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S3

Grand Paradiso ski tour

The Grand Paradiso national park, created from the private game reserve of Victor Emmanuel II and donated by his grandson, Victor Emmanuel III in 1920, is Italy’s oldest national park. There is a multitude of wildlife, including large herds of ibex (for which the game reserve and park was created) and chamois.

The skiing and mountaineering are great, with a multitude of options and itineraries to suit experienced ski alpinists. Previous ski touring experience and solid technique both ascending and descending are prerequisite. The gear used on the trip cannot be changed along the way, so some practice days with the specific equipment is recommended highly. Good physical fitness and familiarity with hut to hut touring also add to the margin for enjoyment.

This tour is a traverse of the Grand Paradiso National Park, finishing with an ascent of the Grand Paradiso, the only 4000 meter peak in Italy not bordering another country. An excellent ski touring peak, this tour offers steep, wild, and complex mountain terrain accessed from a series of relatively comfortable huts.

Description

Level requirements

 

Technical level and experience

This trip is for intermediate to advanced ski tourers. You have to have the following skills.

  • Good and efficient skinning technique, solid kick turns on steep and icy terrain
  • Experience using boot and ski crampons, ice axe
  • Experience in basic level roped climbing and scrambling using boot crampons and ice axe

 

Physical fitness

You can expect up to 9h ski days with up to 1300 vertical meters climbs per day. You have to be very fit and strong, be able to skin uphill 400m/h for up to 4h per day without being exhausted the next day. As a preparation, you should regularly do about 4 hours od cardio training per week – either biking, hiking or running. 

 

Price

1350€

Price per person for a roup of 4 participants. 

Course Dates

Any date on demand

Included

Not Included

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 (2284m). 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

Clothing

Warm hat

Warm hat

Thermal underwear

Thermal underwear

Fleece or woollen layers

Fleece or woollen layers

Light puffer jacket

Light puffer jacket

Windproof and waterproof jacket

Windproof and waterproof jacket

Windproof and waterproof trousers

Windproof and waterproof trousers

Warm gloves

Warm gloves

Thin gloves

Thin gloves

Sun hat

Sun hat

Technical gear

Ice Axe

Ice Axe

Harness

Harness

Ski goggles

Ski goggles

Screwgate carabiner

Screwgate carabiner

60 - 120 cm tape sling

60 - 120 cm tape sling

Belay device

Belay device

Ski / splitboard skins

Ski / splitboard skins

Ski poles

Ski poles

35 - 45 litres rucksack with attachment loops for skis or snowboard

35 - 45 litres rucksack with attachment loops for skis or snowboard

Crampons

Crampons

Ski touring skis

Ski touring skis

Ski touring boots

Ski touring boots

Ski / splitboard crampons

Ski / splitboard crampons

Safety Equipment

Avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe

Avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe

Extras

Sunglasses

Sunglasses

Water bottle (1 litre minimum)

Water bottle (1 litre minimum)

Sun cream high protection (for lips and face)

Sun cream high protection (for lips and face)

Headlamp with fresh batteries

Headlamp with fresh batteries

Sleeping bag liner

Sleeping bag liner