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

Climb The Gran Paradiso

On the fine summit Ridge of the Gran Paradiso. Exposed but short & quite easy!

The Gran Paradiso (4061m) is the highest mountain entirely within Italy and a constant snowy companion on the Southern alpine skyline from the Mont Blanc Massif. Often climbed as a poor weather alternative to Mont Blanc the Paradiso has much more to recommend than just it's fine southern alpine climate. Lying in the Gran Paradiso National Park this is charming high alpine area set above the Italian Valsavarenche & Vallee d'Aoste. In early summer vibrantly colourful wild flowers and jostling Ibex give a spring in the step for the pleasant walk to the hospitable & lively Italian mountain hut from where the summit climb begins...

2015 Dates & Prices

Latest Gran Paradiso Climbing Conditions

Gran Paradiso Weekend

  • Our two day Gran Paradiso course begins in Chamonix which is easily reached from Geneva airport via a simple one hour transfer. Day 1 begins with

    Alpine Gentian in the Grand Paradiso National Park

    introductions, a weather brief and equipment check. We can hire any alpine mountaineering equipment as required at this stage including mountain boots if you have already arranged this with us and told us your size.
  • The one and a half hour drive is then taken through the Mont Blanc tunnel and into the Italian Vallee d'Aoste. Welcome to Italy where a good coffee stop is never far away! At 'Pont' (1951m), the tiny hamlet at the head of the Valsavaranche we can have an early lunch and limber up for the hut walk ahead.
  • From here there is a pleasant walk of about 2 hours zig zagging along and up through alpine meadows to reach the Vittorio Emanuele Mountain Hut (2735m). Abundant wild alpine flowers and often Ibex can be seen on the ascent. After arriving at the hut and enjoying some local refreshments we will do some training relevant to the following day's ascent including glacier travel, use of crampons and procedures

    Ibex Play Fighting in the Gran Paradiso National Park

    for the very short mountaineering ridge at the summit
  • Dinner is usually served around 7pm and always contains the essential pasta for 'carbo-loading' for the next day! Accomodation at the hut in is in dormitory style rooms with bunk beds. The hut also has a bar and small shop for drinks and snacks.

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 in to a valley leading up and on to the glacier. Here we put on

    Early on the glacial ascent of the Gran Paradiso with Mont Blanc in the north

    harnesses and crampons. We have gained some height above the surrounding hills now and, just after dawn, the huge pink / white bulk of Mont Blanc is visible on the Northern skyline.
  • Roped together a steady ascent on the Glacier takes us to a flatter section at 3800m before the final steepening and access to the summit ridge at 4000m. There are superb views of the nearby peaks of the Italian Vallee d'Aoste, the Tarentaise and way down to the impressive Southern French Alps (Ecrins).
  • The summit ridge presents an exposed but easy scramble to the summit. There are some metal bolts in place to protect the roped team. 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 descend straight away and enjoy a more relaxed break and appreciation of the view from a high col on the summit ridge.

When To Climb the Gran Paradiso

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 hut 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 memorable mountain experience.

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

Please get in touch with your own dates to arrange a private guide for the Gran Paradiso.

Gran Paradiso Extension

A highly scenic and useful start to the Gran Paradiso ascent can be made by spending a night at the Torino Hut after Courmayeur's high mountain lift is taken to Punta Hellbroner (3462m). This not only provides magnificent views of the huge Italian side of Mont Blanc it also allows for a highly atmospheric glacial journey to be taken across the upper Vallee Blanche glacier. This can be started around dawn giving a magical insight in to this wild high alpine and heavily glaciated environment. This also provides further mountaineering training in advance of the Paradiso ascent and an extra day and night (sleeping high) of acclimatisation which may be appreciated at 4000m the next day!

Suggested Fitness and Experience Levels

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 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 on to the valley could take up to 10 hours walking so stamina and endurance will also be required. 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.

Equipment List

Alpine Mountaineering

Kit list for Alpine Mountaineering


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 (0 Enquiries)

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 (0 Enquiries)

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

August 22-23

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

September 12-14

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

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?

  • 2 full days mountain guiding & training with an IFMGA Mountain Guide (3 on the extended course)
  • Transport during the course from Chamonix through the Mont Blanc tunnel to the Italian Val d'Aosta & back
  • Discounted equipment & mountain boot hire prices if required
  • Trip management & booking of mountain huts

What’s not included?

  • Dinner, bed and breakfast in the mountain hut(s). This costs C. 55 euros per person per night which includes your share in the cost of the Guides accomodation, dinner & breakfast.
  • 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 recommended list for places to stay in Chamonix. Camping will significantly reduce the overall cost (starting from 9 euros) and there are several good campsites in 'Les Bossons', Chamonix, very close to Ice & Orange. Try 'Camping 2 Glaciers' for starters.
  • Lunches, drinks and snacks
  • The high mountain lift passes if the Torino Hut extension is taken
  • Flights and transfers to Chamonix
  • 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:


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,


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:


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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