Become a scientist researcher for 5 days


For six days, you will collect data on mountain habitats, a topic researched by the CREA since 1996. Your scientific findings will be added to the Mont-Blanc Atlas, a vast transfrontier program initiated by the CREA with Swiss, French and Italian scholars to monitor biodiversity in the emblematic Mont-Blanc and model its evolution through climate change. The protocols that you will follow have been designed by these scholars for the need of their studies. You will hence make a real difference in science, providing data that researchers need but have little time to collect for enhancing our understanding of adaptation to climate change in mountain environment. We also hope, in exchange for your time and efforts, to unveil to you some mysteries of the mountain fauna and flora and, for teachers, we will discuss and help you design scientific protocols to be used in class.

Based in Chamonix in a 3 star family-hotel and guided by an experienced mountain leader, you will enjoy different faces of our beautiful mountains. A good physical condition for hiking, enthusiasm and a taste for observation are all you need to implement our simple scientific protocols.

Your stay in Chamonix will also financially support the NGO CREA in its mandate of research and diffusion of scientific knowledge ; 100% of the benefits will be ploughed back into its activities


Exemples of protocols
  •       Monitor the reproduction stage of Rana temporaria, our mountain frog to see the impact of altitude in their development
  •       Monitor the reproduction stages of Periparus ater, the coal tit, to see how changes in snow and temperatures affect their survival
  •       Help put in place a geocaching scientific game by marking trees in different habitats (Larix decidua  / larch, Picea abies/ spruce, Pinus cembra/ pine tree …) to monitor tree growth in extreme environments
  •       Analyze the plant cover on designated plots
  •       Measure the vegetation stage of different species of trees in the Phenoclim program


From 20 to 24 june 2016 : 
From 11 to 15 julyt 2016 : 

1450 € / personne


  •       See the mountain differently through their inhabitants (frog, coal tit, alpine chough, larch…)
  •       Give yourself the time for a close observation of nature and experiment scientific field protocols
  •       Discuss their latest research with the CREA scientists
  •       Enjoy the lively town center and French cuisine of Chamonix, capital city of mountaineering at the foot of Mont Blanc
  •       Live a life-time experience of a night in a very basic mountain hut, and take a breakfast facing  the Mont Blanc range





  • Day 1
    familiarize yourself with research issues on climate change in the Alps – take the train or hike (+800 m vertical gain/ 3h) to the famous site of Montenvers-Mer de Glace to apprehend with a scientist the effect of climate change on mountain landscapes and glaciers – night in Hotel in Chamonix
    Day 2
    hike to Loriaz, one of CREA’s main study sites at 2,000m altitude (+800m vertical gain / 3h). Along our way we start doing our first observations and research manipulations. During the week, all observation and data collection activities will be carried out in two groups of 6 under the supervision of Sandrine and Irene – night in Loriaz mountain hut
    Day 3
    collect data on coal tits and frogs in Loriaz - second night in Loriaz Hut
    Day 4
    Descent to Chamonix (800m D- / 2h) - night in hotel in chamonix
    Day 5
    climb to Aiguille du Midi by cable car to reach an altitude of 3,800m and enjoy the view on the highest summits surrounding you – Stop at Plan de l’Aiguille (2300m altitude) on the way down for protocols on trees and/or alpine choughs– 17h end
  • Full board during stay for groups between 5 to 8 persons.
    - Organization of the stay - Accommodation from Mondaynight through friday morning
    You should be aware that the Loriaz hut offers is very basic: long drop toilets in a separate building, shared bathroom with no shower, bunk beds (16 people per dormitory). This should not however alter the amazement of a sunset over the Mont-Blanc, a great breakfast on the terrace and the gentleness of our host Valérie, one of the best cooks in the mountains !
    - Three meals a day as per the meal plan above, from Monday lunch to Friday lunch - When hiking, the guiding services of a certified mountain leader and of a trainee - Cable car or train tickets to altitude sites where applicable - Researchers time for defining the protocols and introducing them to you - A price premium, i.e. 20% of the total cost of your stay, that will directly go to the CREA to finance its activities
  • What you will absolutely need
    For the field hikes
    - Walking boots with a strong sole (Vibram or Contagrip type) - A day comfortable backpack of between 20 and 30 liters to pack your picnic, raingear and warm jacket as well as a small night pack for the trip to Loriaz. - A pair of hiking pants (no jeans) - Shorts - Tee shirts (avoid cotton if possible ) - A rainjacket (Goretex type) - A warm polar fleece or dawn jacket - Hat and sun glasses - Water bottle (at least 1L) - A pocket knife - Personal first aid (we will have one but you need your personal medication)
    For the night in Loriaz
    - Cotton sleeping sheet (no sleeping bags are required at the Loriaz hut as blankets are provided but a light sleeping sheet is necessary) - Hand/head torch - Small toilet bag (no shower) - Cash for drinks
    For your stay in Chamonix :
    - Passeport - A pair of lights shoes (sneakers or flip-flop) - Under clothes - Sweat shirt or fleece top - Tee shirts
    In addition if you want or have
    - A pair of telescopic hiking poles - A GPS or smartphone to locate the sites and data collected - Woolen or fleece hat + pair of gloves
  • - Personal insurance- Having repatriation insurance is mandatory. Cancellation insurance is highly recommended. - Drinks and personal expenditure (souvenirs…) - Transportation to and from Chamonix - Supplement for a single room . This option is of course not available in the Loriaz hut where only bunk beds in dormitories are available
  • You will be guided in the mountain by a certified UIMLA (Union of International Mountain Leader Associations) mountain leader and one UIMLA trainee, both living and working in the Mont Blanc range. Scientists will not continuously be with us in the field but your guides are working closely with them. Protocols will mostly be carried out in small groups of 6.
  • 6 pax mini
    The CREA research protocols require a good physical condition. We will be hiking everyday both on maintained trails and off-tracks to reach the observation sites, 5 to 7 hours of hiking daily, and 500 to 800m (1,500 to 2,400ft) of average vertical gain each day. We will spend 5 days in the mountain with rough terrains and changing weather. You will need to anticipate with a good physical training. Hiking experience is absolutely necessary.
  • Observatoire du Mont-Blanc, 67 lacets du Belvédère à Chamonix at 9 am on Monday


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