Tour de Monte Rosa
Tour de Monte Rosa
Tour de Monte Rosa
Tour de Monte Rosa
Tour de Monte Rosa
Tour de Monte Rosa

Tour de Monte Rosa


Trip Overview

The Tour de Monte Rosa is one of the finest and most challenging multi-day walks in the Alps. We trek through the spectacular Pennine Alps bordering Switzerland and Italy, overlooked by some of the highest peaks over 4000m (13,120ft) such as the spectacular Dufourspitze, the iconic Matterhorn, and the jagged Weisshorn. This is the hiking trip for lovers of stunning mountain summits!

Highlights

  • Hike one of the finest long distance routes in the Alps
  • Views of glaciers, snowy summits and spectacular peaks
  • Quiet and remote trails, away from the crowds
  • Characterful mountain refuges, offering great hospitality
  • Meet the iconic Matterhorn, close up and personal
  • Cross an alpine glacier as we descend to Zermatt
  • Views to many of the famous 4000m (13,120ft) peaks

During this trip we walk right round the Monte Rosa Massif while trekking on ancient paths, through pine forests, meadows and hidden valleys, keeping close to Monte Rosa's impressive cliffs and jumbled glaciers. A truly stunning trip which includes a night in the world famous alpine town of Zermatt.


Our guide was an outstanding Mountain Leader. highly experienced, patient, very knowledgeable, and most of all great company and very encouraging for the whole trip. Just loved the hiking. The Tour de Monte Rosa deserves to be better known.

I was surprised that we had hotel accommodation on the trek as I thought it was all going to be in Refuges…. the mix worked really well. All the Refuges were interesting in their own way, and so different in their situations…the Teodulo was in the most stunning situation and was the highlight of the trek. Fran, our guide, was excellent, competent, instructive, supportive, friendly, good fun and good decision maker. 

Itinerary

  • house
  • airport
  • cable
  • This evening you will meet your guide in the town of Saas Grund, in Switzerland when they will brief you on the days ahead and answer any questions you might have about the trip. 

  • We begin our epic alpine journey the easy way! We jump on the Swiss post bus for a short ride up the valley to our departure point at Mattmark lake. The scenery is breath-taking with glaciers towering above us as we stroll along the lake side. After this easy warm up, we start the climb to our first major col of the trip, the Monte Moro pass which sits at 2853m (9357ft). Historically the Monte Moro is an important border crossing between the valleys of  Saas in Switzerland, and Macugnaga in Italy. There is a golden Madonna statue to welcome us at the frontier, and the chance for our first Italian coffee at the Rifugio Oberto Maroli just below. The pass offers our first spectacular views of the Monte Rosa massif, including the two 4000ers the Weissmies at 4023m (13,195ft) and the Rimpfischhorn which reaches 4198m (13,769ft) a just reward for the effort and a perfect photo opportunity. We then have a steep descent to the lovely Walser village of Macugnaga. This remote valley is an experience in itself, with traditional Walser houses and flower strewn balconies.

    Ascent: 750m (2460ft) Descent: 1600m (5248ft) Distance: 15km (9.4 miles) Duration: 6h00-8h00 

  • Today offers a brilliant route over the Colle del Turlo on an incredible paved path created by the Italian army in the 1920's. There's a 'lost' and remote feeling to the valleys we pass through, and it's a clear contender for one of our favourite walks. We leave Macugnaga by following the Anza torrent towards the lake at Quarazza, passing several old wooden chalets before reaching alpine meadows where cow herds are often to be found grazing. Sometimes there is also a cow-herd spending the day with the herds creating an image of what seems like a by-gone era, yet a tradition that is still practiced today. Then there is a steady climb to Alpe Plana with a backdrop of impressive waterfalls. Eventually, we reach the paved trail which zig zags its way up to the pass with military precision. The pass is a jagged rocky notch on the horizon which marks the entrance to the Alagna valley. Monte Rosa is lost from sight, but the view of the impressive white dome of the Weissmies is compensation. From here it's a long descent to our overnight stop at the wonderful Rifugio Pastore.

