Escaping the heat wave: Monte Rosa Touring

Published by MicheleK , 23 August 2017, 01h55.

Region: World » Italy » Piemonte
Date of the hike: 5 August 2017
Mountaineering grading: PD
Climbing grading: II (UIAA Grading System)
Geo-Tags: CH-VS   I 
Time: 4 days
Height gain: 2700 m 8856 ft.
Height loss: 1900 m 6232 ft.
Access to start point:Alagna
Access to end point:Alagna
Accommodation:Capanna Gnifetti: great, very well organised, good food and friendly Grande Halte: great food and fantastic wine collection, very friendly

Monte Rosa from South is great for spending a few days at high altitude while the low landers roast at 40 C+. If you don't mind the masses of people up here, views are guaranteed and several 4000er await to be climbed. I had been here already in 2014 whilst this time I would like to show this to Eleonora and Nathan. 

Day 1 (3.8)
Start in Alagna at 1pm (!!) and hike up to Rifugio Grand Halte at 2000m in 2.5h. The heat is unbearable and the climate in the forest tropical. The rifugio is great, equipped with small rooms, the food is fantastic and the people very friendly. Highly recommended (especially the impressive wine collection...). A Great start to our 3 days and easy for acclimatization.

Day2 (4.8)
we get up at 7am, have a super breakfast and hike up to Pianalunga in 10 mins. There we meet Mauro and get to Punta Indren using two cablecars. From there we take the ferrata way, and using crampons, across two easy glacier streches and some fixed ropes we reach Gnifetti Hut (2h). We chill and drink a lot of tea & water in the afternoon. I feel perfect. Dinner is great and the hut is almost only half full, which makes this friday night excellent.

Day3 (5.8)
Up at 5am, Breakfast and we leave at 6am. The weather is great and we proceed slowly. The 1st part is quite tricky, and although there is a good track the snow bridges are getting really thin in places. The summer has been very hot so far... we begin going up and point towards Piramide Vincent. Breathing is now more difficult but going slowly and breathing regularly and deeply really helps... this is why I love high altitude treks.
We get up the steeper section and here we are at Piramide Vincent. 1st glacier travel for Eleonora and directly her 1st 4000er, so much happiness for the objective reached. Easier than she thought. Great views into the Monte Rosa peak region. We go down to Colle Vincent as the wind is picking up and go up the slope to reach Balmenhorn, which we climb with crampons. Blue ice at the start of the short but steep ladder. We pause at the Bivacco Felice Giordano before downclimbing and retracing our way back to Rifugio Gnifetti. A fantastic day for all of us and successful 1st ascent for Ele.

Day 4 (6.8)
the hut is now full till the last spot. Today thunderstorms are announced by 1pm but there is enough time to take in one of the higher peaks I am yet to climb. The only questions relates to the wind, which is foresee ca. 30+ kmh... After a good nights sleep (I continue to feel well) Mauro and I leave at 5.30am and climb up with the objective Parrotspitze 4432m. This time we are faster and without a break we pass Colle del Lys just as the sun come out behind Parrotspitze - what a scenery!
Bordering Piodejoch we follow a faint track traversing up the 40 degree S Flank of Parrotspitz from left to right, reaching the exposed ridge line at 2/3. Conditions are good but the wind is very strong. We walk up to the highest point and after a short grasp of the scary S face, due to very strong wind almost immediately go back down, now following the fantastic ridge line all the way to a few rocks at p.4340m and the down to Colle del Lys again. The ridge was in good condition, although due to high temperatures with much less snow than usual, which makes the ridge some how more narrow. No pics this time.... We go back dow to the Gnifetti Hut which we reach at 10am (Total/return 4.5h). After packing our gear we get down to Indren via the trail passing the Citta di Mantova hut (1.15h). Down by cable car to Alagna and finishing off with a great lunch at Campo Sportivo restaurant outside Alagna

Note: the ascent to Gnifetti hut is an alpine glacier route requiring crampons and glacier equipment. During our stay we witnessed the most absurd stories with families with children or elderly coming up w/o crampons and having to be literally escorted down the glacier. One guy actually slipped and sled down for a good 100m on the black ice just below the hut...

Great 4 days at high altitude with objectives accomplished and another great outing on Monte Rosa. This calls for more :)

Hike partners: MicheleK


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