Monte Rosa Mountaineer 4554m

The Monte Rosa chain forms a magnificent high alpine & glacial massif straddling the Italian & Swiss borders and presents the mountaineer with a superb series of snowy peaks just asking to be climbed…

After an initial training and acclimatisation trip with a night in a mountain hut, our route approaches from the more accessible glaciers on the southern, Italian flank of the mountain via the beautiful Gressoney Valley. The high point for this 5 day alpine adventure is Punta Gnifetti (4554m) and its crowning Margherita Hut. This is the highest building in Western Europe, and, being in Italy, provides a remarkable pit stop for a good coffee and slice of pizza!

A memorable journey deep in to the heart of one of Europe’s most remarkable mountains landscapes…

Booking now for summer and early autumn 2023…

2023 Dates & Prices

Latest Monte Rosa Climbing Conditions

Jun 27
Sep 04
The Team climbing in a snowy & chilly Monte Rosa Massif

Monte Rosa Mountaineer, Featuring…

  • 5 days of physical high alpine mountaineering aiming to climb several peaks from up 3500m to 4500m along the way
  • Initial mountaineering training given on day 1 and consistently developed throughout the course
  • 2 day warm up training & acclimatisation trip with a night in a mountain hut, usually the Albert Premier Hut in the Mont Blanc Massif or Moiry Hut in the Swiss Valais
  • 3 day trip deep in to the heart of the Monte Rosa Massif
  • 2 nights spent in famous Italian mountain ‘Rifugios’. Superb locations, hospitable staff, great food, cafe & vino. An experience in itself!
  • Great progression and acclimatisation towards climbing other big 4000m peaks like Mont Blanc
  • Meet other like minded climbers for a sociable week in the mountains
Climbing to the remarkable Margherita Hut on the summit of Signalkuppe at over 4500m in the Monte Rosa Massif!

Monte Rosa Mountaineer – Plan A Programme

  • This course starts and finishes in Chamonix Mont Blanc, easily accessed by a convenient 1 hour transfer from Geneva airport.
  • We recommend turning up ideally at least 1 day early to relax and enjoy the mountain ambiance of the Chamonix Valley and start acclimatising with some mountain walking and trips on the lifts..
  • We meet in Chamonix at 0830 on the morning of day 1 for an introduction to the course, equipment check and to set off up to the glacier and mountain hut.
The beautiful views of the Chamonix Valley and Mont Blanc from the Col de Balme en route to the Albert Premier Hut

Here is the Plan A programme for the week which may have to be altered closer to the time according to weather & conditions.   Please note that the first 2 days are sometimes shared with guests on our Mont Blanc training course, which has the same programme and ratio for these initial 2 days.

Day 1 – Glacier & Mountaineering Training, Night In A Mountain Hut

  • Day 1 begins with introductions, a chat through the week ahead, weather brief and equipment check. We can also hire out any alpine mountaineering equipment out at this stage. Please check our alpine mountaineering equipment list and mountaineering equipment hire pages in advance and let us know what items you will require.
  • Driving north east up the Chamonix Valley we head to the small hamlet of Le Tour where a ski lift can be taken towards the Col de Balme (French – Swiss border) to start the pleasant 2 hour walk to the newly refurbished & excellently positioned Refuge Albert Premier (2702m).
    This attractive & modern hut not only offers quick access to the glacier for an afternoon of mountaineering techniques training / refresher, it also presents an ideal sleeping altitude for the first night spent up high.
  • The training includes efficient & effective use of crampons, ice axe and other equipment plus glacier travel techniques. An important grounding for the week ahead. A pleasant relaxed evening is spent in the hut after making sure equipment is ready for an alpine, pre dawn start, the next morning…
Alpine start from the Albert Premier Hut, heading for the Aiguille du Tour and a night at the Swiss Trient Hut. Aiguille du Chardonnet beyond. Eastern end of the Mont Blanc Massif.

