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4
moderate to challenging

Traveller Rating

 

Activities
  • guided alpine walk
Accommodation
  • 6 nights in mountain refuges/gîte-hostels
Meals
  • 6 Dinners
  • 7 Lunches
  • 6 Breakfasts

7 Days£1120GBP

Overview

Trip Code: GPA

Trip highlights


  • Trek through stunning alpine scenery in Italy’s first national park
  • View ibex and chamois as you walk
  • Stay in atmospheric refuges with superb views and hearty cuisine
  • Share your walking day with a group of like minded travellers

Deep in Italy's Aosta Valley on the border with France, is Italy's first national park, so declared by King Victor Emmanuel III in 1922 in the tradition of his grandfather who had named it a Royal Game Reserve in 1856 to protect the ibex and chamois populations. As a direct result of this decree, encounters with these animals occur daily in Park, in the valleys and high on alpine passes. With much of the walk over 2000m (up to a maximum altitude of 3152m), it is not suprising that the scenery is exceptional with views to Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa and the Matterhorn ranges from the high passes and lookouts encountered. Rugged valleys carpeted in wildflowers, rocky snow covered passes and glacial lakes are typical of this alpine paradise. At night the hosts of the rifugi (mountain refuges) welcome you with good quality mountain cuisine and a dining room brimming with atmosphere.

Countries:

France & Italy

Starting Point:

Bourg St Maurice

Finishing Point:

Bourg Saint Maurice


After meeting in Bourg St Maurice (at 10:30am), the last major town before the Alps in the Tarentaise Valley, we transfer to Ste Foy en Tarentaise, a pretty ski town in the heart of the French Alps. It is close to here that we begin our walk up the Tarentaise Valley past verdant green pastures and grazing animals to our overnight refuge, Refuge de l'Archeboc (2030m/6660ft). The refuge is set amongst the pastures with lovely views to the surrounding peaks. Shower available. (+600m/1969ft)

Meals:  L,D

After breakfast, we ascend the Col du Mont (2636m/8648ft), marking our departure from the Vanoise National Park (and France) and into the Gran Paradiso National Park and Italy. The ascent is sustained yet the views from the pass are breathtaking to Pointe d’Archeboc (3272m/10,734ft) in the south and Becca du Lac (3405m/11,171ft) in the north. Long descent to the refuge for overnight accommodation. Overnight Refuge de l'Epée (2370m/7776ft). Shower available. (+1200m/3937ft, -850m/2789ft)

Meals:  B,L,D

A great day trekking in Italy with views of the stunning Grande Rousse (3607m/11,834ft) which resembles a leaning Matterhorn. The walk from the refuge takes you through marshlands and farmlands, to woods of Larch trees beneath which you may find the pink alpenrose and some bilberry shrubs. Soon you reach a trail junction at 1850m/6099ft from which you head south along the Dora di Valgrisenche (small river) to ascend to Refuge Bezzi (solar heated free showers, 2284m/7493ft). (+798m/2617ft, -1340m/4395ft)

Meals:  B,L,D

A rewarding day today if the weather is good. Ascending a rocky path awash with wildflowers and with small waterfalls on the side of the trail. On the ascent to the pass you may need to cross small streams. The valley opens out as you near the pass and there are stunning views of the alps to the north including the distant Mont Blanc. Soon you reach the narrow saddle of Col Bassac Déré (3082m/10,112ft) with its awesome view of the Ghiacciaio di Glairettaz which is an enormous expanse of ice filling the valley, to the west the Grande Sassière and to the east the sweeping view from the Gran Paradiso to the Grivola in the northeast. It is possible to ascend further up to the Becca della Traversère (3337m/10,948ft) depending on weather conditions and group fitness. Descending switchbacks and past the Lago Goletta, you continue down through a rocky landscape with possible sightings of Ibex. Cross a small stone bridge before you ascend to the refuge Benevolo (2285m/7497ft). (+750m/2460ft, -797m/2614ft)

Meals:  B,L,D

The morning is the best time to view the towering Granta Parei (or Great Wall) which is lit up with the sun. There are two options for our walk today. Either a challenging route via the Col Basei (3176m/10,420ft) or a less challenging route via the Col Rosset (3023m/9918ft). Both options offer superb alpine views of tumbling glaciers and snowy peaks. Just after passing by Lago Leytaz, the two trail converge and you descend further to reach Rifugio Savoya (2534m/8314ft). Shower available. This evening you may be offered to try the 'grolla' or friendship cup which is passed around the group until all the drink is finished - an Aosta tradition. (+500m/2297ft, -500m/1640ft or +738m/2420ft, -491m/1607ft)

