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/ Gran Paradiso & Valsavarence

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Raymondo - on 10 Jan 2019

Hi All,

Thinking of 'doing' Gran Paradiso this summer, as time will be short for me, and it's an isolated low 4000er in an area I have not been to. I will be travelling to/from Milan, so just wondering about logistics from Milan. I presume train would be best, not sure how far up the valley it would go, and what other transport options are available once the train from Milan ends. I also assume there is a lot of accommodation in Valsavarence ??? I guess we would stay there. Also, as the wife would be coming (but not climbing), is there much day walking around. She is not technical, and prefers walking.

 

All positive advice/anecdotes gratefully received. Thanks.

 

DaveHK - on 10 Jan 2019
In reply to Raymondo:

I suspect the closest you could get train to would be Aosta then local bus up Valsavaranche. There isn't heaps of accomodation in the valley as it isn't that heavily populated but there are a few place to choose from. There is a hotel and campsite right at the end of the valley in Pont / Breuil where the path to the GP starts, assuming you're going via the Vittorio Emanuele.

There loads of wonderful day walks in the area, it is a stunning spot.

Post edited at 06:39
Slarti B on 10 Jan 2019
In reply to Raymondo:

A group of us did Gran Paradiso in September over a weekend.  We flew in from London on Friday, acclimatising walk on Saturday and summited on Sunday so very doable (we had good weather) if time is short for you. 

The Pont valley is pretty isolated and remote.  There may be a bus from Aosta but I can't imagine they will be frequent. Could you rent a car?

We went via Chabot hut which is much nicer than standard alpine huts, smaller rooms and it even has good showers with hot water!  The glacier starts above the hut and I think there are some walks you could do from the hut so very suitable for a non-climbing wife (or husband)

We did the normal route which is just a long snow plod apart from the final summit ridge, there are some good youtube videos to give you an idea.   There were quite a lot of big, open  crevasses and we had to wander around quite a bit to get over them, would not have wanted to go unroped. It was end of season though. 

Have a great time

Cú Chullain - on 10 Jan 2019
In reply to Raymondo:

>She is not technical, and prefers walking.

My understanding is that Gran Paradiso is pretty much a non technical slog with a 50m scramble near the summit?

 

 

Post edited at 10:02
cb294 - on 10 Jan 2019
In reply to Slarti B:

if you go alone, take the route up from the VE hut, much safer than the glacier bit up from the Chabod to where the two routes meet.

Your wife could accompany to the VE hut and then walk the spectacular trail over to the Chabod hut, and then either down to the lower campsite or back to the VE hut. This is what my wife and son did when I did GP with his older sisters.

The VE hut is rather big but OK. Staying at the Chabod is much nicer, though.

CB

Sir Pilade - on 10 Jan 2019
In reply to Raymondo:

For the public transport:
From Milan by train or Flixbus to Aosta (no direct train existing)
From Aosta by bus to Villeneuve (AO)
From Villeneuve by bus to Pont Valsavarenche

The public transport option is not comfortable, is quite long and the last part is the hardest, because there are max 2 or 3 bus rides per day (depending on the period) and the information are not easy to find on the web! You could write an e-mail to the SAVDA, the public transport service of Valle d'Aosta.

Consider to rent a car (by far the easiest option) or if you prefer go with BlaBlaCar until Villeneuve and then from there wait the bus or hitchhike to Pont (generally if you are patient you'll find someone who will carry you up! :P)

For your wife, I agree with cb294, the trail from Vittorio Emanuele to Chabod is great!

Raymondo - on 11 Jan 2019

Thanks everyone, some sound advice from you all. I think I have enough info to book the transport now.

Just the choice of route remains.

 

In reply to Cú Chullain:

> >She is not technical, and prefers walking.

> My understanding is that Gran Paradiso is pretty much a non technical slog with a 50m scramble near the summit?

 

That's my understanding too, but my wife (nowerdays) will not enjoy the 50m scramble.

 

mcawle - on 11 Jan 2019
In reply to Raymondo:

Are you going alone? From memory, crevasses were big in 2017 both before and after the paths from the two huts merged.

I wouldn't have wanted to go up unroped either.

