Rab Alpine Start aims to inspire, challenge and educate young people through the medium of mountaineering and adventure.

Together we want to build the community of young mountaineers in the UK, helping them develop the skills needed to discover possibilities and mountains beyond their local area and national borders. The culmination of the program will take the form of a week-long expedition to the Alps.

Course Structure


1) Open Evening – Date TBA

The program kicks off with an open evening to introduce the scheme. Here we will talk about the alpine trip and provide detailed information for parents and participants. This is also an opportunity to meet the guides, ask questions and get any help needed on the logistical side.


2) Training Weekend – 4th-5th July 2020
Here we will learn and develop mountaineering skills during a Snowdonia based training weekend, just before departure. The UK training would focus on climbing skills, scrambling, general mountain skills, personal equipment and fitness, camping in preparation for the trip to the Alps. There will be an element of planning and preparation for the expedition as part of the UK training. For more information about the UK training weekend click here.


3) Alps Expedition – 11th-19th July 2020
This takes the form of a week-long expedition to the Alps. Here you will develop your skills and tackle some of the peaks surrounding the small village of Arolla, in the Valais area of Switzerland. The mountains in this region are glaciated and reach a height of up to around 3,800m. It is also a chance to experience alpine mountain culture, environment and wildlife. The time spent travelling to Switzerland, preparing for mountain ascents and camping in the valley is equally valuable aspects to the trip.


The organisation of your travel by public transport, trip equipment, purchase of food, and mountain ascents will be a team effort, with everyone being involved right from the start. For more detailed information about the Alpine Course click here.


About the Rab Alpine Start Course


Who is Alpine Start for?
The course is aimed at 16 year olds from Wales, who already have a genuine interest in the outdoors and mountains, but may not normally have the opportunity to follow that outside of the UK, or may not otherwise have the opportunity to go somewhere like the Alps. The trip in 2020 is planned for students to go after their GCSEs at the end of Year 11. Applicants need to be aged 16 on or before the 11 July 2020.

What is the cost?
Participants will be asked to contribute around £350 to take part in the program.  The total cost of a place on the program would be in the region of £1200 per person.  The personal contribution will cover roughly 25% of that cost, the remainder will be covered through a combination of fundraising, sponsorship from Rab and others.

When is it?
The application process will open in November 2019, with the selection being finalised in early 2020, and an open evening shortly after that. The date for the Alpine trip is 11-19 July 2020.

Who is organising the course?
The Alpine Start course was set up by Ric Potter, a British Mountain Guide based in North Wales.  We have been supporting Ric alongside the Outdoor Partnership and Plas Y Brenin.  The delivery of the program will be managed by Ric Potter and a small team of Rab athletes, all of whom are qualified British Mountain Guides.

What’s the future?
This scheme is now in its second year. Currently, the course is only on offer to students from Wales. However, we aim to expand into a UK-wide scheme. We hope it will inspire young people to accept challenges and new experiences, and see how the application of planning and learning of necessary skills can achieve success and fulfilment.


How do I apply?


In order to apply you need to fill in the application form and be proposed by a sports coach or teacher from your school. The proposer should be someone who knows you well and would be able to support your application and vouch for your interest in outdoor sports and mountains. They will need to fill in a separate confidential proposal form for you. If you are worried about finding a proposer or finding the money to pay for the personal contribution, please fill in the form anyway and explain your situation and we will try and help.  Applications will then be reviewed by a committee of Guides and representatives from supporting organisations.

We anticipate that many people will apply to the program, and there are only a small number of places available. Sadly, this means that some of you who apply, and have really good applications, may not get to go in the end, but please understand that even though we’d like to take lots of people, at this trial stage the course can only be run for a very small group.

Application deadline: Tuesday 31st March.


Download Application Form

Download Proposer Form