Meals:  B,L,D

Descend along the valley of Piano del Nivolet dominated by Mont Taou Blanc and Punta Basei where small glaciers and snowy peaks are the norm. Entering a new valley you ascend to Gran Collet Pass (2832m/9291ft) which has views of Gran Paradiso and on the descent from the pass, clear views of Ciarforon, Tresenta and the glistening metal roof of Rifugio Vittorio Emmanuele II. From Pont you ascend from the valley floor up a wide landscape to the Rifugio. The distinctive barrel shaped Rifugio Vittorio Emmanuelle II was established in 1884 and the original small hut is still used as an annex (2735m/8973ft). On the surrounding ridges you may spot ibex while chamois will almost certainly be grazing on nearby pastures. Shower available.(+700m/2297ft, -500m/1640ft)

Meals:  B,L,D

On the last day of our trek, we follow an undulating trail through a rocky valley (with more descents than ascents), crossing over alpine streams to a wooden bridge. We may detour to Rifugio Chabod (2750m/9022ft), before continuing our descent past chamois and ibex and through larch forest to the Alpe de Lavassey farm at 2194m/7198ft. The final stage is through farm land to the roadhead at Pont (Valsavarenche) at around 1:30-2pm. From here the group is transferred back to Bourg Saint Maurice where the trip concludes around 5pm. (+300m/984ft, -900m/2953ft) ** Option (to be confirmed during the week and dependent on weather conditions and your fitness: climb Gran Paradiso peak 4061m from Victor Emmanuelle hut. This is an excursion at high altitude, suitable for beginners, there are no particular technical difficulties. Price: 500€/guide for 4 maximum participants + pack 14€/pers (harness, rope, etc) - payable locally (subject to change).

Meals:  B,L


Map

Elevation

The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.


Inclusions

  • 6 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 6 dinners (does not include drinks) – continental breakfasts are served and usually consist of breads, jams, coffee, tea and juices. Lunch is picnic style. Dinner will consist of 2 or 3 courses which include regional specialties
  • 6 nights accommodation in mountain refuges in dormitory style accommodation. Alternatively you can upgrade to 2 nights dorm, 2 nights double room and 2 nights quad - supplement applies.
  • Luggage transfer by mule, 1 piece maximum 7kg
  • Experienced certified mountain guide

  • Travel to and from Bourg St Maurice
  • Drinks
  • Travel insurance - mandatory
  • Transfers
  • Transfers by taxi or public transport if you need to skip a stage
  • Optional climb of Gran Paradiso peak on the last morning (subject to weather conditions and fitness).
  • Storage of luggage
  • Items of a personal nature

Suitability

moderate to challenging

4

This trip is graded moderate to challenging and includes daily walks of up to 6 hours with ascents of up to 1200m in a day (average of 800m). There are some stages during the walk with steep uphill, descents, and at times sections of the trail will require care. The accent is on keeping a steady pace with time to stop and take photos (subject to weather conditions). You will need a good level of fitness to participate fully in this adventure. It is considered suitable for experienced walkers only. Some passes are permanently snow covered and the snow may be quite deep which makes the trip more challenging. There is also a glacier crossing. At any time during summer, weather conditions may be variable and you should be prepared for all conditions including snow, ice, strong sun and extreme winds. distances walked range from 12 to 15 km each day. As with all our moderate to challenging programs, we expect participants to be regular outdoors people, enjoying aerobic sport around four or five times a week over some period of time. Preferably this has been a long term interest but if not, you have set a program of fitness preparation with at least three months lead in time to your trip. The fitter you are for your trip, the more of a holiday it will be. Activities as close to the actual activity on your trip are the best training; in this instance walking with and without a pack. This builds leg strength, aerobic capacity and confidence in your ability to travel comfortably with a pack for extended periods. At the same time, you are also comfortable with the layers you like to wear and footwear. Important note: good quality walking boots with ankle support are a pre-requisite for your participation. Runners or shoes without ankle support are not suitable for the conditions encountered on this walk.


Departure dates


Notes

DN1
option to upgrade to 2 nights dorms, 2 nights quadshare and 2 nights double - supplement applies. No single room option available.
DN2
Please ensure you read the downloadable trip notes prior to booking.

Priceper person from

£1120GBP

Options & Supplements*
  • double room supplement - 2 nights dorm/ 2 nights quad/ 2 nights doubleGBP£270
*Prices listed are per person

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