Italian 4000m Peaks

Just back from a week in Gressoney climbing several classic Italian 4000m Peaks with Stephen and Ali.  At the start of the trip we bailed south for a couple of days to escape bad weather with a visit to Monte Viso, then headed up to the Gnifetti Hut to start ticking off 4000m summits.

Early next morning we headed up the Lys Glacier and crossed the Lysjoch, before making the long traverse across to the Zumstenspitze (4564m) and on to the Signalkuppe (4554m), where we stopped for the night at the Margherita Hut on the summit.  This is the highest building in western Europe and a unique place to stay – with great food and fast free wifi, but no running water!

Overnight quite a bit of snow fell, so we hung on for an improvement whilst the other teams descended and finally left the hut around 8am when the clouds began to part.  Our patience was rewarded with a solitary ascent of Parrotspitze (4436m), putting a fresh track in and enjoying the summit to ourselves – before heading across to climb Ludwigshohe (4342m) and Schwarzhorn/Corno Nero (4322m).  Here we met numerous friendly teams coming up from the Gnifetti Hut, where we finally dropped down to spend another night.

On the last day we climbed the nearest 4000er to the hut – Piramide Vincent (4215m) – which gave brilliant views of all of the summits that we’d climbed during the week, from the nearby 4000ers on Monte Rosa, to Monte Viso over 100 miles to the south.