Chamonix and Gran Paradiso

Introductory Alpine climbing in sight of Mont Blanc




From $2,180 Land only

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Holiday Overview


  • Alpine training in the Chamonix Valley
  • Perfect for beginners and budding Alpinists
  • Climb Gran Paradiso and the Aiguille du Tour
  • All meals except lunches included

Gran Paradiso, the only 4000 metre peak entirely within Italy, makes a great climbing holiday for anyone looking to make their first Alpine climb. Its location, close to the border with France, means that we can acclimatise and prepare for the ascent in the Chamonix Valley. This great climbing holiday starts with a day of glacier skills training on the Mer de Glace, followed by a night at the Albert Premier Refuge and an ascent of the splendid Aiguille du Tour (3544m). Then, after a morning practicing our rock-climbing at Les Gaillands, we drive through the Mont Blanc Tunnel and walk in to the Chabod Refuge on the upper slopes of Gran Paradiso (4061m). After a night at this welcoming mountain hut, we tackle the classic, easy glacier and rocky ridge ascent to the summit, where the views extend northwards to prominent Mont Blanc. A perfect holiday for Alpine debutants!

Is this holiday for you?

This is fundamentally an Introductory Alpine climbing holiday. Led by professional IFMGA guides, it is aimed at giving instruction to fit hill-walkers with little or limited experience of using crampons and a single ice axe. The two peaks included, Aiguille du Tour in France (3544m) and Gran Paradiso in Italy (4061m) will involve glacier travel, easy snow-slope climbing and some easy scrambling. Ropes, crampons and an ice axe will be used. Given our high guide to client ratio (1:4) and the non-technical nature of these summits, this mountain holiday should be feasible for anyone looking to gain mountaineering experience in a stunning environment.


Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group's chalet in Argentiere in the Chamonix Valley. Briefing from the guide.
  • Ride the mountain railway to the Mer de Glace (1900m) where we practice our snow skills.
  • Cable car to the Aiguille du Midi (3842m). Trek the Vallee Blanche to Helbronner and return by gondola.
  • Walk to the Albert Premier mountain refuge (2702m). Afternoon glacier school.
  • Climb the Aiguille du Tour (3544m) and return to Argentiere (1252m).
  • Morning rock climbing school. Afternoon drive to Italy and walk to the Chabod Refuge (2750m).
  • Climb Gran Paradiso (4061m). Descend to the valley and return drive to Argentiere.
  • Departure day.
Sat 11 Jun - Sat 18 Jun Code CGP /01/16/ Adult$2,180 Status Available Book now
Sat 16 Jul - Sat 23 Jul Code CGP /02/16/ Adult$2,180 Status 2 more to guarantee Book now
Sat 06 Aug - Sat 13 Aug Code CGP /03/16/ Adult$2,180 Status Available Book now
Sat 03 Sep - Sat 10 Sep Code CGP /04/16/ Adult$2,180 Status Available Book now
We sell this holiday on a Land Only basis and recommend that you book your flights to Geneva Airport which is approximately an hour's drive from Chamonix. Please refer to the 'Joining arrangements and transfers' section of the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

If flying from the UK there are a number of low cost airlines offering flights to Geneva. These include Easyjet who have flights from London, Manchester, Liverpool & Glasgow and Jet 2 who have flights from Manchester, Leeds Bradford & Belfast. Other airports may be available. Click on the 'Flight information' link below for further information on booking low cost airlines. Alternatively if you would prefer to book a 'flight inclusive package' using scheduled airlines from the UK please contact our flights department for a quote. Whilst flight prices are likely to be more expensive you will benefit from full financial protection.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee*

* Against Land Only services.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • point
  • peaks
  • trip direction
  • transfer
  • trek

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group's chalet in Argentiere in the Chamonix Valley. Briefing from the guide.

    Meet at the group's chalet accommodation in Argentiere in the Chamonix Valley. KE Land Only package services begin with dinner and overnight at the chalet.

