Chamonix & Gran Paradiso
France & Italy, Climbing, 8 days - from £1,345 (land only) - from €1,615 (land only) - from $2,220 (land only)
Day 1: Rendezvous at the group's chalet accommodation in Argentiere in the Chamonix Valley. KE group packages services begin with dinner and overnight at the chalet.
Day 2: We head up by mountain railway to the Mer de Glace glacier (1900m), an excellent venue to learn about moving on ice and glacial terrain. Our principal tools are the crampons and ice axe. We also look at belays, rope skills and ice climbing. We return to the chalet in Argentiere.
Day 3: We take the early morning cable car from Chamonix up to the Aiguille du Midi (3842m). We make a traverse of the Vallee Blanche to reach the Helbronner Gondola Station on the Italian border (the highest border station in Europe). We return via the spectacularly scenic gondola to the Aguille du Midi and take the cable car back down to Chamonix. Overnight in Argentiere.
Day 4: In the morning we walk to the Albert Premier high mountain refuge. The varied and spectacular trail begins amongst alpine meadows and forests and finishes in a high glacial landscape. The afternoon is spent looking at crevasse rescue techniques.
Day 5: After a 5am start we ascend the Aiguille du Tour (3544m). The climb begins by ascending the vast Glacier du Trient, and then climbs the south face of the peak on beautiful red granite. After the climb and descent, we return to our Chalet in Argentiere.
Day 6: The morning is spent learning rock climbing techniques at Les Gaillands. After lunch we travel through the Mont Blanc Tunnel to Italy and the Gran Paradiso National Park. A 2-3 hour walk through forests and over moorland takes us to the Chabod (2750) Refuge.
Day 7: From an early alpine start (around 3am) at the hut, we climb to the summit of Gran Paradiso 4061m. The route is varied; beginning as straightforward trail, leading onto large crevassed glaciers and finally to an exposed rock ridge. The climb takes 4-5 hours and around 3 hours to descend. After the ascent we return to Chamonix to celebrate. Overnight in the chalet in Argentiere.
Day 8: KE group packages services end with breakfast at the hotel.