Eagle Ski Club

Gran Paradiso Tour,
25 - 31 March 2012


We started and finished the tour in Chamonix as it has good connections and a variety of accommodation. Although the accommodation took some finding for the start as there was an international ice hockey championship and the Pilot D'Or over the first week end.

Sunday am pm

Transfer from Chamonix to Valgrisenche; 08:30

We started from the dam which is as far as the taxi could get us up the valley a 10:00

We reached the Mario Bezzi hut at 2284m at 14:45 by the time we got around to doing some avalanche transceiver search practice at 16:00 it was snowing.

Excellent hut and good food.

Dam to hut 11Km


Bezzi hut to Benvolo Hut via col Bassac Dere (3082m); Distance 11Km climb 800m.

We left the hut around 08:30 and followed the ski tour line on the map (Italian IGC 102) this took too high an angle and meant wasting a lot of time going up and down in places. By the time we got to the col we decided not to go for the Becca Della Traveriere as originally intended and headed down to the hut. Finding number 2 error on the map. We eventually found a safe way down to the hut arriving there around 17:00

Accommodation cramped triple bunks all 6 of us in one small room. Food not too good either (well not as good as the Bezzi hut).

Guardian was very helpful, he resolved all the errors on the map for the next day.

Griff skinning up to Col Bassac Dere

Nearing high point on ridge to Pt. Basei


Benvolo Hut to Pont (Hotel Gran Paradiso) via Pt Basei 3338m; Distance 17km climb 1000m.

We left the hut at 08:15 and followed a good line to col Basei reaching there around 1200 we then booted up the ridge to near the top of Pt Basei, after some discussion we elected not to top out in view of time restraints. So down we went enjoying some great skiing until reaching around 2700m where it turned to porridge. A long hot slog along the Piano del Nivolet ending in a hike down to the hotel due to the snow running out.

We reached the hotel Gran Paradiso ( also or originally called the Albergo Gran Paradiso ) at 17:30. Very nice, we had a room for 4 and one for 2, we all made good use of the shower.

Good food and accommodation


Pont to Vittorio Emanuele hut; distance 4Km, climb 775m

We left the hotel 09:45, something of a leisurely start, up the valley for some 2Km before starting the climb up, this soon became a boot up due to the lack of snow and the steepness. We started skinning again around 2400m and reached the hut (2732m) around 13:45. Beer and lunch on the terrace followed by some brushing up of crevasse rescue techniques.

The hut was cramped and disorganised.


Gran Paradiso 4061m and down to Chabod hut 2732m; distance 10Km climb 1350m

Breakfast at 06:00 left at first light at 06:50. Tried to stop every hour for quick drink and bite to eat worked well made good progress and one of the first groups to reach the ski depot. All topped out on the Madonna summit at 12:30, lots of congestion getting on and off summit. All but one of the team then climbed the true summit as we had plenty of time in hand. Both climbs easy but extremely exposed to the NE. Some great skiing to start with but got heavier and heavier as we got to the hut reached there 15:15 very nice and good food.

Chabod hut to Valsavarenche Road; distance 3Km down 800m.

Left hut at 08:30 and reached taxi rendezvous point at 10:30 an hour and half early. The first half of the decent was on hard breakable crust that was hard work and the send was a walk due to no snow.

We were back in Chamonix by 14:00


Team relaxing in Hotel Gran Paradiso

Keith on true summit
Gran Paradiso 4061m

Team on True summit Gran Paradiso

Madonna summit in background

These are the amended maps;
the green line is correct
Day 2
Day 3

Maps used:

Italian IGC 102 & 101, 1:25,000 plus IGC 3 1:50,000. See amendments to ski trails.

Accommodation Notes:

Chamonix stayed at Chalet Ski Station very acceptable for the price of 16euro per night per bed. http://www.skistation.fr/

Ref Mario Bezzi; http://www.rifugiobezzi.com
Ref Benvolo; http://www.rifugiobenevolo.com
Hotel Gran Paradiso; www.hotelgparadiso.com
Ref Vittorio Emanuele; http://www.rifugiovittorioemanuele.com
Ref Chabod; http://www.rifugiochabod.com


Geneva airport to Chamonix
Mountain drop offs www.mountaindropoffs.com
Others; Cham express; www.chamexpress.com

Chamonix to Gran Paradiso area
; Alplink; www.AlpLinks.com