Mark Conner and Peter Harris on the Gran Paradiso and more • June 27-29, 2009

Pete and Mark came to Chamonix for a quick bit of alpine climbing. We elected to start with a 4000er, the Gran Paradiso, not far from Aosta and within striking distance from Chamonix via the Mont Blanc tunnel. With 3 days at our disposal, we climbed the Paradiso on the first day, then the Arête des Cosmiques on the Aiguille du Midi on our last.

Other Recent Trips

At the carpark in the Val Savaranche in the Gran Paradiso National Park


Pete and Mark on the trail up to the Chabod hut.


The Chabod hut with the Gran Paradiso (its head in the clouds) behind. The Chabod is a lovely hut and the route from here is a fine alternative to the busier crowded Vittorio Emanuele hut.


Taking our ease after our arrival at the hut.


Sunset from the Chabod hut.


Starting in the dark, we eventually reached the juncture or the route coming from the Vittorio Emanuele.


Mark and Pete between the summits of the Gran Paradiso. We have just climbed and descended the "Madonna" summit and are heading to the true summit.


Looking back towards the Madonna summit. Since we were climbing on a beautiful Sunday, there were plenty of other mountaineers about. But the weather was fine, and all were in a good mood.


Descending back to the Chabod hut. After a quick lunch and a change of footware, we continued down to the car and returned to Chamonix.


The following morning was another beautiful day. Looking towards Mont Blanc.


Our objective, the Arête des Cosmiques. As with all climbs starting at the Aiguille du Midi summit cable car, our first obstacle is descending the east ridge. The views are "distracting".


Looking towards the Gran Combin, the Matterhorn and the peaks of Monte Rosa.


We decided to do the "Integrale", starting with the section of ridge below the Cosmiques hut, knows as Arête Lawrence. Wonderfully enough, this allowed us to stop in the hut for a cup of tea and a bit of strawberry tart before continuing up the rest of the ridge.


Our progress was halted mid-route by a medical emergency. A member of another party had a heart attack. Unfortunately, the outcome was not good. In this photo the helicopter is flying off his climbing partners.


Regaining our stride (and racing to beat the growing cumulus clouds, we start up the final few short pitches.


Clouds blossoming over Italy. In the end we did get a bit of afternoon thundery weather, but not until we were safely down in Chamonix on our way to a well-earned drink.