Peakshunter

FAQ

1. Who might be interested in the activities and programmes offered by PEAKSHUNTER Mountain Guides?

Absolutely anyone! It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner, an enthusiast or an expert at high-altitude climbing, our services and activities can be adapted to your level of fitness and ability. And as if that wasn’t enough, we can also organise training courses for all levels, to provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to take on whatever challenges you set yourself.
PEAKSHUNTER Mountain Guides offers activities for anyone and everyone who has a yearning for unforgettable high-altitude experiences getting up close and personal with the natural environment in general, and our beloved mountains in particular. As a result, we find ourselves working with all levels of experience, from the absolute beginner to the serious sports climber, and parties ranging from individuals and couples to families and groups of friends and acquaintances brought together by the search for new thrills, a shared love of nature, and the hope of finding adventure in wild places.

2. What is PEAKSHUNTER Mountain Guides, and how did it start?

PEAKSHUNTER Mountain Guides was established with three fundamental objectives: to guarantee the highest standards of professionalism, to communicate our love for what we do, and to cultivate good practice and respect for the mountain environment.
What began as the mission of one individual soon became the guiding philosophy for a group of professional guides: to create an innovative communication portal, a website that would serve to promote mountain-based projects via a portfolio of activities and services dedicated to the various spheres of high-altitude sports, exploring the natural environment and visiting some of the world’s most iconic mountain locations … but that’s not all …
As the selection of activities and services has been honed over time to suit all tastes and encompass all seasons, an initiative that began almost as a bit of fun has grown and become increasingly well established. It now offers a constantly updated online catalogue accompanied by innovative solutions and networks (media, social media, partnerships and collaborations).

3. Who are PEAKSHUNTER Mountain Guides?

Behind PEAKSHUNTER Mountain Guides is a team of professionals who specialise in providing memorable high-altitude experiences. This informal group of qualified mountain guides, specialist mountain-sports instructors, professionals from the world of marketing and communication and other individuals who live and work in the Aosta valley, work together synergistically, having found, in the mountains, a common inspiration and a constant stimulus for cultural events and initiatives promoting the knowledge and skills required to enjoy sport and exploration in an environment where professionalism and safety are paramount.
The distinctive “PH” logo is a guarantee of the quality of our services, which also benefit from collaborations and partnerships with leading national and international producers and suppliers of technical and sporting equipment.
A group of professionals dedicated to sharing unforgettable “vertical” experiences and breathtaking views with their clients and providing training programmes (day or residential courses) that will help you make your dreams a reality and achieve ever more ambitious objectives!

4. Who are the mountain guides, and what qualifications do they have?

PEAKSHUNTER Mountain Guides incorporates a team of certified professional mountain guides who all belong to the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA). This organisation represents the highest level of training and accreditation available for key disciplines such as rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, ski mountaineering, and areas of knowledge and skill such as topography, navigation, snow and avalanche safety, and rescue and first aid. The IFMGA training undertaken by our guides means they are prepared and qualified for working in all types of mountain environment. Each guide is a member of a professional association that attests to their level of training and requires regular courses to update or fine-tune their skills. PEAKSHUNTER guides work directly with participants on a freelance basis, without the involvement of third parties and intermediaries, such as tour operators, or other professional bodies like the Guide Alpine.

