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).
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.
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.
The route is still easy, to the hut we arrive in 2 hours.
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 – 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.
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.
On the right side we see other routes. The route is not difficult, whole time we see summit and footprint are clearly visible.
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.
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.
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.
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: