Alpspitze Via Ferrata Guided Ascent


The intent of this IPS Journey is to, well, climb a mountain – specifically, the Alpspitze (2,628 m). But apart from that, IPS Journeys are more than mere trips; each one has a more profound meaning.

The purpose of this climb is to share a bonding experience with other men while being back in the arms of nature and in an environment where you will have not only the opportunity to renew your survival instincts, but also the kinship of working closely as a true team.

Join Jellis Vaes and two other guys for an EPIC guided climb of the Alpspitze, an impressive mountain located in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. While no mountaineering skills are required, good physical health is needed. The total duration of the climb, meaning, up and back down, is approximately 10 hours.

This text was taken from the book “In an Unspoken Voice” by Peter Levine, Ph.D., a clinician, stress scientist and keen observer of the naturalistic animal world. It is a book that blends the latest findings in biology, neuroscience and body-oriented psychotherapy to show that, when we bring together animal instinct and reason, human beings can become more whole.

This information is here to show the importance of understanding why and where this emptiness—this lack of really feeling alive—that people often feel in modern society comes from.

The deeper purpose of this IPS Journey is to be in an environment where, under the right guidance by Jellis Vaes, one can once again experience this feeling of using your survival instincts together with others.

It is about experiencing something that has been lost, something that positively affects our well-being and mental health, something that is still deeply ingrained within us.

Peter Levine, Ph.D., in “In an Unspoken Voice”:

“Mostly, though, our gripping survival instincts seem largely useless; in fact, in day-to-day life, they are frequently detrimental. We expend an enormous amount of energy suppressing our instinctual eruptions. For example, when our boss passes over us and promotes a less experienced rival, we (perceiving actual threat) momentarily explode, then stuff our murderous rage back into our bodies from whence it came—almost before we can feel it.

“The cumulative consequences of suppressing such powerful impulses, however, takes its toll in the form of back pain, headaches, high blood pressure, heart disease and gastrointestinal disorders, just to mention a few. Today our survival depends very little on actually executing our basic instincts. Rather, our physical and psychological health depends on having deliberate and nonreactive access to them.

“Because our ancient design plan remains intact, it is our legacy to feel really alive only when our survival instincts are fully engaged. However, and this is the rub, modern life rarely provides the opportunity for that kind of raw and powerful expression. And when we are called to action, being swept away with a fight-or-flight response is rarely appropriate to the social context in which we find ourselves. As such, we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

“Unable to feel our instinctual aliveness, we are left with certain cravings. These impulses generally revolve around two of our primary instincts: those for self-survival (threat) and those for species survival (sex). Furthermore, if we cannot find a ‘real’ situation to evoke these instincts, we manufacture one.

“For example, we may engage in inappropriate and dangerous sexual liaisons or jump off cliffs with our ankles attached to bungee cords. These temporary fixes don’t satisfy our yearnings. Most of the time we have solely our thoughts as meager substitutes for our instinctual drives. We not only put a lot of energy into our thoughts, but we also frequently confuse them with reality; we come to believe erroneously, as did Descartes, that we are our thoughts.

“Thoughts, unfortunately, are poor surrogates for experienced aliveness, and when disconnected from feelings, they result in corrosive rumination, fantasy, delusion and excessive worry. Such perseveration is not really surprising, as the paranoid tendency toward concern for potential threat in the face of ambiguity might have had a significant adaptive advantage in earlier times. 

Now, however, it is the currency of our judgmental, negativistic ‘superegos.’ On the other hand, when we are informed by clear body sensations and feelings, worry is diminished, while creativity and a sense of purpose are enhanced. The poet David Budbill, working in his Vermont garden, speaks to this very human condition in his relevant verse, ‘This Shining Moment in the Now’:

“ ‘When I am every day all day all body and no mind, when I am physically, wholly and completely, in this world with the birds, the deer, the sky, the wind, the trees … this shining moment in the now, devoid of mental rumination.’ ”

To learn more about this IPS Journey, scroll down for in-depth info about the trip and to reserve your spot.






Jellis Vaes is a therapist, the founder of The IPS Project, and a pro adventurer. He has undergone survival training under an ex-SAS Commander, trained in advanced first aid, earned his license as a dive master, and holds under his belt a list of mountains that he has conquered including the MatterhornMonte RosaZugspitzeTriglavGrosslgockerWatzmann, Gran ParadisoAlpspitze, Mont Blanc, and a whole lot more.


No, you don’t. While the Alpspitze is an impressive mountain, it’s not a technically difficult climb and does not require any experience. A good basic level of fitness, however, is needed.

Total climbing time—meaning, up and back down—is approximately 10 hours. We will ride the cable car up at 7:30 am to be able to start climbing at 8:00 am. The climb to the top of the Alpspitze will take about 3 hours. After our moment of celebration, we will trek down to the hut (this takes about 2 hours) where we alighted from the cable car. Instead of taking the cable car back this time, we will hike along an easy track all the way down, which is about 5 hours. While doing so, we shall enjoy a stunning view, with (hopefully) a dramatic sunset trailing behind us as we celebrate our impressive mountain-climbing achievement.

Each IPS Journey offers something different. With this one, we intend to create a space for men to come together, spend time in nature while bonding as brothers and working closely as a team—something which doesn’t happen often enough but yet has incredible benefits for mental health and longevity.

DAY 1:

  • – Check-in at the cabin between 13:00–14:00
  • – Welcome by Jellis while being shown to your rooms
  • – Get your climbing equipment, check your personal equipment, and possibly head into town to buy anything else you need
  • – Orientation and prepare your bag for the climb the following day
  • – Evening meal together at 20:00

DAY 2:

  • – Leave the cabin by early morning, 07:00, to be at the cable car by 07:30
  • – Start ascending the Alpspitze from the Alpspitzbahn Bergstation at 8:00
  • – Total climbing time is about 10 hours, up and down. While we will take the cable car up to the starting hut (Alpspitzbahn Bergstation (2050 m), on the descent, we will hike all the way to the car.
  • – Around 18:00, you may enjoy a well-deserved shower and evening meal.

DAY 3:

  • – Breakfast at the cabin at 09:00
  • – Parting words by Jellis
  • – Check out at 11:00

After the trip, if you would like to enjoy more of the beautiful area around Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Jellis can recommend hiking trails or other highlights to see.



For our two nights, you’ll get to stay in a premium mountain cabin at a five-star camping resort. 

Some of the facilities include:



If you choose to go by car, simply drive down to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The address of the cabin where we will meet will be provided in your welcome email once you have booked your spot.


If you decide to fly, the best way is to go to München and take a train from there down to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The train ride from München to Garmisch-Partenkirchen takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes.


For safety reasons, only three spots are available. Therefore, be sure to reserve your slot early, because spots fill up quickly.