hilarious. His observations are surgically precise, his evocative descriptions are skilfully penned and his personal reflections are unstintingly honest. From his early awkward years to his many impressive climbs in the Great Ranges, what stands out above all in Structured Chaos is the value he places on friendship."

As a category award winner, Victor is now eligible for the festival's Grand Prize for mountain literature. The recipient of this award will be announced on Friday 5 November.

A full list of the category winners is available to view here.

 

 

Report: 15 October 2021

A brief report on conditions before a weekend of good weather.
 
All the lifts are shut with the exception of the Montenvers train. The Plan de l’Aigille téléphérique should reopen 16/10 but the Aiguille du Midi section won’t open until the Toussaint holiday (23/10 to 07/11).
 
We have had lots of enquiries concerning conditions in the high mountains.  At the moment we have no information except there is regular activity on the Aiguille du Tour and the Tête Blanche and on the normal route on Mont Blanc via the Goûter. A few parties have been on the Jorasses but there is no further information since the report of the Linceul on our site.
 
Some winter rooms are filling up quickly at the moment.There were almost 50 people last weekend at the Albert 1er for 40 places. Bear this in mind or think about doing something else. The Torino Hut is open with access via the Skyway (pass sanitaire obligatory for the lift). Activity is concentrated on the Aiguilles Marbrées and the Entrèves. No new information on other routes or the gullies.
 
The rock is dry on south facing aspects in the Aiguilles Rouges but approaches are long from the valley. No new information about the Envers des Aiguilles but it should still be possible to climb up there a bit. The Montenvers ladders are closed for work and access to the Mer de Glace is via the Grotto.
 
For walkers there are no particular worries and most routes should be doable. Some shady high altitudes routes will be snowy and therefore slippery. You will need good boots and poles (Salenton, Buet, Jonction...). A few paths are closed for maintenance look at this page before leaving.
 
Autumn is well advanced and the “équipements” (chains etc) are being removed on some routes (the gangway on the Tricot à Bionnassay, chains under the Nid d'Aigle). Some summer signs will be removed soon in ski areas and in places exposed to avalanche.
 
Not surprisingly we are lacking a lot of information and eagerly await your feedback to supplement our next report.
 
 
 

AC Members Recognised in AAC(UK) Photo Competition

The Club would like to congratulate members Derek Buckle, Andrey Golovachev and Nick Hurndall Smith whose photography has been recognised in the annual Austrian Alpine Club (UK) Photo & Sketch Competition.

 


'Two Smokers' by Andrey Golovachev

'Paul Winder on the NNW Ridge of the Weisshorn' by Nick Hurndall Smith

'Nick King on Liskamm' by Derek Buckle

Andrey's photograph 'Two Smokers' won the award for Best Portrait/People Image while two of his other images 'Yin and Yang' and 'Theatre of Silence' were commended in the Nature and General categories respectively.

Meanwhile, in the Best Mountain Landscape/Wild Country category, Nick's photograph of Paul Winder on the NNW Ridge of the Weisshorn claimed the top prize, while Derek's image of Nick King on Liskamm was highly commended. Nick's photographs 'Shaqsha Descent' and 'Chombu, Sikkim' were also commended in this category.

Many congratulations to all three members.

You can see a full list of the winners on the AAC(UK) website.

 

 

2021 Piolets d'Or Nominees Announced

The recipients of the 2021 Piolets d'Or, honouring routes achieved in 2020 have been announced. Due to the pandemic, it was obviously a difficult year for exploratory mountaineering and the judges have sought to reflect this in the ascents they have chosen to award.

'Running in the Shadows' on Mount Robson's Emperor Face and 'Revers Gagnant' on Sani Pakkush are both to receive mountaineering's highest accolade, while Silvia Vidal has also been recognised for her impressive resumé of solo big wall first ascents.

'Running in the Shadows' was climbed by Alpine Club member Uisdean Hawthorn and American Ethan Berman. Although at a lower altitude than routes typically awarded by the committee, it was felt that given the special circumstances of the pandemic and the impeccable alpine-style in which the route was achieved, that it was very much worthy of recognition. You can hear Uisdean discuss the route in the Alpine ClubCast 'Bagpipes and Blagging' which we broadcast in January of this year.

At a more familiar height for the Piolet d'Or, 'Revers Gagnant' was climbed by the French team of Pierrick Fine and Symon Welfringer after they were forced to relocate their planned autumn expedition from Nepal to the Karakoram. Their new line tackled the mountain via its south face and southwest ridge to achieve the second ascent of this summit.

Greater detail on the routes and recipients can be found via the Piolets d'Or website.   

 

 

Report: 6 October 2021

Snow and wind at altitude, the first frosts, fog in the valley - there’s no doubt it’s Autumn.

It snowed high up at the beginning of the week. We think between 5 and 10cm of snow at 2,300m. There was a dusting at 2,000m but it has already melted. Higher up it’s difficult to estimate the quantity of snow. At the Torino Hut there is about 40cm. What is certain is that it’s all beautifully white. You can get a reasonable idea of conditions thanks to the webcam of Punta Helbronner and for the footpaths the webcams of the Compagnie du Mont Blanc.

The classic snow routes must be possible at the moment but at this time of year they are much more committing, and you will need lots of experience. It’s a long way, the huts are shut, it’s cold and there are no tracks. You may need snow shoes to get around on glaciers.

