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The spirit of "ex" is central to Aiglon’s philosophy. There are many kinds of expeditions at Aiglon, and they are an important part of what makes an education here unique.

While many students may spend their weekend having a lie-in or catching up on homework, up to half of Aiglon’s students, of all ages, will be out on an expedition. These trips, scrupulously overseen by experienced and highly trained staff and experts, are both fun and challenging. They may involve the acquisition of new skills or trying out exciting activities like camping, orienteering, kayaking, rock climbing or mountain biking, amongst others.

Expedition activities vary according to the seasons, from Switzerland’s celebrated Via Ferrata in summer to ski-touring in winter. Examples of expeditions include kayaking and camping at Lac Léman, road cycling on the circuit at Bex, and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing between mountain huts.

Every student will be exposed to activities new to them, some of which they may find extremely challenging or outside their comfort zone. Nonetheless, with encouragement and support, they all rise to those tests. Students consistently describe “going on ex” as among the highlights of their time at Aiglon. They experience the sense of accomplishment at achieving more than they thought themselves capable, the wonder of being in an environment very different from home and reliant on their own resources, and friendships forged amid the lows and highs of a demanding trip.


Our aim through the expedition programme is to use the outdoor environment and adventure activities as a vehicle for transforming our students’ experiences into knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours. Genuine outdoor education through real experience.

You see students come who have no experience of the outdoors. And because they have to get involved, they have to walk — and they can reach the summit. You see them year on year gradually change and develop that resilience.Louise ThomasHead of Expeditions

By the Numbers


Average number of expedition experiences per term


Bouquetins awarded last year for expedition achievement (participating in at least 5 expeditions per term)


Average number of students on expedition each weekend


Our highest peak (Pigne de la Lé) climbed (in metres) as part of the High Expedition programme

Types of Expeditions

Glacial High Expedition
High Expedition

High expeditions are the ultimate challenge for senior students.

From our privileged position as a boarding school in the Swiss Alps, Aiglon is surrounded by many mountains over 3,000m. These peaks normally require two days to climb.

Day one is a walk to a mountain hut or cabane. The hut provides a simple evening meal and a bed in a shared dormitory. The following day we leave early after a breakfast of cereal and bread to climb to the summit before descending all the way back to the valley. On day one, we normally walk 3-4 hours and on day two, 5-8 hours.

Climbing a high mountain requires a good level of fitness and determination. But the feeling of achieving the summit is one of the most memorable experiences — not just during school, but for life.

Independent Expedition

On independent expedition, students get to face a genuine adventure!

The opportunity to make decisions and to experience the consequences of those decisions and actions — both positively and negatively — is a powerful experience. It's a unique opportunity that allows students time away from school and the chance to enjoy time with their friends in nature.

Independent expeditions are limited to senior students who have demonstrated a high level of competence and maturity. An independent group is led by a "group leader" who has passed their leader assessment.

Students form groups of between three and six people and can go on a day or overnight experience. They are responsible for finding their way, checking in with staff, as appropriate, pitching camp and making responsible decisions.

Year Group Expeditions

Each year group has a different focus or theme for their regular weekend expeditions. This means that no matter how long a student spends at Aiglon, they have the opportunity to tackle new challenges each term.

Year 5 & 6 Themes: Inspire
Year 7 & 8 Themes: Discovery
Year 9 Themes: Expanding Horizons, The Adventurous Journey
Year 10 Themes: Consolidation Year & Duke of Edinburgh
Year 11 Themes: Choice, Development & Opportunity
Year 12 Themes: IB & Leadership
Year 13 Themes: Challenge, Choice & Skills for Life


Students at Refuge Cabane
House Expeditions

Different from other expeditions, and unique to each house, these expeditions are great for staff and students to get to know each other, break down barriers and build strong bonds within each house. They are compulsory and may count towards student expedition requirements and awards.

Winter Long Expedition

The Winter Long Expedition is a unique expedition that takes place each winter term. All the students leave campus for a unique multi-day experience. This allows for more in-depth exploring than we typically have during a weekend.

Students are either introduced to or given the chance to develop their skills in ice climbing, ski touring, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing or the other famous sports for which Switzerland is famous!

Summer Long Expedition

In the autumn, students head out to European capital cities for their cultural experiences. In the winter, we head up the mountain for all types of winter experiences. In the summer term, students also have an opportunity to leave campus for a few days to take an in-depth look at exploring our local area.

Students go on multi-day treks through the Alps, or partake in the famous canoe paddling adventure through the Ardèche in nearby France. These are a favourite few days to mark the nearing of the end of the year and the return of warmer weather.

Why do we do expeditions?

To Develop

  1. Confidence and self esteem

  2. Health and wellbeing

  3. Social and emotional awareness

  4. Environmental awareness

  5. Activity skills

  6. Personal qualities

  7. Skills for life

  8. Increased motivation and appetite for learning

  9. Broadened horizons

FOR Experience

Our aim through the Aiglon expedition programme is to use the outdoors as a vehicle to both develop and educate students. The expedition programme is not an ‘add on’ to the students' education but is integral to it.

We achieve this by offering an expeditions programme that is challenging and adventurous, that involves physical activity, that respects the natural environment, that increases our students' curiosity in the natural world, that will be memorable and fun, and that inspires.

More Information



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