The Gran Paradiso 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 enjoyable summit climb begins…
Summer & Early Autumn 2023 Courses Now Booking…
- Spend an enjoyable long weekend in the high alpine mountains & climb the Gran Paradiso (4061m)
- Complete some quality alpine mountaineering training & develop your 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
Thankyou for the great services you and your excellent team provided to me in the mountains. The Summit of Gran Paradiso and supporting training was one of the most enjoyable experiences I have ever had. Both Klemen & Gav’s unwavering enthusiasm, skill and ability to impart knowledge was absolutely first class.
Climb Gran Paradiso – An Action Packed 3 Day Mountaineering Course…
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 Bianco range via the superb Skyway mountain lift. This gives immediate access to the Torino Hut and its 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 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’Entrèves. 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. 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.
Here you can check out the view of the Gran Paradiso North Face & Glacier ascent from the hut webcam.
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.
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 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.
Richard, Climb Gran Paradiso Aug 2015
“Many thanks for facilitating a great trip. I really enjoyed it – the trip up to Punta Hellbroner on the new lift was a very worthwhile addition with great views thanks to the weather. Guy, the Guide was excellent – as no doubt you knew he would be – he looked after us very well with an easy going manner. ” Thanks again.
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 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.
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.
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.
“We had a great time for Jamie’s 21st birthday trip up GP. First time for both of us ice climbing and ascending to 4000m. The weather was the star of the trip. We got wet at all times except during the training and the ascent. Altitude effects were an interesting experience. Jeff was an informative, engaging and entertaining guide. Thanks to everyone involved and especially our fellow-travellers Simon and Andy.”
Climb Gran Paradiso Course Films
A couple of our guests have fully embraced the team ascent element to our Gran Paradiso courses and have made these micro Gran Paradiso films which help to give a flavour for the full Italian Alpine Mountain experience….
Here is Rodrigo’s short Gran Paradiso ascent film of our early autumn ascent in October 2019.
James Pearson, Gran Paradiso, July 2015
Fantastic 2 day adventure with Rob on Gran Paradiso preceded by some high mountain training. This was Holly Pearson’s (aged 17) first experience of the high alpine – had never worn crampons or held an ice axe. Have climbed with many guides. What distinguishes Rob is the right balance of technical knowledge and love of the mountains. Inspires confidence, is a great teacher, knows his mountain craft as you’d expect – but he brings the mountains to life. We spent loads of times talking about the climb but more about the huge range of other possibilities.. We will be back. I highly recommend this trip and HMG.
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.
2023 Price £745.00
Maximum 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. 55 euros.
- Valley 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
- 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
- The approximate total cost of additional essential expenses based on 1 night in a 2* hotel half board single room, 2 hut nights, essential lifts is about 270 Euros. This excludes your share of the guides hut expenses, which can vary depending on the number of participants.
Many thanks for arranging such an enjoyable trip to Gran Paradiso. The itinerary worked very well with the two prep days. The actual ascent was more strenuous than we thought it would be, but it was very satisfying to get to the summit helped by Hamish’s excellent guiding and great weather. We had complete confidence that he would keep us safe on the mountain and enjoyed his company.
Nigel Legge, Climb Gran Paradiso Course, June 2022
For those with both a mountain / trail running background and some mountaineering experience, another great option for climbing the mountain is to make an early start from the Valsavarenche and climb to the summit and back without staying in either of the huts. This gives a climb & descent of about 2150m over a distance of 17-18Km and is an inspiring alternative way of enjoying the mountain.
See more details from our rapid June 2020 ascent below and please contact us via the form below if you would be interested in preparing for / making this light and fast ascent…
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. Even on this short programme it is still possible to visit the high altitude snowy glaciers of Monte Bianco via the Skyway lift. This certainly gives an action packed weekend!
6 October 2022, Numerous Summits From Both Vittorio Emanuelle & Chabod Hut Winter Rooms
We have been enjoying some superb atmospheric nights at the winter rooms on Gran Paradiso…
Both Chabod and Vittorio Emanuelle Huts are closed until spring but they both have winter rooms which provide a fine base camp for an ascent of the mountain.
