Monte Rosa Mountaineer
The Beautiful Long Gressoney Valley And The Start Of The Italian Monte Rosa Journey...
Leading steadily up and northwards from Valle d'Aosta, the Gressoney Valley hosts the lovely Lys river flowing from the high glaciers on Lyskamm down in to the Aosta Valley. The high ski lifts from Stafal give swift access to the even higher glaciers and Gnifetti & Mantova Huts which, in turn, provide the launch pads for sorties in to this magnificent Italian side of the high Monte Rosa massif.
The Crossing Of The Lysjoch From The Italian To Swiss Alps!
This passage marks the entry in to the true upper sanctuary of the Monte Rosa Massif. Nearly all the tops of the range can be seen from here including the Margherita Hut on the Signalkuppe (4554m). Lyskamm also towers above the col with the Dent Blanche in the centre of the picture and Obergabelhorn & Zinalrothorn on the other side of the Zermatt Valley.
Approaching The Signalkuppe Summit & Margherita Hut
Good snow conditions and a fine track in early August 2015. The Gran Paradiso Massif can be seen across the Valle d'Aoste and above Bernard's head. Across on the right side of the picture is the huge North East Face of Lyskamm. The summit of Mont Blanc can also just be seen peeping above the Lyskam summit ridge.
Enjoyable Fixed Ropes & Rocky Steps En Route To The Mantova Hut
Once the ski lifts of Gressoney are left behind a short glacial section leads to these enjoyable scrambling sections with fixed ropes. This provides a more direct route to the Gnifetti Hut or a steeper route to the Mantova. An easier scrambling path exists further west. Either way, the Mantova can be reached within an hour and another half for the Gnifetti.
Rifugio Mantova (3498m) Base Camp For Night 1 On The Monte Rosa
The Mantova Hut is now a smart & friendly place for the first night spent high on the mountain. Superb views expand down the Gressoney Valley across to the Gran Paradiso area as well as west over to Mont Blanc. The view up the mountain shows the nearby Gnifetti Hut, Camp 2 for tomorrow night, and the Lys glacier providing the inspiring path in to the upper Monte Rosa sanctuary early tomorrow morning....
Dawn Arrives On The Lys Glacier Just Above The Rifugio Gniffeti
A good track leads up the glacier towards the Lysjoch. The snowy mountain in the centre top background is the NE side of the Gran Paradiso with the Grivola further right.
Post Dawn Route Through The Crevasses With Monte Rosa Shadows Cast Down Valle d'Aoste
With the sun just clipping the Easterly & Southerly flanks of Mont Blanc 100km to the West.
Teams Making The Very Steady Glacier Ascent To The Lysjoch
Just above here is there is a magnificent plateau to both take a break and marvel at the remarkable Swiss / Italian High Alpine Panorama....
The Gateway To Monte Rosa Inner Sanctuary....
From here the destination of Signalkuppe and Margherita Hut can be seen on the far right with the Zumsteinspitze in the centre and the Dufourspitze further left. The magnificent rock pillar descending the South Face of the Dufourspitze from the summit is the famous AD climb, the Cresta Rey.
Magnificent Views Now To The North West & The Mighty Weisshorn (4506m)
The Glacier descent to the Monte Rosa Hut and on to Zermatt takes this route via the huge Grenz Glacier.
The Last Few Hundred Metres To The Hut....Are Hard, The Altitude Is 4500m!
But a welcome break and excellent Italian Cafe awaits at the hut with remarkable panoramic views of....most of the Alps!
A Pause For Breath In The Last Few Steps....
Gives views across to the South East ridge on the Zumsteinspitze (4563m) and the pinnacle just poking out to the right is the summit of Nordend (4609m). Far on the Northern skyline is the Swiss Bernese Oberland with the peaks of the Aletschorn, Monch, Eiger, Jungfrau, Finsterarhorn all visible. Now, back to those last few steps to the hut....
A Cold, Windy & High Altitude Reception At The Rifugio Margherita, Punta Gnifetti
Happily the reception inside was a lot warmer and more hospitable with excellent coffee and soup on hand to revive the weary teams on arrival. The highest building in Europe....Well, Western Europe anyway and by far the highest hut in the Alps. We are fine to be just visiting and not spending the night which would require significant prior acclimatisation.
The Remarkable Margherita Mountain Refuge (4554m!)
A welcome break from the ascent and an opportunity to relax and soak up the awesome views from the dining room in the highest mountain hut in the Alps!
The Descent - And Opportunity To Climb Another Peak?
The descent now takes us from Punta Gniffetti to the charismatic Gnifetti Rifugio. Depending on time, weather, conditions and team fitness there is sometimes the opportunity to climb another peak along the way. There are various options for other 4000ers high on the Monte Rosa! This can be an enjoyable way of extending the journey and for example including the Ludwisghoe (4341m) or Corno Nero (4321m).
The Strategically Located & Charismatic Rifugio Gnifetti (3611m)
This very large and hospitable hut provides Camp 2 on the Monte Rosa expedition and is an interesting hut to spend the night. Hospitable staff, excellent hut food and another good location to spring board and climb a final 4000m peak on the last day of the trip....
Pyramide Vincent (4215m), On The Italian Fringe Of The Monte Rosa Massif....
This provides a fine objective for the last day of the trip and can be climbed swiftly from the Rifugio Gnifetti before an early descent can be made, via the ski lifts and back down to the pasta & ice cream flesh pots of Gressoney. An ideal end to this fine journey on the high glaciers & peaks of the Monte Rosa.
Welcome To The Rifugio Gnifetti (3647m)
A high hut in a big glacial landscape but a friendly welcome and substantial dinner awaits!
Desert Follows Cheese At The Gnifetti Hut....And Is Followed By Genepy!
The close rivalry between the Gnifetti & Mantova Huts has benefited both and the visitor with both huts having their own different character, style and views. On this excursion in to the Monte Rosa area, we get to sample both!
The Previous Nights Genepy Has Not Prevented An Efficient Pre-Dawn Departure!
Steadily climbing the glacier above the Gnifetti Hut en route to access either the Signalkuppe / Margherita Hut or, on the last day Pyramide Vincent and down to the valley.
August 2015 Monte Rosa Mountaineer Team En Route For Punta Gnifetti
With the Margherita Hut just visible on the north easterrn skyline
Good Track & Snow Conditions For The Ascent To Margherita in August 2015
Note the corniced eastern edge in the sun on the left. This marks the crest of the remarkable and enormous face sweeping down on the Eastern & Italian flank of the mountain. The largest mountain face in the Alps! The Gran Paradiso can also be seen on the upper right of the picture across on the southern side of the main Valle d'Aoste.