Trekking tour of Gran Paradiso

In a nutshell

  • Enjoy two weeks in the less trodden Gran Paradiso National Park in the shadow of Italy’s tallest peak at over 4000m
  • As challenging as the Mont Blanc Tour but without the crowds
  • Exceptionally good value for money
  • Duration : 14 days, 13 nights

What's it all about?

Gran Paradiso is Italy's highest - it is entirely in Italy and stands shoulder to shoulder with its neighbours, Mont Blanc in France, and the Matterhorn in Switzerland.  What a three peaks challenge that would make!!

Around the peak of the mountain the National Park itself (Italy’s first – created in 1922) covers 173000 acres of alpine terrain. Its unspoilt nature is thanks to Vittorio Emanuelle II who made the area his personal hunting reserve.

Imagine therefore fourteen days here – an area of sublime tranquility and isolation, rich in Alpine fauna and flora.

So, what's the difference between this two week sojourn, and that of its neighbour, the Mont Blanc Tour...

GRAN PARADISO V MONT BLANC

  • More diverse wildlife
  • Much less human presence on the trails
  • More of a challenge due to its remoteness
  • Scenery equally as stunning
  • Fantastic diversity of terrain
  • If you love remote treks, then far more rewarding

This is one of those treks that rate up there with some of the Himalayan or Andean ones. If you love to be out there amongst it, it's the one for you.

We wanted to create a 14 day classic walk from the potential that we enjoyed in the region - plenty of time to drink in the magic of the place - without a route march every day.

It's not called Paradiso for nothing. Thanks to the Italians' more relaxed attitude to wolves there is a good chance that evidence of wolves will be spotted if not a real live one.

The hills are alive with fauna and spectacular flora.

Be rewarded in the evenings by excellent Italian cooking as you share your day’s yarns.

Just get yourself to Turin, and leave the rest to us.