We have climbed the route with numerous different teams over the last couple of weeks and conditions are ok. Not great as the glaciers are still well crevassed after the summer although a snowy track is helping with progress on both routes. Whilst the Chabod glacier wooden bridge has gone, the ladders & fixed rope are still in place, for now, near the summit and teams have climbed from both huts and also the combination route starting from VE hut and swapping to the upper Chabod Glacier from the rocky col beneath the Via Ferrata climb above.
A few teams have also climbed the older glacier route – not much glacier left now at the start of this – but at least some snow and a new rocky alternative higher up on the steeper icy slope above. The slopes above the shoulder junction of the 2 routes are icy and hard going at the moment – sharp crampons and good technique recommended.
Our 2023 autumn courses are now online and taking bookings and June – July – August and September dates to follow shortly. If you are keen to start training well in advance, a very good idea, check out our UK Mont Blanc Training Weekends here.
23 September 2022, Full Team To The Summit – But Conditions Could Be Better….
Great team effort from our group course today with all 4 on top with the guide Paolo. The team made good progress on the aller retour glacier journey from Chabod and back, but conditions are quite icy in places. The big wooden bridge, see photo below, has now been removed from the main crevasse but this is still passable. There are icy conditions on the final steep slope near the summit ridge and whilst there are still ladders in place, apparently these may be removed next Tuesday. There is some fresh snow in the forecast for Val d’Aosta, falling above 2000m, so hopefully this will improve conditions on the icy slopes although even more care will be required with the crevasses.
Our Mid Oct 2022 course is now full, but there are spaces available on our 2-4th Oct Gran Paradiso course with details and booking here.
5 September 2022, Improving Conditions With Some Fresh Snow…And A Big Bridge!
Well done to Toby, Simon & Neil on a ‘great outing’ and fine late summer ascent of the Paradiso via Rifugio Chabod. The glacier felt much better than in high summer and some of the recent snow has stuck and made for nicer going in the tracks.
Early – Mid June 2022, Decent Conditions – For Now…And With A Re-Freeze!
We have had several team climbing Gran Paradiso early to mid June and the conditions from Chabod have been ok despite the relatively low snow volume for this early summer period. There are already some large crevasses in evidence and whilst these have been fine with a track and overnight freeze – the conditions have been poor on the milder / cloudy nights with little re-freeze and care required after fresh snow. On all summit trips so far we have ascended via the Chabod Hut and descended via the Vittorio Emanuelle Hut. Numerous teams have also been climbing the North Face with a few traverses of the Piccolo – Gran Paradiso also.
Early October 2021, Very Snowy In Val d’Aosta
For our last group course of the season we had difficult conditions with nearly 1m of fresh snow forecast for high up on the Paradiso. Due to the poor weather, avalanche risk and glacier travel problems in poor weather, we chose to avoid going at all this time but got some good climbing and training done at the high altitude Rifugio Torino on the Italian side of the Mont Blanc Range.
Our summer 2022 courses are online – with courses every month from June-October 2022, please check them out via the page details above.
24 September 2021, Magic late summer conditions on Gran Paradiso
Conditions have held up well on the upper glacier this summer and it was great to get the full team to the summit (9/9) in the magical pristine fresh snow conditions after the recent storms.
Early July 2021, Good summer snow cover on the Gran Paradiso Glaciers & North Face
Good summer snow volume remains on the glacier on the ascent from Chabod and the North Face is more snowy than icy again. Lots of teams climbing from the Chabod Hut and it’s worth booking well in advance as they have reduced capacity.
Early June 2021, Very good snow cover on the Gran Paradiso Glaciers.
Both Chabod and Vittorio Emanuelle Huts are now open for the summer season and good early season conditions have been reported with well snowy conditions from just above the Rifugios. Some teams have still been skiing until recently and it’s the time of year where there is a massive difference between a good overnight freeze and climbing in the track – and a poor warm night and moving out of the track and into soft snow. With the low snow line it’s good to be fast to avoid getting caught in soft snow conditions on the descent and numerous teams have been using snow shoes to avoid sinking too much as things warm up from late morning onwards.
