In mountaineering, enchainment (an anglicisation of the French word enchaînement, meaning "linking") is climbing two or more mountains or routes on a mountain in one outing (often over the course of a day). Rock climbing two or more routes in this manner is called a "link up" in the US. Climbers may do an enchainment of easy routes as a way of training for a more difficult objective, but some enchainments are a prize in their own right.
By the 1970s, the number of possible new routes in the Alps seemed to be drying up, and so alpinists looked for other challenges. Developments in hang glider and paraglider technology, as well as advances in extreme skiing and the use of helicopters, meant that mountains could be descended much more quickly than they could by foot, making possible enchainments of long and difficult face routes. Early practitioners of this style of climbing were predominantly French, the most notable being Jean-Marc Boivin, Christophe Profit and Jean-Christophe Lafaille. On 17 March 1986, Boivin, using skis, paraglider and hang glider for his descents, linked up ascents of the north faces of the Aiguille Verte, Les Droites, Les Courtes and the Grandes Jorasses, flying 15 km (9.3 mi) back to the Chamonix valley after his final ascent and arriving at 0:30 am. On 11–12 March 1987, Profit was the first to climb the three hardest of the great north faces of the Alps (the Eiger, the Matterhorn and the Grandes Jorasses) in one outing, completing the feat in a time of 24 hours. In 1995 Lafaille made a 16-day solo enchainment of ten classic alpine faces, including routes on the Eiger, Monte Rosa, the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc.