The Monte Rosa Massif straddles the border of Italy and Switzerland and dominates the area. Huge glaciers and 4000m peaks are very much the hallmarks of this area. Although massive, most of the peaks are not very technical. With good weather and conditions, and under the watchful eye of a professional Mountain Guide you should be able to tick off numerous giants. In addition to big mountains this area is known for the exceptionally friendly mountain refuges, the quality of their meals, and the lovely local wine. If nice people, great food, quality wine and high mountains doesn't sound like the ingredients for a good trip then what does ?
A typical itinerary:
Day 1 – Your trip will start with a briefing at 6pm at your accommodation in Chamonix. You will be notified of the location of this nearer the time. We will discuss the week ahead and answer any questions you may have before checking/issuing equipment.
Day 2 – Chamonix to Refugio Quintino Sella. After breakfast you will be driven through the Mont Blanc tunnel into Italy, arriving in Staffal near Gressonney after around 2hrs. You will then take the chair lift up to the Colle Bettaforca and walk to the Refugio Quintino Sella (3585m) (3hrs30).
Day 3 - Castor (4220m) - After an early start you will make our way up the glacier. The ascent of Castor is a great place to both teach and revise skills which will be essential for the rest of the trip. The summit is a special place, with fantastic views of the surrounding 4000m peaks and all the way down to Zermatt.
Day 4 - Refugio Quintino Sella to Gnifetti Hut – This day is begun with a long glacial hike beneath Lyskamm (4272m) towards the Passo del Nasso. This is potentially serious terrain and will only be undertaken if snow conditions are good (ie not icy). After the Passo there will be the option to ascend the Balmenhorn (4167m), Schwarzhorn (4321m) and Pyramid Vincent (4215m) before heading down to the Rifugio Gnifetti (3647m) or the Rifugio Mantova (just below the Gnifetti).
Day 5 - Gnifetti Hut to Zumsteinspitz (4563m). On the way back you may visit the Margherita Hut which is built on the summit of the Signalkuppe (4554m). This is the highest manned refuge in the Alps. After that you will head back down the glacier to the Rifugio Gnifetti.
Day 6 - Gnifetti Hut to Chamonix – On the final morning you will take in the last remaining big peaks. You'll first head up to the Ludwigshöhe (4341m). After that a short descent leads to a col and a nice snowy ridge that continues to the Parrot Spitz (4432m). After that head back down the glacier to the refuge, collect your things, and then continue to Punta Indren where you will take the lift all the way down to Staffal. From there it's a drive back to Chamonix for a well-earned shower and a night in a hotel.
Day 7 - Breakfast at the hotel is included before departure. It is recommended that flights be booked for around lunchtime to avoid needing an early departure.