Explore 360

The Best of Gran Paradiso

and Monte Rosa

  • Where?

    Italy

  • Altitude

    4,554m

  • Duration

    8 days

  • Weather

  • Physical

    P3

  • Technical

    T3

  • P3 - This trip is physically tough. Frequent exercise is necessary to prepare properly for this expedition. Regular walking mixed with training at the gym to build up endurance and cardiovascular fitness is key. Expect to be able to do 8 hour days in hilly and often steep train, carrying a pack of 6-10kg in weight with the occasional extra long day.

    Visit our Grading Information page for a full overview.

  • T3 - May involve harder scrambling or some trekking and climbing with ropes. If snow is encountered then glacier travel with ropes, ice axes and crampons will be necessary. Basic climbing skills are ideal, but these will also be taught (and certainly practiced) during the expedition and pre-summit phase.

    Visit our Grading Information page for a full overview.

  • Overview

  • Date & Prices

  • Pics & Vids

  • Itinerary

  • Kit List

  • FAQs

Overview

Gran Paradiso is arguably one of the most accessible 4000m alpine peaks, situated in the Graian Alps in Italy, this is the first mountain summit you’ll stand on. Next up is the Monte Rosa Massif, straddling the border between Italy and Switzerland. The Massif dominates the surrounding area with an impressive ten peaks over 4,000m high. Although some of the peaks are quite technical climbs the majority are not. With some training, fitness, and a good guide, this is a place to do some serious peak-bagging!

A ratio of 1 Guide for 4 clients (we can take up to 12 climbers) allows us to move quickly over long glaciated trails, while allowing the Guide to safeguard everyone on more difficult sections. Previous alpine mountaineering experience is not needed for this trip, but you should have worn crampons, be fit, and be ready for an adventure.

The journey begins and ends in France, with a short transfer into Italy, making the most of the excellent lift infrastructure there. Once into the mountains there are four nights in Italian mountain refuges as we tick off the peaks, with one night in the middle in a hotel. In addition to the fantastic hospitality these refuges are famous among alpinists for great food and wine! What’s not to like about the combination  of big mountains, great food, and lovely wine?

Find out more
The Best of Gran Paradiso, and Monte Rosa

Date & Prices

For private trips or bespoke itineraries inc. different dates, please contact the 360 office on 0207 1834 360.
A monthly payment plan is possible, please contact the office to chat through the options.

For private trips or bespoke itineraries inc. different dates, please contact the 360 office on 0207 1834 360.
A monthly payment plan is possible, please contact the office to chat through the options.

Departure & Return

Duration

Price (excl. flight)

Price (incl. flight UK-UK)

Start: 18 June 2023
End: 25 June 2023

Price without flights:  €2,200

18 June 2023

25 June 2023

8 days

€2,200

N/A

Start: 31 August 2023
End: 07 September 2023

Price without flights:  €2,200

31 August 2023

07 September 2023

8 days

€2,200

N/A

Included

  • 6 days alpine guiding and all Guide’s expenses
  • 1 Guide to a maximum of 3 climbers (minimum 2 climbers, maximum 12 climbers)
  • All transfers during the itinerary from Chamonix & Aosta to the mountain uplifts
  • 3 nights hotels (breakfast included)
  • 4 nights mountain refuges (Half Board)
  • 15% discount at Cotswold Outdoor
  • Monthly payment plan, on request

Not Included

  • Flights
  • Airport transfers
  • Insurance
  • Mountain uplift (Approx. €110)
  • Taxi transfers in the event that ski lifts are not open
  • Equipment (hire can be provided for those that need it at an additional cost, see FAQ’s)
  • Lunches and snacks
  • 3 x dinners when in Chamonix & Aosta (allow €90)
  • Bag storage in Chamonix (€10-15)

Pics & Vids

Itinerary

DAY 1 : Depart UK & briefing

Your trip will start with a briefing around 6.30pm at your accommodation in Chamonix. Your briefing will cover things like:

  • discussing the week ahead
  • talking through clothing and kit – we’ll use the opportunity to check the kit over too
  • answering any of your questions

DAY 2 : Chamonix to Rifugio Torino (3,400m) - crampon skills training

After breakfast we will drive through the Mont Blanc tunnel into Italy, arriving in Courmayeur. We will then take the chair lift up to 3400m before a very quick walk to Rifugio Torino where we’ll spend the night. After dropping off our kit, we’ll head out onto the glacier for some essential crampon skills training.

