One fifteen minute coffee stop and three five minute snack breaks were the total number of rest stops during the two thousand meter ascent of the Grand Paradiso this Monday.

A steady pace, but lots of efficiency is the key to big days in the mountains. Doing the Paradiso in one day from the valley is a very big day, but Hamish and Sparky aren’t strangers to long days out, on the bikes or in the mountains. It was my first days guiding and skiing with them both, but they were very keen on the challenge and idea of a day ascent, the challenge was on!

Meeting in Chamonix at four am was slightly painful, but we skinned up to the Emmanuele refuge in good time, pulling in for a quick coffee before plodding on towards the summit. The weather was absolutely perfect, with barely a breath of wind which was lucky considering the cold air temperatures.

We gradually caught people up who had left the hut earlier that morning, but it was a pretty quiet mountain. We arrived at the summit just under seven hours after setting off, we snapped a few photos, shook hands and started heading down. The coffees and cakes were waiting for us back at the hut!

The ski down was really good, soft cold snow on the north facing slopes and spring snow in the sunshine. We were back at the hut and then back in car in no time.

The day was certainly long and pretty difficult at times, but it looks like the boys are hooked on the light and fast approach – there’s so much to do if your fit and have some lighter kit.

An early start at the car park in Pont

An early start at the car park in Pont

Touring up through the powder above the refuge

Touring up through the powder above the refuge

Grand Paradiso Ski Tour

Nice tracks down the valley towards the Chabod refuge

Nice tracks down the valley towards the Chabod refuge

Boot packing up to the summit

Boot packing up to the summit

Bottle neck below the summit

Bottle neck below the summit

Grand Paradiso Ski Tour

Sparky giving it some beans through the powder

Sparky giving it some beans through the powder


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