There are few activities as challenging, rewarding and historic as mountaineering. The feeling of conquering one of Earth’s enormous peaks is quite unlike any other, and it is no surprise that people travel from every corner of the world to push themselves to the limit on the planet’s most famous and difficult mountains.
There are many great places all over the globe for mountaineering, but Courmayeur in northwest Italy is an ideal spot for both newbies and experienced climbers. Located at the foot of the imposing Mont Blanc, this resort is famed for its long tradition of mountaineering and is home to the second oldest guides association – the Società delle Guide di Courmayeur. Established in 1850, the association was a key contributor to the growing popularity of mountaineering during an era of Arctic, Himalayan and Antarctic expeditions. Today, in addition to providing mountaineering guides with knowledge of the area and further afield, the association also organises rock and ice climbing, snow-shoe walks, canyoning, heliski and other exhilarating outdoor pursuits.
The Courmayeur ski resort is home to a number of excellent winter excursions, including these classic routes:
Tour Ronde 3798m – North Face: A good option for beginners, this 2-day, 450m trip sees you tackle the mighty Tour Ronde mountain on the border between the Brenva Glacier and the Glacier du Geant. The North face has 2 snowy slopes connected by a vertical 90m goulotte with mesmerising views from the top.
Petit Capucin – Valeria Goulotte: A 1-day, 400m excursion which is slightly more technical than the above with a tricky goulotte. This is a famous ascent on Mont Blanc that was first climbed by legendary Italian alpinist Giancarlo Grassi in 1987, and continues to attract climbers from all over today.
Mont Blanc du Tacul – Super Couloir: An epic 2-day, 800m ascent featuring the mythic goulotte first ascended by Jean-Marc Boivin in 1975. Both physical and technical, this tough but immensely rewarding excursion is for experienced mountaineers looking for a real challenge.
The guides’ society also arranges summer excursions on Via Ferratas, which tackle protected climbing routes using solid structures and vertical ladders in the Aosta Valley. This enables individuals to reach previously inaccessible areas from where they can enjoy breathtaking views of the area. These are a few of the best routes to consider:
Ferrata La Curalla – Passy (FR): A great beginner’s option over just one day, this path will take you along a large cliff with cable bridges, alternating scales and steps carved into the rocks. You are treated to lovely views of the Mont Blanc Massif along the way.
Mont Chetif – Equipped Route: A small mountain just above the Courmayeur ski resort, this programme takes you on a 1 day round trip to the summit and back down with incredible views on the Mont Blanc range.
Ferrata Béthaz – Bovard, Valgrisenche: A physically demanding 1-day route in which you’ll follow the long and picturesque Via Ferrata in Valgrisenche. Although demanding physically, it is not too technical and will provide adequate training to master more challenging routes along the Via Ferrata.
The Courmayeur ski resort is a fantastic base for those with an interest in mountaineering. The guides’ association runs both winter and summer excursions. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned pro, there is plenty here for you to conquer.
Lukas Johannes is a driver for Shuttle Direct, the number one provider of shared and private airport transfers all over Europe and northern Africa. If you’re looking for an af-fordable transfer from Geneva to Courmayeur ski resort, Lukas and his colleagues can make sure that you and your luggage get to and from the airport swiftly and safely.