DAY 3 : Glacier hike or via ferrata

Depending on how we all got on yesterday, we’ll either head out for a walk on the glacier or we’ll head down to the valley for a via ferrata. In the afternoon we’ll drive around 1 hour to the stunning Gran Paradiso National Park where we’ll hike 2 1/2 hours to Rifugio Chabod (2,710m) in preparation for your first 4000m peak.

DAY 4 : Gran Paradiso (4,061m)

We’ll start this day early, around 5am. We’ll walk around 1 1/2 hours before arriving at the glacier where we’ll put on our crampons and rope up. From here the route follows a meandering glacier up to a flat shoulder. The climb to the summit is a little steeper and can sometimes involve a ladder over a crevasse, just for a little extra excitement! After an easy traverse we’ll head for the final ladder rungs and, after allowing 4-6 hours in total, we’ll reach Gran Paradiso’s summit (4,061m). We’ll take it all in before following the same route back to the refuge. Here we’ll have a break and some food before continuing down to the valley. We’ll drive back to the Aosta valley for a well deserved break in a lovely hotel, hopefully giving your tired limbs a better chance of recovery so that you can summit as many 4000m peaks as possible from here on out.

DAY 5 : Pyramid Vincent (4,215m)

We’ll start this morning by driving around 1 1/2 hours to Gressonney from where we take the lift up to Punta Indren (3,250m). From here we’ll walk up to the Rifugio Gnifetti (3,590m). If a rest is needed, here is where you’ll stay but for those feeling strong, we’ll continue on up the glacier to summit Pyramid Vincent (4,215m). We’ll return to the refuge and have a good rest for the night.

DAY 6 : Punta Gnifetti (4,554m)

Today is the best day for us to try and get as high as possible. Our likely objective will be Punta Gnifetti (aka the Signalkuppe) at 4,554m (4-5hrs). It’s a long hike up the glacier (around 4-5 hrs), but as it’s the location of the highest refuge in the Alps – the Rifugio Margarita, you can enjoy an Italian coffee and quality pizza at the top before heading back down to the refuge for the night.

DAY 7 : Balmenhorn (4,167m) & Ludgwishohe (4,344m)

This is your final chance to summit some more 4000m peaks, but don’t worry, there are some not too far away! The Balmenhorn (4,167m) and Ludgwishohe (4,344m) are ideal objectives for early morning summits before we head back down to the Indren lift to begin our journey back to Chamonix (2 ½ hrs driving). That evening enjoy a good shower and a well deserved dinner at the hotel!

DAY 8 : Departure

Breakfast at the hotel is included before departure. We recommend you book your flights for around lunchtime to avoid needing to depart to early! For transfer information between Chamonix and Geneva airport, please see our FAQ’s.

The itinerary is subject to minor changes depending on flight arrival and departure times, weather, group dynamics and fitness and so on, but the itinerary outlined provides an excellent indication of the trip and what you will experience.

Kit List

Bags & Packs

Rucksack

30-40 litre maximum. If buying a rucksack get one with ice axe loops

Headwear

Warm headgear

This can be a warm hat, beanie, balaclava, anything to reduce the heat loss from your head

Wide brimmed hat

Keeps the sun off exposed areas like ears and the nape of the neck

Goggles

Low light lenses recommended as goggles most likely used in poor weather

Sunglasses

Category 4 glacier glasses by Julbo, Cebe, Vuarnet and Adidas recommended.

Upper Body

Thermal shirt/T shirt

Merino wool is best as they don’t smell quite as much.

Fleece top/jacket or Softshell

Waterproof jacket

Gore Tex. Arc’Teryx Beta AR recommended

Duvet jacket

Synthetic jackets recommended as they stay warm if wet.

Thin gloves

Fleece or leather gloves recommended

Warm gloves

Black Diamond Patrol gloves recommended.

