Go on the adventure of a lifetime with this 7 day hiking photography workshop of the French, Swiss and Italian Alps!
This legendary mountain range is famous for its spectacular scenery, stretching all the way from southern to northern Europe. It is home to a number of towering alpine peaks, the likes of which include the mythical jagged Matterhon. Charming villages and towns, lush green meadows, rolling valleys, glaciers and crystal clear streams are just some of the magnificent sights that you can expect to witness as you immerse yourself in the spectacular mountainous landscapes on this unique photography and climbing adventure.
Throughout this tour, you'll be accompanied by expert photography educators, Arild Heitmann and Emma Svensson, who will ensure that you'll be at all the right places to take advantage of the best light. On-hand will be specialist IFMGA mountain guides, providing assistance as you climb to the peaks of three mountains – Castor, Pollux and Breithorn – all of which are around 4000 metres in height. While no prior mountain climbing experience is required, this tour is rated as moderate in difficulty and you should be physically fit enough to hike up to 6 hours a day with your backpack.
All of your meals, transportation and accommodation will be arranged for you, meaning that you'll have all the time in the world to focus on taking in the magnificent surroundings, improving your photography skills, experiencing the alpine culture and exploring to your heart's delight.
Do not miss out on the opportunity to capture the incredible beauty of the Alps! Check availability by choosing a date.
The adventure begins! You'll meet with your guides and the rest of your group at 09:00 in Chamonix at a predetermined location. Your guides will provide you with all of the necessary information that you'll need for the tour as they discuss the itinerary ahead. It's the perfect time for you to ask any questions that you may have. Thereafter, they'll take note of everyone's gear, ensuring that the group has come well-prepared in advanced. If you have forgotten any items, then there will be the chance to rent some gear from a shop in Chamonix.
Once we have everything in check, we'll take the lift up to Flegere, where we'll utilise a protected climbing route known as a 'Via Ferrata' to make our way up the mountain. You'll be attached to a steel wire with plenty of hand holds and steps for a safe and exciting experience.
Later on in the afternoon, we'll hike to the beautiful alpine lake, Lac Blanc. Situated at an elevation of 2352 metres between spectacular rock faces, it's the perfect place to capture the sunset over the entire mountain range.
We'll then head to a nearby mountain hut where we'll have dinner and settle in for the night.
Day two begins with an early sunrise session at the calm and clear waters of Lac Blanc. We'll then have breakfast, before hiking back down to Chamonix, taking in all of the breathtaking scenery along the way.
From there, we'll take a lift up to Aiguille du Midi, a spectacular 3842 metre high mountain within the Mont Blanc massif. At the top, we'll have expansive views of the Chamonix valley below, as well as the astonishing slopes of Vallée Blanche. We'll then make our way to a mountain hut, where we'll undertake a post-processing session in the afternoon.
Our sunset shoot will be at Lac Bleu, a beautiful lake that is famous for its vivid blue water. Surrounded by pine and larch forests, it makes for a wonderful sight as the sun dips below the horizon.
After sunset, we'll return to the mountain hut for dinner and settle in for the night.
On day three, we'll have breakfast at the mountain hut, before making the hike back down to Chamonix. Once there, we'll meet our mountain guides, who will accompany us on the journey from France to Italy.
This will be the penultimate part of our adventure. Over the next few days, we'll summit three majestic mountains around 4000 metres in height. While the going may be tough, we'll take our time enjoying the spectacular scenery as we ascend these awe-inspiring creations of nature.
Upon arrival in Italy, we'll have lunch before commencing a 4 hour hike up to Ayas Rifugio, where we'll base ourselves for the days ahead. The accommodation is modern, warm and will serve us well for a place to rest at the end of each long day spent hiking.
