Sunday - The course begins with a briefing at 6.45pm at The Grand Chalet Hotel in Leysin. Here you will meet your ISM Guide and other team members. We will discuss the week ahead and answer an questions you may have before sorting equipment for the week ahead. Dinner follows the briefing.
Monday - Leysin to Refugio Quintino Sella
After breakfast we will drive into Italy, and head to the Gressoney area in the Aosta Region on the south side of Monte Rosa. From Gressoney, and then the small hamlet of Staffal, we take the chair lift up to the Colle Bettaforca and walk into the Refugio Quintino Sella (3585m).
Tuesday - Castor (4220m) & Pollux (4092m)
After an early start we head up the glacier to climb both Castor and Pollux. This is a full day of alpine mountaineering taking in these two beautiful summits via glacier, snow slopes and snow ridges. Both summits offer stunning views down into Zermatt and 360 degree views of all the surrounding 4000m summits including the Matterhorn, Dom and Dufourspitze. The routes on these high mountain summits are very much weather and conditions dependent and will feel very adventurous even on good weather days, but with our experience and local knowledge we will do our best to climb what we can and also deliver skills as appropriate or when time permits.
Wednesday - Refugio Quintino Sella to Gnifetti Hut
Another early start see us cramponing back up onto the 'Ghiacciaio del Lis' and making a fairly long traverse underneath Lyskamm (4272m) to a steep and exposed section of the traverse, known as the ‘Passo del Naso’. Once across this, we can take in the summit of Naso then the going is easier until we ascend again on straightforward snow slopes to climb the Balmenhorn (4194m). Now we can make the short but steep snow/ice ascent to the summit of the Schwarzhorn (4321m) and also bag the Pyramide Vincent (4215m) before descending the glacier to the Gnifetti hut.
Thursday - Gnifetti Hut to Margherita Hut
After breakfast, we head back up onto the main ridge keeping below the Pyramide Vincent and traverse over the snow summit of Ludwigshöhe (4341m). A short descent leads to a col and a pronounced snowy ridge that continues to the Parrot Spitz (4432m). We traverse over this and make a short descent to another col. A steeper snow/ice ridge leads up to the Signalkuppe (4554m) and the Margherita Hut. The Margherita Hut, located on the summit of Punta Gnifetti is the highest guarded hut in the Alps. It is a stunning place to be, in terms of altitude, views and the feeling of remoteness right up there!
Friday - Margherita Hut to Leysin
Our last day sees us take in our final 4000m peak before we descend back into the Aosta valley. The Zumsteinspitz (4563m) is close to the Margherita Hut and makes a fantastic finish to this great high mountain adventure. From the summit we descend the glaciers and hiking trails back to a lift at Punta Irdren, which will take us back down to our vehicle at Staffal. Here we have a late lunch and then travel back to The Grand Chalet in Leysin where, after a much-needed shower, you will have a well-deserved dinner and perhaps a drink!
Breakfast at the hotel is included before departure.