6 August 2020, Heatwave But Still Decent Conditions On Gran Paradiso
There is now a ladder in place on the summit crevasse which has grown considerably since our late June ascents. There should be a 2nd one in place shortly to continue the 1 way system theme which is working well for the tour of the summit ridge. It now seems the route of ascent goes under the summit ridge via the traverse (metal pig tails for protection in place and very quick and easy to use) to the ladder which pops you out on the summit. After summit photos, down the main summit ridge to rejoin the ascent route near the final snowy (and often corniced) little col. Crevasses are getting bigger on the Chabod side and with more ice showing through although this is currently more of an issue on the steeper lower slopes of the glacier above Vittorio Emanuelle. We have a team climbing from the Chabod early tomorrow morning so another update to follow shortly.
22 June 2020, 4 Hour Ascent Of Gran Paradiso From Pont In Good Early Summer Conditions
Great to travel light and make a rapid ascent of the mountain without using either of the huts. All the details here:
1 October 2019, Autumn ascent of Gran Paradiso via Rifugio Chabod winter room
A very enjoyable early autumn ascent with late summer weather and conditions via the great base camp at Rifugio Chabod winter room. Conditions update here:
For video conditions info check out this mini film made by our guest in October 2019, Rodrigo: Gran Paradiso ascent film.
21 July 2019, Decent Conditions Despite The Heatwave
Sustained hot and sunny weather has taken its toll on snow conditions around the main alpine chain and the snow loss in the Gran Paradiso in the last few weeks is no exception to that, however, whilst there are of course a few crevasses to negotiate on the way up from Rifugio Chabod, that route still has decent conditions according to hut guardian Titti.
3 June 2019, A Great Start To The Summer Season Climbing The Gran Paradiso
Both our early summer groups made it to the summit on this first of our numerous Gran Paradiso courses for summer / autumn 2019. The Chabod Hut has just open whilst the VE hut was only open at the weekend. Snow volume was good and thanks to the existing tracks, the going was good too, although an early start and early finish is highly recommended. Great snow volume on the glacier and all the way down below the VE hut to join the summer path. Watch out as always below the VE hut for a steep step or 2 as the summer path emerges out of the high spring snow volume.
7 May 2019, Ski Touring Ascent Of Gran Paradiso
With much more snow than our list visit in March, this was a ski touring treat in good conditions and great to see snow volume now much improved on the Chabod Hut approach to the mountain and the area in general:
21 March 2019, Winter Snow Shoe Ascent Of Gran Paradiso
We took advantage of the dry snow conditions with low avalanche risk and good winter weather to make this ascent via the Chabod hut using a combination of snow shoes, boots and crampons. A tough but rewarding journey….
2nd October 2018, Full team to the summit in cold & windy weather but good conditions
Our early autumn team had a time staying in the winter room at the Rifugio Chabod and profiting from the lovely autumnal quiet conditions. The weather was cold for summit day with some fresh snow on the glacier and being blown around in the strong northerly winds. Some route finding through the large crevasses was required but the good snow and cool weather made for a tough but enjoyable aller retour ascent from Chabod. Summer 2019 Gran Paradiso Course Dates Now Online.
24th August 2018, 13/13 Again To Gran Paradiso Summit – Now With Late Summer Conditions
Another good big team traverse of the Paradiso, again from Chabod to Vittorio Emanuelle via the summit but this time with very different conditions. Very dry and rocky conditions low down leading to dry ice on the lower glacier and plenty of crevasses along the glacier route below the North Face. There was 1 team heading for this but they could not be seen later and the face looks icy and hard work! The upper slopes and final crevasse and approach to the summit are all good but the normal descent via the Vittorio Emanuelle is icy and to be avoided. We descended the upper Chabod Glacier and then to the rocky col at 3300m and down the rock terraces and slabs from there, with one steeper short section of scrambling before joining the VE normal route.
