Monte Rosa Geographical situation
The Monte Rosa massif is located on the border between Italy and Switzerland, as well as between the Matterhorn (4468 m) and the summit of the Weissmies at 4035 meters in Switzerland.
You can access the Monte Rosa area by the Swiss Wallis or by Italy in the Aosta Valley region or the Piedmont valleys of Alagna or Macugnaca!
The peaks of the Monte Rosa Massif:
- the Dufour Spitze (Punta Dufour), with its 4634 meters, is the 3rd highest summit in the Alps, after the summit of Mont Blanc and Mont Blanc de Courmayeur.
- Punta Dunand at 4632 meters
- the Nordend at 4608 meters
- Punta Zumstein or Zumsteinspitze at 4562 m
- the Pyramide Vincent at 4,215 m
- the Castor at 4228 m and Pollux at 4092 m
- the Lyskamms at 4527 m
- Punta Gnifetti or Signalkuppe at 4554 m
Dufour Spitze or Punta Dufour
It is the highest peak in Switzerland at 4634 meters, its name was given in honor of the General Guillaume Henri Dufour, who served in the Swiss Army.
The first ascent was made on August 1, 1855 by Charles Hudson and the Greenville Smyth brothers.
Ascent to the Punta Gnifetti or Signalkuppe
The Punta Gnifetti is the highest peak in the Alps easily accessible, Mountain Guides can climb with 4 clients to more than 4500 meters.
The view from the top is one of the most beautiful in the Alps, the arrival at the summit is even more pleasant thanks to the presence of the Capanna Margherita hut, which is Europe's highest refuge. Mountaineers can eat the highest pizza in Europe and regain their strength before walking back down the valley.
Citta di Mantova Hut
This high altitude refuge allows a good acclimatisation to climbers, for the first nights in the Monte Rosa massif. It is located at 3498 meters above sea level, it was renovated in 2009. It is very pleasant hut with a beautiful dining room which overlooks the Monte Rosa glaciers, the view is magnificent. The team that welcomes you is very friendly. The dormitories are warm and the common areas are big enough!
Access to the refuge is very easy from Gressoney (Aosta Valley) or Alagna (Piedmont) thanks to the cable car that takes you from the Passo dei Salati to Punta Indren, it takes about 40 minutes to walk to the refuge and a little more if you go up quietly!
Capanna Gnifetti Hut
Above the Città di Montova Refuge is the Gniffetti Refuge at 3647 m, it is a very large refuge with 176 places. It is located on a rocky outcrop next to the glaciers. Access to the refuge takes 45 minutes more than for Città di Montova, there will be less to walk for the next day, however you will have to put on crampons and rope yourself up to access the refuge. The team is as friendly as that of Città di Montova. It is the perfect refuge if you have already started to acclimatise to the altitude and if you plan to climb the peaks at 4000 meters on the Monte Rosa chain !
Capanna Margherita Hut
It is Europe's highest refuge, it was inaugurated by Queen Margherita of Savoy on August 18-1893: she was one of the first mountaineers women of the time. The Queen of Savoy had climbed with her Mountain Guides and had slept one night at the top! The refuge is perfect to regain your strength after having climbed to the summit of Punta Gnifetti: you will be happy to taste a delicious slice of Europe's highest pizza. The hut is the highest guarded refuge in Europe, it is very important to remember that, mountaineers who would like to sleep there should be very well acclimated to high altitude, in order to avoid acute mountain sickness, which can be fatal at such an altitude if the person is not not treated or quickly evacuated further down the valley.
The view on Mont Blanc and on the Gran Paradiso massifs is wonderful.
A meteorological relay and a small research center for altitude medicine is located at the Capanna Margherita Hut.
Quintino Sella Refuge
The refuge is located in the Champoluc valley, at the feet of the Castor and Pollux glaciers. The refuge is at an altitude of 3585 meters and it is located on a crucial stage of the Monte Rosa Traverse (Glacial Raid known as Spaghetti Tour). It was inaugurated in 1885 by the Italian Alpine Club of Biella and Varallo Sesia. The refuge is now higher than at the time, in 1936 a landslide forced the CAI to move the refuge: the hut was then extended and renovated many times. It is one of the most beautiful places of the Monte Rosa Traverse.
Monte Rosa: the second highest massif in the Alps
The Mont Rose massif is the second highest massif in Europe after the Mont Blanc massif. Monte Rosa is one of the largest glacial areas in Europe with a large number of summits at 4000 meters, it includes 7 valleys.
The valleys of the Monte Rosa Massif
Three in Aosta Valley:
- the Valtournenche with the station of Breuil-Cervinia between the Matterhorn and the Breithorn where the ski area is linked to Zermatt!
- the Val d'Ayas with Chamopoluc and Ayas
- the Lys valley at the level of Gressoney which is connected to Alagna with ski lifts!
Two in Piedmont:
- the Macugnaca valley is located at the foot of the west face of Pointe Dufour, it is one of the largest walls in the Alps, worthy of the Himalayas!
- the Alagna valley is well known for its typical architecture with the Walsers chalets!
Two in Switzerland:
- the Zermatt valley at the foot of the Matterhorn which is renowned the world over for its beauty and its Swiss chalets!
- the Saas Valley which includes the Saas Fee and Saas Almagel ski resorts
The Monte Rosa Mountaineering Traverse or Spaghetti Tour
It is a high altitude mountaineering route that connects Cervinia or Zermatt to the Gressoney Valley, covering several summit at 4000 meters such as Breithorn, Pollux, Castor, the Lyskamm Nose, Punta Gniffeti and many others. It is surely the most beautiful high mountain route in the Alps!
The famous ski mountaineering race "La Mezzalama" connects Cervinia to Gressoney. It is one of the most emblematic glacier races together with "the Pierra-Menta" and the "Patrouilles des Glaciers".
Monte Rosa Tour
This is a beautiful route for hikers wishing to make a hiking trip in the Alps, but worthy of the Himalayas!
This route is surely one of the most beautiful and difficult of the Alps, together with the Matterhorn hiking Tour!
The Monte Rosa Tour (also know as Walser Tour) is becoming a classic hiking route, like the Tour du Mont Blanc. The Monte Rosa Tour requires a day of mountaineering at the level of the Plateau Rosa to reach Cervinia in Zermatt: the mountaineering day normally is the climb of Breithorn, which is an easy summit at 4,165 meters above sea level, between the Matterhorn and the Pollux.
The Matterhorn at 4468 meters, is known worldwide as one of the highest peaks of the world, with its almost perfect pyramid. It is one of the most difficult 4000 summit in the Alps. We can say that the Matterhorn Tour is one of the most difficult treks in the Alps, hikers during the Trek will have to follow part of the Alta Via.
The altitude passes and glaciers will be crossed by passing through dizzying paths on big walls, as it happens with the Valcournera Pass at 3075 meters which is one of the difficult parts of the Tour, with the Col Collon above the Nacamuli refuge to reach the Arolla valley in Switzerland.
It is an autonomous region of Italy, its inhabitants are fluent in French in addition to Italian, and here the cities have names very close to French. After World War II, the inhabitants wished to become French, but General de Gaulle and the Allies refused to separate Italy. Following political unrest, Italy granted the valley a special status to become an autonomous region with two official languages: Italian and French. Children continue to learn both languages from the age of 6!