    • Accommodation Chalet

    • Meals d

  • Ride the mountain railway to the Mer de Glace (1900m) where we practice our snow skills.

    The Montenvers Train departs from it's own station next to the main station in Chamonix. This rack and pinion railway which first opened in 1909 climbs a steep track to a stunning vantage point above the Mer de Glace where we have fine views of the Grandes Jorasses and the Drus. From the top station at Montenvers we walk down to the Mer de Glace glacier (1900m), an excellent venue to learn about moving on ice and glacial terrain. Our principal tools are crampons and ice axe. We also look at belays, rope skills and the various techniques used in snow and ice climbing. after the session we return to the chalet in Argentiere.

    • Accommodation Chalet

    • Meals bd

  • Cable car to the Aiguille du Midi (3842m). Trek the Vallee Blanche to Helbronner and return by gondola.

    We take the early morning cable car from Chamonix up to the Aiguille du Midi (3842m), the highest cable car station in Europe. Exiting the station by the alpiniste's tunnel we emerge onto the ridge with a spectacular view down to the Chamonix Valley. Descending from the ridge into the Vallee Blanche we then treverse the glacier to reach the Helbronner Gondola Station on the Italian border (the highest border station in Europe). This outing will give us an opportunity to further practice roped galcier walking and provides unbeatable acclimatisation. From Helbronner we return via the spectacularly scenic gondola ride to the Aguille du Midi and take the cable car back down to Chamonix.

    • Accommodation Chalet

    • Meals bd

    • Time 7 - 8 hours walking

  • Walk to the Albert Premier mountain refuge (2702m). Afternoon glacier school.

    To assist with our acclimatisation, we plan to spend tonight in the Albert Premier hut in preparation for an ascent of the Aiguille du Tour the following day. The varied and spectacular trail begins amongst alpine meadows and forest and climbs to the Glacier de Tour which is then followed to the Albert Premier Hut (2707m) which we should reach within 4 hours. There are some rocky sections on the final part of the ascent protected by ropes but the level of difficulty is not high. Alpine refuges are generally fantastic places to stay and the Albert Premier is no exception. There is a sunny terrace, on which we can enjoy a beer or an espresso coffee, together with freshly baked pie and the views are simply stunning. After a rest, there is the opportunity to go out on to the glacier to practice more snow and ice skills including techniques of crevasse rescue. Accommodation is in dormitories, with slippers, blankets and pillows provided.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals bd

    • Time 4 hours walking

  • Climb the Aiguille du Tour (3544m) and return to Argentiere (1252m).

    We are up bright and early at 5 a.m. As the sun comes up, we will be crunching across the glacier in our crampons. Our goal for the day is to make an ascent of the Aiguille du Tour (3542m). This is a relatively easy alpine peak with a bit of technical scrambling towards the end. From the summit we can expect a view which stretches all the way from the Matterhorn to Mont Blanc. Descending back to the Albert Premier hut we have time for a coffee on the terrace before retuning to our chalet base. Tonight, we certainly will have earned a delicious three-course meal at the chalet.

    • Accommodation Chalet

    • Meals bd

    • Time 7 - 8 hours walking/climbing

  • Morning rock climbing school. Afternoon drive to Italy and walk to the Chabod Refuge (2750m).

    After breakfast we head to Les Gaillands, a popular roadside crag in Chamonix which has a variety of climbs at all grades, all safeguarded with bolts. This is a comfortable and safe environment to learn the basic techniques of rock climbing and scrambling on some of the easier routes. In the afternoon 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 Refuge (2750) situated at the foot of the north-west face of the Gran Paradiso, where we spend the night.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals bd

    • Time 2 - 3 hours walking

  • Climb Gran Paradiso (4061m). Descend to the valley and return drive to Argentiere.