19th June 2018, 13/13 To Gran Paradiso Summit And Traverse
A great success on this weeks Gran Paradiso with a full team of 13 guests and guides all going to the summit and traversing the mountain from Rifugio Chabod to Vittorio Emanuelle and down to Pont. Our experienced guides were commenting how they had never seen so much snow on the mountain in summer. Great conditions all the way except for some tricky breakable crust on the descent of the penultimate steep snow slope on the glacier above VE Hut. Negotiated with some technical bum shuffling!
16th June 2018, Great snow conditions on Chabod, Vittorio Emanuelle & North Face Routes
The warm and sunny days and chilly nights have created excellent early summer conditions on the Paradiso and a much easier hut walk in was had to Chabod with only a few patches of snow remaining below the hut. The approach to the glacier is still well snowy however and fast and easy with great high snow volume then on the glacier ascent and descent via VE Hut. At least 20 climbers and skiers on the North Face!
9th June 2018, Lots Teams On North Face – Very Snowy Conditions On Glacier
Very snowy in terms of actual cover and the fact it’s nearly snow all the way from the hut to the summit, thus avoiding the normal hour of rocky walking from the Chabod hut to the glacier. Numerous teams on the North Face today and a better overnight re-freeze than for our ascent a few days ago. 50 folk inbound to the Chabod Hut over the weekend – pretty busy for this early in the season!
7th June 2018, Excellent Early Early Summer Snow Cover On The Gran Paradiso
Impressive snow volume on the glacier ascent from Chabod Hut today with snow encountered from 2400m on the hut walk in. Then snow all the way to the summit, happily with a bit of a track in place as there was a poor overnight freeze and soft snow conditions lower down on the way back. For this reason we opted for the aller retour from Chabod as there was no track on the Vittorio Emanuelle side.
25th September 2016, Excellent Early Autumn Conditions
A good forecast for Sunday and a poor one for Monday, plus generally good conditions meant for a busy night in the winter room at the Rifugio Chabod. Still an excellent base camp though and a pleasure to depart under a superb starlit pre-dawn morning. Conditions on the glacier were freshened up by recent snow, but with a settling period, good freeze and excellent track, the going was good! Obviously a bit of fresh late summer / early autumn snow is not going to fill the large holes and gaping crevasses but infact the new track seemed to take a better route and offer a much easier passage up the glacier than for much of the late summer period.
Likewise the steeper slopes on the descent to Vittorio Emanuelle were in excellent condition, with the icy passages now covered in quality snow & good track and the previously awkward and loose rocky sections now covered with a shallow but useful layer of snow.
28th August 2016, Chabod Glacier Route – Late Summer Conditions But Hanging On!
Report from experienced IFMGA Guide Robin Jarvis:
We went up and down the Paradiso from the Chabod and it is perfectly fine, no problems. The biggest holes are above the point where the route from the VE bottom of via ferrata cuts in. (This is the route I have taken by default from the VE in recent years.) There really wasn’t any significant issue with the glacier considering the time of year and recent hot weather, it was easy, but we had a very good freeze the night before, and also the night before that.
19th August 2016, Late Summer Conditions On The Gran Paradiso Glaciers
Nineteen out of nineteen in our team enjoyed reaching the summit of the Paradiso today and completing the traverse from Rifugio Chabod to Vittorio Emanuelle. The traverse was completed in safety and style in reasonable conditions but there are some obvious signs of the time of year – now late summer. There are plenty of crevasses on the Chabod glacier with some easy steps / jumps lower down and a few snow bridges to cross. These were fine this morning in the well frozen snow. There are some bigger holes in the glacier higher up this route and these present some exposure as the track traversed above one very large crevasse where very accurate cramponing was required.
We descended the Vittorio Emanuelle route which is getting very lean from a snow cover point of view with some exposed ice and steep / icy paths. Conditions were ok and fine for our strong team, but very different from the big snow slopes and tracks of early summer and may benefit from some fresh snow forecast for Saturday.
