Despite the mixed weather conditions of sun, rain, snow, thunder & lightening that Chamonix experienced during the fourth Arc’teryx Alpine Academy, the event was a great success with all 50 clinics and seminars running as scheduled. 340 participants from 25 countries, 80 mountain guides and international Arc’teryx athletes came together to share their alpine skills, enthusiasm and passion for the mountains in the beautiful Haute Savoie region.
The majority of the clinics took place on Saturday and Sunday with the overnight photography and MSR Bivy clinics on Friday night. With weather moving on Saturday night and hanging around throughout the day on Sunday, visibility was patchy but fortunately the rain held off keeping the valley climbing clinics on track.
The sheer variety of the 20 different clinic types is a large part of what makes the Arc’teryx Alpine Academy so popular (the clinics sell-out within hours of being released). Aspiring mountaineers can choose to take part in a large variety of activities - including the newly added ski alpinism, glacier travel, big wall climbing, overnight photo clinics and bivies, women-specific glacier tours, ice climbing, rock climbing techniques, alpine rescue, dry tooling and trad climbing. The idea is people get to learn new skills and techniques from professional mountain guides and the best athletes in climbing and mountaineering.
The Academy movie night on Saturday was hugely popular once again. The collection of presentations and films drew roughly 400 people to the event, packing the Aiguille du Midi base station leaving standing room only. The night was hosted by Arc’teryx climbing athletes Mina Leslie-Wujastyk and Nina Caprez, who later presented her Orbayu multi pitch story to the audience.
The remainder of the evening was filled with great short films including Paul McSorley’s presentation of Climbing Beluga, Will Gadd with Frozen Titans, Marc-Andre Leclerc and Brett Harrington spoke about their recent accomplishments in Patagonia. Vanessa Francois and Liv Sansoz presented their Cosmic Bivy story and Eric Lason showed his unsupported, unaided expedition to the geographic North Pole. These visual stories gave the crowd an up-close look into what’s possible when you commit to a personal goal. It was easy to feel the emotion, dedication and pride felt by the athletes as they told their stories. Both the silence and the cheers of the audience reflected the struggles and successes told through each athlete’s story.
Sunday marked the end of the 2015 Alpine Academy. The event was a great success with over 340 participants attending more than 50 clinics and seminars over the weekend. The addition of the mountain clean up day provided a great kick off to the Academy and showed people’s dedication to the mountains and making sure they are left just as they were found.