    From an early alpine start (around 3am) at the hut, we climb to the summit of Gran Paradiso (4061m), the highest peak lying entirely within Italy. The route is very varied, beginning as straightforward trail leading to the Glacier de Laveciau where we encounter an intricate maze of crevasses which we wind our way through. The final 100 metres is an exciting, exposed, but well protected scramble along the rocky summit ridge. The summit supports a ‘Madonna’ figure and is a fantastic viewpoint for the entire alps, particularly of the Mont Blanc Massif. 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.

    • Accommodation Chalet

    • Meals bd

    • Time 8 - 9 hours walking/climbing

  • Departure day.

    KE Land Only package services end after breakfast at the chalet.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • Professional IFMGA guides
  • Mountain railway and valley transport (not airport transfers)
  • All accommodation as described
  • Meals as detailed in the Meal Plan

  • Travel insurance
  • airport transfers
  • Some meals as detailed in the Meal Plan
  • miscellaneous personal expenses - drinks - souvenirs etc.

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

The group will rendezvous at the Yeti Lodge in Argentiere on the evening of Day 1 of the trip itinerary. For clients arriving by air, the easiest way to get to Argentiere is to fly to Geneva Airport and make use of an airport transfer service. We recommend KE clients can get transfers from €27 each way by entering the promo code YETI Please note that transfers are subject to availability and your flight details are required a minimum of 72 hours before your arrival in Geneva. Hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation. If you are driving to Chamonix we will provide route details and directions to the group hotel/chalet in Argentiere. Parking is available for clients arriving by car.

During this trip, the group will spend 5 nights at the Yeti Lodge in Argentiere. The accommodation here is chalet-style, with bright and airy rooms with floor-to-ceiling picture windows. The facilities include south-facing sun-decks with views of Mont Blanc, Sauna and Hot Tub, satellite TV/DVD, in house computers and free Wi-Fi. Yeti Lodge also offers private car-parking and is non-smoking. Accommodation is in twin or triple rooms. Whilst in the mountains, there are 2 nights spent in mountain huts, where the accommodation is on a non-segregated, dormitory-style basis. In the high mountain huts, washing facilities are limited. Single rooms are not available

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

The food in Yeti Lodge and in the huts is varied and plentiful. Continental breakfasts and full 3-course evening meals are included everyday. Packed lunches can be purchased in Chamonix or hill-food can be bought in the huts. On some days there will also be the possibility of having a hot late lunch taken at our overnight halt.

All meals except lunches are included in the holiday price. We suggest you allow €10 per day for lunches'hill food.

The package price includes valley transport, cable cars and mountain railway tickets, all accommodation, meals (except lunches), and guiding. You will need to allow an amount for lunches or hill food snacks. Yeti Lodge offer an “honesty bar” for wine and drinks with your meals. In mountain refuges you will need to pay for drinks, including bottled water. €250 should be sufficient to cover all personal expenses. There are cash point facilities in Argentiere and in Chamonix Town. If you are intending to hire or purchase items of equipment, you should budget accordingly (credit cards can be useful in this respect).

There will be one or two IFMGA guides (depending on group size). Guiding is at a ratio of 1:4 during the trip.

Group members will carry all of their personal equipment up to the huts and it is vitally important to keep the overall weight of your equipment to a minimum. Since you will not be required to carry either a sleeping bag or a camping mattress a 35 - 40 litre rucksack should be more than adequate and it should be possible to keep the weight of your pack to under 7kg. During the ascents of the Aguille de Tour and Gran Paradiso, anything surplus to requirements can be left at the refuge. Whilst staying in the refuges, your main luggage with travel clothes etc, can be left at the group’s chalet.

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

This holiday involves going to high altitude. During the course of your trip you will reach altitudes in excess of 3500 metres. This is not something that you should worry about; the human body is quite capable of adapting to a very wide range of altitudes, but it is important that we follow some simple rules in order to acclimatise successfully. Before coming on this holiday you should read the advice on trekking at high altitude on our website which can be viewed via the link below. You can also talk to one of our trekking experts if you have any concerns about altitude.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum.

