High Mountain Guides / What we do / Alpine Mountaineering / Climb Gran Paradiso

Climb The Gran Paradiso

On the fine summit Ridge of the Gran Paradiso. Superb views...but they can wait for the summit! For now, concentrate on the enjoyable final scramble which is exposed but short & quite easy!

The Gran Paradiso (4061m) is the highest mountain entirely within Italy and a constant snowy companion on the southern skyline from the Mont Blanc Massif. Lying in the beautiful Paradiso National Park this is a delightful high mountain area, set above the Italian Val d'Aosta and enjoying a fine southern alpine climate. In early summer, vibrantly coloured wild flowers and jostling Ibex give a spring in the step for the pleasant walk up to the hospitable & lively Italian mountain hut from where the summit climb begins...

2015 Course Dates & Prices

Alpine Gentian in the Grand Paradiso National Park

Latest Gran Paradiso Climbing Conditions

Course Aims

  • Spend an enjoyable long weekend in the high alpine mountains & climb the Gran Paradiso (4061m)
  • Complete some quality alpine training & develop your mountaineering, glacier travel & rope work skills
  • Visit 2 different parts of the superb Italian Alps with an interesting journey down the Val d'Aosta
  • Have a fun & sociable long weekend with like minded people, spending a couple of nights in hospitable mountain huts

Gran Paradiso - Long Weekend

Our 3 day Gran Paradiso course starts in Chamonix which is easily reached from Geneva airport via a simple one hour transfer. Day 1 begins with introductions to the Guide, other guests & the course in general as well as a weather brief and equipment check. We can hire any alpine mountaineering equipment at this stage including mountain boots if required.

Day 1 - The South Side of Monte Bianco

The short drive is then taken through the Mont Blanc tunnel and into the upper Italian Vallee d'Aoste. Welcome to Italy where a good coffee stop is never far away! We start the journey into the high altitude south side of the Monte Biano range via the high Hellbronner mountain lift. This gives immediate access to the Torino Hut and it's superb nearby peaks & glaciers. These are ideal for spending the day travelling on glaciers, doing some mountaineering training & making a short climb to a C 3400m peak. All good preparation for the Gran Paradiso ascent to come.

A sociable evening is then spent in the Torino mountain hut with a 3 course dinner and first night sleeping at an altitude of 3375m.

Day 2 - Alpine Start & Journey in to the Paradiso National Park

Ibex Play Fighting in the Gran Paradiso National Park

A very early 'alpine start' will hopefully give the wonderful experience of crunching crampons on a frozen glacier and making a fine trekking journey round to the Col d'Entreves. From here we have superb views of our main aim, the Gran Paradiso on the southern skyline. To the East lies the Grandes Jorasses, Matterhorn & Monte Rosa and just to the West is the magnificent steep & wild South face of Mont Blanc. A short ridge scramble can be made from here to provide a fun & slightly more technical progression for the Paradiso summit ridge. By mid morning we return to the lift station & back down in to the Val d'Aosta to travel over to the Paradiso National park, via an excellent café and lunch stop.

We park high in the beautiful Valsavarenche from where an enjoyable 2 hour walk zig zags up through Larch forests & alpine meadows to reach the lovely Chabod Hut (2750m). Abundant wild alpine flowers and Ibex can often be seen on the ascent.

The Lovely Chabod Hut Below the Paradiso N. Face

Dinner is usually served around 7pm and always contains the essential pasta for 'carbo-loading' for the next day! The Chabod hut is a pleasant & hospitable base camp for our ascent and also has a bar and small shop for drinks and snacks.

You can check out the view of the Paradiso North Face & Glacier ascent from the hut webcam here.

Day 3 - The Ascent of the Gran Paradiso

On summit day breakfast is usually served at around 4am and our intention will be to leave the hut 45 mins after that. A rocky path leads us up across stony meadows and on to the glacier. Here we put on harness, crampons and rope for the trek up the glacier as a roped team.

Monte Bianco from Gran Paradiso

We have gained some height above the surrounding hills now and, just after dawn, the huge bulk of Mont Blanc is visible glowing with dawn pink & white alpen light on the Northern skyline. A steady glacial ascent takes us to a flatter section at 3800m before the final steepening and access to the summit ridge at 4000m. This is 'airy' and exposed but short and quite easy.

The large Madonna statue on the summit is a fine culmination to the ascent. If the wind is blowing, or there are other teams around, you may want to

Team Paradiso Summit Celebration with the Madonna

descend straight away and enjoy a more relaxed break and appreciation of the view from a high col on the summit ridge.

There are superb views of the nearby peaks of the Italian Vallee d'Aosta, Giants of the Swiss Valais, the Tarentaise and way down to the impressive Southern French Alps (Ecrins).

