It's always great to see card-carrying BMC members, and a number of them were spotted at the Arc’teryx Alpine Arc’ademy – which took place over the weekend of June 14-16, Chamonix, France. Tiffany Saibal reports.
The Arc’teryx Alpine Arc’ademy is three days of mountaineering education and inspiration, through day and evening workshops, based near the Aiguille du Midi station.
After a good start with the Arc’ademy in 2012, word of the event spread and those coming back joined up with over 300 participants from 20 countries to take part in the second edition.
Not surprisingly, the majority were from Switzerland, France, Italy, the United Kingdom and Scandinavia, but with participants and athletes from countries like Serbia, Portugal, Poland, and North America, it really shows how this event is about learning with others in the mountains. Even before the event, people posted call-outs for carpooling and climbing partners.
Workshops ranged from introductory-level alpinism to more specific skills like navigation, crevasse rescue, and ice climbing. For those experienced alpinists, along with some challenging routes to climb, there were also sessions on mountain rescue and preparing for expeditions.
The overnight bivouac clinics were popular again this year. Held at the Col du Midi, one group tested their tent skills on a windy Friday night while the second group experienced very warm conditions Saturday night - one person left their water bottle outside of their tent and it did not freeze! While they may not have seen that leaving your water to freeze could be a costly mistake, it does show the potential fate of the glaciers.
Those on the bivy got to connect with Arc’teryx athletes, Ines Papert, Luka Lindic, Jacob Slot and Conny Zamernik and mountain guide Gian Luck. They also had a visit from the Overnight Alpine Photography Clinic participants, who got to sleep in ‘comfort’ in the nearby Cosmiques Hut. Outdoor photographer and alpinist Alexandre Buisse led the group, using evening and morning light for some great shots.
While some were sleeping up high, others attended less physical- demanding activities near the event base at the Midi cable car Valley station. The Arc’teryx/Gore-Tex sewing booth and the Petzl Ice tool sharpening stations were so popular; 150 handmade made stuff sacks became proud souvenirs!
Friday night’s free seminars saw 130 people listen to a variety of topics such, High Altitude Medicine, Mountain Navigation and physio for avoiding climbing injuries. A large group braved the rain for the mountain dinner on Saturday, followed by the Alpine Movie Night, a free social event to inspire and showcase films presented by some of the world’s top Mountain Athletes including Nina Caprez and Will Gadd.
“I came to the event on my own as a novice alpinist and can’t wait to come back next year. It was amazing from start to finish, not just the courses; I did the Bivouac & the Glacier Tour, but the side events, the staff and the guides too, they made you feel very confident in the mountains. I will be back next year and bringing friends!”
Rob Parkin, participant (and BMC member) from Kent.
The aim of the weekend was to raise awareness about personal responsibility and self-sufficiency in the mountains. The event was organized by Arc’teryx and sponsored by GORE-TEX Outdoor Products, Petzl, Scarpa Spa, Suunto and the Compagnie du Mont-Blanc. Mountaineers spent their nights on the glacier in Hilleberg tents, with Optimus stoves and Trek’n Eat food.
Thanks to all participants, guides and sponsors for the continued success of this event.
The Arc’teryx Alpine Arc’ademy will continue in 2014.
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