Trekking the Giants' Trail: Alta Via 1 through the Italian Pennine Alps
Beneath Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa
By Andy Hodges
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Guidebook to trekking Italy's Alta Via 1 - a 180km trail through the Italian Alps, following the northern flank of the Aosta Valley from Donnas to Courmayeur. Nicknamed the Giants' Trail, the route offers fantastic views of the Alpine giants: Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa. With travel advice and accommodation listings.
SeasonsOnce the rifugi open, from late June to early September each month offers different views and experiences.
CentresFrom Donnas the route visits Gressoney-Saint-Jean before passing the world-famous Great St Bernard Monastery to finish in Courmayeur.
DifficultyRegular, fit walkers will enjoy crossing cols of nearly 3000m and travelling across the 'grain' of the mountains. Harder than the Tour of Mont Blanc, but without technical difficulty, this trek will provide a suitable challenge for those familiar with Alpine trekking looking for quiet huts and stunning views.
Must SeeThe Alpine giants of Monte Rosa, the Matterhorn, the Grand Combin and Mont Blanc form the stupendous backdrop to two weeks' trekking through the old kingdom of Savoy. With almost 1000 years of history, the Great St Bernard Monastery is a rewarding diversion.
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Andy was born and bred in Northern England; with the Lake District and Snowdonia nearby. It wasn't long before he was exploring the summits and crags with skills learned from his time in the Scouts. Since discovering the joys of the Alps with a Cicerone guidebook in 1999, Andy and his wife Sue have explored much of the Western Alps, walking, running, cycling, ski touring or snowshoeing. Andy has been a volunteer member of the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team, Tavistock for 25 years, and has recently completed the in-depth training and assessments to become a qualified International Mountain Leader. He enjoys working with young people in the outdoors and has trained teams for the gruelling Ten Tors Challenge on Dartmoor as well as founding Junior Ten Tors in 1994.View author profile
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