Tour de Monte Rosa
Switzerland and Italy – 12 days
One of the finest and most challenging long distance walks in the Alps is to make a circuit of Monte Rosa. Lying in the Pennine Alps bordering Switzerland and Italy, the Monte Rosa massif is made up of seven summits over 4000 metres high, including the Dufourspitze, the second highest peak in the Alps.
Still a relatively new circuit the Tour de Monte Rosa looks set to become one of Europe's classic long distance walks. Travelling on ancient paths, through pine forests, meadows and hidden valleys, we keep as close as possible to the snow capped mountains with views to the peaks of the Matterhorn, the Weisshorn and the Dom.
A truly stunning trip which includes a night in the world famous alpine town of Zermatt.
View Tour de Mont Rosa - Tour of Monte Rosa in a larger map
Day 1 Arrival in Saas Grund
The evening before the walk we will meet you in your hotel in Saas Grund to brief you on the trip and answer any last minute questions.
Day 2 Saas Grund to Macugnaga
We begin our trip with a short ride on the post bus to our starting point at Mattmark. We stroll along the lakeside, before beginning our first climb to the pass at Monte Moro at 2868m where the statue of the Madonna of the Snows waits for us on the summit. Here we hope to see our first views of Monte Rosa and its impressive east face - one of the highest in the Alps. We descend through rocky ground and pine woods until we reach the ancient path which takes us to the charming village of Macugnaga. Ascent: 650m. Descent: 1500m.
Day 3 Macugnaga to Alagna
Today we head up to the lake at Quarazza, before wandering along the river through spruce forest to the pastures at Alpe Piana where cows may ask for some of your picnic! Next it's onto the ancient road which takes us to the Colle del Turlo at 2738m. The 'road' is a wonder of engineering and craftsmanship and you can't help but be aware of history as you make your way upwards to the pass. This is a long day, but thankfully the 'road' continues down the other side where it meanders past ancient settlements to Alagna. Ascent: 1450m. Descent: 1300m.
Day 4 Alagna to the Col d'Olen
We begin our day by heading up into the Valle d'Otro, again passing some wonderful old buildings in the high meadows before beginning our climb proper to the Passo Foric at 2432m. After a brief descent we skirt round the mountainside and begin to climb to the mountain refuge of Vigevano which provides a fabulous setting to watch the sun go down. The views on a good day extend all the way to the plains. Ascent: 1770m. Descent: 450m.
Day 5 Col d'Olen to Gressoney La Trinité, free afternoon
An easy day today, to make up for three long days. After a leisurely start at the Refuge we head over the Col d'Olen at 2895m keeping a look out for ibex en route. We will probably take in a morning coffee before making our way past the green waters of Lago Gabiet and down to the charming village of Gressoney La Trinité arriving around lunchtime. The rest of the afternoon is free allowing you to relax, and explore the village. No ascent. Descent: 1260m.
Day 6 Gressoney La Trinité to Resy
We take on old path out of the village, and head up the zig-zag path to the Passo del Rothorn at 2689m. This is the less frequented way over the mountain and we prefer it to walking through the ski area above Stafal. Once at the pass with views into the Ayas Valley laid out before us we head down through the boulders and around the mountainside to the wonderful rustic Refuges at Resy and a terrace with a stunning view down to the valley. Ascent: 1170m. No descent.
Day 7 Resy to Theodule Pass
We begin with a short descent before heading off towards Alpe Varda and Alpe Mase and views of the glaciated slopes of the Breithorn. After climbing through larch woods and high meadows, where the cattle graze, we climb above the green waters of the Gran Lago to the Colle Superieur delle Cime Bianche at 2982m. Here we expect our first views of the famous Matterhorn, before heading up to the famous Theodule Pass which sits at 3,301m above Zermatt where we spend the night in the Refuge. Ascent; 1700m. Descent: 400m.
Day 8 Theodule Pass to Zermatt
Today we have a stunning panorama which takes in the Matterhorn, the Breithorn, the Gran Paradiso, and the Gornergletscher - a landscape of snow, ice and fabulous peaks. At the refuge we are met by an IFMGA Mountain Guide for the glacier crossing to the Gandegg Hut. The glacier crossing is straightforward and does not require any technical skills! In the afternoon we descend to the world famous alpine town of Zermatt though its hard to keep your eyes on the path as so much time is spent staring at the Matterhorn. It is possible to use a cable car to aid some of this long descent. Descent; 1700m.
Day 9 Zermatt to Europahutte
We head onto the east side of the Mattertal Valley and the Europaweg, a 'super path' which has recently been created which clings to the high slopes. It provides a traverse over rough ground with some exposed sections which are protected by rope cables. This path requires good footwork. The views of the Matterhorn and Weisshorn are superb. This is a long day, but the terrace at the new Europahutte with its mountain views makes up for the effort. Ascent: 1400m. Descent: 400m.
Day 10 Europehutte to Grachen
Our traverse continues and becomes even more impressive, crossing boulder fields and passing under towering cliffs. Today there is also some exposure on narrow paths, but again there are rope handrails. Eventually we arrive at a stunning viewpoint above our destination, the charming village of Grachen . With the Riedgletscher now blocking our way round the mountain we begin our steep descent through the larch forest. We aim to arrive mid-afternoon allowing you time to explore the village. Ascent: 400m. Descent: 1100m.
Day 11 Grachen to Saas Grund
This morning we climb through the forests to Hannigalp and pick up the Hohenwegg path, high above the Saastal. This is a wonderful walk clinging to the mountainside amid larch, alpenrose, and pine. There are some exposed sections to be dealt with and care needs to be taken. The views change again as we round the ridge into the next valley and we are re-united with the Weissmies and the rocky Lagginhorn. Eventually we begin our descent back to our start point at Saas Grund having completed one of the finest long distance walks in Europe. Ascent: 1000m. Descent: 1000m.
Day 12 Departure
Today is departure day.
Included: half board accommodation in a 2* hotel, or similar, whilst in the valleys, half board accommodation in the mountain huts, the guide's fees, expenses and trip organisation. It also includes the services of an IFGMA Mountain Guide for the glacier crossing and the cable car fare to Testa Grigia.
Not included: flights, insurance and transfers from Geneva (but we can advise on the best options), lunch and drinks.
Whilst in the valleys accommodation is based on two people sharing. A single room supplement maybe available on request. Other accommodation during the trip will be in high mountain refuges. It's normal in the Alps to share accommodation while in the mountains because the refuges where we will be staying usually have dormitory style rooms. Many good friends have been made this way! The refuges themselves tend to be full of character and serve tasty local dishes. They are always situated in stunning locations and the chance to enjoy a beer or glass of wine while watching the sun go down can provide a really special mountain moment. For many of our guests the refuges literally provide a highpoint of the trip.
Please note that you must have the appropriate insurance for your chosen activity. You must be covered for helicopter rescue, repatriation and medical costs. With regard to this please be sure you have read the Insurance section in our Terms and Conditions.
This trip involves carrying a few basic extra items of clothing and comforts for your overnight stays. Please do not be put off by the fact this trip does not include the daily transfer of luggage, as in reality it is simply a case of spare trousers, top, small wash kit, head torch, sheet sleeping bag and clean socks and underwear! It is a very satisfying experience to complete a trip 'pure' like this, carrying everything you need.
The Alps are easily reached from other European & Worldwide destinations by road, rail, coach or plane. For suggested travel links please refer to our Booking & Information pages for further details. Geneva is one of the closest international airport which is easily links by train to Saas Grund. Please contact us if you need further advise on your specific travel requirements.