We then descend by a different flank of the mountain to make a traverse via the Vittorio Emanuele Hut and down to the tiny hamlet of Pont at the head of the Valsavarenche. Here a good cafe provides celebratory refreshments before the return journey back to Chamonix.

In summary - A superb long weekend in the Italian Alps and a fine ascent which will help develop your mountaineering experience & skills. We are usually back in Chamonix by mid - late afternoon on day 3.

NB, Sometimes we also climb from the nearby Vittorio Emanuele Hut depending on prevailing weather, snow conditions & hut availability.

When To Climb the Gran Paradiso

This tiny snowy col is just before the start of the summit ridge and peers down the Val Nontey towards Cogne.

Whilst the main season for climbing the Gran Paradiso is high summer (June to September) it is possible to climb the mountain all year round according to weather and conditions. In winter and spring most will make the Gran Paradiso ascent on Skis. Late spring & early summer is a particularly pleasant time in the Gran Paradiso national park and the mountain and huts will be a lot quieter than in August. If you are looking for a quieter ascent then avoiding a weekend in high summer is a good start! Whilst the huts are not staffed in autumn they remain open and using these 'winter rooms' with a roaring wood burning stove can be a truly memorable mountain experience.

We run a range of group course long weekends throughout spring, summer and autumn, see our course dates below.

If you would prefer alternative dates & your own tailor made trip, please contact us to arrange a private guide for the Gran Paradiso.

On the Descent & Traverse of the Gran Paradiso

Gran Paradiso - Short Weekend

For those with less time and wanting to pack the Paradiso experience in to a short 2 day trip, this is also possible and we run some courses where day 1 on the above programme is substituted for day 2, thus making the ascent possible from a Friday night arrival in Geneva and flight back late on Sunday evening.

Course Fitness and Experience Required

Previous mountaineering experience will be useful but not essential for the steady ascent of the Gran Paradiso. Crampons will be worn on summit day but prior instruction will be given in their use. A good level of fitness is required for the 1300m climb on the summit day. The ascent, descent back to the hut and onwards to the valley could take up to 10 hours walking so good stamina and endurance will also be required.

Good conditions and a remote feel to the climb from the pleasant 'winter room' at the Chabod Hut

Whilst the ascent involves no technical climbing a snow covered glacier is crossed and a narrow and exposed summit ridge must be negotiated giving a real mountaineering flavour to the ascent. This requires the ability to maintain concentration & good movement skills whilst on a high & exposed mountain ridge.

Suggested Course Progression

This Gran Paradiso course would work well early in your alpine mountaineering career. Often folk do this course along with Chamonix Intro Alpine as a fine introduction to alpine mountaineering. A good alpine progression would then be to Climb the Weissmies. These enjoyable and contrasting Italian & Swiss 4000m peaks would set you up well for Climbing Mont Blanc. After that our series of Chamonix mountaineering courses forms a logical progression in the following order; 'Becoming an Alpinist' followed by Chamonix Alpinist & then Chamonix private guiding for harder / longer routes & north faces as well as our Climb the Eiger & Matterhorn courses.

Equipment List

Alpine Mountaineering

Kit list for Alpine Mountaineering

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2015 Course Dates & Prices

Our standard course involves three guided days and 2 nights in Italian Alpine Huts. For those with some existing mountain experience we also do a 2 day course which proceeds direct to the Paradiso without the night at the Torino Hut. Most of our Climb Gran Paradiso courses can be combined with an ascent of Mont Blanc to provide a superb action packed week of high alpine mountaineering.

June 20-22

Saturday - Monday, 4 / 4 Places Available (Enquiries: 2)

Early summer, a lovely time to be in the Gran Paradiso National Park + Opportunity to do a 5 day Chamonix Alpine Intro course the week beforehand or a Climb the Weissmies 3 day course afterwards.

July 19-21

Saturday - Monday, 4 / 4 Places Available (Enquiries: 1)

Opportunity to do a 3 day Climb Mont Blanc or Climb the Dom straight after this course.

August 22-23 Short Weekend

Saturday - Monday, 4 / 4 Places Available (Enquiries: 1)

September 12-14

Saturday - Monday, 4 / 4 Places Available (Enquiries: 0)

2015 Price - 2 Day £395, 3 Day £595

Minimum group size 2, maximum 4. Ratio of 1 Guide to 4 clients.

What’s Included in the Price?

Our courses are priced on a 'guiding only' basis which means you pay the exact cost price for all other expenses like hotels, mountain huts and lift passes.