Some teams were climbing the rocky shoulder between the 2 routes although the upper ridge of that route was also quite icy. Another option is to climb / descend the lower rocky slopes of this ridge on the VE Hut side and easily join the upper glacier on the Chabod route.
26th June 2016, Very Good Snowy Conditions For Gran Paradiso Traverse
Enjoyable traverse of the Gran Paradiso from Chabod to Vittorio Emanuelle Huts and back down to Pont. Excellent snow cover on the glacier with a good track and reasonable overnight freeze. This gave very enjoyable early summer conditions although it was extremely busy and our team climbed one of the alternative summits to avoid the slight bun fight along the summit ridge to the normal summit with the Madonna. Conditions should remain good with a week of classic summer alpine weather forecast for the week ahead.
17th June 2016, Snowy & Tough Weather But Good Conditions On Both Routes Up Gran Paradiso
Teams had to endure a soaking on the hut walk in yesterday to get to either Chabod or Vittorio Emanuelle Huts. An umbrella would have been useful! The faithful were rewarded by a partial clearing of the clouds, very snowy glaciers and hard going with some strong winds high on the mountain. Teams from the Vittorio Emanuelle Hut put their crampons on at the hut, which is pretty unusual in mid June! Still, conditions are very good in terms of snow cover and will improve even more with a bit of a re-freeze with cold nights and warm sunny days….not sure when that weather is arriving though!
10th June 2016, Snowy Conditions & Serac Fall On Chabod Route
Good snowy conditions with most teams climbing without snow shoes now from both huts. There was a serac fall high on the glacier above the Chabod route but no one was hurt. Titti, the Chabod Hut Guardian, reporting generally good conditions even with a decent overnight freeze.
7th June 2016, Good Snowy Conditions On The Glaciers of Gran Paradiso
An excellent snowy start to the season in the Paradiso National Park. Both huts are open early season this year to make the most of the fine conditions. Ascents from both huts & more details to follow as our teams head that way next week.
4th November 2015 – Superb Autumn Foray Into The Paradiso National Park
The weather did not promise much, but this was our only window of opportunity, so we went anyway. The reality was inspirational. Brilliant orange Larch trees, bright in the rare pockets of sun and dusted with frost and snow on the north facing side of the valley. The ascent to the Vittorio Emanuelle Hut was great, shallow grippy snow with loads of Chamois, Ibex and even a fox sighting. We arrived well after dark but there was no wind and we enjoyed the journey. The winter stables at the Hut provided a fine base camp and we soon had a good fire roaring in the stove.
Next morning we were treated to a superb starlit and moon bathed night and enjoyed the glitter and glow from the snowpack as well as the odd shooting star. The snow became quite deep on the way to the glacier and our guests Rob’s head was throbbing from a recent dental operation. We did not make the summit but had a good time trying and were passed by 2 determined looking skiers on the way down. So there may well now be a skinning track to the summit!
22 September 2015, Improving Late Summer Season Conditions From Chabod Hut
Despite the large open crevasses that were a feature of this summer season on the Paradiso glacier ascent from Chabod, the route remains in reasonable conditions. The snow bridges have lasted the summer and despite there being fairly impressive holes, the route has remained open with a decent track over much of the summer. Fresh snow has taken the snow level down C. 3000m thus reducing the amount of cramponing on ice on the lower dry glacier.
The twin ladders which were a feature of this summers passage over the summit crevasse have been removed but it is still possible to cross without the ladders and hopefully fresh snow and cooler temperatures will maintain this position in to the autumn and after the imminent closure of the huts. Winter rooms exist at both Vittorio Emanuelle and Chabod for climbers keen to make the ascent during the autumn.
20th August 2015, Good Conditions Via Vittorio Emanuelle Hut
The combination of recent heavy snow with continuing cooler conditions and good overnight freeze gave a good alpine combination on the glacier and in general on the ascent from the Vittorio Emanuelle Hut.
14th August 2015, Lightening Strikes On The Glacier!