We'll rise bright and early at 0:400 on day four for breakfast, heading out before the sun rises to the nearby glacier. The mountain guides will provide us with an alpine course and thereafter, we'll begin climbing the classic Mount Castor to reach its glaciated peak at 4228 metres elevation. While it may be steep, the climb itself is non-technical and we'll be treated to breathtaking panoramic views at the summit, where you'll be able to spot the Monte Rosa massif.
We'll then return to Ayas Rifugio for lunch, settling in for masterclass photography lectures until dinner in the evening. Thereafter, you'll have the chance to get some much-needed rest in anticipation of another early morning start ahead.
On day five, we'll rise for breakfast at 04:00 once again, before heading out with our mountain guides to begin our ascent of Mount Pollux. At 4092 metres in elevation, it is smaller than Castor but features more of a technical and steep climb. Be prepared for a few good sections of scrambling, as well as fixed rope mountaineering at a couple of points.
The view from the peak of Pollux offers many opportunities for photography, including glimpses of the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa massif.
Once we've made the most of the sights, we'll head back down the mountain back to our hut, arriving in time for lunch. The afternoon will be spent resting and undertaking a few more photography masterclasses and post-processing sessions.
We'll then have dinner before retiring for the night.
Day six begins with another 04:00 start. We'll have breakfast and then head out with our mountain guides to the Zermatt area, where we'll climb the 4164 metre tall Mount Breithorn. Situated opposite the Matterhorn, it offers spectacular views of the entire region with its peak marking the border between Switzerland and Italy.
After our photography session, our mountain guides will accompany us to the Klein Matterhorn lift, where we'll bid them farewell. Thereafter, we'll descend the mountain by lift to Zermatt, just in time to catch a train to the rocky ridge of Gornergrat for a glorious view of the Matterhorn and vast mountainous expanse.
At Gornergrat, we'll check in to our hotel and have the chance to rest before meeting together for dinner in the evening.
This will be our final day in the Alps. We'll rise early for a sunrise session, taking in the wonderful views one last time, including the majestic Matterhorn. We'll then return to the hotel for breakfast, before packing our belongings and checking out.
From there, we'll take the train from Gornergrat to Zermatt, where our journey will end. While this moment will be bittersweet, you'll no doubt have a lifetime of memories to treasure from this incredible adventure in the European Alps.
If you have rented any gear, then you will return it to Emma and Arild, who will take it back to Chamonix on your behalf.
You should be able to hike 6 hours per day with a daypack. To prepare for the tour, you'll need to do regular training if you want to have a chance of reaching the summits. We will help you out with a training plan if needed. Experience in hiking is good but you don't need any experience in climbing. Our guides will teach you everything that you need to know to ensure your safety. You will be walking on glaciers and steep terrain. There will be some exposure during the climbs but you will always be secured with a rope by the mountain guides.
It's possible to feel the altitude when you climb 4000 metre mountains. We will acclimatise by sleeping in mountain huts at different altitudes before the climbs. Common symptoms that you may experience include headache, illness, loss of appetite and feeling tired (hard to sleep). Usually the symptoms go away with some paracetamol but if not, then you must go down to a lower altitude again. Keep an open and honest conversation with your mountain guides about how you are feeling.
Hiking clothes like base layer, gore-tex and a thin down jacket. Gloves, hat and warm socks. 30-40L backpack and headlamp. Mountaineering boots that fit crampons, poles, helmet, harness and ice axe. You can rent the climbing gear you don't have in Chamonix (we will return it for you). For camera, you'll want to go as light as possible because you have to carry it while climbing. We typically use one camera body with a 24-105 mm lens in the mountains as well as a phone.
500 EURO (full payment required 60 days prior to the tour).
We highly recommend that you get a travel and medical insurance. Your own domestic medical insurance and private health scheme will not cover you whilst you are overseas. The tour is always dependent on weather, as the weather in the Alps can indeed be highly unpredictable. Likewise, summits of the peaks are dependent on favourable weather conditions.
22-28 Jun 2020 – Guided by Arild Heitmann & Emma Svensson