Gini and Gary, Aiguilles Rouges
June 24, 2015

The summer's trips
Dick Dietz, across the Alps
Rob and Doron, Gran P & MB
Gini & Gary, Chamonix
Geoff Mitchell, Mont Blanc
Mo Moceri, Switzerland
Michele & Craig, Swizerland

Michele and Criag on the Trotzig.
July 2, 2015

Dana, Donna & Lou, Berner
MacWilliams Family, Chamonix
Jeremy Bishop, Chamonix
David & Yibing, Haute Route
Frank & Lena, Switzerland
Jen & Todd, Switzerland
Larry True, Chamonix
Allison, Jason, Jennifer & Brian
David Dougherty, Switzerland

David Dougherty, Obergabelhorn.
July 30, 2015

Akbar Khan, Chamonix
Zack Whitley, Chamonix
Bob Campbell, Chamonix
Andy Latham, Switzerland
Mark Baldwin, Chamonix
Grant Carnie, Switzerland
Erik and Kevin, Chamonix
John Cobb, Chamonix

John Cobb, Goulotte Chèré
September 11, 2015

Speaking of you...
We like to mention folks by name and feature them personally as much as possible. However we also wish to respect everyone's privacy, so if you have done a trip with us and would prefer we not share the particulars in our e-newsletter, we perfectly understand. Please let us know!

Larry True, Petit Flambeau
July 22, 2014

Happy Autumn!

We have just finished up yet another successful summer guiding season here in the Alps, and are turning our attention to much needed home repairs, body repair and maintenance, and rock climbing in the beautiful Fall weather. We want, as always, to share with you the climbing trips we've done in the past three months, and let you know what's on for the coming ski season.

MacWilliams Clan, Petite Fourche, July 4, 2015

As some of you may have heard, this past summer was incredibly dry and hot, with an endless series of high pressure weather systems that lasted almost without interruption, from late June to late in August. Interestingly, this made it practically a mirror image of the previous summer of 2014, which was relentlessly cool, wet and stormy. The heat wave conditions were great for many rock routes, and kept us worry free about day to day weather conditions, but it did mean the glaciers "took a hit", with much wastage and thinning in the lower exposed ice portions, and very poor freezing conditions above the snow line for much of the season. Some rock-fall prone alpine routes went out of condition early and certain popular routes had to be avoided altogether—the Gouter route on Mont Blanc for example, suffered a very rare "closure" for a good portion of July and August with even the hut shutting down. But a lot of terrain remained open for fun and games, and we took full advantage!

Todd and Jen on the Weissmies. July 25, 2015

Mark had a full season of climbing in the high mountains both near home around Chamonix, and throughout Switzerland, and discovered a couple of new routes and areas (to him). It was an intense and challenging season for him, but really rewarding.

Andy Latham on the Stockhorn. August 20, 2015

Kathy did two private Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route Glacier Treks, and one Bernese Oberland Glacier Trek. While glacier conditions were soft and became a bit tricky toward the end of July, coverage was definitely adequate and again, the weather just perfect (or nearly so). She also did quite a lot of climbing with return clients, and a couple of new ones as well, and she too got to some new areas and climbs with several of them.

Grant Carnie, Gross Grünhorn. August 28, 2015

Check out our Recent Trips reports (left sidebar) for lots of photos of all this activity.

Coming up!
2015-16 Winter

Looking forward, we have extended our ski touring season to begin on February 8, with a return to Val Maira in the Italian Maritime Alps. Conditions for this area are best in the earlier part of the season. There are spaces available for 5 more skiers on this unique and beautiful hotel-based ski touring week.

From there, we'll continue on to the Queyras, just over the border in France. Some of you may have noticed our trips there in past years. This years dates: February 14-19. As of this writing, we have no sign ups for this tour. If you have a group of friends or family who are looking for a unique ski tour, you might want to consider this off-the-beaten-track part of France. The terrain is beautiful, the snow often stellar powder, and the crowds are NOT here!

Grand St Bernard Pass, November 19, 2014

The Silvretta, in Austria, is next on our schedule. Relatively friendly terrain combines with rugged peaks and very comfy huts to make this a good "first" hut to hut tour in the Alps, or just a great change from the austerity of the Western Alps high mountain hut living! Dates are February 23-28.

Albula, March 23, 2015

Moving on to the Engadine region in eastern Switzerland, our Albula tour this year will be from March 1-7. Here too we have had superb luck with snow conditions in past years, with mixed but generally good weather. It's easy to overuse the word "unique", but this part of Switzerland is so different from the rest, with its small language population of Romansch speakers, it's Italianate style of building and food, its high standard of hospitality. There is room for 3 more skiers on this trip!

We hope to get to Norway this season (March 12-17), to the Lofoten Islands. This will be a first for us but of course Norway is well known for its incredible terrain and truly unequaled hospitality. We originally conceived of this as a private trip, but at this point it is open for "general admission"! Let us know if you are interested in discovering Norway with us. Pricing depends on sign-up levels, for details and itinerary please contact us by email.

