Trekking in the Alps

In this section we present a chapter from the book "Per Alpes, Discovering the Alps in 20 circular walks". Read the tour description below and check other publications of the Alps Convention.

  • Gran Paradiso tour
  • Day 1
  • Day 2
  • Day 3
  • Day 4
  • Day 5
  • Day 6
  • Day 7
  • Day 8
  • Day 9
  • Tourist info

The kingdom of the Ibex

 


Gran Paradiso tour

Trailhead: Pont Valsavarenche (1960m, bus connection to Aosta station)
Highest point: Col Lauson (3296m)
Total travelling time:45,5-50h
Overall height gain/loss: + 5424m - 5424m
Alp Convention

Route descriptions: Originally, the Gran Paradiso park was a royal game reserve. Ibex hunting was so popular and intensive that it put these animals under threat of extinction. Only a few specimens in the most remote areas managed to survive. It was thanks to Vittorio Emanuele II’s initiative that the number of ibex increased again. It was estimated that in 1854 the number of ibex had risen to about 3000 specimens. In 1920, Vittorio Emanuele III gifted the game reserve to the Italian State on the condition that it would become a National Park to protect chamois and ibex. This was achieved in 1922. When the Gran Paradiso became a National Park it marked the end of the hunting seasons on this land and the hunting trails changed purpose. These old and well marked trails are in fact a very important infrastructure for tourism and allow climbers, trekkers and lovers of nature to appreciate this environment in all its outstanding beauty. Today the Gran Paradiso National Park covers an area of 1233km². Its peak, carrying the same name, is 4061m high, and it is surely one of the summits with the highest frequency of climbers in the Western Alps, thanks to its relatively easy itineraries. The massif is located between Piedmont in the south and Valle d’Aosta in the north. There are two beautiful high routes crossing the massif, but for a complete tour around the mountain you need to be an experienced trekker. Unlike other mountain ranges, where you can find a hut, hot meals and accommodation at every stop, on Gran Paradiso you need to sleep in bivouacs as well. The tour is ideal for those seeking contact with wild nature and wishing to enjoy this natural environment in peace and quiet.

Skills required:This is a nine day tour suitable only for experienced trekkers. It is essential to use careful footwork and to have a head for heights and a very good sense of orientation. The latter is particularly important because the tracks are not very well waymarked and are often steep and exposed. As said before, unlike other mountain tours, on Gran Paradiso you will have to sleep in bivouacs or unwardened huts. There is no guarantee you will find mattresses and blankets and you must bring food with you. This will add considerable weight to your rucksack. It is recommended to bring a sleeping bag.

The kingdom of the Ibex

 


Gran Paradiso tour

Trailhead: Pont Valsavarenche (1960m, bus connection to Aosta station)
Highest point: Col Lauson (3296m)
Total travelling time:45,5-50h
Overall height gain/loss: + 5424m – 5424m
Alp Convention

Pont Valsavarenche – Croce Arolly – Alpe del Nivolet – Rif. Margherita di Savoia – Rif. Città di Chivasso


Travel time: 2,5-3h.

Today’s purpose is to get familiar with the environment. The first day is in fact short and not very demanding. From Pont (1960m), cross a marvellous valley and head towards Colle del Nivolet, which can also be accessed by a road from the Piedmont side. At this point, if you walk a little longer, you could head west from Città di Chivasso hut and reach a small highland with numerous tarns.

Accommodation:
Rif. Savoia (2534m): Tel. +39-0165-94141, open from mid June to the end of September, private. Rif. Città di Chivasso (2604m): Tel. +39-0124-953150, e-mail: info@caichivasso.it, www.caichivasso.it, open from the beginning of July to mid September, CAI.

The kingdom of the Ibex

 


Gran Paradiso tour

Trailhead: Pont Valsavarenche (1960m, bus connection to Aosta station)
Highest point: Col Lauson (3296m)
Total travelling time:45,5-50h
Overall height gain/loss: + 5424m - 5424m
Alp Convention

Rif. Città di Chivasso – Alpe Comba – Punta Rocchetta – Colle della Porta – Bivacco Ettore e M. Giraudo

Travel time: 4-5,5h

Today’s journey is again quite relaxed, though you still top the 3000m contour at Colle della Porta (3002m). From here, follow the well waymarked trail to the Bivouac Ettore e M. Giraudo (2630m).

Accommodation:
Bivacco Giraudo (2630m): unwardened (always open); mattresses and blankets available, CAI.

The kingdom of the Ibex

 


Gran Paradiso tour

Trailhead: Pont Valsavarenche (1960m, bus connection to Aosta station)
Highest point: Col Lauson (3296m)
Total travelling time:45,5-50h
Overall height gain/loss: + 5424m - 5424 m
Alp Convention

Bivacco Ettore e M. Giraudo – Alpe Gran Piano – Bocchetta del Ges – Alpe la Bruna – Alpe la Motta – Bivacco Ivrea

Travel time: 5,5-7h

After spending a night, maybe not too comfortable, at the Bivouac Ettore e M. Giraudo (2630m), follow the old hunting track descending from Alpe Gran Piano, where you will also find a hunting box. The following upslope to Bocchetta del Ges (2692m) requires care because it is not only steep, but in some parts it is not in good condition. From the Bocchetta descend towards abandoned pastures and walk up to Bivouac Ivrea (2770m).