    Ascent: 1510m (4952ft) Descent: 1300m (4264ft) Distance: 23km (14.4 miles) Duration: 7h00-8h00

  • Leaving behind the lovely Rifugio Pastore we wander further up the valley through meadows with the impressive Pyramid Vincent ahead of us, one of the smaller peaks of the Monte Rosa Massif. Turning left into the Vallon delle Pisse, an inelegant name for a lovely valley, we may stop for morning coffee at the ancient Rifugio Crespi Calderini. This particular rifugio is dedicated to Anna Crespi Calderini a well-known Italian mountaineer from the early 1900's. Then we take a shrub-line trail which takes us to the old cable car station at Alpe la Balma, then a steep and rocky path takes us over the Bocetta delle Pisse, which is a lovely spot with a tiny lake, before descending to Alpe Pianlunga. After passing the Alpe we make our way steadily uphill through the Valle d’Olen which takes us over the Col d'Olen at 2880m (9446ft). In 1636 Col d’Olen was the site of a major battle between Spanish and Piedmontese forces, won by the latter despite their heavy losses. The Col then became important during the 19th century as the starting point for mountaineering expeditions up Monte Rosa. After passing the Col we head down to our rifugio at the Gabiet lake which sits at 2375m (7790ft).

    If the local shuttle bus from the Rifugio Pastore is running then your guide may take an alternative route via Alagna, and up to the lost village of Orto, this idyllic setting is well worth a visit. A decision on this cannot be taken until you arrive at the Rifugio as it is difficult to know when the bus is running! If the group decide to go this way then we ask that you please cover the cost of your bus ticket which will only be about 2 Euros per person. You meet the bus at the trail head at Aqua Bianca, then it is a 15 minutes ride down the valley. 

    Ascent: 1800m (5904ft) Descent: 650m (2132ft) Distance: 15km (9.4 miles) Duration: 9h00 

  • There is a gorgeous downhill trail through the larch woods to start our day, and then the chance for Italian coffee at we pass through the village of Gressoney. After a break we begin the day's climb to the beautiful and wild Saleroforko pass at 2689m (8819ft). A very efficient zig zag trail climbs the mountain, and before too long we win the col and views to the Val d'Ayas and the towering cliffs on the skyline. The descent from the Saleroforko is through a boulder field, but the trail is well-marked, and then we are on easy ground as we cross the alpine meadows. There is a sting in the tail as we have another short uphill over a broad pass, and then its an easy down through the woods and meadows to the tiny hamlet at Resy. There are some really lovely old stone and wood built traditional buildings here and it does feel like we are perched on the mountainside for the night. We love being here as our rifugio is in a stunning location and an evening drink on the terrace is something to be savoured.

    Ascent: 970m (3181ft) Descent: 1200m (3936ft) Distance: 16km (10 miles) Duration: 7h00-8h00  

  • This is one of the highlights of the trek as we begin the day with a wonderful traverse towards the meadows of Alpe Varda and Alpe Mase. We will be wandering through the larch forests until eventually the terrain opens out and high above us lies the glaciated bulk of the Breithorn which is a popular alpine route done from Zermatt. We then have the inevitable climb towards the Colle Superieur delle Cimes Blanches which sits at 2982m (9780ft), though en route we pass the green waters of the Gran Lago where we can catch our breath before continuing. From the top of the pass we gain our first views of the Matterhorn at 4478m (14,687ft), an unforgettable moment. This iconic mountain is steeped in legend and history and for those who love the mountains it is a breath-taking moment when you first set eyes on it! Once we have taken the obligatory photos we then drop down through the glacial moraine before our final climb of the day to the impressive Col de Theodule at 3316m (10,876ft) or 'Teodulo' if you are giving the Italian name, and our rifugio for the night. Tonight we have 360 degree views of the Alps, and the Matterhorn on the doorstep. There have to be worse ways to spend the evening!

