Gran Paradiso is an ideal first alpine ascent and very achievable for fit, recreational walkers. Previous experience of alpine climbing and mountaineering is not required and you will be taught the technical skills for walking and traveling on snow and ice. The route crosses glaciated terrain and you will be roped up for added security. The total elevation gained is about 2000m. If you walk regularly in the UK and have a good level of fitness then you should have no problem undertaking the Gran Paradiso ascent. For alpine walking & climbing, aerobic fitness and leg strength is the key. So when preparing for this trip nothing beats activities that increase your heart rate and build your aerobic levels e.g. running, cycling and swimming. Movement skills - agility, balance, flexibility - which allow you to walk easily over rough ground to make your way safely up a snow slope - are also very relevant. If time permits try to include some yoga or pilates into your training schedule.
Day 1: Travel from UK to Geneva and transfer to hotel in St Gervais for evening welcome meeting and briefing with your guide. Stay overnight in hotel.
Day 2: 1½ hour transfer by road through the Mont Blanc tunnel into Italy to Pont at the head of the Valsavaranche. After lunch walk up to Rifugio Chabod (3 hours). Stay overnight in Rifugio (2750m).
Day 3: Superb walk to acclimatize while traversing the northern flank of Gran Paradiso to the Rifugio Vittorio Emanuele (2730m). En route practice cramponning and safe glacier travel.
Day 4: An early alpine start to climb Gran Paradiso (4061m), a magnificent peak with one of the best panoramas in the Alps. Descend via the Vittorio Emanuele hut all the way to Pont where there is a welcoming bar and a transfer vehicle to take you back to your hotel (1½ hours).
Day 5: After breakfast transfer to Geneva for return flight home.
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