As usual we started from Sofia. Wizz air flight to Bergamo airport near Milan. Our initial plan was to rent a car and reach the Grand Paradiso nearby by it. It turned out that in Italy to rent a car requires possessing a credit card. No Visa electron, no Solo, no Maestro. Only VISA and MASTERCARD. So from Bergamo airport we took the bus to Milan. One ticket costs about 8 eu., but there deals – for example 3 tickets for 18 eu. So we spent the first night in Milan. And guess what – we slept in the park. In fuckin’ central park of Milan. If you plan to sleep there you should know two basic things: 1) it is illegal and 2) the park is closed after 11.30 pm. They open it again at 6.30 am. next morning. We were lucky because this particular night there was a concert there so the park’s gates were open until 2.00 am. and we managed to sneak through the “thorough” Italian watches. Here comes the time to say that being a Bulgarian in Italy is quite easy because the disorganization and not obeying the rules type manner are quite the same as in Bg. So sleeping in the park was a decision not very difficult for us to take. We even did not considered it as a breach. Just sleeping in the open air.
Here are we in the morning in the park:
After that, next morning we headed to Lampugnano metro station where one can catch a bus to Aosta. Aosta is a pretty small town in the Alps from where starts the buses to Pont – the last place where a car can reach before putting on the bag packs and starting climbing to Refugio Victor Emanuile. The ticket to Aosta from Milan costs about 14 eu. and from Aosta to Pont about 4 eu. You have to take the Savda buses. Actually I think these are the only buses which go from Aosta to Pont.
Views from Refugio Victor Emanuile. The official site of Grand Paradiso national park says that it is forbidden to sleep in a tent but this is not true. Actually it may be forbidden but nobody tells you anything if you sleep in a tent. There were about 9 tents when we went to the Refugio. And we put on our’s.
Views from our tent just before the sunset on the first evening we spent there:
Next day we slept until 10.00 and decided to go around and see our route. We decided to climb the peak the next day after the day we slept until 10.00 🙂
Climbing Grand Paradiso is not difficult. Just be sure that you have made the needed acclimatization before. At least 1 day staying at 3000 m.
We started climbing at 6.30 am. which was very late. The best time is about 4.00 am. The first one hour is walking through the rocks before the glacier. Be vary careful because there are many pyramids showing the path but one can get lost pretty easy. Try to follow the pyramids which are in the middle of the valley and do not go where the river is ‘cause the terrain there is very tough.
When you go to the end of the rocks you reach the beginning of the glacier the place where you put on your crampons and ice-axes.
Be careful with the crevasses of course. There were some small in our journey but depending on the temperature and on the level of melting they could be pretty huge.
Actually we reached 4057 m. We could not go to the statue of Madona because we did not have the security needed and the chance to fall down was pretty big. Also the weather got really bad (clouds and rain) and we could not even see the splendid views from the peak. Many climbers use ropes and tie themselves while walking to the peak. It is recommendable to do it. We did not.
Here are some pix from the climbing:
view of the last meters to the top:
at the top: