About Francis

I am the first American guide to have obtained International IFMGA/UIAGM certification. This is the highest professional qualification available in mountaineering. UIAGM certification is mandatory to guide in the Alps. I am dedicated to providing you with safe, professional, quality climbing and skiing programs whether you are a novice or an expert. Guiding is a very old tradition here in the Alps and guides take their job very seriously. Guiding is all I do. It is not a part time activity nor a hobby, but more a way of life and most certainly a passion! I would like to pass some of these traditions on to you and offer you the possibility of sharing this passion for the mountains with you.



So what makes hiring me special? Most people realize that by hiring a mountain guide you reduce the risks involved with mountain related sports. You can also take advantage of climbing and skiing in places where you probably would not go alone. But did you also know that an enormous amount of climbing and skiing can be packed into a holiday in the company of a mountain guide. How many times have I seen people come and want to do it all on their own, which may be fine, but spend half their time trying to find out about the route or weather and end up missing the window...

If you end up only doing a small percentage of what you wanted to - what is the better choice ? Optimise your time here, and make tracks instead of following them... 

About me

Name: Francis Kelsey

Age: 50

Birthday: March 16

School: ENSA - Chamonix, France

Favorite vacation: I’m always on vacation

Favorite book: Guide books 

Favorite type of music: I enjoy discovering all types

Favorite movie: Anything that involves mountains

Favorite quote: Detends toi, ca va bien se passer -
Relax, everything’s gonna work out


A little history

I am a professional mountain & ski guide. I have been guiding now since 1992. I have always been into the mountains – skiing at age 4 and secretly sneaking away for overnight bivouacs in the mountains behind my parents house. At age 13, I decided to pursue my airy scrambles for something that looked a bit more fun. I went to work as an assistant bringing out other young teenagers on exciting hiking and more importantly to me, climbing outings. One thing led to another and before I knew it my world evolved around the mountains. At the age of 18 I moved to France to pursue my passions, later becoming actively involved with the French Alpine Club in Dijon and organizing outings and putting up climbing routes here and there in Burgundy. In 1992, I entered the infamous ENSA or French guides school in Chamonix and became the first American to receive international certification (UIAGM/IFMGA) through this prestigious school. Since then I have been making my living as a full time professional guide, climbing and skiing in many of the worlds great mountain ranges. I speak fluent French, some Italian and I am now learning German.
Previously I have worked as a technical consultant for Petzl, and Grivel. 

Ski Extreme

I have a great passion for steep skiing. and for a number of years I guided with Stages Vallençant guide bureau. Unfortunately, they are no longer in existence.
The office was founded by the late extreme skier, Patrick Vallençant and some of his friends in 1977. 


Contact me to organize your next outing

Some climbs I have guided :

  • Eiger: North Face Lauper route; the Mittellegi Ridge, West face.
  • Mönch: Nollen Route
  • Dent Blanche
  • Matterhorn: the traverse, Hörnli Ridge, Zmutt ridge.
  • Grandes Jorasses : Shroud and Hirondelles ridge.
  • Mont Blanc: various routes (more times than I can remember) including the traverse from the Aiguille du Midi, the Grands Mulets and the Gouter, Brenva Spur, Innominata ridge, Aiguilles Grises…
  • Grand Capucin : Bonatti route.
  • Les Drus : Traverse.
  • Les Courtes: Swiss, Austrian & NNEast routes.
  • La Verte : Couturier couloir, Whymper couloir.
  • Aig. du Midi: Frendo spur, Mallory, Tournier…
  • M Blanc du Tacul: Supercouloir, Gervasutti pillar.
  • + 100’s of other routes throughout the Alps.
  • Aconcagua: the Polish Glacier and the Normal Route.
  • Sierra Nevadas, Colorado, Utah, Washington state….

Some ski descents I have guided :

Eiger : West face.

Tour Ronde: North Face, Gervasutti couloir.

La Verte: Whymper couloir.

Les Courtes: NNEast route.

Aig. de Blaitiere: Spencer couloir.

M Blanc du Tacul: Couloir du Diable.

+ 100’s of other crazy, wild stuff….

Some other ascents I have made (for the fun of it) :

Eiger : North Face.

Matterhorn : North Face – classic route.

Grandes Jorasses : 3 different routes on the NF.

El Capitan: the Nose.

Mont Blanc: Peuterey Ridge.

Les Droites: North face classic route, Tournier spur.

Les Drus: the Bonatti Pillar