    Ascent: 1550m (5084ft) Descent: 300m (984ft) Distance: 18km (11 miles) Duration: 7h00-8h00

  • A mostly downhill day today as we descend from the rifugio at 3316m (10,876ft) to Zermatt at 1608m (5274ft) via the Theodule Glacier. The Theodole has various spellings depending if you are on the German speaking side of the col or the Italian speaking side in which case it is the Teodulo! If the weather is good then the early morning light offers fantastic photo opportunities of the big 'M'. The views are superb, with the centrepiece again being the Matterhorn, which is joined by the Alphubel, Dom, Obergabelhorn, Zinalrothorn and Weisshorn on both sides of the Mattertal. 

    As we will be crossing a glacier this morning you will be guided on this section by an IFMGA qualified guide, in other words a 'high mountain' guide who will join your own guide in leading the group. You will require to be roped together for the crossing, but no specialist equipment or skill is required. It's just a case of walking, and wearing regular hiking boots and using trekking poles. The glacier is very easy angled and in reality you are walking down what in winter is a ski piste. 

    At the hut at Gandegg we leave the ice, say goodbye to our high mountain guide, and traverse glacial moraine as we head down towards the famous alpine town of Zermatt and our village hotel. There is the possibility that you may be able to take a cable car down to gain more time in Zermatt and to save your knees. Please note that the cost of the cable car is not included in your trip fee. 

    Ascent: 250m (829ft) Descent: 1800m (5904ft) Distance: 16km (10 miles) Duration: 5h00

  • This morning we leave the bustling town of Zermatt, and head once more for the hills! We begin with a steady climb through the larch forests until we reach the ancient hamlet of Tufteren and the Europaweg trail where we can enjoy some great views of the Matterhorn before we turn our back on the mountain and start our traverse to the Europahutte. After several hours we reach the meadows at Taschalp and it is there we continue onto rougher terrain as we head towards the new Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge which is a staggering 500m long and now famed for being the worlds longest pedestrian suspension bridge. Our trail works its way along under the jagged peaks of the Täschorn and the Dom until we eventually reach the stunningly situated Europahutte at 2220m (7281ft) where the guardian Marcel will be waiting to prepare your dinner. The hut is relatively new and is situated in a really prime position for views of the Weisshorn. A sunset with a beer and the alpenglow setting on the peaks opposite is to be savoured. 

    Ascent: 1250m (4100ft) Descent: 445m (1459ft) Distance: 16km (10 miles) Duration: 09h00 

  • Today is a challenging but wonderfully rewarding day as we leave the Europahutte and begin our mountain traverse on the Europaweg. En route we cross huge boulder fields and pass beneath towering cliffs, and all the while the terrain feels truly wild. The mountain views are certainly stunning, but the trail does require your attention with some exciting sections of cables and bridges which cling precariously to the mountainside. Eventually, we leave the rough section of the trail and arrive at a meadow where we can enjoy a welcome rest while taking in our final views of the Matterhorn. Ahead, the Riedgletscher blocks our way and we have to descend over steep terrain and through woods to our overnight stop in the truly lovely village hotel of Grächen. Like Zermatt, Grächen is a 'car free' town and very characterful. Today the trail has sections which could be termed 'exposed', and if you have a problem with heights or narrow trails you may wish to consider taking the bus round!

    Ascent: 600m (1968ft) Descent: 1180m (3870ft) Distance: 17km (10.6 miles) Duration: 7h00-8h00

    NB: At the time of writing (Oct 2018) this section is currently closed and a decision will be made in 2019 once it becomes clear as to whether the trail will re-open for the summer season. If it remains closed we will descend from the Europahutte be a pleasant trail, walk along the valley and then tackle the steep climb back up the Grachen to resume our original route. 

  • Leaving the sleepy village of Grachen we start a day which is really stunning. We climb at first through very pleasant larch forests to a high meadow at Hannigalp, and then begin which is an extremely fine traversing line towards the Saastal. The trail keeps us focused at all times as it is sometimes narrow, and a little concentration is needed, however, nothing that should worry a seasoned hiker. Although we have dropped in height from the previous few days and there is a greener feel to the countryside, there are still rocky sections to contend with. Today our mountain views have changed and directly ahead now is the snowy summit of the Weissmies and the rocky Lagginhorn. These two well-known mountains continue to dominate our view as we walk what is a beautiful trail across the mountainside. There is lots of variety in terms of the terrain, there is often wildlife such as ibex or chamois, and, of course, the alpine wild flowers. Eventually, we complete our trek full circle back to our starting point at Saas Grund. We will check into our overnight accommodation in Saas Grund for a final, celebratory meal and reflect on accomplishing a walk that is one of the finest and most challenging in the Alps. 

    Ascent: 1220m (40001ft) Descent: 1270m (4165ft) Distance: 21km (13 miles) Duration: 8h00-9h00

  • Today is your departure day from Saas Grund. The trip package ends after breakfast. 

It is always our aim to complete the proposed itinerary outlined above, however, it may be necessary for our guides/instructors to adjust the daily itinerary based on the weather conditions, group safety and enjoyment.

Accommodation

We always aim to accommodate our guests in well-situated, clean, characterful, family run accommodation. In many cases we have known the management for years, and it’s like visiting friends. Our suggested accommodation, listed below, is subject to availability at the time of booking. We have given details of our favoured venues and those we intend to use. If unavailable we will book alternative accommodation of a similar standard.

Our trip fees are based on two people sharing a room while in the valleys or towns. If you are travelling on your own your booking will be based on a twin bedroom sharing with someone of the same gender. 

In the more remote and inaccessible sections of the Tour de Monte Rosa the accommodation will be in rifugios (mountain huts) where the accommodation is usually in dormitory rooms. It's normal in the Alps to share accommodation whilst in the mountains and many good friends have been made this way! The rifugios tend to be very characterful and serve tasty local dishes. They are usually situated in stunning locations and the chance to enjoy a beer or glass of wine while watching the sun go down, and the ibex playing on the mountain-side can provide a really special mountain moment. For many of our guests the rifugios literally prove to be a high point of the trip. 

Pension Heino, Saas Grund

Guesthouse

We meet in Saas Grund at the family run Pension Heino. The Heino describes itself as a guest house, but in reality it is a very nice hotel. The rooms are en suite and very comfortable, and it is centrally located in Saas Grund and within easy distance of the bus stop for your arrival. The dinner is usually very good and they cater for most dietary requirements. Golda who runs the Heino is very helpful and nothing is too much trouble. 

Casa Alpina de Filippi, Macugnaga

Auberge

The Casa Alpina de Filippo is a characterful auberge on the outskirts of Macugnaga. This traditional 'Casa' is a lovely overnight with comfortable accommodation. The bedrooms are cosy and some have a balcony. The bedrooms are en suite with private bathrooms. Breakfast is served buffet style, and dinner is typical Italian dishes. 

 

Rifugio Pastore, Alagna

Refuge

At the end of our trail, and just past the botanic garden, you will find the Rifugio Pastore. Set in a high valley with meadows nearby the Pastore is in a lovely situation. The Rifugio Pastore is one of several renovated mountain huts in the heart of the Alta Valsesia Natural Park. It sits below the spectacular south wall of Monte Rosa. 

The rigufio sleeps just over sixty people in heated rooms of 4 or 6 beds and has two dormitories, one sleeps 12 and the other 16. Communal bathrooms are available just 20m (65ft) from the rooms which have toilets, wash basins and hot showers.

Rifugio Gabiet, Gressoney

Refuge

The Rifugio Gabiet is in a lovely situation beside the lake of the same name. After our descent from Col d'Olen a seat on the terrace with a cold drink is very welcome. The Rifugio is cosy and has recently installed new hot water showers, and toilets. It has a dining room, a bar and a living room which is heated by a fireplace and equipped with a small alpine library.

The rooms here have either two or four beds, and are located on two floors. They are equipped with bunk beds, orthopedic mattresses and eiderdowns. All the rooms have central heating.

Rifugio Ferraro, Resy

Refuge

Our destination tonight is the Rifugio Ferraro in the tiny hamlet of Resy which sits at 2000m (6560ft), and is one of the old Walser villages which flank the Val d’Ayas. The guardians of this refugio are Fausta and Stelio and they are determined that you will enjoy your stay with them. An evening drink watching the sun go down from Resy is one of the best of mountain experiences.

