++ Safe, confident winter paddling ++
++ Cold water survival ++
++ Navigation in the dark ++
++ Bushcraft and making fire ++
++ Everything to do with hypothermia and the theory and practice of cold-water rescues ++
++ A fantastic winter camping weekend on Lac de Joux, full of good fun, good food, and adventure ++

What is my level?

    • Intro
      Whilst fair-weather paddlers stow away their kayaks with the coming of autumn, for some of us, this is the time of year when things really start to get interesting!

      But do you know the basics of kayaking during the colder time of the year, or how to go about planning and carrying out challenging sea kayak tours in Greenland, Tierra del Fuego, or Norway? Is it enough to simply get hold of a drysuit and set off? What else do you need to know about when it comes to risk assessment and preparation for a sea kayak tour in icy water and a cold environment? How do you set up your camp or bivouac? And what do you do with a kayaker who has serious hypothermia if there’s no help nearby? Can you get a fire going, whatever the conditions? In our winter paddling and survival course, you will learn the basics you need and put them into practice straight away. Spend a wintery weekend with our guides – who have plenty of experience of expeditions and how to deal with the cold – including an overnight stay in a bivouac or a tent. In addition to the questions already mentioned, we’ll also be dealing with the theory and practice of cold water rescue. And on top of all this, we’ll get to enjoy the peace and beauty of kayaking on Lac de Joux in the winter!
    • Itinerary
      The course begings at 14:00 in Les Bioux, on the grounds of Altitude 1004 (see below). However, we’ll meet up before this, at 12:00, so that we can set up our tents and organise our camp. The course will end on Sunday at 13:00.

      We can either meet up at the course location itself (see below), or we can meet at Kanuladen Siesta Oppi in Neuenegg in the morning, by 09:00 at the latest. We can work out who wants to carshare beforehand and help to organise this if need be.

      On this trip, you’ll be learning about safety and gaining the essential knowledge and skills you’ll need for winter kayaking trips, or trips in the colder parts of the world. This is relevant and valuable for all paddlers who are outdoor enthusiasts and who want to experience something different, truly broadening their horizons. In other words, “winter kayaking and survival” is not some exotic course for crackpots and eccentrics – it’s an important component in our sea kayak training concept. Kayaking in ice-cold water, scenarios, kayaking in the dark, landing in ice-covered bays (if possible), cold water rescues, winter camping and bivouacking. Survival and making fire using the bailout bag. Cooking together around the fire, spending the night outdoors. Hypothermia prevention and treatment, first aid and emergency management in the cold: building shelters, the Hibler wrapping method etc.

      And last but not least: This weekend is REALLY fun! Despite the cold, or perhaps because of it, on the Lac de Joux, which is 1,000m above sea level, we are most definitely going to have a fantastic time! Feasting on good food and drink around the campfire is just as much a part of this course as adventure and cold water survival are!
    • Course objectives
      - Once you have completed this course, you will know how to prepare for winter sea kayaking tours, as well as what to do if things go wrong!
      - Carrying out swift rescues in cold water
      - Navigating in the dark or through fog will not be a problem.
      - You’ll be able to start a fire in no time, wherever you are, and you know what’s involved when it comes to camping and bivouacking in the winter!
    • Important
      Besides a good sleeping bag and a good roll mat, to take part in this course you will also need a dry suit and a fleece to wear underneath.

      Details of the camping equipment that you’ll need will be provided in good time before the course begins.

      We will provide the kayaks as well as all the basic kit, including paddles, spray decks, life vests, shoes, firewood, outdoor cooking facilities, and all the course materials. We’ll be using various makes of single sea kayaks. Those who wish to can also use their own kayaks (unfortunately, we cannot give discounts for those who do).

      If you like, you can also rent a dry suit from us. Cost: CHF 90

      The planned course location is Lac de Joux. If it turns out that this lake is too iced up, we’ll head for Lac de la Gruyère or another suitable body of water in the Bern/Fribourg region. We will inform you well on time if if there is a change of plans.
    • More info
      Group size: Min. two participants, max. six.

      The price includes boats, paddles, buoyancy aids, spray decks.

      The water temperature of Lac de Joux in winter is usually somewhere between just over 0 ° C and a maximum of 7 ° C. Please bring a dry suit, hat, possibly neoprene hood, neoprene gloves and pogies as well as your own warm functional underwear (two layers of wool or tight-fitting fleece, NO cotton!).

      A drysuit is mandatory on this course. In case you don't have one, you can also rent a drysuit from us if you wish. Cost: 90 CHF

      Also important:
      Warm clothes, hat and gloves for outside. Warm sleeping bag and sleeping mat. Thermos. Either tent, tarp or bivouac sack. Paddle clothing: dry suit and warm fleece and functional underwear (at least two layers) for underneath! We provide: boat, paddle, buoyancy aid, spray deck, tow line / throw-tow, group shelter, kitchen tent, tarp, firewood and kitchen equipment for the group.

      We will also set up a kitty for meals (ca. 30 CHF).

      The course takes place in all weather conditions - except in strong winds and / or thunderstorms. The guide on site will decide on the feasibility based on our safety regulations.

      Accident insurance is the responsibility of the participants. We also strongly recommend that you obtain travel cancellation insurance. Please read our GTC on the topic of cancellation fees, cancellation deadlines etc.


    ++ Must be able to swim ++
    ++ 5 days of sea-based sea kayaking experience ++
    ++ You are confident sitting in a kayak and can do the basics ++
    ++ You are confident paddling at Beaufort force 3 and in waves of about 2 ft ++

    COST: 290 CHF



    How to get to our meeting point in La Bioux:

    • Public transport

      ++ From Bern, depart 08:53 on the RE 3914 for La Chaux de Fonds, getting off at Neuchâtel ++
      ++ Take the IC 5 for Genève Aéroport, getting off at Yverdon-les-Bains ++
      ++ Take the S5 24529 for Lausanne, getting off at Cossonay-Penthalaz ++
      ++ Take the S2 24228 for Vallorbe, getting off at Le Day ++
      ++ Take the R6015 for Le Brassus, getting off at Le Pont ++
      ++ Take the B 690 42 bus for Le Brassus, getting off at Les Bioux, Les Tâches (arrival at 11:13) ++

    • Road

      ++ From Bern, take the A1 for Geneva via Avenches until you reach Yverdon-les-Bains ++
      ++ At exit 23 Essert-Pittet, head for Vallorbe ++
      ++ Carry on to Le Pont and L'Abbaye ++
      ++ Drive along the lakeside road to Les Bioux until you get to the sign which says “Altitude 1004”. Turn right and drive down to the car park ++
      ++ N.B: If it turns out that the car park is really muddy, you’ll be best off parking near the entrance! ++

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