Mitts

Dachstein wool mitts recommended. Alternatively fleece with Gore Tex shell

Lower Body

Thick socks

Smartwool or Teko recommended

Mountain trousers

Mammut “Base Jump” (Schoeller fabric) or similar recommended

Waterproof trousers

Like the jacket, an essential piece of kit to stay dry and should also be Goretex

Feet

Mountaineering boots (B2 or B3)

B2 boots will work well, La Sportiva Nepal Extreme or Scarpa Mont Blanc Pro recommended. Boots must have a rigid sole for crampons. Excellent boots can be hired in Chamonix for around €50/week.

Gaiters

In case of deep snow. Gore tex. Black Diamond recommended. Ankle length work fine.

Sleeping Gear

Sleeping bag liner (sheet sleeping bag)

These are mandatory for the refuges for hygiene reasons. Silk bags are best due to their weight. Summit to Sea recommended

Hydration

Water bottles

Nalgene style plastic bottles are the best.

0.5l-1l thermos flasks can also come in handy on very cold days!

Avoid using Camel Back style systems with drinking straws. They leak, the tubes freeze, and they will always let you down when you need them most.

Toiletries

Lip salve

Sun cream and lip salve. SPF >30

Wash kit

Toothbrush, small tube of toothpaste, wet wipes, antiseptic hand gel.

Ear plugs

The mountain huts can be busy so better to be safe than sorry.

Medications

Med-kit and personal medication

Blister Kit and personal medication if required. Compeed recommended.

Technical Equipment

Head torch

Petzl Tika Plus or similar recommended

Harness

Black Diamond Alpine Bod and Beal Aero Team III recommended

Helmet

Petzl Ecrin Roc and Black Diamond Half Dome recommended

Ice axe

Grivel Air Tech recommended. The bottom of your axe should reach your shin when held in your hand standing upright

Crampons

Petzl Vasak and Grivel G12 highly recommended

Trekking poles

These can be handy when crossing glaciers, and on paths for reducing shock on your knees. Gipron recommended because they are ultra light and split down into 4 segments, meaning they can be stored inside your rucksack when climbing. Snow baskets essential. It is personal preference whether to use one pole or two.

Miscellaneous

Camera

Compact camera, fully charged

Anyone wishing to hire equipment in Chamonix rather than buy it can do so. We use a local shop for boot hire (allow €50 for the week), and other items are available as follows:

Full Package for 5 days: Duvet Jacket, Mitts, Axe, Harness, Crampons, Helmet – 85

Please note that all costs are in €EURO

 
Ice Axe 22
Harness 16
Helmet 16
Crampons 33
Duvet Jacket 28
Mitts 11

 

 

 

 

 

FAQs

When is the best time to head out on this trip?

As Gran Paradiso and the Monte Rosa massif are mostly snow and glacier-covered, especially in winter, the best climbing season spans from mid-June to mid-September, and we tend to take advantage of the quieter months outside of the August holidays.

How fit do I need to be for this trip?

This is a very demanding trip. You should be in excellent physical shape – think capable of jogging a half marathon in 2hr20. Our past experience has shown that those not up to this fitness level  struggle to complete many of the peaks.

You need excellent stamina and should be prepared for days to last up to 12 hours.

How long are the days?

The length of days will vary when alpine climbing. Training days will usually start between 0600 and 0800, and last for 6-8 hours. Gran Paradiso will usually start very early, and can easily last 12 hours (it is usually the longest day on the trip).

What experience do I need to join?

You don’t need previous climbing experience for this trip but time spent on crampons would be a great advantage.

The climbing is all straightforward – mostly it’s hiking on glaciers or steep and snowy paths. You will be taught techniques in situ.. so don’t worry.. BUT you will need to be physically fit.

Is this trip considered alpinism?

No – this trip can be considered as high altitude trekking rather than serious alpinism.

I've done some high altitude trekking and now want to climb in the alps, is this trip suitable?

Absolutely – If you’ve done some high altitude trekking like Everest Base Camp and are ready to try your hand at 4000m+ alpine mountains, this is an ideal trip. We’d even go so far as to say that this trip is better than aiming to summit Mont Blanc.

Are all Mountain Guides certified?

All Guides operating in the European Alps must be internationally certified. Training and assessment takes a minimum of three years and anyone caught operating without a license will be prosecuted.

Occasionally we employ trainee guides (known as Aspirants). They are in the final stages of qualifying as Guides and are allowed to operate under the tutorage of a fully qualified Guide.

What if the conditions are too bad for our itinerary?