  • 3 days full days mountain guiding with an IFMGA Mountain Guide (2 days on the short weekend)
  • Transport during the course including travel across to the Italian Alps from Chamonix
  • Management of the trip / itinerary and booking of all mountain huts
  • Discounted equipment hire prices

What’s Not Included & Other Additional Expenses?

  • Mountain Lifts: Hellbronner return trip C. 35 euros.
  • Valley accommodation. This course is based at the excellent Chalet Tissiers 'Ice & Orange' in Chamonix which offers pleasant half board accomodation from 46 euros per night. They only charge for the nights you are actually there and will happily store luggage when away in the mountain huts.
  • If this is full or you would like an alternative style of accommodation please see our Chamonix Accommodation notes. Prices start from camping at C.10 euros per night, Bunkhouse for C.20 euros per night and hotel accommodation from around 40-50 euros upwards.
  • Mountain Hut & lift for you and the Guide. Allow about 65 euros per night for dinner, bed & breakfast and your part share in the same for the Guide (at a heavily reduced rate). The best way to deal with these expenses is to make a communal group 'kitty' which you contribute to and all expenses are paid out of.
  • Additional snacks, drinks, lunch etc
  • Flights
  • Transfers to Chamonix (C. 35 euros for single journey from Geneva Airport)
  • Mountaineering equipment. Check the kit list above
  • Insurance suitable for alpine mountaineering in Europe

Further Details & Booking

For more details on our terms & conditions, to fill in a booking form and make a payment, please visit our booking page via the link below:

Contact

We are always delighted to hear from past, current and future clients so whether you have a booking enquiry, want a conditions report, or some mountaineering advice please do get in touch to discuss your plans...

Good climbing & skiing,

Rob

High Mountain Guides

Tel: +44 115 888 2994

Skype: High Mountain Guides

Email: Please use the form below

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Gran Paradiso Conditions

If you have climbed on the Gran Paradiso recently please add any relevant comments on climbing conditions via the 'New comment' button at the base of the page:

Comments

23rd August 2014 - Good Snow Conditions for Paradiso Traverse

The cool & showery summer has been difficult for some and good for other things. Snow conditions on the high glaciers remain good in the Paradiso National Park. With a decent freeze overnight we enjoyed excellent snow conditions all the way up the Glacier from the Chabod Hut & under the north face which looked good & snowy & had one team climbing it. The traverse & descent to Vittorio Emanuelle Hut was all good too with a fine track all the way down to the rocky slabs & valley above the refuge.

12th June 2014 -Fine & Quiet Ascent from the Vittorio Emanuelle Hut

Despite the generally warm conditions there was a clear sky & stiff breeze overnight which kept the snow conditions reasonably stiff. This provided an enjoyable ascent which was heightened by the very quiet early season conditions. The Chabod Hut was closed until Today and the VE hut was quiet giving lots of breathing space on the glacier & summit ridge. Snow shoes were not required and the snow only started getting soft from around 1130 on the final slopes above the rifugio.

Teams were also climbing Tresenta & Becca di Monciar.

1st June, Good Conditions to Start the new Paradiso Season....

Quick & pleasant ascent via the Vittorio Emanuelle Hut. Snow shoes were taken but not used. Good snow cover above the hut but not much left below hut level. Decent looking conditions also for the more heavily glaciated ascent via the Chabod Hut. Snow sticking & conditions building on the North Face so hopefully, with a few more warm snowy showers that will soon be in it's normal good early summer condition.

13th November 2013, Deep Snow & Tough Going on the Gran Paradiso

After the traditionally pleasant night at the Chabod Hut winter room with log fire, good meal & comfortable beds a snow shoeing attempt on the Paradiso was made. Due to soft, deep & variable snow conditions a high point of 3340m was reached before the lateness of the hour forced a retreat and descent back to the car park just before dusk. A lot of snow on the Glacier although the North Face has been scoured back to ice by the strong winds. No one else on the mountain & no other tracks.

14th July 2013, Near Perfect Summer Alpine Conditions on the Gran Paradiso

Abundant snow cover with a well refrozen snow pack gave a classic 'crunch' to the pre dawn ascent of the glacier above the Vittorio Emanuelle Hut this morning. The mountain was busy but by taking an early breakfast and moving swiftly we were the 2nd team on the summit and had no traffic problems on the summit ridge!

Many teams were also climbing from the Chabod Hut and teams had also been climbing on Tresenta & Monciair.

1st July 2013, Full Team of 5 to Summit of Gran Paradiso & Traverse Completed

A classic alpine day with warm sunny afternoons and a cool chilly night with a good overnight freeze giving decent stiff snow conditions in the morning. Our whole Mont Blanc team summited the Paradiso as training for later in the week. A good start! The glacial ascent from the Chabod Hut was taken and then the traverse made to Vittorio Emanuelle. Tomorrow will either consist of a quick ascent of Tresenta or just a rapid descent and return to Chamonix for R & R before ascending to the Tete Rousse & then hopefully climbing Mont Blanc later this week.

