As things have worked out I’ve been up the Gran Paradiso 3 times in the last couple of weeks. The first trip was an introductory alpine week, the second an alternative ascent because conditions on Mont Blanc were poor and the third time around was a short alpine intro for Nick and his 13 year old son Ethan. The normal route is a great tour and the Vittorio Emanuelle hut offers excellent hospitality and value.
The itinerary for the intro week was fairly ambitious, but had plenty of scope for adjustments to suit the weather and our mood. We started with a walk to the Vittorio Emanuelle and a session on glacier travel and crevasse rescue. Day 2 brought continued good weather and we had quite a leisurely start for La Tresenta. We changed the plan and climbed Ciaforon instead, because of this peak’s visual appeal and scope for learning various alpine skills; steeper axe and crampon work, rock scrambling, moving together, descending by abseil/lowering to name a few. It turned into a long day, so Day 3 was spent practicing crevasse rescue fairly intensively, but otherwise relaxing.
We continued the week by traversing to the Chabod hut via the Gran Paradiso itself on Day 4, then rounding the trip off by crossing the Gran Neyron via ferrata and descending back to the valley. This is an awesome day for scenery and we also saw very large herds of chamois.
We had left La Grivola for another day, and that left us the Friday for a total contrast cragging in the Chamonix Valley.
More photos of the week are here.