Walking and Trekking in the Gran Paradiso
Alta Via 2 trek and 28 day walks
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This guidebook presents 28 day walks in the Gran Paradiso National Park in the Italian Alps south of Mont Blanc, and the 12-day Alta Via 2 trek. The Alta Via covers over 148km of rugged mountains and valleys between Chardonnay and Courmayeur. The graded walks vary from 2 to 33km and range from easy paths to routes for the experienced alpine walker.
- The summer months - late June to late September - are the time to go. That's when the mountain huts are open, providing meals and accommodation for trekkers. However, outside that period the valley villages can be used as a comfortable base for day routes
- Cogne, Rhêmes-Notre-Dame, Pont Valsavarenche, Valgrisenche, La Thuile, Chardonney, Ceresole Reale, Ronco Canavese
- The walks are all graded for difficulty - ranging from straightforward paths to high and exposed routes for experienced alpine walkers. No special equipment is needed
- Must See
- Alta Via 2 trek through the Gran Paradiso National Park, parallel to the Aosta valley. Glittering glacial lakes, old royal hunting trails, ascent of Becca della Traversiere, Punta Basei, belvederes onto Mont Blanc, the trad southern valleys and Ceresole Reale
A guidebook to walking in the Gran Paradiso National Park in the Italian Alps, describing the 12-stage Alta Via 2 trek between Cormayeur and Chardonnay, and 28 walks ranging from 2 to 33km, as well as suggestions for combining routes into long-distance hikes. The Gran Paradiso sits in the Valle d'Aosta, in northwestern Italy, a region verging on pristine wilderness. Views of Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa and the Matterhorn ranges can be seen from routes in this guide. The guidebook provides plenty of practical information on getting to and around the Gran Paradiso, as well as advice on accommodation, language, equipment, planning and how to make the most out of any adventure in one of Italy's most spectacular national parks. A wealth of detail on points of interest walkers can explore, as well as information on wildlife, history, geology and flowers is also included. Despite its attractions, the park is relatively undiscovered. Walkers can often enjoy unforgettable days on excellent trails through spectacular valleys all to themselves, even at the height of the summer season. The itineraries explore highlights and special places to whet walking appetites.
The Gran Paradiso National Park
Valleys and bases
When to go
How to use this book
Dos and don'ts
Mountaineering and guides
What to take
Alta Via 2
Stage 1 Chardonney to Rifugio Dondena
Stage 2 Rifugio Dondena to Rifugio Péradzà
Stage 3 Rifugio Péradzà to Cogne
Stage 4 Cogne to Rifugio Vittorio Sella
Stage 5 Rifugio Vittorio Sella to Eaux Rousses
Stage 6 Eaux Rousses to Rhêmes-Notre-Dame
Stage 7 Rhêmes-Notre-Dame to Rifugio Chalet de l'Epée
Stage 8 Rifugio Chalet de l'Epée to Planaval
Stage 9 Planaval to La Haut
Stage 10 La Haut to La Thuile
Stage 11 La Thuile to Rifugio Elisabetta Soldini
Stage 12 Rifugio Elisabetta Soldini to Courmayeur
1 The Lillaz Waterfalls
2 Lago di Loie
3 The Money Glacier Terrace
4 The Casolari dell'Herbetet Traverse
5 Punta Pousset – the local ‘Gornergrat’
6 Beneath the Grivola
7 Passo d'Invergneux and the Mines Circuit
8 Laghi di Lussert
9 Pondel's Roman Bridge
10 The 2205m Mont Blanc
11 At the Foot of the Gran Paradiso
12 Over Gran Collet to Col del Nivolet
13 The King's Path in Valle delle Meyes
14 Vallon di Sort
15 Col Rosset
16 Punta Basei
17 Becca della Traversière
18 Legendary San Grato
19 Becca dei Quattro Denti
20 The Royal Track to Ceresole Reale
21 Sentiero Glaciologico Lago Serrù
22 Beneath the Tre Levanne
23 The Villages of Valle dell'Orco
24 Beyond the Dam in Vallone di Piantonetto
25 Nivolastro to Andorina
26 Frescoes and Fridges en route to Bivacco Davito
27 Sanctuary of San Besso
28 Col Larissa
Appendix A Italian-English Glossary
Appendix B Route Summary Table
An excellent general road map is the 1:200,000 ‘Piemonte e Valle d'Aosta’ map published by the Touring Club taliano (TCI) and widely available both in Italy and overseas.
As far as walking maps go, Blu Edizioni has done a good 1:50,000 version of the whole park; its sole drawback is that it does not cover the start and latter half of the Alta Via 2 as they are beyond the park confines.
An excellent series of 1:25,000 walking maps comes from L'Escursionista (www.lescursionista.it) as well as IGC (www.istitutogeograficocentrale.it). Appropriate maps are listed in stage and walk headings.
Most of the above are on sale at bookshops and newspaper kiosks throughout the Gran Paradiso National Park and the Valle d'Aosta, as well as overseas map outlets and outdoor gear shops.
Note: Due to the region's history, the spelling of place names varies considerably on both signposts and maps and discrepancies are common; for instance a col may be referred to as either finestra in the Italian version or fenêtre in French. Moreover the Valle d'Aosta Regional Authority is currently working on re-introducing toponyms for both maps and signposts in the ancient patois. In the not-too-distant future these may well substitute what are currently widely recognised versions in Italian and French and undoubtedly cause confusion. Be aware of this possibility and be prepared to exercise a little linguistic elasticity when map reading! Path numbering is also subject to ongoing revision and there may well be minor discrepancies between the path numbers given in this guide and those on new signposts.
The sketch maps aim to give an idea of the location of the routes described, together with significant geographical features, but are not intended as substitutes for the commercial maps listed above. They are intended to help with orientation and pre-trip preparation. (See the sketch map legend on page 6 for an explanation of the symbols used.) Finally, an Italian-English glossary is provided as an appendix; it contains a wealth of terminology found on maps.
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Gillian Price was born in England but has lived in Venice for many years. Gillian has steadily explored the mountain ranges of Italy, and Corsica, and brought them to life for visitors in a series of outstanding guides for Cicerone. She is an active member of the Italian Alpine Club (CAI) and Mountain Wilderness.View Articles and Books by Gillian Price
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