The Skyway lift and the Torino hut are still open. The shorter classic routes (traverses of the Marbrées and Entrèves and glacier trips) are being done.

It’s certainly possible that mixed routes are in condition, but you will have to go and see as we have no information.

The rock is well plastered even quite low down (Envers des Aiguilles, Plan de l'Aiguille, Argentière basin, Aiguilles Rouges). Rock climbing is therefore concentrated on sunny valley crags. Watch out for fog, seepage and cold fingers. Or go further south.

Quiet footpaths and beautiful autumn colours await you. There are no problems with walking below 2,200 m (warm clothes + gloves + hat needed). Above that height, there is some snow and you will have to equip yourself properly (good shoes + poles).

Remember to consult the list of trails closed for work.

As a reminder, the Montenvers train is the only lift currently open in the Chamonix Valley.

 

 

Everest Exhibition - Weekend Opening

 
As our special centenary exhibition, 'Everest: by Those Who Were There', approaches the end of its run, we are pleased to announce a final weekend opening to celebrate the exhibition and offer the first look at a film inspired by the expeditions of the 1920s.

This will be one of the final opportunities to see the complete exhibition which includes a number of remarkable pieces of Everest history - the oxygen equipment first used on the mountain, early watercolour paintings of the region and Sandy Irvine's ice axe.

It is also the first opportunity to see a specially commissioned film that celebrates these historic years and provides new insight into these groundbreaking early expeditions. The film, produced by former AC President John Porter, features contributions from numerous Everest luminaries, including Sir Chris Bonington, Dawson Stelfox and Leo Houlding.

Visitors are welcome to view the exhibition from 12PM, with the film showing at 3PM.
 
 
 

Everest Exhibition Tour Now Available on YouTube

A video tour of our current exhibition, 'Everest: by Those Who Were There' is now available to view on YouTube. Presented by club librarian Beth Hodgett, the tour explores the major events of the 1921, 1922 and 1924 Everest Exhibition using the artefacts and materials compiled for the exhibition by our Honorary Librarian Barbara Grigor-Taylor.

As the video was initially broadcast via Facebook live, it is filmed in a vertical aspect ratio and so is best viewed on mobile. We had some small issues with sound in the initial live broadcast, but these have now been rectified with a short subtitled section in this version.

 

Charles Howard-Bury Profiled in Digital Exhibition

Members may be interested to see this virtual exhibition, curated by Ian Kenneally and presented by Westmeath County Council and Belvedere House & Gardens.

‘We had experience of wonderful moments…’ commemorates the 1921 Everest expedition in this its centenary year, with a particular focus on the expedition lead Charles Howard-Bury.

It is a fantastic companion piece to our own Everest centenary exhibition and has been wonderfully presented with a mix of print, audio, video and photographic records, including some from the AC Library collection.

.

Neil Sawyer

We have received the very sad news that one of our newest members, Neil Sawyer, was killed in a cycling accident near Chamonix on 23 September.

For those who knew Neil and would like to attend, his memorial service will be streamed live on 1 October via this event page

Report: 23 September 2021

It’s certainly inter-season now in the Chamonix Valley.

As far as the lifts go: the Midi cable car (exceptional closure 4-15 October), the Montenvers train and the Tramway du Mont Blanc are still open.

Dates of closure of some of the huts are as follows:

- refuge des Cosmiques: 28/09
- refuge du Goûter: 28/09
- refuge de Tête Rousse: 27/09
- rifugio Torino: 03/11
- refuge plan de l'Aiguille: 01/11
- refuge de Tré la Tête: 15/10
- refuge de Moede d'Anterne: 30/09
- refuge du lac Blanc: 26/09
- refuge du col de Balme: 30/09
- refuge de Loriaz: 26/09


It snowed up high last weekend with the rain/snow limit down to 2300m. Take great care on glaciers as snow bridges across crevasses will be weak. Also be careful about your choice of rock route (snow,verglas).

Activity has been concentrated around the Aiguille du Midi. Cosmiques arete, traverse of the Pointes Lachenal. You can climb on the south faces of the Aiguille du Midi and the Lachenal. No news about the Midi-Plan but why not?! The Chéré couloir is in reasonable condition as are the classics from the Helbronner.

There has been a great finish to the season on the normal route on Mont Blanc (lots of happy “parapentistes” and others). The train and the huts are closed after this weekend.

The Trois Monts route was re-tracked on Thursday 23/9. Watch out for a snow bridge under the shoulder of the Tacul. It can be turned on the right but it’s steep (technical on the descent).

The rimaye at the Col du Mont Maudit is still crossable well to the left with a long traverse to get back to the col.

There is now a bit of snow on the ledges of the south face of the Moine. The normal routes on the Courtes and the Droites look ok.

A new abseil line has been put in place this week to descend from the Grand Dru towards the Charpoua leading back to the start of the traverse. 16 abseils (chain belays, 45-50m). Topo to come.

You can think about climbing on sunny granite near the Orny, hut, in the Argentière basin, at the Envers des Aiguilles, and from the Dalmazzi and the Monzino etc. On the shady faces it’s not quite so nice but there have been a few teams on the pilier Rouge de Blaitière, the Papillons arete and the normal route on the Peigne.

At medium altitude (“moyenne montagne”) there are beautiful autumn colours.

The light sprinkling of snow last weekend doesn’t pose any particular problems. Poles and good boots are sensible as there may be heavy dews and slippery paths.

Its also the time of year when path maintenance takes place. Path closure page (in French) is available here.