Day 3 – Alpine Start – Glacier Travel Journey – Climb A 3500m Peak

  • After yesterdays training, this is an opportunity to put things in to practice straight away and climb an introductory alpine peak high on the French Swiss frontier.
  • After an 0400 breakfast the walk to the glacier begins where the team rope up for a scenic and physical glacier journey practicing glacier travel techniques and acclimatising along the way.  We usually climb the Tete Blanche but depending on the conditions and team we have also climbed the Aiguille du Tour & Petite Fourche.
  • The views across to the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa are spectacular as well as, closer to home, Mont Blanc. The descent takes us back via the Albert Premier Hut where an early lunch can be enjoyed on the sunny terrace. Then, a pleasant walk back through alpine meadows towards the Col de Balme takes us back to the ski lifts of Le Tour.
  • Happily, an important part of alpine mountaineering is the ability to relax, recover and the attractions of Chamonix can be enjoyed later this afternoon / evening and any necessary adjustments made to equipment before heading South across to Italy the next morning.
Heading back down the Tour Glacier from Tete Blanche with the Aiguille du Chardonnet North Face beyond

Please note that some of our Monte Rosa Mountaineer courses later in the summer may go to the brilliant Moiry Hut in the Swiss Valais Alps which can provide a better alternative if glacier conditions are poor later in the season.

The Moiry Hut, a brilliant base camp for training on both the nearby glacier and rocky alpine ridges.

Day 3 – Into The Monte Rosa Massif & Rifugio Mantova (3440m)

  • After yesterdays summit and descent this is a physically easier day with the drive through the Mont Blanc tunnel, down Val d’Aosta and up into the beautiful Val de Gressoney.
  • From Staffal, at the head of the this long valley running north in to the Monte Rosa Massif, three lifts are taken to give a rapid height gain to Punta Indren above 3200m. This gives an amenable short walk to the hut, although there is a small glacier to cross and a rocky scrambly path to negotiate. This approach provides another good opportunity to develop mountaineering skills along the way including a look at crevasse rescue and the option to do a short scramble moving together.
  • The Rifugio Mantova is a spacious & smart hut with a modern feel and good food. The evening is enjoyed here after preparations have been made for the pre-dawn alpine start the next morning and the big climb in to the heart of the Monte Rosa range…
At 4554m the Margherita Hut is the highest hut in the Alps and highest building in W. Europe. The coffee is still excellent of course as it’s an Italian Hut. Our Monte Rosa Mountaineer team enjoying the summit views…

Day 3 – Punta Gnifetti / Signalkuppe / Rifugios Margherita (4554m) & Gnifetti (3625m)

  • Breakfast is usually taken around 0400 and peering out of the hut at this time gives remarkable views sweeping down to the Italian plains and the city of Milano over 100kms away. We will be hoping for a good clear night and hard freeze of the snow on the glacier to give fine conditions for the journey ahead…
  • The glacier ascent begins almost immediately above the hut and the team should be roped up and making tracks before dawn at around 0500. The climbing is technically easy and gives a good opportunity to keep the breathing steady and enjoy the wonderful dawn alpine ambiance. Other teams are also joining the route from the nearby Gnifetti Hut.
  • A steepening and Pyramide Vincent, another 4000m peak and tomorrows objective, is passed on the right. As dawn arrives a magnificent sequence of views develops both North West to the Swiss Valais giants like Liskamm, The Matterhorn, Dent Blanche and Weissmeiss. Over to the West to Mont Blanc and South across the Valle d’Aoste to Gran Paradiso.
  • At around 4200m a fine plateau above the Lisjoch is gained, a good spot for a breather and to soak up the atmosphere of this remarkable high alpine glacial environment. Punta Gnifetti & Rifugio Margherita can also be seen from here as can the even higher summit of the Dufourspitze.
  • Some teams will descend the mighty Grenz Glacier from here to the Swiss Monte Rosa Hut. Our journey continues steadily upwards, feeling the altitude now…pause for breath to view the Eiger & Bernese Oberland to the North…and then the fine summit is reached with a welcome break at the highest cafe (and building) in Europe!
  • Our descent takes us back on to the Italian side of the mountain with the opportunity to climb another lower summit on the way down or visit the Balmenhorn Bivi Hut. Our new advanced base camp for the final night is the large & charismatic Rifugio Gnifetti. This is another high altitude hut but we should be getting well enough acclimatised to enjoy the famous Italian hut food & drink & soak up the sociable atmosphere….and even get some sleep!
Sunset at the Gnifetti Hut on the Italian side of the Monte Rosa