If conditions are really bad we will find an alternative plan. This may involve climbing in either Italy or Switzerland.

What are the hotels like?

For this trip we will be using a lovely hotel in Chamonix, ideally situated so you can stroll into town.

In the Val d’Aosta we’ll use a hotel that serves excellent food, with very friendly staff.

Rooms are on a twin-sharing basis. Single rooms may be available for a supplement of €200.

What are the mountain huts like?

Mountain huts/refuges are mostly owned by the Alpine Clubs. They are there to provide accommodation and food for mountaineers. They often cater for large numbers (>100), and hence can be quite busy. Meals are usually simple but plentiful, and anyone with special dietary requirements must let us know in advance so we can inform the hut guardian. Showers and running water are not usually available. The rooms are usually dormitory style, with large alpine bunks (up to 15 people in a row).

Should I carry shoes for the evenings in the huts?

This isn’t necessary, all of the mountain huts provide indoor footwear for your comfort.

What type of food should I carry?

Everyone is different, however it is essential to eat well in the mountains. Sandwiches are hard to beat, supplemented by fruit and chocolate bars. Don’t carry too much food, and remember that some foods will freeze solid unless kept in jacket pockets.

Can allergies or dietary requirements be catered for?

Definitely – huts will usually try and accommodate vegetarians etc. but they do sometimes struggle with more specialised requirements such as gluten free. If you have a food allergy or specific dietary requirement please do let the office know when you book.

Where can I get a packed lunch for each day?

You have two options, the first is to pick up food from Chamonix and Aosta before you leave to head into the mountains. The second option is to buy a packed lunch from the refuges, which you’ll confirm directly with them the night before it’s wanted. Once you’re in the mountains, the only option for lunch is option two unless you take food up with you.

How much water should I carry each day?

Do not carry too much water – it is very heavy. As a general rule 1-2 litres is the right amount. Avoid using Camel Back style systems with drinking straws. They leak, the tubes freeze, and they will always let you down when you need them most. Nalgene style plastic bottles are the best.

If there is no water in the huts for washing, what should we do?

Take some wet wipes to give yourself a clean in the evening. A toothbrush, some wet wipes, and a small tube of toothpaste (shared between several people) is plenty. Some alcohol hand gel is also handy.

What camera should I take?

We’d recommend you avoid carrying bulky SLR style cameras. They are too heavy, and slow to use. Compact cameras that fit into a pocket are best. Cameras in rucksacks never take photographs! Digital cameras must be kept warm in a pocket or they will freeze and cease to function.

What sun cream do you recommend?

Any brand will be fine. The most important thing is the SPF – do not bother with anything under SPF 30. Creams with UVA and UVB protection are best. Any don’t forget lip salve.

Can I hire kit?

You can hire equipment in Chamonix rather than buy it. We use a local shop for boot hire (allow €50 for the week).

A full kit package for 6 days includes Duvet Jacket, Mitts, Axe, Harness, Crampons, Helmet and costs €85 to rent.

Individual costs:

Ice axe – €22

Harness – €16

Helmet – €16

Crampons – €33

Duvet jacket – €28

Mitts – €11

Please be aware that these are a guide price only, prices may have varied by the time you arrive in country.

If you do want to hire kit, please let us know in advance so we can ensure you get the kit you need.

What are the transfer options between Geneva and Chamonix?

The transfer between Geneva and Chamonix takes approximately 70 minutes and is your responsibility to sort. We would highly recommend booking the transfer through Mountain Drop Offs (please use discount code 360EXPCHX when booking).

If travelling independently we’d recommend you plan to arrive at your accommodation after 14:00, when check-in opens, but you can leave your luggage at the hotel and explore town until check-in if prefered.

At the end of the trip the transfer usually departs Chamonix around 3 hours prior to your flight departure.

What else do I need to pay for?

As part of your itinerary you will need to pay for the following:

  • Flights
  • Airport transfers
  • Insurance
  • Mountain uplift (approx. €100)
  • Taxi transfers in the event that ski lifts are not open
  • Any equipment you need to hire, see FAQ
  • Lunches (for all days) and snacks (allow €20 per day)
  • Dinners x 3 when around Chamonix and Aosta (allow €90)
  • Bag storage in Chamonix (€10-15)

Is there a minimum number for this trip?

We work on a minimum number of 2 people.

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