Conditions are very much ‘late summer season’ on the Paradiso. There are icy slopes on the snout of the glacier above the Vittorio Emanuelle and big crevasses on the route from Chabod. Both routes however continue to be climbed by many parties and above where they converge, near the summit ridge there are a couple of ladders fixed to facilitate access over the last crevasse.
The forecast was stormy for this afternoon but it was the only option to try for the summit this morning with our large team from Zurich. The overnight cloud did not really clear but was thinning a little this morning with some clearings so the team set of expectantly and started climbing the glacier just before dawn. Not long afterwards a pretty impressive series of lightening strikes could be seen, heard & felt raining down around the mountain. The team did a ‘demi-tour’ and retreated back to the hut.
The electrical storm was short lived but the cloud intensified and brought the rain and any chance of summiting was long gone for today. With snowy / stormy weather forecast over the weekend and Monday next week there is the first taste of autumn, with a rain snow limit dropping to 2600m. This could well help out with the overall snow & glacier conditions on the Paradiso.
13th July 2015, Snow & Glacier Conditions Hanging On From Chabod Hut to Gran Paradiso
Still good weather but still hot and sunny and another busy weekend on the Paradiso. Of course the big holes on the glacier have not changed and will probably only get bigger until well in to the autumn. However the track is good and many people are climbing, over 100 climbed this route from the Chabod Hut this weekend. We have a couple of teams on the mountain this week and early next so say posted for more updates.
7th July 2015, Gran Paradiso North Face
Quick update on todays general conditions post. There was a team approaching a now fairly icy North Face. Their body language looked a bit reticent which was not surprising considering the blue hues on the Face above a third height. The Ciaforon North Face looked really dry & poor although there was a couple of teams on the Voie Normale which looked better.
7th July 2015, Traverse of Gran Paradiso From Chabod to Vittorio Emanuelle
The recent hot conditions have certainly left their mark on the Paradiso National Park which has jumped from what was early summer conditions to what now feels like late summer conditions. We enjoyed the traverse of the Paradiso summit routes up the Chabod Glacier and down via the Vittorio Emanuelle Hut. Snow conditions were soft but ok in the track, despite the odd puddle on the lower glacier! Higher on the glacier the snow was ok and almost firm but there are some pretty significant crevasses opening up, especially at C 2/3rds height where a huge crevasse is crossed on an easy but fragile looking bridge. It won’t last the summer…unless it turns in to a summer like last one!
The descent of the VE route was fine albeit on fairly soft snow (and, crucially worth noting that the VE Hut staff stop serving between 1100 & 1200 whilst the whole hut has lunch!).
4th July 2015, How Weather Conditions Update From Chabod Hut
Inevitably the hot weather period in late June / early July has started opening up the crevasses on the main north facing glacier above the Rifugio Chabod. Titti at the hut confirms that the crevasses are opening and there is the odd jump required and the Rimaye at the head of the glacier & junction with the Vittorio Emanuelle route is best crossed on the left.
Conditions on the North Face are becoming more icy but teams are still climbing it most days. We will be over there at least twice this coming week so will update conditions here as we know more after another hot week ahead.
22nd June 2015 Gran Paradiso From Chabod & Tresenta From Vittorio Emanuelle
Excellent early summer snow conditions on the glacier were only enhanced by a strong overnight re-freeze on the fine glacier leading under the north face of the Paradiso. All 12 of our 3 day course team summited yesterday and made the traverse from Chabod to Vittorio Emanuelle. Some of the team then climbed the Voie Normale on Tresenta this morning whilst others returned to Chamonix for big boot scrambling training before moving on to Mont Blanc, the Weissmeis and other alpine projects.
17 June 2015, Excellent Conditions Via Chabod Glacier Route
Titi, the excellent gaurdian of the Chabod Hut is reporting excellent snowy early summer conditions for climbing the Gran Paradiso at the moment.
We have a big team traversing the mountain this weekend, the weather looks good so we will update after they have made their attempt on Sunday.
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 2014, 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
Wednesday 13 November 2013 9:59:54 pm
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.