Day 4 – Pyramide Vincent (4215m) & Back To Chamonix

  • The close rivalry between the Gnifetti & Mantova Huts has benefited the visitors, 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!
  • Another 0400 alarm rings the start of the last day….We can enjoy a slightly more leisurely breakfast this morning as we have a shorter final climb. Around 2 hours from the hut takes us to the summit of the Pyramide Vincent (4215m) the only Italian 4000m peak of the massif which does not share a border with Switzerland.
  • The ascent is steady with a final steeper summit slope and superb views back down the Gressnoney and Alagna Valleys. The swift descent takes us back to the high ski station above Gressoney. By mid morning we are back in the valley, enjoying Gelato and making our way back up Valle d’Aosta to arrive back in Chamonix late afternoon after a truly memorable stay in the mountains.
Snowy peaks and ridges.  Plenty of them in the Monte Rosa Massif.
Many thanks for a great week! Everything about the trip, from initial booking through to final peak, has been exceptional. Stefano was an excellent guide who kept Carl and I going when we were close to running on empty. Sharing a coffee in margarita hut after that climb was a highlight and I’m already planning my next trip. Lastly, by complete fluke our hotel overlooked the UTMB course so we have been able to sit on our balcony and enjoy some great racing.

Andy Ross, Monte Rosa Mountaineer, August 2018

Required Fitness and Experience Levels

  • A really good level of aerobic fitness is required for the long glacial and high altitude climbs on the Monte Rosa (up to around 8 hours of climbing / descending on the main summit day with altitudes up to 4500m, thus a big effort!) .  Good endurance is required in general to still be climbing the 4000m peak on day 5.  Thus a background in mountain walking or other endurance activities like running or cycling is required.
  • Previous hill walking and any general mountain experience will be useful for our Monte Rosa Mountaineer programme although mountaineering training will be given at the start and throughout the week so no technical mountaineering experience is required.  However, for those without experience, we recommend doing either our Mont Blanc training day or Mont Blanc training weekend prior to this course.
  • Whilst the technical demands of the climbing are relatively low, this course still involves some rocky / mixed scrambling and with some exposure in ascent & descent. The course also involve steep snow slopes and crevassed glaciers so you need to be able to concentrate & deal with these challenges after the initial mountaineering training.

Carl Stevenson, Monte Rosa Mountaineer, August 2018

Just wanted so say thankyou for a great weeks introduction to Alpine mountaineering.  I learnt so much from Stefano who was absolutely excellent.  He was great at pushing me when he knew that I was beginning to start bricking it!  Many thanks again for a great trip.

2018 Monte Rosa Team in training on the Mont Blanc Massif phase of the expedition

Suggested Course Progression

A good build up to this Monte Rosa course would be completing our Chamonix Intro Alpine, Mont Blanc Training weekends or Climbing the Gran Paradiso. This would then all set you up very well for Climbing Mont Blanc in the future.  You could use our 3 day Weissmies course as a build up to the Mont Blanc summit climb and this would all be good training for a future ascent of the Matterhorn or the Eiger.

High altitude mountaineering requires good equipment as our 2018 team find out here at dawn near the Lisjoch, the Italian / Swiss border…

When To Climb the Monte Rosa & Other Objectives In The Area

The main climbing season for this ascent is high summer (late-June to mid-September). During this period the lifts of Gressoney are open (weather permitting), the huts are fully open also and there is generally a good track working a way up the glacier between the Gnifetti and Margherita huts. However this can easily be covered with fresh snow & bad weather, during which times the route becomes seriously exposed and is a bad place to be due to the featureless terrain and large crevasses.

Unusually the Gnifetti Hut remains open until late October / early November and early autumn can be a beautiful & inspiring time to climb.  It’s generally a bit tougher with fresh snow etc, so you need to be fitter, and a bit cooler, so you need to be well equipped but this can all give a very rewarding mountain experience.   Please see our article on climbing outside the main summer season.

For experienced ski mountaineers it is also possible to travel through these mountains on skis in the spring, when both huts are open for that purpose. In the right snow conditions, this can be a magical experience and ski journeys can also be made linking with the Monte Rosa Hut on the Swiss side of the range. See our Ski Monte Rosa gallery for more details.

The beautiful high altitude glacier approach to the Margherita Hut from Gressoney. Lyskamm Ridge and north face beyond.

