This ski tour weaves its way along the Swiss/Italian border taking in many 4000m peaks. Most of the terrain covered is above 3500m so good touring conditions can be found in May. High altitude, steep terrain and long ascents make this a demanding advanced level tour where good ski mountaineering skills are essential.
The Monte Rosa massif straddles the Swiss, Italian border above Zermatt and constitutes the end of the Western Alps. There are more than 38 peaks above 4000m, so an impressive sight from any direction, and it is no surprise that the Monte Rosa area is a ski-mountaineering hotspot. The area is also home to some of the wildest glaciers in the Alps and the vertical descent on skis from some of the peaks is huge, which makes this area popular with ski tourers. The peaks aren't the only draw, however, with resorts like Zermatt, Cervinia, Gressoney and Alagna nestled below the peaks, all of which are big hits with off piste skiers.
Our ski tour weaves its way along the Swiss/Italian border taking in many 4000m peaks. Most of the terrain covered is above 3500m so good touring conditions can be found in May. High altitude, steep terrain and long ascents make this a demanding advanced level tour where good ski mountaineering skills are essential.
At the end of the trip, there is the opportunity to return to Chamonix for a 2-day ski ascent of Mont Blanc.
Arrive in Zermatt. Meet up with your guides for kit-check and briefing. Stay overnight in a hotel in the village.
From Zermatt we catch the cable car up to the Klein Matterhorn (3883m). We soon leave the busy pistes and head up the first 4000m peak of the trip. The Breithorn is a 2.5 hour skin from the lift to the summit. This is perfect acclimatisation and affords views across the whole Monterosa range. A ski descent is made between the east and west Breithorn summits. A short skin deposits us below Pollux and another glaciated descent to the Refugio Ayas (3400m). This hut is run by the local guides bureau, has great food and is well known for its relaxed atmosphere.
An early 'alpine start' is needed for good conditions to skin to the summit of Castor (4228m). Toward the summit ridge we will have to rope up, use crampons and carry our skis. We traverse the very narrow summit ridge of Castor (4223m) and try and take in the views on the summit whilst concentrating on our feet!. The steep descent from the Felikjoch (4087m) to the Refugio Quintino Sella (3585m) is memorable with spectacular remote glaciated scenery.
From the Quintino Sella Refugio, we ascend by ski to Passo del Naso (4100m) on the toe of Liskamm. A steep sideslip or abseil descends to the heavily crevassed Lys Glacier. We then ski down past the Gnifetti Hut (3625m) and on to the recently renovated Refugio Mantova Hut (3498m) for the night. This is a very comfortable hut with a spectacular dining room over looking the Lys Glacier.
Today reaches the highest point of the ski tour with an ascent of Signalkuppe (4554m). On the way we can bag Ludvigshohe (4341m) and Piramid Vicent (4215m) if conditions allow. It is worth stopping at the Magherita Hut(4554m) on the summit of Sinalkuppe. Named after the queen of Italy it is the highest hut in the alps and serves the highest pizza in the alps. From here we descend the spectacularly crevassed Grentz glacier to the new Monte Rosa Hut. This is one of the most spectacular ski descents in the Alps passing under the imposing North face of Liskamm. The new space age Monterosa Hut (2795m) is covered in solar panels making it completely energy efficient. It provides modern comfortable rooms.
An early start is needed to ascend to the Dufoursattel (Silbersattel) (4515m). this spectacular col lies between the gigantic summits of Nordend (4609m) and the Dufourspitz (4634m). Looking west there are incredible views of the Matterhorn and a long ski descent back for a second night in the Monte Rosa hut.
From the Monte Rosa hut we traverse east and scramble across a rocky ridge to the Gorner Glacier. We cross Gorner Glacier and ascend the Stockhorn (3532m) or Cima di Jazzi (3803m) which affords spectacular views of the Zermatt and Macugnaga valley. We descend back to the Gornergrat railway and our final night back in Zermatt.
Departure after breakfast.
We offer an add-on to this trip for a 2-day ski ascent/descent of Mont Blanc.
Transport after breakfast to Chamonix and enjoy a relaxing day. We stay overnight in the town.
From the cable-car station at Plan d'Aiguille we climb up to the Grand Mulet hut (3051m).
A big day. We leave the hut early for the climb to the summit of Mont Blanc (4807m). The descent is on the Bossons Glacier to Plan d'Aiguille. Catch the cable car down to Chamonix and celebrate a successful climb.
Depart after breakfast.
|Sat 20 Apr||Sat 27 Apr||Sat 20 Apr
- Sat 27 Apr
The price includes 6 full days guiding fees & expenses, 2 nights B&B hotel accommodation (twin rooms), 5 nights HB accommodation in high alpine huts.
The price does not include equipment hire, personal insurance, travel to/from Zermatt, uplift costs, local transfers, 2 evening meals, lunches and beverages.
