Report: International Youth Ice Climbing Camp (Guillestre) France 2016

The International Youth Ice Climbing Camp, organised by FFCAM / Alpine Club of Toulouse, recently took place in Guillestre (Hautes Alpes), France with over 50 participants taking part in the near week long event.
For several years this camp has gathered together different participants and camps. In 2016, it included:

– One instructor training for adults (10 participants)

– The UIAA Youth camp (12 participants)

– A camp for youngsters from my club, Toulouse, from 11-17 years old (14 participants)

– A camp for 2 young members of regional Pyrenees Alpinist Team

The event took place in a perfect location – the French paradise for ice climbing – which comprises many different sites catering for different levels of skill, allowing participants to be organized and managed in different groups and places according to their ability and age. Each evening a briefing was held where the programme and groups were defined for the next day.

12 UIAA foreign participants took part: Akash, Vivek from India, Elena and Till from Germany, Milan from Serbia, Christophe, Manu and Stephan from Switzerland and Laura, Robbe, Andreas and Jozua from Belgium.


The Staff comprised: Christophe Moulin, Romain Wagner Mountain Guides, Isabelle, Marc, Philippe, Eric and myself.

The group included 12 female participants.

There were two levels of participant, beginners and non-beginners:

Beginners were principally managed by trainee instructors, myself and Romain Wagner, with support from other staff instructors.

We  spent considerable time in Aiguilles, a small village in Queyras with an artificial school ice structure, a perfect location to begin this camp.

Afterwards, time was spent in Ceillac, Les Escreins, Le Fournel, Crevoux, Cervieres, Freissinieres before the last day school dry tooling site at Le toit aux Chévres

During this training camp, we explained:- the use of different types of equipment (ice screw, crampons, ice axe)
– the way to climb on ice safely, on several pitches, to make a safe belay, and several absails.
– to experience the ice and its quality,
– a first approach how to climb in “dry tooling”
– and also how to manage a school Ice training for inexperienced climbers

Almost all UIAA participants (eight in total) reached the level of instructor ice climbing, and the four others will reach it after gaining additional experience.

The next camp will take place from 5-11 February, 2017

Images from the event can be found here

Well done to all of those involved.
Report & images courtesy of Christian Biard