5. What’s so special about IFMGA-certified guides? Why do I need one??

Exploring or practising sport in the mountains means getting up close and personal with nature at its wildest, and that brings with it a certain level of risk. The job of the mountain guide is to reduce your exposure to such dangers as far as possible, and to guide you in setting a level of risk that is appropriate for the specific environment in which you find yourself. To this end, the IFMGA guide qualification involves advanced training in all areas that relate to the ability to make the right decisions in difficult circumstances. Your guide’s IFMGA training guarantees that he or she has these skills, and underpins your safety as a participant in these activities. However, an IFMGA guide is not there simply to see you safely through your mountain expedition. He or she will share the experience with you, from start to finish, helping you choose the right route and offering advice before you set off. Your guide knows the area you will be exploring, its geology, its fauna and flora, its history, its character. A mountain expedition is a lesson in life, and an IFMGA mountain guide can not only indicate the best path to take, he or she can offer advice and support you in overcoming challenges along the way. They know how to motivate you to improve, in terms of both technical ability and fitness, and keep you going when you are at your most weary or uncertain.
That is why, even after just a few excursions, participants often form a close, and unique, bond with their mountain guide. It is a bond built on mutual respect and trust and time spent discovering and sharing new experiences, which often blossoms into a lifelong friendship.

6. How do I know how technically challenging a programme of activities will be, and whether I am fit enough to take it on?

For each activity offered as part of a programme, we have identified both the Technical Difficulty and the Fitness Level required.
Both parameters are assessed and graded from lowest to highest on a 4-level scale, which is described in the relevant reference document.
In assessing your own level, in addition to the two parameters described, we also offer a mountaineering tips, which includes recommendations for improving your level of preparation through simple training exercises, and information that should prove useful when approaching one of the climbing and trekking activities on offer.

7. Let’s say I’m interested in one of the PEAKSHUNTER Mountain Guides activities, or I want to find out more. How do I get in touch with a guide?

Contact information for PEAKSHUNTER Mountain Guides is available under the heading Contact on the main menu on our homepage at www.peakshunter.com.
If you want to contact our guides directly, you can complete the contact form included on every activity page. Fill in the form and click send, and we will get back to you as quickly as possible with all the information you need.
Otherwise, you can contact us directly using the telephone numbers and email addresses listed in our contact information. We are here to help, whether you have specific concerns or just want to know more about us.

8. What equipment and clothing do I need to take part in a PEAKSHUNTER Mountain Guides activity?

PEAKSHUNTER Mountain Guides provides a detailed list of suitable equipment and clothing on the information page for each activity or itinerary. Naturally, the equipment and clothing we recommend vary from one activity to the next. It will also depend on the length of your excursion and the time of year, and to some extent on your personal circumstances and requirements, which we will be happy to talk through with you. To start you off, we have put together useful clothing tips for high-altitude climbing, with useful information and advice on assessing the gear you already have and identifying any gaps that need to be filled. If you require additional equipment or clothing, these can usually be bought or hired from PEAKSHUNTER Mountain Guides who may also provide a number of commonly used items, where available, or offer advice on where to source them.

9. Can you provide technical equipment to beginners or inexperienced climbers?

For small groups (2-3 individuals) or training courses with new or inexperienced climbers, we will be pleased to guide you through the process of acquiring the gear you need (helmets, rucksacks, crampons, ice axes, poles, quickdraws, safety equipment and other commonly used items). Thanks to the support of our network of suppliers, partners and sponsors, we can also offer daily or single-expedition hire of equipment if required, as an additional service.
As far as clothing is concerned, we are again happy to assist you in selecting the items you need. As mentioned above, we work with leading suppliers of mountaineering and technical clothing and equipment (such as Grivel and Dynafit), who offer a number of attractive reductions on standard catalogue prices that are available exclusively to PEAKSHUNTER Mountain Guides customers.

10. Is it possible to create an itinerary for an excursion not listed on your site?

If you are looking for memorable experiences and have a clear idea of what you want, we are here to help you achieve it!
PEAKSHUNTER Mountain Guides offers the option of creating tailored itineraries for those who want a unique, personalised adventure.
Our website features a “Get a customised experience” form, which allows you to contact PEAKSHUNTER Mountain Guides with specific requests. We will get back to you as soon as possible with all the information you need.

11. How do I pay?

Information about payment methods and conditions are listed in our Terms and Conditions, which can be found by clicking on the relevant link on our homepage.
For additional information or clarifications, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. PEAKSHUNTER Mountain Guides will reply as quickly as possible with all the information you need!