The price for the Mont Blanc Ski Ascent is £745 per person and includes all guide fees and expenses and 3 nights accommodation - 2 nights B&B in Chamonix and 1 night HB in the Grands Mulets hut. Uplift cost and travel to and from Chamonix is not included. Minimum of 2 people required for the MB ascent.
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This is an extensive list of the recommended clothing and equipment you will need if you are coming to one of our Ski Tours.
During the tour you will be staying most nights in catered high mountain huts and will need to carry all the equipment and clothing you require for the duration of the tour. The huts are comfortable but basic with limited facilities.
Any clothing or other items not required on the tour can be left in a travel bag at your first hotel ready for your return on the final night.
We recommend keeping the weight of your pack as light as possible. If you are new to alpine multi-day ski touring, try taking your pack out on the slopes before the tour to see how it feels. You quickly realise the benefit of ‘skiing light’.
If you are uncertain or need further information, don't hesitate to contact us.
For all touring trips it is essential you ski with an all-mountain/freeride type skis, ski touring boots and ski touring bindings. If you have your own skis but they do not have ski touring bindings then you will need to rent skis. The same applies if you have downhill ski boots, you will need to rent ski touring boots.
For alpine ski touring we recommend an all-mountain/freeride touring ski that isn’t too heavy, a really lightweight ski comes at a cost to performance on the descents so are only recommended for really good off-piste skiers with a strong interest in ski touring.
There are plenty of great skis to choose from and we highly recommend skis from the following manufactures:
Dynastar Skis: www.dynastar.com
Movement Skis: www.movementskis.com
Black Crows Skis: www.blackcrows-skis.com
Trab Skis: www.skitrab.com/en-us
Scott Skis: http://www.scott-sports.com
Volkl Skis: http://www.voelkl.com
If you are planning on buying skis for ski touring and general skiing and have any questions do not hesitate to call us to discuss the options available to you.
It is essential that you have ski touring boots for all touring trips as walking up hill is much more comfortable in these types of boots with a walk mode and great flex. A dedicated touring boot or a hybrid freeride boot is best.
Avalanche airbag rucksacks can be used for touring but they are heavy, adding somewhere between 5-8kg just for an empty pack plus canister. So unless you are sure you can carry it and fit all you need in, we do not recommend you use one.
Over a long multiday tour every gram of weight is important as you have to carry and move it yourself. Carrying a heavy pack will hinder and tire all but the most experienced and fit ski tourer.
The “Safety Trilogy” - required on all our ski tours and off-piste courses.
Food and Water
We suggest you bring with you or buy in resort snack food that you can take out on the hill with you each day. Things like cereal bars, dried fruit and nuts, chocolate, sugary sweets or your favorite hill snacks. When you’re staying overnight in huts its best to take supplies for the days you are away. Huts do sell food but it’s expensive and sometimes stocks run low.
If you have any food allergies or dietary requirements especially if you are a Coeliac (Gluten free) or have a dairy allergy we strongly recommend you bring some food with you that you can supplement your dinners with. The huts are fairly good at providing for vegetarians but less so for other dietary needs.
You have to buy bottled water in the huts as usually any running water is non-potable. Bottled water is expensive in French and Swiss huts; you can be paying upto 12-16CHF per 1.5L bottle of water. So please ensure you budget for this cost.
Switzerland is a mountainous Central European country consisting of 26 Cantons, with Bern as its main federal city.
It is boarded by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Its a landlocked country with the mountainous regions occupying a greater part of its territory.
Home to around 8 million people (2013) the country has many pretty villages, lakes and mountains. The highest mountain in Switzerland is the Monterosa (specifically the Dufourspitze) at 4,634m. The country has the highest concentration of 4000m peaks at 48.
Its 2 largest cities of Zurich and Geneva are global economic centres and gateways to the Alps from countries across the world.
Its main languages are French, German, Italian and Romansh.
It is a condition of booking that you are insured for your chosen activity and the cover must include medical expenses, personal accident, personal liability, third party risks and rescue (including helicopter rescue). You are strongly advised also to take out cover against cancellation and curtailment.
For more details and to purchase a policy online visit http://www.skiclubinsurance.co.uk/
If you need assistance arranging your personal insurance please let us know.
The most convenient airports for Zermatt are Sion (transfer time 2 hours), Bern (3 hours), Zurich (3.5 hours), Geneva (4 hours)
For the rail journey from the airports to Zermatt check the train times by logging on to www.sbb.ch/en
All our ski tours are led by our team of IFMGA Mountain Guides. The team is led by Olly Allen, Matt Dickinson and Nick Parks.
IFMGA / UIAGM / IVBV
The IFMGA / UIAGM / IVBV symbol is the logo of the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association.
Nick, Olly and Matt are all fully-qualified UIAGM Mountain Guides and members of the British Mountain Guides Association.
The International Ski Instructors Association is the world body for professional ski instructors.
The ISIA was formed in 1971 and there are currently 39 member nations representing the very best in ski instruction around the world.