Sunday, October 06, 2019

Autumnal ascent of Italy's highest mountain the Grand Paradiso.4061 meters.

Always a trick question but the highest mountain entirely in Italy is the Grand Pardiso.  Just like the Aiguille Verte is the highest mountain in France .  Both Mt Blanc and the Dufourspitz share their boarders with other countries.

Anyway the goal was to try and climb the Grande Paradiso in the Autum.  Meaning after the refugio had closed for the season...

The trip was organised by Rob Jarvis a fellow BMG Guide who runs a Company called High Mountain Guides.  We had six very enthusiastic clients with us. Malene from Norway,Isabella from Poland, Rodrigo from Spain, Nick from Yorkshire and Ryan and Alan from England.

In order to give them some acclimatisation and some training we spent the night in the Refugio Torino, [which was still open.]

On our first day we went on a glacier hike to the col d'Entreves.

La Vallee Blanche
On the second morning it was very cold and windy, but we found a protected scoop in where we could run a detailed session on crampon technique,  which would latter  prove to be of the upmost importance.

It was then down the Sky-Way cable car from where we drove around to the road-head for the Grand Paradiso , but not before stopping for a spot of lunch.

We all walked up to the Refugio Chabod or rather the winter refugio.  We were the only guests.
 The view from the door was exceptional straight on to the north face of the Grand Paradiso

Dinner was a simple affair of dehydrated something or other.  Not actually sure what mine was. Still the candles made it all very atmospheric.
Candlelight Dinner
Chamonix Crevasse rescue training
Big holes as dawn breaks
Breakfast was at around 4.30hrs and we were away by about 5.30hrs.  At this time of year there is a lot more walking in the dark.  When it did eventually become light we found ourselves in quite a situation as we had ascended up through some complicated glaciers.
Above these big holes the glacier mellows out a bit to where the route  joins the route coming up fron the Vittorio Emanelle Refugio.  Here we stopped to put on some more clothes before the route steepens up considerably.  In the conditions we found the slope it was hard water ice in the track.  Higher up the ladders across the bergschund had been somewhat un helpfully removed the day before by the local Guides.  Instead  the previous days new ice climbing skills had to be employed in order to get on to the final rocky summit ridge.

The Madonna awaits on the summit

Then the long return in the beautiful autumn afternoon.

Nick Chambers makes his way down to the Refugio Chabod

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