The cosy Ferraro has 26 beds spread out in eight rooms and a dormitory with showers and toilets.  The catering service will go far beyond your expectations for a mountain refuge. 

Rifugio Teodulo

Refuge

This is the highest point on the trip and it is quite a spot to spend the night! The famous Rifugio Teodulo is perched at 3316m (10,876ft) amidst glaciers, snowy peaks, and the best of all it is right next to the mighty Matterhorn offering absolutely stunning views of this iconic mountain. The rifugio which has recently been renovated is a fine place to spend the evening. 

It can sleep up to sixty people in rooms for between 4 and 8 people. The dining room has an extremely fine view right onto the Matterhorn. There are toilets but no showers at this hut due to the difficulty of accessing water. There are also stoves on each floor to ensure we have some warmth and comfort at this altitude!

Hotel Tannenhof, Zermatt

Hotel

The Hotel Tannenhof is in a great position in Zermatt. It is right in the middle of town but set back away from the noise, and bustle of the main street. The rooms are very comfortable, and offer en suite facilities. On this night we eat out in town, but take breakfast at our hotel and this is buffet style with a very good selection. 

Europahütte

Refuge

The Europahütte is perched high above the Mattertal and offers spectacular views to the mountains beyond. It is a relatively new hut and offers accommodation based on dormitory rooms. There is a lovely dining room with a sun terrace, and there are hot showers and indoor toilets. It is run by Marcel and his Finnish wife Katja and their three daughters Saskia, Kim and Ellie. In the kitchen they are often all involved in preparing our dinner!

 

Hotel Hannigalp, Grächen

Hotel

After a long day on the trail it is great to arrive in Grächen and find our lovely accommodation at the Hotel Hannigalp. The hotel has been run by the same family for four generations and they offer a warm welcome. The hotel also has a spa and an indoor swimming pool which is a great way to ease muscles!

 


  • The Alps are easily reached from other European and worldwide destinations by road, rail, coach or plane. Geneva is one of the closest international airports which is easily linked by train to Saas Grund. For train times from Geneva airport to Saas Grund please consult here. This will normally involve taking a train from Geneva, which is very convenient as the train station is within the airport building, getting off at the town of Visp and then taking the local post bus to Saas Grund. The journey from Geneva airport takes approximately 3h30. 

  • Please note that you must have the appropriate insurance for your chosen activity. As we will be travelling in the mountains, you must be covered for helicopter rescue, repatriation and medical costs. We also advise you to take out Trip Cancellation/Curtailment Insurance in the event of you being unable to join the trip for whatever reason. NB: The insurance referred to below should only be purchased AFTER we have confirmed that your trip is guaranteed to run. 

    For ease of reference the clause relating to Insurance as set out in our Terms and Conditions is given below:

    Insurance: It is a condition of booking that you are insured against medical expenses, injury, illness, death, cost of repatriation, and personal accident risks. This must include cover for the activities to be undertaken during the trip. For tours taking place outside the United Kingdom you must ensure that your insurance covers rescue from the mountains, including helicopter rescue. It is the right of the leader to make a decision to call for helicopter rescue if such assistance is needed. Costs incurred by you, the client, due to an evacuation, rescue or other emergency event shall be your responsibility. Any subsequent costs incurred for expenses not limited to but including such costs as hotels, food, transport etc shall be borne by you, the client. You are responsible for ensuring insurance cover is adequate for the particular needs of your chosen activity. You must be fully aware of the implications involved in arranging your own travel insurance and understand the limitations and exclusions of the policy. By agreeing to our Terms and Conditions you are authorising Tracks and Trails Ltd or the person employed to lead the trip for Tracks and Trails Ltd to instigate rescue and/or helicopter evacuation procedures without previously obtaining the permission of the company issuing your insurance policy. We reserve the right to cancel your booking at any time if we are not satisfied you have the necessary insurance policy covering your activity. Please ensure that your insurance covers you to the maximum altitude given on your trip itinerary. If you are unsure or are joining a bespoke trip then please contact us for specific details. Most of our trips have a maximum altitude of 3,000 metres, except the Tour de Monte Rosa which reaches 3316m. You must bring all insurance documentation with you at the time of the activity. We also recommend your insurance covers you for trip cancellation and baggage loss/damage. Tracks and Trails Ltd are unable to accept responsibility for the loss or damage to any client equipment or luggage.

