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FAQ

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

Anyone! No matter whether you are a beginner, an enthusiast or an expert: we offer solutions that fit your level of physical preparation and have different levels of difficulty. And if that were not enough, we organize training courses for all levels to teach you how to face any challenge safely.
PEAKSHUNTER Mountain Guides offers activities for anyone and everyone who has a yearning for unforgettable high-altitude experiences or getting up close and personal with the natural environment in general, and the mountains in particular. As a result, we find ourselves working with beginners, enthusiasts, experts, groups of friends, couples or families, in other words, people searching for new passions, people who love nature and seek out new adventures in the wilderness!

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

PEAKSHUNTER Mountain Guides was created to ensure professionalism, transmit our passion and cultivate good practice and respect for the mountains.
What began as the idea of one individual soon became the philosophy for a group: creating an innovative communication project, a website for promoting mountain-related initiatives via a portfolio of activities and services dedicated to the various high mountain sports, to hiking and to trips to places which are a symbol in the mountaineering world, and much more…
Began almost as a bit of fun, this project was honed over time with the careful selection of proposals to suit all tastes and encompass all seasons: an online catalog with networks and innovative tools (media and social networks, partnerships and collaborations) and constantly updated.

3. Who are PEAKSHUNTER Mountain Guides?

Behind the logo “PH” (PEAKSHUNTER Mountain Guides) is an informal team of professionals who specialise in providing memorable high-altitude experiences. This informal group of qualified mountain guides, specialised mountain-sports instructors, marketing and communication professionals, and other people who live and work in the Aosta valley, work together synergistically. A network of people who found in the mountains passion and motivation, as well as 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 of one or more days 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 are 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 sports 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 means our guides are prepared and qualified for working in all types of mountain environment. Each guide is a member of a professional association that certifies their level of training and requires periodic refresher courses and further training. 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 is so special about IFMGA-certified guides? Why do I need one?

Exploring or practising mountain sports 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 risks as far as possible. 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. The IFMGA training guarantees that your Guide has these skills, and ensures 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, 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 features. A mountain expedition is a lesson in life, and an IFMGA mountain guide not only can 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. It is for these reasons that, after only a few trips, the same customer tends to build a unique and special relationship with the Guide, based on mutual respect and trust in dealing with and sharing new experiences that often blossoms into a lifelong friendship.

6. How do I evaluate the technical difficulty of a programme, and whether I am fit enough to do it?

We have identified the technical difficulty and the physical preparation required for each proposed activity and you can find it in the page of each programme.
Both parameters are assessed and ranked from lowest to highest on a 4-level scale, which is described in the relevant reference documents.
The characteristics of each level are also detailed through precise and specific definitions foreach level: in this way, everyone is able to assess whether their level of preparation (physical and technical) is in line with the desired activity.
In assessing your own level, in addition to the two parameters described, we also offer a technical guide – 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.
If you want to contact our guides directly, you can submit the form included in 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 phone 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.
Of course, equipment and clothing we recommend vary accoring to type of activity, duration 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 Clothing Tips for high-altitude climbing, with useful information and advice on assessing the gear you already have, and identifying what you need. 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, backpakcs, 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.
On our website you can find a form called Get a Customised Experience, 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 is listed in our Terms and Conditions, which can be found by clicking on the relevant link in the footer.
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. 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 cover 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.
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.

13. What organisational and logistic 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 moutain huts, meeting points or guesthouses and hotels featured in the activity itineraries.
Thanks to our partners and collaborators in the hospitality sector 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).

14. 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 people who, like you, love to cap a day of shared adventures and goals in an equally satisfying fashion, which is likely to mean a platter of local cured meats and cheeses, and a glass of wine raised to 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. Thanks to our collaborators and partners (such as local food specialist Tascapan, and the Aosta Valley’s very own Distillerie St. Roch), 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 will reward 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 delicatessen (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.

15. 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 courses offered by PEAKSHUNTER Mountain Guides, even one-off expeditions to a location of your choosing. Click the link 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!

16. 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 is listed in our Terms and Conditions, which can be found by clicking on the relevant link in the footer.
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!

17. 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

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

Information about payment methods and conditions is 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!

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  “First Steps on to the Rock”, a programme especially designed  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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