12. What happens in the case of bad weather, or if an activity is cancelled? Do I get my money back?

Information about payment methods and conditions are listed in our Terms and Conditions, which can be found by clicking on the relevant link on our homepage.
For additional information or clarifications, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. PEAKSHUNTER Mountain Guides will reply as quickly as possible with all the information you need!

13. Do I have to pay the full cost of my programme or activity up front when I make a booking?

Information about payment methods and conditions are listed in our Terms and Conditions, which can be found by clicking on the relevant link on our homepage.
For additional information or clarifications, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. PEAKSHUNTER Mountain Guides will reply as quickly as possible with all the information you need!

14. Can I get insurance for climbing and other mountain-based activities?

Safety on the mountain is a matter of fundamental importance and cannot be overlooked.
We recommend that before undertaking any mountain-based activity you take out insurance under the policy from the UVGAM (Aosta Valley High-Altitude Mountain Guide Union), which is underwritten by UnipolSai and covers you for search, assistance, rescue, aid and recovery. This policy is available exclusively for clients using the services of registered Aosta Valley Mountain Guides.
Specifically, it is possible to take out coverage for the following periods, at the following costs:

  • 3 days: € 5.00
  • 7 days: € 12.00
  • 15 days: € 18.00
  • 1 year: € 40.00

A link providing details and a form for purchasing insurance (https://pos.larcasrl.it) is provided on our site, both on the homepage and on the information page for each activity, under the heading Details.
Before purchasing insurance, clients are required to read and accept the conditions listed in the associated Information Brochure and the 7A-7B Module, which can be downloaded as pdf files from the above web page.

15. What organisational and logistical support can PEAKSHUNTER Mountain Guides provide (such as help with accommodation, transport etc.)?

PEAKSHUNTER Mountain Guides is dedicated to your convenience and peace of mind, working not only for the duration of the activities you book with us but also behind the scenes to make the entire experience as positive as possible. We can offer assistance and information to facilitate your trip, putting you in contact with accommodation providers in the area and ensuring you have all the support you need in getting where you need to go to participate in our activities. For group excursions and package tours, we are able to make transport arrangements (minicab/minibus/4×4) to get you to the refuges, meeting points or guesthouses and hotels featured in the activity itineraries.
Our links with partners and collaborators in the hospitality sector mean we can also adapt any of our programmes to fit your requirements, and offer advice on the best options, in terms of logistics and organisation, for reducing the cost and duration of the additional services that our activities entail (accommodation, catering and transport).

16. What assistance can you offer to those who are not only interested in your activities and programmes, but also in the food and wine that the region has to offer?

Besides being dedicated professionals, the guides and instructors who collaborate with PEAKSHUNTER Mountain Guides are ultimately regular human beings who, like you, love to cap a day of shared adventure and goals met in an equally satisfying fashion, which is likely to mean a platter of local cured meats and cheeses, and a glass of wine raised in toast to the achievements of the previous hours. In short, we will be delighted to join you in the discovery of some authentic local food and drink. From our own collaborators and partners (such as local food specialist Tascapan, and the Aosta Valley’s very own Distillerie St. Roch), to local producers and small family businesses founded on traditions that have been passed down from one generation to the next, our guides will introduce you to the flavours and gastronomic specialities of the Aosta region for an experience that rewards all of your senses, whether it’s the thin mountain air of the mountain peaks or the unique aromas of certified specialities from renowned producers dedicated to sourcing, producing and selling their delicacies locally and as directly as possible, supporting rural mountain communities and making the most of the rich history of the valley’s most cherished products (wines, spirits, liqueurs, cured meats, cheeses, preserves, desserts and confectionary, and so on). Join PEAKSHUNTER Mountain Guides in a toast to new goals and the delicious specialities of the Aosta Valley.