In addition to the classic Monte Rosa Mountaineer group course described here, we can also arrange tailor made private guiding itineraries in this fantastic area. With a lower guiding ratio and more time, other ascents are possible such as the Dufourspitze, at 4634m, the 2nd highest peak in the Alps. More technical ascents can be made on that peak like the famous ‘Cresta Rey’ alpine rock ridge on the South face (AD+). The 4km traverse of Liskamm is also easily accessed from the Gnifetti Hut and its narrow snow crest provides a memorable experience for the very sure footed and is perhaps the most famous snow ridge in the whole of the Alps.

There are also classic high level hut to itineraries linking the fine series of Italian Rifugio on this side of the mountain (The spaghetti tour!) or the magnificent Breithorn – Monte Rosa traverse which can be done as a long mountain circuit from Zermatt, with or without including the principal summits along the way.

The Magnificent Giants of The Swiss Valais Alps, with the Dom & Tasch left, Monte Rosa centre and Liskamm right.

Monte Rosa Mountaineer Equipment List

Please refer to our Mont Blanc equipment list for this course as the terrain, altitude and temperatures are similar and thus please ensure you have all items from that lit list, link above.

Sean & Bradley Scott, Monte Rosa Mountaineer, August 2017

Just a note to say many thanks for a truly fantastic week and amazing weekend, both Stefano and Miles have been superb, Bradley is well and truly hooked!  Please pass on my thanks and thank you for organising such a tremendous week.

2023 Course Dates & Prices

Jun 27
Sep 04

Course Booking Via The Course Portals Above

2023 Price


5 days mountaineering & training

Maximum guiding ratio of 1 Guide to 4 clients.

What’s included in the Price?

  • This is essentially a course fee only but the following things are included in your course fee
  • 5 days mountain guiding with an IFMGA Mountain Guide
  • Transport during the course from Chamonix to the Italian Alps & back
  • Discounted equipment hire prices if required
  • Trip management & booking of mountain huts

What’s Not Included & Other Additional Expenses?

  • Mountain Hut & lift for you and the Guide. Allow 65-85 euros per night for dinner, bed & breakfast plus your part share in the same for the Guide (at  reduced rate)
  • 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 Lifts: Col de Balme return trip around €35 euros, Gressoney Return Trip, around €40
  • 4×4 Taxi instead of the lifts for the early autumn course
  • Additional snacks, drinks, lunch etc
  • Flights
  • Transfers to Chamonix (around €40 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, 3 hut nights, essential lifts is about 600 Euros. This excludes your share of the guides hut expenses, which can vary depending on the number of participants.
  • Any other expenses – please see our Alpine Expenses page for more details and prices

Thanks for everything. In brief, Epic! We all had a fantastic time. The guides were great, putting safety first but making it very enjoyable and we have learnt a huge amount along the way! Thanks again for an epic week in the mountains!

The magnificent east faces of the Liskamm, Matterhorn & Dent Blanche, from high on the Monte Rosa during our 2018 course.

Monte Rosa Current Conditions

6 October 2022, Long But Beautiful Trail Breaking Ascent To Zumsteinspitze

The glacier above Gnifetti is obviously well crevassed but a decent track is still in place, although it was mainly buried after the Lysjoch for our team today who did a great effort getting to the summit of the Zumsteinspitze, 4563m.

Alex & Eren on the 4563m summit of the Zumsteinspitze in the Monte Rosa Massif. A lovely chilly pristine feel to the mountains in early autumn.

The Rifugio Gnifetti remains open until the 30th of October and, whilst the lifts of Gressoney are closed, it’s possible to get a 4 x 4 taxi from the valley to make the hut walk in a lot shorter, although it’s still quite a trek!  The Mantova Hut is closed for the season.

6th September 2021, Great Conditions On The Parrotspitze 4432m

Very good late summer conditions on the glaciers above Mantova and Gnifetti and a superb journey up the winter room at Margherita Hut. 

The last few steps to the Rifugio Margherita, high on the Italian Swiss alpine border, between Gressoney & Zermatt.

Teams climbing all the main summits of the the Monte Rosa Massif including Lyskam, Castor, Pollux etc.  More details & photos on our news report below.