21st June 2013, Near Perfect Conditions on the Gran Paradiso Ascent

After a day of storm bound waiting in the hut yesterday a few teams were starting to demonstrate the symptoms of 'cabin fever'. They needn't have worried though. The day of waiting was well rewarded by both crisp sunny weather & snow conditions and a relatively quiet mountain. Teams were climbing from both the Chabod & Vittorio Emanuelle Huts & snow conditions remain good despite the recent thaw with some very warm temperatures & rain high on the mountain.

4th June 2013, First Gran Paradiso Summer Ascents of the Season

Despite the presence of much remaining snow and many skiers the summer season has finally arrived in the Paradiso National Park! We climbed the mountain , without snow shoes or skis, from the Vittorio Emanuelle Hut and enjoyed great stiff snow conditions all the way to the summit. The boulder field by the hut, upper valley, all the upper slopes and summit ridge are all well snowy and in generally excellent condition. The snow line remains about half way between the hut and the valley (C. 2300m) so the first bit of the ascent is on the summer path and then the winter ridge route is taken. This snowy section below the hut is still quite deep higher up and soft later in the day making it hard work in ascent and descent!

Teams were still enjoying good ski conditions for the ascent & one team skied the North Face.

28th May 2013, Good Tough Snowshoe Traverse of the Gran Paradiso

Amazing snow cover remains above around 2300m and snowshoes were used both to get to the Chabod Hut and for much of the ascent to the summit. Numerous teams had both climbed & skied the North Face & reported good conditions for either activity. We traversed the mountain with a descent to the Vittorio Emanuelle Hut and were glad of the decent boot track on the winter approach route created by the workers preparing the hut for opening this weekend. Snow conditions were much better on the pre-summit steepening than several weeks ago and instead of exacting cramponing we romped up in snowshoes!

17th October 2012, Snowy Autumn Gran Paradiso Climb Via the Chabod Hut (Winter Room)

The Valsavaranche seemed deserted. The village of Pont was shut! We waited for a day for the latest snow fall to settle and climbed up to the equally quiet Chabod Hut for an enjoyable stay in the winter room. See notes from previous entry for details on using the hut (a 5 euro per night per person is to be paid in the village on descent). We steadily ascended the glacier from the Hut and broke trail through shin deep fresh snow. A beautiful pristine feeling prevailed with the fresh snow and having the mountain to ourselves.

Whilst all previous traces of the track had disappeared we followed the line that had been taken during the summer including the hard left traverse at around 3400m with a slightly more complicated section of cramponing to pass a crevasse barrier. The fresh snow had slightly improved conditions on the glacier but had also helped to hide some poorly bridged crevasses, so all three of us went in to small 'growlers' to about thigh level before struggling out!

Snow conditions on the upper plateau were good and we enjoyed a fantastic top out and panoram of the increasingly snowy & autumnal Western Alps. The final key passage along the climbers right of the ridge just short of the summit (with 3 bolts) was quite snowy and felt a lot more exposed than usual!

A great experience climbing the Gran Paradiso at this time of year and thanks to Mark & Rebecca for their efforts and good company on the mountain.

7th October 2012, Tough Autumn Conditions on the Gran Paradiso

A spirited attempt from the superb winter room at the Chabod Hut came to an end at about 3500m in increasing poor weather, strengthening winds and trail breaking through cold powder snow. The Chabod Hut was closed with the smaller winter hut above open and well stocked with both gas and wood for the two stoves. The Hut was in good clean condition and there are pots, pans and cutlery to be used as well as bunk beds and clean blankets. All that was required were sheet sleeping bags, food and a few candles.

15 July 2012, Fine Snow Conditions All the Way Up & Down the Gran Paradiso

Although the snow is rapidly receding from the valley providing access to the glacier from the Vittorio Emanuelle Hut (we took the rocky path out on the left in ascent and descent) there was a fine overnight freeze and excellent stiff snow on the glacier all the way to the summit and back. A stiff NW wind made the summit 'bun fight' pretty chilly!

22 June 2012, Excellent Snowy Conditions on the Gran Paradiso

The overnight freeze kicked in late, almost at dawn, but freeze it did and the well snowy glacier above the Chabod Hut gave an enjoyable ascent up to the junction with the Vittorio Emanuelle Hut Route. The North Face has been climbed a bit recently and is snowy rather than icy - it just requires a good freeze to be good at the moment.

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