Itinerary

  • Day 1 Pick up Turin airport, transfer by mini-bus to Cogne. Night and evening meal at accommodation in Cogne. Normally our arrival time affords you a little time to take a look around this charming village.
  • Day 2 Early start (08:00). We drive to the head of the Vallone di Urtier as far as the small chapel at Gollie Superiore. From here we start our adventure, and continue up the Vallon de Urtier, cut over to the north of the valley, and gradually climb up past Laghi Pontonnet to Col di Pontonnet, from there we drop down to Rifugio Miserin, located directly by Lago Miserin. During the ascent, and from the col, we start to get a feel for the scenery that will surround us for the next 12 days. The refuge - one of Vittorio Emanuele's old lodges - cuts a rather weird sight against the little pilgrim church of Notre Dame des Neiges. 6-7 hours walking , elevation of 1040m.
  • Day 3 From the Miserin, we climb up, initially over easy angled slopes, before gaining the ridge, and dropping down to skirt along the remains of the Banchi glacier to eventually gain the Colle de la Rosa. From here we drop down to Refugio Bausano. Although not the highest point on the journey, the col poses the greater challenge with some loose scree and easy scrambling to be negotiated. The route throughout the day is wonderfully remote, with superb views down from the col. 4-5 hours walking, total elevation of 600m.
  • Day 4 From the Bausano, we have an easy descent down the Campiglia Valley and on to the Soana valley. There is some 6km to cover on tarmac road before we start to climb back up the Via Alpina towards Cima Rosta, and then down to Talasio. Our accommodation is a local guest house in the small hamlet. 6 hours walking, total elevation 1100m.
  • Day 5 On leaving Talasio, we continue on the Via Alpina up to Monte Arzola, and on up above the Eugio valley, until we reach Lago d'Eugio. From here our route contours around away from the lake to reach the ridge above, before beginning the descent down to the gîte d'etape at San Lorenzo. 4-5 hours walking, total elevation 1100m.
  • Day 6 From San Lorenzo we walk up to the road head at S Giomaco, where we turn north and up towards Lago di Balma up the Valsoera valley. At first we climb steeply for about 2 kilometers up to the small hamlet of Balma, where the gradient eases, as it rises to the lake - lunch. From there we carry on up through the cliffs above, always in sight of the beautiful cascade dropping down over the walls to the right of us, and on to the superbly situated Rifugio Pocchiola-Menegnello, perching above Lago di Valsoera. Although not a great distance, the elevation gained is quite substantial, and so will take the best part of the day to complete. 5-6 hours walking, total elevation 1400m.
  • Day 7 A short day, where there's no rush to be off in the morning, and we can arrive at our next destination by mid afternoon for an opportunity to rest up. From the Menegnello, we follow the lake side before we cut up towards the Boccetta di Valsoera. The views over to the West towards France and the Vanoise are superb from here, with the Gran Paradiso massif over to the North West. From here we drop to the Rifugio Pontese. There are some steep sections, which are protected by chains on the descent to the refuge. 3-4 hours walking, total elevation 240m.
  • Day 8 This is one of the longest days, and one of the most rewarding, as it passes through high remote country, seldom visited and dotted with Ibex and Chamois. The highlight being the descent through the Noaschetta valley, known as little Tibet. Early start 07:30, and then climb steadily up to the Colle dei Becchi (2990m). We then descend down and around the massive cirque that we find ourselves in, and further on over the Piano della Bruna into the the Vallone di Noaschetta. From here, we drop down to the Rifugio Noeschetta. 6-8 hours walking, total ascent 800m.
  • Day 9 Another early start, for a second longish day. We contour around the hill away from the refuge, before we climb up the Ciamosseretto valley as far as Casa di Caccia - another one of Vittorio Emanuele's old hunting lodges - lunch. After lunch, we find that the climb is rewarded by the incredible balcon track that circles around the Vallone del Roc - 6 to 7 km of high level track contouring around the valley at a level of 2,200m. We then drop down to Ceresole Reale, where we'll spend the night in a local hotel renowned for it's great food. 6-7 hours walking, total ascent 700m.
  • Day 10 We follow the road West for a short period, before turning up for the steady plod up to Lago Lillet, and then Col della Terra at 2911m. The path then contours West towards the Col del Nivolé, where we stop the night at the Rigufio Chivasso.  7 - 8 hours walking, total ascent 1300m.
  • Day 11 From the Chivasso, we descend through the delightful Piano del Nivolé, and finally drop into the tiny hamlet of Pont at the head of Valsaveranche. Here we cross the river and turn back up the valley for a while, before starting the steady climb up towards the Chabod refuge. We'll attain a height of 2500m, when the path turns and contours above Valsaveranche, with views of Mont Blanc to the North. There is a gradual climb of 200m during this section of the walk before we reach Rifugio Chabod, with the walls of Gran Paradiso towering above. 6-7 hours walking, total ascent 790m.
  • Day 12 From Chabod, we traverse North below the Montandayné glacier, and climb up to the narrow pass of the Colli Gran Neyron Ovest at 3295m. Here we get our final direct view of Gran Paradiso to the South, coupled with Mont Blanc in the North West. We descend the other side (chains protect the more airy sections), and descend as far as Leviona d'en Haute at 2500m. Here, we re-join the Alte Via, and start our final ascent of the tour to Col Lauson at 3296. From here, we desend to Rifugio Vittorio Sella. 7-8 hours walking, total ascent 1340m.
  • Day 13 Descend down to Cogne via the Vallone del Lauson, for lunch at our hotel at Cogne. In the afternoon, you can just relax, and be refreshed for our last evening’s celebratory dinner.
  • Day 14 Transfer back to Turin by mini-bus. Departure time depends on flight departures, so there may be a little time to spend in the morning in Aosta.

Important note : The itinerary above may change during the trek due to inclement weather conditions, or due to adverse conditions on the route (snow/ice), or even due to accommodation difficulties. We cannot guarantee that the full circuit will be completed. Your guide will be the sole judge of such changes, and when you book you accept that this may be the case. Your safety is paramount.

What's included

  • Accommodation : Hotel accommodation on the first and last evenings in Cogne, and on day 9 in Ceresolé Reale. All other nights are spent in mountain refuges or gîtes d'etape. Please note that this may mean dormitory style sleeping arrangements in bunk style beds, which is the norm in mountain refuges - they are generally warm and comfortable, and the food standard is high considering where they are. The only drawback is the occasional snorer - but that's mountain treks, bring your earplugs.
  • Meals : All meals are included, from your evening meal on the night of arrival to breakfast on the morning of departure. Lunches will all be in the form of picnics, except lunch in Cogne on the final day, which will be a sit down affair (also included).
  • Table wine with the meal is also included, should you want it. Any other drinks or food items will be at your own cost.
  • Should you wish to buy any special food items, there should be time to do this in Cogne on the first evening.
  • Transport : To and from Turin airport.
  • Note : There will be vehicular support throughout the two week period, in case of difficulties, and we will rendezvous with the vehicle on days 4 and 9, and day 11 should you need to. This will allow you to refresh some of your clothing should you want, and so optimise what you need to carry.

Dates :

2019 : Jul 19

Grade :

Walking - Challenging - suitable for adults and children of age 16 or over

See our grades explained here

Pricing :

€1955 pp

Single supplement for 2 hotel nights* : €110

* Subject to availability - contact us for further information.

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