Failed attempt at Gran Paradiso

The park's flagship 4061m Gran Paradiso peak towers over this region of the Graian Alps; and other massifs, ridges, cols and peaks provide huge panoramas and wide horizons towards Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, and to Monte Rosa.

Continued from French side: Over the glaciers.

Day 3

Down the Italian side to Aosta Valley.


Night in Hotel Roma, Aosta.

Also, our first, totally unplanned and unexpected, contact with sparkling red wine.

Day 4

Day in and around Aosta.

Châtel Argent.

Parc Animalier d'Introd.

What is this beast?

The Les Combes district of Introd, a small hamlet in the municipality, is where Pope John Paul II spent his holidays for many years during the summer period, a tradition maintained by his successor Benedict XVI.*

Night in Locanda Del Voison, Aosta.

Day 5

Bus to Cogne and then Valmontey.

Today's plan - get to Rifugio Vittorio Sella.

Ready to go.

Route 18 to Rifugio Vittotio Sella.


Almost there.

Rifugio Vittotio Sella.

Day 6

Today plan - get to Rifugio Chabod (around 16 km).

Lauson lakes.

Lots of mountain goats around.

Almost too close encounter with mountain goats.

Some easy scrambling is involved.

Not just your typical walk in the park.

Col Lauson, a 3,296 m pass at the head of Lauson Basin, the highest pass along the pathways names "Alte Vie of Valle d'Aosta", with punta del Tuf (3,393 m) on its left.

We have barely made 4 km so far, we are already pretty tired, and the pass looks totally uninviting to our untrained eyes.

Considering all that, plus the fact that we can't really see any route markings, and there are still around 12 km left to Rifugio Chabod once we are on the other side, with more climbing later on, we decide to turn back to Valmontey.

We get there when it's already dark. No places to sleep anywhere. Finally in one of the hotels someone suggests to ask a grandma of a friend of a friend in a house outside of village. We go there, we wake her up, and fortunately there is a room available! Phew.

Day 7

We should be summitting Gran Paradiso today. Instead we are back in Valmontey, having an early beer and pondering what to do next.

A beer with a view.

Back to Cogne and an easy stroll to Lillaz and its Cascate di Lillaz and Lago di Loye perhaps?

Day 8

Only proper start of the last day in Cogne.

Last stop in Courmayeur.

Time to go back home!