    For further details, please read the Insurance section on our website.

  • These trips will run once a minimum number of 5 clients have booked. We will take a maximum of 10 clients. We advise you not to make your travel arrangements until the trip is guaranteed to run.

  • 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. We will supply a kit list upon booking and are happy to talk you through anything you wish to know about going 'light but right' with regard to the contents of your rucksack. 

  • Summer mountain weather can vary considerably. It is generally good in the Alps with lovely days, but it can deliver everything from glorious sunshine, to rain, fog, high winds and even snow. Temperatures can reach over 30°Celsius (86°F) in July and August, but can drop to 5°Celsius (41°F) on the high passes, or 'Cols' as they are known in the Alps. Essentially you should be prepared for any eventuality. The average temperatures range from 15-25°Celsius (59-77°F) in the valleys and 5-15°Celsius (41-59°F) on the passes.

  • We feel strongly about protecting the environment and do not encourage the use of single-use plastic items. We would ask that you arrive with a ‘water bottle’ or ‘hydration system’ that can be used repeatedly. We would point out that we operate a ‘zero tolerance’ for rubbish, and would ask you to remove all your rubbish items from the mountain even those you consider to be bio-degradable. You can read our full policy here.

  • Due to the specialised nature of many of our holidays, we co-sell a number of our trips with 'partner' companies. Our partners are carefully selected to ensure they reflect our own ethos and standards in terms of the service we offer to our guests. By encouraging our partners to sell our trips it means that your chosen holiday may reach its 'minimum' number earlier, allowing us to guarantee the trip and to give you the go-ahead to book your travel arrangements.

    There may be occasions when our partners have helped to book your accommodation and organise the logistics for your trip. On these occasions your hotel may have recorded your room reservation in the name of our partners. 

    We guarantee that any partners with whom we work will offer the same package as Tracks and Trails. The price will be the same, though occasionally our partners may be operating in a different currency. Your itinerary and the items that are included, or not included in your trip fee will also be the same. 

    We believe in team work, and enjoy working with other small high quality companies. If you have any questions about this policy please contact us and we will be happy to discuss it with you. 

     


Prices may vary depending on date.

2019

Thu 11 Jul - Sun 21 Jul
Code: TMR1 19
Price: £1565 Book
Thu 08 Aug - Sun 18 Aug
Code: TMR2 19
Price: £1565 Book
Thu 22 Aug - Sun 01 Sep
Code: TMR3 19
Price: £1565 Book
Thu 05 Sep - Sun 15 Sep
Code: TMR4 19
Price: £1565 Book

What's Included

  • Five nights half board; breakfast & dinner, in a 2* hotel or similar based on two people sharing a room
  • Five nights half board; breakfast & dinner, in mountain huts, based on dormitory rooms
  • Fees and expenses of a fully qualified International Mountain Leader
  • IFMGA Mountain Guide for the glacier crossing down to Zermatt

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Lunches
  • Insurance
  • Snacks and drinks
  • Transfers to the meeting and departure points
  • Cable cars, if you choose to shorten your day

Our guide was an outstanding Mountain Leader. highly experienced, patient, very knowledgeable, and most of all great company and very encouraging for the whole trip. Just loved the hiking. The Tour de Monte Rosa deserves to be better known.

I was surprised that we had hotel accommodation on the trek as I thought it was all going to be in Refuges…. the mix worked really well. All the Refuges were interesting in their own way, and so different in their situations…the Teodulo was in the most stunning situation and was the highlight of the trek. Fran, our guide, was excellent, competent, instructive, supportive, friendly, good fun and good decision maker. 

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Grade: Challenging

READ GRADE DESCRIPTION

At a Glance

From Price £1565
Holiday Type Walking
Duration 11 Days
Group Size 10
Minimum Age 17
Maximum Altitude 3316m (10,876ft)
Countries Visited Italy, Switzerland
Meet In Saas Grund, Switzerland
View all Walking Holidays

Iconic Mountain: The Matterhorn