Gran Paradiso ski tour • March 13 - 18, 2016

Scott Wood and his friend Val joined us for a trip to the Italian valleys of Valgrisenche, Val di Rhemes and Valsavarenche, ending in an ascent of the Gran Paradiso.

Other Trips with some of these folks

Scott Wood - Haute Route- April 2015
Scott Wood - Ortler - March 2015
Scott Wood - Berner Oblerland - April 2014
Scott Wood - Albula - March 2014

Return to all recent trips


Heading up the Valgrisenche on day 1.


Ruins of former villages high in the Valgrisenche.


Approaching the Bezzi hut, our first night's lodging.


A warm and welcoming hut, with plenty of wine and food!


Checking the stats on the GPS tracks of the day.


The exterior of the Bezzi hut.


The next morning we began a long skin up over the Colle Bassac Derè.


A beautiful day setting up.


Above the Gliairetta glacier, with the Grande Sassière behind.


After a long skin up, it feels good to head downhill!


Navigating through steep terrain and cliff bands to our next hut...


... The Benevolo! In time for the late afternoon sunshine on the terrace.


We had two nights at the Benevolo, so headed out on a day tour on day 3.


Our goal for the day is the Punta Calabre. Lovely skinning in sunshine and light snow.


It's a long way, but a regular skin track makes it relatively comfortable.


From the summit, a spectacular view in all directions. Kathy looks northeast toward the Grand Combin.


The panorama from the northwest (Mont Blanc and neighbors) to Northeast (Grand Combin and Matterhorn) to east (Gran Paradiso).

Move the scroll bar for a panorama.


Nice snow rewards us.


The arrival of a snowstorm that evening.


Poor visibility and too much snow falling, made us abandon our plan of crossing the ridge toward Pont. Instead, we prepare to head down valley and get to Pont by bus/taxi/car.


Leaving the hut in the lovely snowfall.


Heading down the Val di Rhemes.


From Notre Dame de Rhemes, a bus all to ourselves!


From the bus stop in Villeneuve, a taxi back up to Pont, in the Valsavarenche, and the Hotel Gran Paradiso! After a shower and a good night's sleep, the following morning dawns sunny and calm.


We head up the Valsavarenche, following tracks laid down obligingly by the snowcat that very morning.


Heading up through the snowfilled woods.


A beautiful skin up the stream.


It's nice in the trees.


Breaking out into the upper valley above the woods, we are surpised by the quantity and quality of the new snow!


By the time we reach our high point in the valley, we have found way too much of a good thing! The snow is drifted deep and (thankfully) soft and light, but rather tough trail breaking nevertheless!


Wow. This does augure well for the descent, but we are working hard now.


Traversing high above the valley toward the next hut...


... the Vittorio Emanuele.


The following morning dawns even clearer, and very cold for the ascent of the Gran Paradiso.


High on the glacier, perfect clear visibility.


The upper reaches of the glacier.


Meanwhile, Scott and Kathy are having a more pure ski day, descending all that deep powder we climbed through the previous day. Delicious!


Pure sunshine, alone in a high valley full of snow and no tracks but our own.


Val negotiates the tough traverse to the summit.




Mark and Val on the summit.


A message for her mother from the summit!


And some good snow and big crevasses on the way down!


In the woods, things get tougher, but she made it! Thanks Val and Scott for your company, it was a fun week of exploration in the Italian alps.

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