24 August 2018, Gran Paradiso Traverse

Gran Paradiso Summit Ridge

Like our June Gran Paradiso Course, we had another 13 out of 13 to the summit today, but the conditions were totally different!   A strong feeling of late summer is now evident with dry and rocky conditions lower down and a dry icy glacier low down with plenty of crevasses on the central section of the glacier below the north face accessed via the Chabod Hut.  There was a good track however and no problems, albeit with some quite thin looking snow bridges!

Icy conditions on the lower glacier above Chabod Hut and below the North Face. Late Aug 2018

Teams were joining this Chabod route from the rocky col at 330m on the Vittorio Emanuelle route, as the steeper glacier slopes on the normal VE route are icy and to be avoided.   Higher up on the glacier conditions were good and the final snow slope steepening, summit ridge and it’s access crevasse were all fine and we made the summit in around 4hrs 20 mins from Chabod.

Good snowy conditions on the upper glacier and final steepening to ‘Plateau 4000’!

We descended the upper Chabod Glacier due to the warnings of icy conditions on the VE route and then still made the traverse via the crossing of the rocky col at 3300m.   This makes a rapid contrast from glacier to dry rock walking and with one short section of scrambling to reach the lower VE route for the final slope and traverse of the boulder field to the hut.   The glacier snout in this valley looked very lean and icy.

Fine conditions on the upper Glacier, Gran Paradiso Late Aug 2018

Conditions will continue to deteriorate if the late summer weather remains good.  However, with a fresh late summer chill in the air, it will equally not take much to patch up the icy slopes and improve the travel over these sections.  The big holes in the glacier however, are a bigger job to fill!

Descending from the summit with teams on other pinnacles on the fine Paradiso Summit Ridge

Our summer courses are mainly now full but we do have the following spaces still available on group programmes in Sept and early Oct.  All of the following courses are running and have existing teams to join.  Only 1 place available for the early Sept Alpine Intro course and 1 left for the Weissmeis course. All the details are here:

We also have places on our Snowdonia based Matterhorn Training Weekend, 6-7th October 2018.

Taking a break on the ascent to Rifugio Chabod with the North Face of Gran Paradiso beyond. Team West Hills School.