Accommodation:
Bivacco Ivrea (2770m): unwardened (always open, 9 places); mattresses and blankets available, CAI.

The kingdom of the Ibex

 


Gran Paradiso tour

Trailhead: Pont Valsavarenche (1960m, bus connection to Aosta station)
Highest point: Col Lauson (3296m)
Total travelling time:45,5-50h
Overall height gain/loss: + 5424m - 5424 m
Alp Convention

Bivacco Ivrea – Colle dei Becchi – Rif. Pontese – Bocchetta di Valsoera – Rif. Marco Pocchiola Meneghello

Travel time: 5,5-6h

From the Bivouac Ivrea (2770m) you soon start walking steeply uphill towards Colle dei Becchi (2990m), offering a great view of Gran Paradiso. Descend some 800m and reach the Pontese hut (2217m). After sleeping in a bivouac for two nights, by now you surely hope to sleep in a comfortable bed and eat good food. At the Pontese hut you can fi nd the good food you are looking for, but you will need to wait a bit longer before being able to sleep on a proper bed. Remember, next day you need to walk for eight hours, leaving from the Pontese hut would make it even longer, therefore you need to gather all your strength and quickly walk through Bocchetta di Valsoera to the Marco Pocchiola Meneghello hut (2440m). In certain parts of the path you will need to belay.

Accommodation:
Rif. Pontese (2217m): Tel. +39-0124-800186, open from mid June to mid September, CAI.
Rif. Marco Pocchiola Meneghello (2440m): unwardened (bivouac , always open, 14 places), mattresses and blankets available, CAI.

The kingdom of the Ibex

 


Gran Paradiso tour

Trailhead: Pont Valsavarenche (1960m, bus connection to Aosta station)
Highest point: Col Lauson (3296m)
Total travelling time:45,5-50h
Overall height gain/loss: + 5424m - 5424m
Alp Convention

Rif. Marco Pocchiola Meneghello – Lago di Motta – Colle di Motta – Bivacco Revelli – Colle Valletta o Finestra – Bivacco Davito

Travel time: 7,5-8h.

Today is the most important day of the tour. The route is not only long, but badly waymarked and in parts steep and exposed. You find waymarks up to Lake di Motta after which you will have to trust your sense of orientation. Once you reach Colle di Motta (3001m) quickly descend to Bivouac Revelli (2610m). The ascent to Colle Valletta or Finestra (2645m) is rather short, but the descent on the east side of the pass runs on steep scree, and it requires maximum attention. After losing 300 m you reach Bivouac Davito (2360m).

Accommodation:
Bivacco Gino Revelli (2610m): in bad conditions (always open); not recommendable for overnight stay, CAI.
Bivacco Davito (2360m): unwardened (always open, 4 places), mattresses and blankets available, CAI.

The kingdom of the Ibex

 


Gran Paradiso tour

Trailhead: Pont Valsavarenche (1960m, bus connection to Aosta station)
Highest point: Col Lauson (3296m)
Total travelling time:45,5-50h
Overall height gain/loss: + 5424m - 5424m
Alp Convention

Bivacco Davito – Col de Bardoney – Lac de Loie – Lillaz – Champlong – Cogne

Travel time: 5,5-6,5h

Today you will surely start to feel the strain on your legs, however you will be walking again on well waymarked paths all the way to Lillaz and then, after 3km, to Cogne. As you descend you will be able to admire Lake di Loie, surely one of the most beautiful lakes in the National Park. From the small town of Lillaz (1602m) you can catch the bus to Cogne (1534m). The views of Cogne and Valnontey are breathtaking.

Accommodation:
For information: A.I.A.T. Cogne Gran Paradiso.

The kingdom of the Ibex

 


Gran Paradiso tour

Trailhead: Pont Valsavarenche (1960m, bus connection to Aosta station)
Highest point: Col Lauson (3296m)
Total travelling time:45,5-50h
Overall height gain/loss: + 5424m - 5424m
Alp Convention

Cogne – Valnontey – Rif. Vittorio Sella

Travel time: 3-3,5h

As today’s route is rather short, you can take your time and enjoy Cogne. The path runs through the Val di Valnontey valley and takes you to Valnontey (1666m). The upslope to the Vittorio Sella hut (2588m) is very steep, but without great climbing difficulties. The Vittorio Sella hut is an old hunting box and today it has become one of the wardened huts of Gran Paradiso and therefore one of the most popular.

