How to climb Gran Paradiso

Posted by Sarah Stirling on 26/06/2018
Gran Paradiso summit ridge. Photo: Ioan Panaite / Shutterstock

Mountain Guide Stuart MacDonald offers tips on how to climb the highest independent peak in Italy (the Matterhorn shares its borders with Switzerland), which offers outstanding views across the Alps from its summit. It's graded F+ and 4,061m high, so if you’re looking for a big peak that is technically relatively straightforward, Gran Paradiso ticks all the boxes. There is a catch though...

The catch is that – unlike on many other 4,000m peaks in the Alps – there are no lift systems to take you partway to this summit, so if you suffer from blisters or sore knees, this probably isn't the peak for you. If you are fit and enjoy the satisfaction of climbing summits under your own steam, it's perfect though.

The routes

There are two main routes to the summit: you either ascend via the Rifugio Chabod or the Rifugio Vitttorio Emmanuel. The former takes about half an hour longer – but provides a nicer journey on the mountain in my opinion. I also much prefer the Chabod Rifugio. Half board costs 49,50 Euros.

Both routes are glacial walks that end in a 20-minute technical scramble. In UK standards, the ridge is around a Grade 3 scramble, and it’s all protectable using slings.


It's a technically relatively easy route. Photo: Ioan Panaite / Shutterstock

Getting there

Both routes start from Pravieux in Valsavarenche, at 1,850m. To get there you could either fly to Geneva or Turin and hire a car. It takes about 2 to 2.5 hours to walk to either hut. And it’s roughly four hours from the Chabod Rifugio to the summit – half an hour less from the Rifugio Vittorio Emmanuel.


Valsavarenche. Photo: Alfio Finocchiaro / Shutterstock

Techniques and tactics

For small groups of around three people a 30m rope is sufficient. A few carabiners and slings is all the protection required. The summit ridge is the scene of many a traffic jam, often caused by incompetent teams pitching their way along relatively easy ground.

It’s a 2,000m descent from the summit to the valley floor – due to the absence of lifts to take the sting out of this, some choose to spend a second night in the hut to spread the descent out over two days. 

Prep

You need to be competent at glacial travel and alpine scrambling techniques. It's a much more enjoyable climb if you have done some acclimatisation beforehand.


Gran Paradiso National Park. No lifts or infrastructure. Photo: Zsofia_R

Season

Early June to late September. One of the best things about this route is that it is climbable for most of the season, with the exception of when it’s very icy.

Stuart MacDonald is a Mountain Guide based in the Chamonix Valley: www.stuartmacdonald.org


In a tight spot? Annual BMC Alpine & Ski insurance is only £160*

This winter, we're giving everyone 15% off Annual European BMC Alpine & Ski travel insurance.

Don't forget, all BMC Travel Insurance comes with £10 million emergency medical cover

*Policy details: Offer valid for policies purchased until 1 March 2020. £160.70 for annual alpine multi-trip (45 day limit for each single trip) European insurance up to age 44, and £168.74 for ages 45 to 69.

Years of experience

We've been insuring adventurers like you for over 30 years. That's why all of our policies come with:

  • 24-hour emergency assistance helpline
  • £10 million emergency medical cover
  • £100,000 search, rescue and recovery cover
  • £10,000 personal accident cover
  • £5,000 cancellation cover
  • £2,500 baggage cover

WATCH: BMC Insurance: built for the mountains

Want to know more? READ: 5 reasons why you need BMC Travel Insurance


« Back

Post a comment Print this article

This article has been read 7628 times

TAGS

Click on the tags to explore more

RELATED ARTICLES

BMC Climbing charity fundraiser 2020
0
 BMC Climbing charity fundraiser 2020

Are you ready? Climbing4all is back in 2020! The BMC is running a fundraising campaign from 23-29 March 2020 to help a number of UK-based charities which involve the medium of climbing and the outdoors. Teams from schools, universities, climbing clubs and individuals can sign up to raise money for one of the charities through one of our climbing challenges or make up their own.
Read more »

15% off annual BMC Alpine & Ski Travel Insurance in Europe
0
15% off annual BMC Alpine & Ski Travel Insurance in Europe

In a tight spot? BMC Travel Insurance is serious about making sure our members are covered for any occurrence, which is why we provide £10 million emergency medical cover. And to sweeten the deal, this winter from 1 January get 15% off all annual Alpine & Ski policies in Europe.
Read more »

We've gone to the mountains - our Christmas closing times
2
We've gone to the mountains - our Christmas closing times

We're closing for Christmas and New Year and heading to the mountains. The BMC HQ will be closed from 12.30pm on Tuesday 24 December, and we'll open again at 9.00am on Thursday 2 January 2020. If you're planning a winter adventure and need BMC Travel Insurance over the holiday period then read on.
Read more »

Post a Comment

Posting as Anonymous Community Standards
3000 characters remaining
Submit
Your comment has been posted below, click here to view it
Comments are currently on | Turn off comments
2
Anonymous User
28/08/2019
Why are you recommending flying to Turin or Geneva when rail travel from the UK to either city is straightforward and has a much lower carbon cost? The mountains will be much less fun when the glaciers are melted....
Anonymous User
12/01/2020
In response to anonymous.... Why not walk there and save everybody, not just yourself and yer mates?

RELATED ARTICLES

 BMC Climbing charity fundraiser 2020
0

Are you ready? Climbing4all is back in 2020! The BMC is running a fundraising campaign from 23-29 March 2020 to help a number of UK-based charities which involve the medium of climbing and the outdoors. Teams from schools, universities, climbing clubs and individuals can sign up to raise money for one of the charities through one of our climbing challenges or make up their own.
Read more »

15% off annual BMC Alpine & Ski Travel Insurance in Europe
0

In a tight spot? BMC Travel Insurance is serious about making sure our members are covered for any occurrence, which is why we provide £10 million emergency medical cover. And to sweeten the deal, this winter from 1 January get 15% off all annual Alpine & Ski policies in Europe.
Read more »

We've gone to the mountains - our Christmas closing times
2

We're closing for Christmas and New Year and heading to the mountains. The BMC HQ will be closed from 12.30pm on Tuesday 24 December, and we'll open again at 9.00am on Thursday 2 January 2020. If you're planning a winter adventure and need BMC Travel Insurance over the holiday period then read on.
Read more »

BMC MEMBERSHIP
Join 82,000 BMC members and support British climbing, walking and mountaineering. Membership only £16.97.
Read more »
BMC SHOP
Great range of guidebooks, DVDs, books, calendars and maps.
All with discounts for members.
Read more »
TRAVEL INSURANCE
Get covered with BMC Insurance. Our five policies take you from the beach to Everest.
Read more »