The Arc’teryx Alpine Academy in Chamonix, France is a three-day event that brings together professional guides and athletes to share their skills in various alpine disciplines in real-world situations. To kickstart the adventure, I headed out to the Alps a few days early with my friend and fellow photographer, Eilir Davies-Hughes, to acclimatise to the altitude and start creating content.
We began with a hike up to Lacs des Chéserys, where we camped amidst a thrilling mountain thunderstorm. Despite disrupted sleep, we didn’t let it dampen our spirits, and the following day we shot a stunning sunrise before refueling in Chamonix. We then hiked along the Mer de Glace and climbed the infamous Chamonix ladders to spend a night at Refuge de la Charpoua, a remote mountain hut at 2900 meters. Our next acclimatisation activity was a traverse of La Frête des Charmoz, a fantastic scramble along a ridgeline with stunning views – a truly memorable mountain day, despite missing the last train and having to hike all the way back to the valley bottom.
Then, the Arc’teryx Academy officially kicked off – three days of learning new skills, watching mountain films, enjoying the evening nightlife, and embarking on exciting mountain adventures. I spent my time with instructors learning high alpine mountaineering skills for alpine climbing and glacial travel, acquiring valuable and excellent skills. On our final morning, we put these skills into practice, heading out from L’Aiguille du Midi, crossing the glacier, and climbing a nearby ridgeline to witness some of the most dramatic views I’ve ever seen.