Bonus: Gran Paradiso | Italy

As acclimatization for Mont Blanc me and my guide Sandy Allan drove from Chamonix to Italy to climb the highest peak in Italy (that´s not on the border) Gran Paradiso 4061 m.

The road to Italy was really beautiful and I couldn´t take my eyes off the mountains and forest around us.

We stopped for lunch at a cosy restaurant in a small mountain village.

And Sandys guide friend was there with two clients from Scotland so we all had a Italian pasta lunch together.

Then we drove to Gran Paradiso National Park where the trail started. Our goal for the day was the Chabod hut at 2750 m altitude.

Glacier water. Don´t you just love the color of it?

The trail starts here!

And it goes through a beautiful forest. It was also nice with some shadow because it was a really warm day. The trail is not too steep. It was really nice to walk on.

And at this beautiful rest area we took a five minutes break.

The views in the alps is really something.

An old building we passed on the way and my guide Sandy.

We walked in this beautiful landscape and the hike was just really nice. A great start to my week in Chamonix!

And soon we could see Gran Paradiso. It´s the mountain to the right with snow on. Looks so far away from here.

We just took it easy and really enjoyed the day. And the views.

After 2-3 hours we were at the hut that looks like this!

And the view from the hut down the valley was amazing. This was also the only spot where you could get connection on your phone so there was always someone standing on the edge.

Not too bad to have chocolate cake in a mountain hut! And we met up with our friends from earlier too and some other guides in the hut and had a drink.

Then the weather changed and rain came in. I love how dramatic the sky gets when there is bad weather. So I had to go out and take some pictures even if I got soaking wet.

After a night with almost no sleep for me (I always get too excited for the summit so I can never sleep the night before) we woke up at 04:00 for breakfast and then we took our backpacks and hiked in the dark.

Somewhere around here, 25 minutes from the hut I remember that I forgot my crampons in the gear room. So I had to run back and get them. Lesson learned.

So we were a little bit behind when we got to the glacier because I had to get those crampons. But I was glad I remembered so soon. If I didn´t have them here we would have to turn around and walk back. So crampons on and then tie ourselves in the rope and off we go!

And the sun came up at the same time as we started walking on the glacier. But we were on the north side so there was no sun where we were.

The glacier is not too steep and pretty nice to walk on. Snow where good and easy. But why did that group go over the crevasses like that? Omg… But there was a lot of crevasses on the glacier so even if you tried to avoid them, sometimes you had to pass them on snow bridges. But we were early so they were still frozen.

Soon there! This is the last steep hill to climb before the summit.

When you get to the last part before the summit there is some scrambling over rocks and then a traverse with some real exposure. There was a line and we had to wait for a few minutes to pass.

Exposure. The ridge is pretty narrow. Not a place for people who are afraid of heights. But I enjoyed it a lot.

It´s a really cool summit. And you walk over those rocks to get there.

On the summit there is a statue of a madonna. And a beautiful view over mountains.

Even if it was a line in the end it never felt too crowded. It only took a few minutes to be able to pass the ridge and go back.

For the descent the plan was to traverse and go down a different way. I liked the idea of that cause then you could see new views. We met people on the way up as we walked down.

After a while we left the glacier and started to walking down over rocks. The other way down was more steep and the glacier had more ice so the way we came up was more nice to walk on I would say.

We stopped for a quick lunch at the Rigugio Vittorio Emanuele II hut. Our scottish friends took a bath in the lake.

And then after a few hours we were down at the parking lot again. This mountain was a very nice experience and except for the summit very easy. I loved it. The view were beautiful and it was a great warm up for what was coming next: Mont Blanc