6 September 2021, Margherita Hut, Monte Rosa, Mont Blanc, Matterhorn


6th September 2018, Great Conditions On The Parrotspitze 4432m

Some recent fresh snow and chilly early autumn weather gave our Chamonix Alpine Intro team a great experience in the pristine feeling high altitude glacier journey up to the Parrotspize from the Rifugio Gnifetti.  Great night at the hut, great track, good conditions, big summit, happy team!

The Team climbing in the Monte Rosa Massif en route to the Parrotspitze…

28 August 2015, Monte Rosa Mountaineer Team To Margherita Hut & Various Other Summits

This year the weather stayed good for the main day 4 summit day and the team were able to climb to the Punta Gnifetti to enjoy the highest café bar in Europe!   Conditions on the glacier are still good even right at the end of the summer like this and the Ludwighorn and Balmenhorn were also climbed in good snowy tracks.  Pyramide Vincent will have to wait for another year as Friday dawned wet & grey.   But still a great experience sampling the 2 nights in high mountain Rifugio and the big 4500m+ summits….

The crossing of the Lisjoch, from Italy to Switzerland, on our 2018 Monte Rosa Mountaineer course.

2-7 August 2015, Monte Rosa Mountaineer Combined With Gran Paradiso

This team had actually come to climb Mont Blanc but the conditions in the Grand Couloir meant an alternative need to be found. Initially of course there is the reluctance to embrace a different objective when a lot of time, energy and money has gone in to planning the ascent of Mont Blanc. But embrace it we must for the skill of the alpinist is to remain flexible and have good climbing in good conditions as a goal above set objectives. Sometimes the choice is easy, like this week, Mt Blanc was not an option! So the team went from fit but complete beginners to Monte Rosa Mountaineers! Epic! Was their description of the trip at the end and after a day of training, they climbed the Gran Paradiso, and then spent nights at Mantova & Gnifetti climbing, Signalkuppe, Parrotspitze, Ludwigshoe, Roccia Nera and Piramide Vincent. Six 4000m peaks in the last 4 days!

Conditions remain fine on the glacier, as per last month, big crevasses but they are obvious and the track remains good.

29th July 2015, Café At Punti Gnifetti, An Excellent 2 Day Trip Into The Heart Of The Monte Rosa Massif….

The wet, windy & cloudy approach was contrasted excellently by the warm welcome at the Rifugio Gnifetti. Happily as the long & enjoyable dinner passed,theclouds started clearing. At 0400 the lights of the Italian plains could be seen 100kms away and the snow on the glacier was frozen solid. Game on!

We enjoyed a stunning glacier journey through the dawn, through the crevasses and up to the Lisjoch plateau where we marvelled at the surrounding peaks. The Matterhorn was almost completely devoid of snow and looked odd, albeit still very impressive! Despite the recent heatwave having stripped rocky peaks and many glaciers back too – conditions here remained good. Yes, there were plenty of big holes in the glacier, but they were obvious and easily avoided by the good re-frozen track. Several teams were setting off on the traverse of Liskamm and again, snow conditions looked surprisingly good considering the summer season so far. Later from near here we would watch teams coming over the Naso de Liskamm from Rifugio Quintino Sella. There the slope looked steep and icy, but many teams were still coming that way!

We proceeded up to Signalkuppe / Punta Gnifetti and for an excellent café and bowl of soup. The views were remarkable, even the toilet looks straight across to the Matterhorn! Many other teams were also climbing Zumsteinspitze and the Parrotspitze as well as, presumably the Dufourspitze from the Swiss side although we saw no evidence of the latter. One team descended the huge Grenz Glacier bound for the Monte Rosa Hut. As there was no track from yesterdays snow the upper section of that could have presented some interesting route finding with the extensive crevassing.

We lost height quickly in descent on the Italian side of the range and only briefly contemplated an ascent of Pyramide Vincent before scuttling down to the Rifugio Mantovo for excellent panini and, of course, more café! Where we had taken the more direct scramblers route with some fixed ropes in ascent, this time we took the more tranquille although still rough back to the top of the ski lifts and worked our way down to the Gelato awaiting in Gressoney….

An excellent quick trip in to the very high mountains with very little technical difficulty.

The remarkably high altitude (>4500m) Margherita Hut high on the Italian – Swiss border in the Monte Rosa Massif