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Gran Paradiso climb

O

ur one week alpine adventure started with acclimatization ascent to only Italian four-thousander, which lies whole in this country – Gran Paradiso. Our daring plans do not stop here but about that later. Let’s get from the start.

Camping Pont Breuil – ‎2 000 m

Almost all Saturday we spent on the way from Bratislava to Camping Pont Breuil in Aosta valley. We had some spare places in cars so we took some passengers through Austria and Italy. The road is quite boring, mostly on highways. Until Aosta valley appeared. The views are suddenly full of mountains, the road goes through villages with pretty wooden houses and great castles. In the evening we settled in campsite and went sleep (this time without alarm).

Camp Pont Breuil

Camp Pont Breuil with mountains

Rifugio Vittorio Emanuele II – ‎2 732 m

In the morning while eating breakfast we prepare our bags. There are a litlle bit heavy but the hut is only 700 m above us so we don’t mind. You can leave the tent here even when you are away.

The route to the hut Rifugio Vittorio Emanuele II (the best way to reserve places is call them) is easy and marked. It begins directly in camp as dirt road.

Road from camp to Rifugio Vittorio Emanuele II

Road from camp to Rifugio Vittorio Emanuele II

After a while we are in the woods where the route starts to be more steeper. Then we ascent in zigzag style above the woods to the grassy slopes.

View from above on route to hut

View from above on route to hut

The route is still easy, to the hut we arrive in 2 hours.

View on route to hut

View on route to hut

Rifugio Vittorio Emanuele II

Rifugio Vittorio Emanuele II

We have enough time so I go on training hike 300 m above the hut. From here I see parts of the route which we we are going tomorrow in dark and our goal – Gran Paradiso. There are several routes up there, through the snow or rock, but all routes meet in one point below the summit and go up together. In the evening we cook couscous with tuna and go to sleep. Alarm is set at 4am.

Gran Paradiso

Gran Paradiso

Gran Paradiso – 4 061 m

In the morning we eat bread with jam and started around 4:30 am. We go with headlamps but we cannot really loose tracks because there are many other tourists on the way. We are pretty quick on the place where I stood yesterday.

Routes to Gran Paradiso

Routes to Gran Paradiso, picture taken day before, we went through dashed route

We see that some people went through snow from the start. We are going through rock until glacier appears. Then we take on crampons and rope and continue our trip to the summit.

Start of the glacier

Start of the glacier

On the right side we see other routes. The route is not difficult, whole time we see summit and footprint are clearly visible.

Meeting point of all routes from this side of the mountain

Meeting point of all routes from this side of the mountain

Last meters

Last meters (behind we see one way traffic to the summit)

The summit part is one way. You have to go behind the summit and then climb short rock wall, most difficult part of the whole trip. We stand up on summit after 5.5 hours.

One way route at the summit part

One way route at the summit part

Gran Paradiso summit

Gran Paradiso summit

Descent

We spend maybe one hour on the summit, we eat and rest. Then we again tie up to the rope and start descending. As we expected it is much quicker to descend over snow. On the crossroads we take the left route so we are going all the way down on snow. In the hut we are after 3:15 hours.

View from summit

View from summit on the route

In the hut we eat lunch and rest a little bit. Then we continue descending to the camp. It took us around two hours. We are done. Just a long hot shower and big dinner. That’s all we want.

Back in camp

Back in camp

Our acclimatization is successfully behind us. Now we are checking weather forecast for our main project – climbing Matterhorn. It doesn’t look ideal but it is good enough. It is still two days beforehand. But for now we are going to enjoy well deserved sleep.

You can watch our climb in this video if you’ve missed it at the beginning of article:

Photogallery

DIFFICULTY
Hiking
3/5
Length
2 days
Elevation
2061 m.
2061 m.
Altitude
Max. 4061 m.n.m.
Min. 2000 m.n.m.

Significant points

Camping Pont Breuil 732 m 2 h Rifugio Vittorio Emanuele II
Rifugio Vittorio Emanuele II 1329 m 5:15 h Gran Paradiso
Gran Paradiso 1329 m 3:15 h Rifugio Vittorio Emanuele II
Rifugio Vittorio Emanuele II 732 m 2 h Camping Pont Breuil

Prices

1 night: 13€ (with AV)
camp Pont: 6 € / per person / per night
camp Pont - tent: 6 € / per night
camp Pont - car: 2 € / per night
highway toll (from Tarvisio): 70 € / 1 way
Last update: 2. August 2019
Keywords: glacier, Gran Paradiso, Italy, Pont
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Hiker, climber, athlete, eater of burgers. Programmer in free time.

I attended a math university, consequesnces are visibble to this day. Around that time my trips started to be little longer than walking in the city. I have been in all kind of places since then. From our beatiful Tatras, scenic landscapes of Balkan, kayaking near the shores of Sweden to national parks on west USA.

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Robert Rohring 22. August 2019
Beautiful memories from Gran Paradiso