Standing at 4634m, the enormous massif of Monte Rosa is the highest peak in the Pennine Alps, and the second highest in the entire European Alps. Surrounded by an amphitheatre of even more awe-inspiring 4000m peaks, a hike along the Tour de Monte Rosa is one of the most popular long distance walks in Europe for avid trekkers seeking both a challenging and spectacular route. Following in the footsteps of Leonardo da Vinci, who studied the peak in the late 15th Century, your experienced mountain guide will take you along ancient trails linking Switzerland to Italy. On the Italian side, traverse the high meadows and forested valleys of Macugnaga, Alagna, Ayas, Champoluc and Gressonney, whilst on the Swiss side, marvel at the tumbling glaciers that feature in this fascinating world of rock and ice. On balcony trails, the panorama of 4000m plus snow-clad peaks, as well as the vast Monte Rosa massif, will take your breath away. Beginning from Graëchen deep in the Valais, the almost circular walk traverses the massif, crossing into Italy before ending back in Switzerland in the pretty ski town of Zermatt. With daily ascents of up to 1750m, this outstanding walk around Monte Rosa will appeal to those wanting a serious challenge in a gorgeous alpine setting.
CHALLENGING – GRADE 5
The Tour de Monte Rosa is one of the most scenic, but also most challenging walk in the Alps. The daily guided walks are around 5-7 hours, however the overall fitness of the group will determine this. There are many challenging stages during the walk with steep uphills, descents, and sections of the trail which require care. The accent is on keeping a steady pace with time to stop and take photos (subject to weather conditions). You will need an excellent level of fitness to participate fully in this walking adventure. It is considered suitable for experienced walkers only. Early in the season (June) you may encounter snow on the passes which may be quite deep making the walk more difficult. At any time during summer, weather conditions may be variable and you should be prepared for all conditions including snow, ice, strong sun and extreme winds. The route is subject to modification depending on the conditions.
A warm-up day. We skirt the northern peak of the massif and discover a breathtaking view over the Rhone and Saas valleys. A pleasant path leads us to the famous village of Saas Fee.
+650m, -500m / +2130ft, -1640ft
Ascend the path to Mattmark Lake before taking on the legendary pass of Monte Moro (2868m / 9409ft), a very ancient link between Saas Tal and Macugnaga. This passage was used by the German Walser people when they immigrated to this region. Continue to the village of Macugnaga, nestled under Monte Rosa peak.
+653m, -1496m / +2142ft, -4908ft
Today we will climb up through the Quaraxxa Valley to the Turlo pass (2738 metres / 8982 feet) before hiking along the southern slopes of Monte Rosa. Our descent through the open pastures of Alesia leads us to Alagna, another picturesque and remote place in the beautiful Aosta Valley.
+1431m, -1163m / +4695ft, -3816ft
We walk through the Otro valley, passing by its numerous pastures, before reaching the Olen Pass (2881m / 9452ft). From here we hike down through the pastures of Mos towards the valley of Gressoney and the hamlet of Gaval. During the walk the peak of Liskamm is our constant source of inspiration in the background.
+1727m, -524m / +5666ft, -1719ft
This morning our walk takes us through the pasture of St Anna before taking on the Bettaforca Pass (2617m / 8586ft), directly underneath the imposing peaks of Castor and Pollux. The descent to the Ayas Valley presents a superb, panorama showcasing Champoluc village, the hamlet of St Jacques hamlet as well as Forca Lake.
+450m, -539m / +1476ft, -1768ft
Climb through the Cortox Valley to the aptly named Cima Blanche (“white”) Pass (2982 m / 9783ft), then ascend to the Theodule pass (3317m / 10,883ft). Spend the night at the Theodulo mountain refuge.
+1500m, -466m / +4921ft, -1529ft
After making our way across the Theodule pass we re-enter the Valais and Vispertal region. The final leg of our walk will see us descend to Trockenstegg and Zermatt, with the famous Cervin, or Matterhorn, in the background to bode us farewell.
Depending on your fitness and weather/mountain conditions, there may be an option to ascend the summit of Briethorn (4165m / 13,664ft) today, one of the most climbed +4000m / 13,100ft peaks in the western Alps. This involves some organisation on your guide's behalf in respect to engaging a UIAGM qualified mountain guide and climbing equipment. The additional cost is approximately EUR500 shared by groups of 1-5 people which includes the mountaineering guide, crampons, harness, group climbing equipment and one way cable car fare. This must be paid for in cash locally. There are some technical aspects to the climb requiring care and attention at all times. The decision not to ascend will be at your guides discretion based on current conditions and your fitness. Those not ascending Briethorn will take the route described above with your walking guide.
-1645m / -5397ft
Per Person, Twin Share