We will return to the Ortler region, one of our all-time favorite tours, March 21-27. If you haven't yet skied in this area, you really must. High glaciated peak ascents/descents, warm and cozy huts with hot showers! And great food! Italian ambience! We can't say too many good things about this tour. There are 4 spaces still available.

Ortler, March 11, 2015

And then there is the justly famous Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route! Those of you who have experienced the Alps and its hut-based ski mountaineering tradition, know that this tour is both a worthy aspiration and the perfect example of some of the most challenging and beautiful high mountain terrain anywhere in the world. This tour may not be the best "introduction" to alpine ski mountaineering due to the difficulty and the rustic hut life, but it is certainly a motivating objective and a great goal for more experienced ski tourers. We are offering two tours this year, the Verbier version from March 30-April 6, and a Plateau du Couloir version, scheduled for April 18-25. There are still spaces available on both of these trips.

Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route, April 4, 2015

From April 10–15 we are offering a hut-to-hut tour through the headwaters of three Italian alpine valleys above the Val d'Aosta, culminating in a ski ascent/descent of the Gran Paradiso. The huts are small, rustic, but very friendly and the tour is tough and less well known than many, so it will not be crowded! This tour entails very challenging terrain with some steep skiing above unavoidable hazards, so participants must be confident, expert skiers with plenty of experience in back country mountain terrain. There are 4 spaces available on this trip.

And to finish up our ski touring season, we will as always plan to return to the Bernese Oberland. Dates for this year are April 28-May 3. This is our favorite Spring Tour, we often find silky smooth corn conditions, and generally good weather (not always, but…). We always enjoy the remote and beautiful big mountain ambience, and the many ski ascents available along the way. Descending from the austerity of the high hills, back down into the budding trees and new warmth of the Spring sunshine at the end of this tour, make it our favorite way to wrap up our ski season. There is still plenty of space on this tour.

Crochues-Bérard, February 6, 2015
Ski Tours for 2016 in a handy table

Val Maira - Italy, February 8—12. See pics from our 2014 trip.
Queyras - France's answer to Colorado, February 14—19.
Silvretta - Switzerland, February 23—28.
Albula - Saint Moritz to Davos, March 1—7.
Norway - March 12—17.
Ortler - Italy, March 21—27.
Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route via Verbier, March 30—April 6.
Gran Paradiso - Italy, April 10—15.
Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route, Plateau du Couloir, April 18—25.
Berner Oberland, April 28—May 3.
Private trip dates. If you have a group of friends, or simply want a smaller team, we may be able to make space for a private trip. Any of the dates above can be switched to a private trip, as long as we have no current sign-ups for them. If you would like to discuss a private trip, be in touch, we’d love to hear your ideas.

2016 Summer offerings

Mark will be available as always for alpine ascents, rock climbing, and ice climbing this summer. Please check with him by email, and/or refer to our Booking Levels page to see what dates he has left.

Kathy is offering various treks including the Chamonix to Zermatt Glacier Trek, and her Bernese Oberland Glacier Trek. Both of these are 7 days long. Current tentative dates for these treks are July 1-7 (Chamonix to Zermatt Glacier Trek) and July 27-August 2 Bernese Oberland Glacier Trek). As Kathy is currently working on scheduling some private clients in July and August, these dates could (and probably will) shift, so check in on our Booking Levels page, or better yet, be in touch with Kathy soon if you are interested in signing up for either of these. You may be able to have considerable influence on scheduling! She is also available for custom, private treks and/or climbs, between June and the end of August.


We have lots of personal plans for this autumn in preparation for winter: working on our chalet in October, rock climbing in Kalymnos in early to mid-November, visiting family in the U.S. in December, among other things.

A pre-ski tip for you and plug for our physio friends...

None of these things will keep us from preparing for the ski season in what has become our newly traditional way: SkiFit!!! Those of you who know us well, have heard us talk about this program, developed by our amazing Chamonix-based physiotherapist Neil MacLean Martin and his team at La Clinique du Sport. Some of you have even met Neil and experienced his skills for yourself. Well, last year he took the skier training program he had developed for the benefit of local guides and skiers here in Chamonix, and created an app that anyone can access on their own, using a computer, tablet or smart phone. It makes it much easier to fit into a busy or erratic schedule, and/or to do if you don't have the good fortune to live in Chamonix! I know of no better or more adaptable and accessible way to prepare for ski season, prevent injury, and enjoy your season maximally from the very first day. SkiFit is a four level, 8 week (or more if you wish) program, designed to be done two or three days a week. But wait! There's more! Brand new this year, is an 8 minute workout app for days when you can't fit in the full hour+ twice weekly. In other words, we all just ran out of excuses! Check out both programs, as well as other BeFitApps for running and triathlon.

Keep in touch!

Please let us know soon if you would like to join us on any of these ski tours, we feel like we have a really great season planned and would love to have you join us.

Have a great Autumn and Holiday season, and please be in touch!

Kathy and Mark

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Cosley & Houston Alpine Guides | 151 Route de Lausenaz | 74310 Les Houches | France