Arrival day - Welcome meeting in Chamonix
The evening before the start of the course, you will have the chance to meet your guide and the other course members to discuss the itinerary, mountain conditions and ask any questions. Your guide will also use this time to check over your equipment and help you prepare what you will need for day 1 of the course. Those who have reserved rental equipment will be accompanied to our partner shop to pick up what they will need for the duration of the course. It is a good idea to bring with you any clothing or technical gear that you would like checked over prior to the start of the course.
Day 1- Up the Val Grisenche to the Rifugio Bezzi
Verify equipment, refresh basic skills, and ski to the Rifugio Bezzi. Depending on the conditions this day can be more or less long and complicated. If the road to the summer village of Surier is not open, a longer tour from the Val Grisenche is necessary, and an early start (4 hours, +600m). If the road is open leaving from Surier the access is quick- perhaps leaving time for some crevasse rescue practice or a small tour around the hut. (2.5 hours, 500m). The Bezzi hut is very comfortable, with showers available and smaller rooms (2-4 guests). Great food, warm welcome, and a selection of locally produced wine!
Ascent 500m / Descent 600m / Time 2.5-4 hours
Day 2- Ski over to the Rifugio Benevolo (2287m) via the Col Bassac Dere
Another early start for this lovely tour. Flat skiing straight out of the hut lead to a steep and improbable looking passage up a ramp to the Gliaretta glacier. Super views of the Grand Sassière and easier touring lead to a final, inclined step to the Col Bassac Dere. From here, conditions permitting, an ascent of the Becca Traversiere (3337m) is possible with a descent of the Glacier de Goletta. A fine ascent, incorporating basic mountaineering with the crampons and ice axe, and a beautiful descent to the Lac de Goletta. A quick tour from the lake up to the ridgeline (+100m) leads to the day’s last descent to the hut (-500m).
Ascent 900m - 1100m / Descent 900m - 1100m / Time 7 - 8 hours
Day 3- Rifugio Benevolo to the Rifugio Chivasso (2600m) via the Col Basei
A long tour from the hut up the Dora di Rhemes river valley, and eventually gaining the Glacier de Lavassey and the Col Basei (3176m). The option to summit the Punta Basei (3338m) and descend the north facing Ghiacciaio di Basei offers a great option for stronger parties and a memorable descent, often in good condition. After winding through the cliffs below the glacier, the skins go back on the skis for a short tour up to the hut. The final climb is rewarded by a one of a kind refuge and an unequaled welcome.
Ascent 800m -1000m / Descent 700m - 1000m / Time 7-8 hours
Day 4- Rifugio Chivasso- 2600m to the Rifugio Victor Emmanuelle II- 2719m via the Col de la Pointe Foura
A big day in the high mountains. After an initial traversing descent from the hut, the climb up to the Col de la Pointe Foura is relatively straight forward, while the descent on the other side offers technical steep skiing into the upper Val Savaranche. Options include skiing down to Pont for lunch (- 1100 m) before climbing back up to the hut, or traversing the Breuil and Monciair glaciers, before a short descent to the hut. An ascent to the Tete du Grand Etret (3201m) is also possible. The Victor Emmanuelle hut is relatively comfortable, with a nice bar for Italian coffee or on tap beer.
Ascent 1100m - 1300m / Descent 500m - 1200m / Time 8 - 9hours
Day 5 - Rifugio Victor Emmanuelle (2719m) to Grand Paradiso summit (4061m) and descent to Pont
The last day of the trip.... but a beautiful summit, standing alone in the Italian alps, with unequaled views of the Mt. Blanc, Matterhorn, Mt. Viso, and the Mt. Rose. The skin up from the hut finishes with an unforgettable scramble to the iconic summit Madonna. The ski descent is beautiful. There are a few variants, and with good conditions it’s possible to ski straight to the parking lot. A taxi ride back to Chamonix and a well deserved shower.
Ascent 1350m / Descent 2160m / Time 8 – 9 hours