Accommodation:
Rif. Vittorio Sella (2588m): Tel. +39-0165-74310, e-mail: info@rifugiosella.com, www.rifugiosella.com, open from Easter to the end of September, CAI.

The kingdom of the Ibex

 


Gran Paradiso tour

Trailhead: Pont Valsavarenche (1960m, bus connection to Aosta station)
Highest point: Col Lauson (3296m)
Total travelling time:45,5-50h
Overall height gain/loss: + 5424m - 5424m
Alp Convention

Rif. Vittorio Sella – Col Lauson – Colle Gran Neyron Ovest – Rif. Federico Chabod

Travel time: 7-7,5h

Today’s route is demanding but your effort will be rewarded with a ravishing view from Col Lauson (3296m) of Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa and the Vanoise. From the col, the track is steep in parts and equipped with iron steps and ladders. Continuing towards Colle Gran Neyron Ovest (3295m) you need to look carefully for waymarks, because, due to the receding glacier, it is not always easy to identify them. After walking for 7 full hours you reach the Federico Chabod hut (2750m), at the foot of Gran Paradiso.

Accommodation:
Rif. Federico Chabod (2750m): Tel. +39-0165-95574, e-mail: info@rifugiochabod.com, www.rifugiochabod.com, open from mid June to mid September, private.

The kingdom of the Ibex

 


Gran Paradiso tour

Trailhead: Pont Valsavarenche (1960m, bus connection to Aosta station)
Highest point: Col Lauson (3296m)
Total travelling time:45,5-50h
Overall height gain/loss: + 5424m - 5424m
Alp Convention

Rif. Federico Chabod – Rif. Vittorio Emanuele II – Pont

Travel time: 3,5-4h

After a brief descent followed by an upslope, you reach the Vittorio Emanuele II hut (2732m), which is always crowded. From here, alpinists usually start their ascent of Gran Paradiso and Ciarforon. You, on the contrary, descend to Pont (1960m) waving goodbye to this outstanding environment.

Accommodation:
Rif. Vittorio Emanuele II (2735m): Tel. +39-0165-95920, e-mail: rifugio@caitorino.it, open from the end of March to mid September, CAI.

Alternative option - Climbing up Gran Paradiso
This route is only for experienced climbers or for people accompanied by Alpine guides and it can be achieved only during fine weather conditions. To ascend to the Gran Paradiso full climbing gear is necessary (crampons, axe and harness). During the Gran Paradiso tour you can stay overnight at the Federico Chabod hut (2750m) and at the Vittorio Emanuele II hut. From both huts to the summit the height gain is around 1300m and it takes 4½ - 5 hours.

Trekking around the Maritime Alps. A forgotten world.

 


Maritime Alps tour

Trailhead: Terme di Valdieri (1368m bus connection from Cuneo)
Highest point: Colle Brocan (2892m)
Total travelling time:36-39h
Overall height gain/loss: + 5931m - 6289m
Alp Convention

Useful information

Tourist information
A.I.A.T. Aosta: Tel. +39-0165-33352 e-mail: info@aiataosta.com, www.aiataosta.com
A.I.A.T. Gran Paradiso: Tel. +39-0165-95055 e-mail: info@granparadiso.net, www.granparadiso.net
A.I.A.T. Cogne Gran Paradiso: Tel. +39-0165-74040 or 74056 e-mail: info@cogne.org, www.cogne.org

Alpine Guides
Unione Valdostana Guide Alta Montagna: Tel. +39-0165-44448 e-mail: info@guidealtamontagna.comwww.guidealtamontagna.com
Guide Alpine Cogne: Tel. +39-0165-74835 e-mail: info@guidealpinecogne.it, www.guidealpinecogne.it
Guide Alpine Gran Paradiso (Valsavarenche): Tel. +39-0165-95304, www.comune.valsavarenche.ao.it/Sito-Ufficiale-Comune/it/Informazioni/Soc-Guide-Alpine.aspx

Parks
Parco Nazionale Gran Paradiso: Tel. +39-011-8606211 e-mail: segreteria@pngp.it, www.pngp.it

Public Transport
SAVDA: www.savda.it

Maps
Map IGM (Gran Paradiso), Sheet 41: 1:25.000
Map IGC (Gran Paradiso – La Grivola), Sheet 101: 1:25.000
Map IGC (Parco Naz. Gran Paradiso), Sheet 3: 1:50.000 L’Escursionista (Valle di Cogne u. Valle dell’Orco), Sheet 10 and 14: 1:25.000
Map Kompass Gran Paradiso/Valle d’Aosta, Sheet 86: 1:50.000

Alpine clubs
Club Alpino Italiano (CAI), Sezione di Aosta: Tel. +39-0165-40194, www.caivda.it

Weather
Aosta Valley: www.regione.vda.it
Piedmont: www.regione.piemonte.it/xmeteo/xmeteod
Italy: www.meteo.it, www.meteoitalia.it, www.meteoam.it

Websites
www.alparc.org