17. Can I purchase an excursion, course or other mountaineering experience as a gift for someone else?

Yes. Anyone can make a gift of one or more of the excursions or day or residential courses offered by PEAKSHUNTER Mountain Guides, even one-off expeditions to a location of your choosing. Click the Give the A UNIQUE ADVENTURE FOR SOMEONE YOU LOVE module on our homepage and fill in the short form with the details of your own – or the recipient’s – ideal activity, and we will get back to you as soon as possible to help you plan a “vertical” adventure to remember. We will even provide a personalised postcard as an original way to let the lucky beneficiary know what’s coming!

18. Is there a limit to the number of people that a single guide can work with?

The maximum number of participants each guide can accompany on the various excursions is indicated in the Details section of the relevant information page.
The number of participants is largely a question of risk management. In a high-altitude activity such as mountaineering, small groups are easier to manage than larger parties and, as a consequence, are objectively a safer proposition.
For mountain activities that are physically and technically more demanding, it is key that members of the group (rope team) be of a comparable level in terms of expertise and physical fitness. Pairing each guide with a smaller group leads to quicker, more efficient and less cumbersome excursions and a safer experience for all concerned.
For courses and activities designed for beginners and inexperienced participants, having a larger group can be more interesting and enjoyable as it offers greater scope for meeting new people and sharing stories and experiences, but as activities become more challenging, a larger group can bring additional risks.
The direct, immediate communication made possible by a smaller group makes for easier and more effective instruction. For learning in general, it is easy to understand why a smaller group is preferable. The guide can pass on theoretical concepts directly to each individual in a manner that is more easily understood and can simulate different situations and provide hands-on experience of technical issues. Ultimately, each participant will receive a more personalised form of instruction.

19. Do the courses offered by PEAKSHUNTER Mountain Guides lead to some form of certification?

PEAKSHUNTER Mountain Guides organises training courses in a number of key disciplines (mountaineering, ski mountaineering, rock and ice climbing, freeriding, crevasse and avalanche self-rescue, mountain navigation, use of GPS and avalanche transceivers).
Our guides are certified by the ISTA (International Snow Training Academy) to provide training in avalanche risk management in snow-covered terrain, covering what to do before, during and following an avalanche or other high-risk situation. These courses offer the chance to acquire specific levels of accreditation that are recognised around the world. ISTA courses are graded by difficulty and are based on a shared philosophy of learning and universal forms of communication, specifically the use of simple, consistent language that is understood by experts and beginners alike.

20. What’s the difference between icefall/frozen waterfall climbing and gully-ice/goulotte climbing?

Tackling either of these phenomena requires extensive familiarity and ability with ice-climbing techniques. A frozen waterfall or icefall forms during the winter months as the temperature drops below zero. It is formed either by the freezing of a river or stream and/or the melting and subsequent refreezing of snow and ice at an altitude that will vary from one region or country to the next.
The French term goulotte is used for a formation of compacted snow or ice in a mountain gully between two rock walls at an altitude of 2,500 m or more. These are usually narrow and near vertical.

21. What do climbers mean by a “multi-pitch route”?

In rock climbing and mountaineering, a multi-pitch route is a rock-climbing route on a cliff or rock face that requires one or more stops, usually at secure anchor points that can be used for belaying. Multi-pitch routes can be climbed using a variety of techniques and styles depending on the character of the rock and the type of movements required for each section. Routes are therefore classified by grade, depending on the difficulty of the various manoeuvres involved.

22. Do you offer activities that are suitable for young children, teenagers and/or families?

In the Climbing section, you will find the “Introduction to climbing” programme designed especially for beginners, young children and teens. The Hiking section includes trekking excursions tailored for small groups and families that can be undertaken without any particular fitness or technical training. For those who want to try glacier climbing, the Mountaineering section of the site includes a “First Steps on to the Ice” programme, which is designed to give those who are unfamiliar with high-altitude climbing a safe, accessible introduction to this fascinating environment.

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