DaveHK - on 11 Jan 2019
In reply to Raymondo:

> That's my understanding too, but my wife (nowerdays) will not enjoy the 50m scramble.

It would still be a very worthwhile thing to go as far as the bottom of the scramble, quite a few people do this. You could continue to the top as it is about moderate and only takes about 10mins.

If you are fit and acclimatised it's possible to do it in a day from the valley via the Vittorio Emanuele route. It's about 22k round trip and 2200m of ascent. Staying in a hut makes it two quite easy days and is probably more pleasant!

Post edited at 07:04
DaveHK - on 11 Jan 2019
In reply to mcawle:

> From memory, crevasses were big in 2017 both before and after the paths from the two huts merged. I wouldn't have wanted to go up unroped either.

I did it solo in July 2017 via the Vittorio Emanuele route and didn't see any crevasses that caused much concern. I'm not advocating solo glacier travel to anyone but it seemed to be a relatively safe route as these things go.

 

 

Post edited at 07:15
mcawle - on 11 Jan 2019
In reply to DaveHK:

I was there in September so later for sure. At that point the path crossed at least one big crevasse after the junction with what I recall as being a single narrow snow bridge. Bridge seemed good, to be fair, but the crevasse was metres wide and a long way down.

DaveHK - on 11 Jan 2019
In reply to mcawle:

Fair enough, it's a dynamic environment!

Harrison_Connie - on 11 Jan 2019
In reply to Cú Chullain:

> >She is not technical, and prefers walking.

> My understanding is that Gran Paradiso is pretty much a non technical slog with a 50m scramble near the summit?

Assuming you don't fall through a crevasse on the slog up!

When I done it back in August 2017 the glacier was bone dry and the crevasses all visible and open, however snow bridges were brittle and thin. The Bergschrund required a belay either side to cross safely before the 50m scramble, which isn't hard in itself but with several Italian mountain guides trying to climb over your head, it can be stressful. There is a short exposed rock traverse to reach the summit cross. It was pretty Scottish when we done it. 

Patagon - on 11 Jan 2019
In reply to Raymondo:

My experience is that buses are quite frequent in Italy and public transport works well. You may check the timetable here: http://www.savda.it/en/orari.php

I don't know if you are interested, but Gran Paradiso is very enjoyable on skis. Late in the season crevasses are well covered and relatively safe.  
Some pics a few years ago:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ln9xuwfvw51s47v/AADNTDZBCKXswFpS2KhsPSqba?dl=0
 

Raymondo - on 12 Jan 2019

I'll be going in July and won't be alone, so any crevasses will be negotiated with at least two on a rope.

 

Mmm, the ski touring sounds good, but alas I have not skied for many years now. Something I still have on the list though, when I have more holiday time available to me.

 

alpinero - on 12 Jan 2019
In reply to Raymondo:

Like Sir Pilade described, there is public transport all the way to Pont Valsavaranche, but on the last section, there are just about 2-3 buses per day. I was there in 2017. Hitchhiked from Villeneuve, got lucky. My friend, who arrived a bit later wasn't so lucky, had to take a taxi, costed him 100EUR Aosta-Pont valsavaranche. Probably more convenient and even cheaper than renting a car. 

If you arrive to Milan around 9 in the morning, reaching Chabod/VE hut by early evening is realistic. Otherwise you could spend a night in Rifugio Tetras Lyre, a bit further up from Pont, on the way to Chabod/VE huts, dormitory beds are cheap, foog is great and bathrooms are decent as well, more like a hotel. Or have to check car rental prices, if it's 3 of you maybe it's not much more expensive than pt, and if you drive all the way from Milan, you save a LOT of time (with the train to Aosta there are 3-4 transfers).

I was on GP in august, crevasses are a concern on both routes. (We went up on the VE one and descended on the other) On the VE route there was a steep (30-35degs) section of dry glacier, wouldn't recommend it to someone without solid ice axe/crampon skills.

The summit scramble section can be very crowded, I recommend you start as early as you can. If you leave the hut at 4am and you're in good shape, you might be the first...

 

alpinero - on 12 Jan 2019
In reply to alpinero:

One more advice, if you go in the weekend, the 2 huts are usually very crowded, make sure you book at least 3 weeks in advance!


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