You must bring the following items:

  • Mountain Boots (see notes below)
  • Gaiters (long or short)
  • Socks – technical walking socks are best (2/3 pairs)
  • Warm mountain trousers
  • Waterproof over trousers (with leg zips)
  • Trekking trousers (not cotton)
  • Underwear
  • Base Layer x 2 (one with long sleeves for glacier travel)
  • T-shirt or casual shirt
  • Fleece jacket
  • Waterproof jacket (with hood)
  • Extra warm layer/ down jacket – (prima loft or lightweight down)
  • Sunhat
  • Warm hat and balaclava
  • Eyewear – sunglasses – category 3/ 4.
  • Thin gloves (thermal)
  • Warm and waterproof gloves/ski gloves
  • Climbing Rucksack – 35-45 (MAX) litres (no external frame)
  • Head torch – with new battery
  • Sun Protection (high factor for skin)
  • Lip salve – with sunscreen
  • Water bottle 2x 1 litre
  • Small Wash kit
  • Plastic Bag to keep essentials dry
  • Sleeping bag liner/sheet sleeping bag (silk is lightest)
  • Small hand sanitizer gel
  • Basic First Aid Kit

Mountaineering equipment:

  • Crampons – MUST be fitted with anti-balling plates
  • Crampon bag
  • Ice Axe
  • Helmet
  • Mountaineering harness
  • 1 x screw gate karabiner

The following items are optional:

  • Travel Clothes
  • Travel Shoes
  • Shorts (for non-glacial travel)
  • Rain cover for rucksack
  • Trekking poles x 2 (with baskets)
  • Earplugs (particularly if you are not the one snoring!)
  • Camera
  • Penknife
  • Small Padlock (for trek bag)

Equipment Notes

  • Mountaineering Boots: Recommended boots for this trip are comfortable, warm and stiff - to take a crampon securely/deal with cold conditions. A B2 boot will be suitable, but NOT a B1
  • Crampons: Modern strap on crampons are perfectly acceptable for this climbing trek and will fit any boot. All crampons MUST be fitted with anti-balling plates. ‘Grivel’ crampons - G10 or G12 with a strap system/or semi-strap/heel clip are excellent and they come fitted with anti-balling plates. Make sure they are compatible with your boots.
  • Equipment hire: The following equipment can be hired from KE: Crampons (with anti-balling plates) and crampon bag; Climbing helmet; Harness (with karabiner); Ice-axe. This can be reserved either when you book your trip or closer to your departure but we advise booking hire equipment as soon as possible to ensure availability. See the website for details of hire charges.. We do not hire mountaineering boots, but there are several shops in Chamonix/Argentiere renting boots that are suitable for this trip.
  • Sleeping bags/extra shoes: These are NOT required as bedding and hut shoes/slippers are provided at mountain refuges. However, you must bring a sheet sleeping bag

A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport.

Visa Europe

UK and USA passport holders do not require a visa.

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

It makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on a trekking or climbing holiday getting some additional exercise. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience. We would suggest that you adopt a weekly exercise regime leading up to your trip. Regular hiking trips are the best preparation for this kind of holiday, but activities such as running and swimming are also good for developing better stamina. Before departure, we suggest that you try to fit in a number of long walks in hilly country.

You should contact your GP or travel clinic to check whether you require any specific vaccinations. UK residents should obtain a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This entitles you to state provided medical treatment, but is not a substitute for medical travel insurance which is still vital when travelling overseas.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

The temperatures that we can expect to encounter during the day will be reasonably warm, ranging from 10°C to 25°C. It can be cool in the evenings at the refuges, falling close to freezing point at night. The weather is usually stable during during the summer season in the Alps, but mountainous areas do generate their own weather systems and occasional rain and storms can never be completely ruled out. You should be prepared for all eventualities!

The Alpine 4000 Metre Peaks, Classic Routes, Richard Goedeke, Diadem

Kompass Maps

Gran Paradiso and Val d'Aosta. 1:50,000.

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