tour de monte rosa

The Tour de Monte Rosa is one of the finest long distance walks in the Europe for avid trekkers seeking both a challenging and specular route. We hike through the impressive Pennine Alps bordering Switzerland and Italy, overlooked by 4000m (13,120ft) peaks such as the spectacular Dufourspitze, the iconic Matterhorn, and the jagged Weisshorn. This route includes the notable Europaweg between Grachen and Zermatt, a route considered by many to be the most beautiful 2 day hike in the Alps. Join Jeff and Patty Baird as we walk in the footsteps of Leonardo Da Vinci, who studied this imposing massif in the late 15th century.

Trip 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

Day 1: Arrival in Zermatt

  • Our superb journey around the ‘Monte Rosa’ mountain range starts from the historic and bustling town of Zermatt in Switzerland. Your experienced guide Lindsay Cannon will meet you before your evening meal to brief you on the days ahead and answer any questions that you might have about the trip. You will enjoy a lovely group meal at the Alpenhof dining room. The perfect start to your trekking adventure. Luggage not required on your hike can be left at the hotel.

Day 2: Zermatt to the Europahutte

  • After breakfast we begin with ride on the Sunnegga ‘Funicular Railway‘ to reach the famous Europaweg trail, the perfect warm up and arguably one of the most picturesque trails in the Alps. Now high above Zermatt the trail first reaches the ancient hamlet of Tufteren 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. By lunchtime 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: 550m (1800ft) Descent: 445m (1459ft) Distance: 14.5km (9 miles) Duration: 07h00

Day 3: Europahutte to Grächen

  • 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 by a pleasant trail, walk along the valley and then tackle the steep climb back up the Grachen to resume our original route. 

Day 4: Grächen to Saas Grund

  • Leaving the sleepy village of Grächen 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. We arrive for our next over night stop at the delightful alpine town of Saas Grund. Accommodation is at the Hotel Pension Heino.

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

Day 5: Monte Moro Pass to Macugnaga

  • Today to link our trail we jump on the Swiss post bus for a short ride along the valley to the Mattmark lake. The scenery here is breath-taking with glaciers towering above us as we stroll along the lake side. After this gentle warm up, we start our next climb to reach 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. We will be spending the night here at the Hotel Flora.

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

Day 6: Macugnaga to Alagna

  • Today we first climb over the Colle del Turlo on an incredible paved path created by the Italian army in the 1920’s. There is 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

Day 7: Alagna to Gabiet

  • 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 

Day 8: Rifugio Gabiet to Rifugio Ferraro

  • 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

Day 9: Resy to the Matterhorn!

  • 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 wander 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

Day 10: Glacier Crossing to Zermatt

  • We complete our trek full circle back in Zermatt. A mostly downhill day 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! It will then be time to reflect on accomplishing a walk that is one of the finest and most challenging in the Alps. You will check back into your original hotel here where you will have 360 degree views of the Alps, with the Matterhorn on the doorstep for your celebratory meal.

    (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: 6h00 

Day 11: Rest Day in Zermatt

  • Today you have a day to relax and soak up this wonderful Alpine town. Enjoy the wonderful wellness center featured in your hotel. Steeped in mountaineering history accompanied by traditional architecture and fabulous 360 degree views, there is no wonder that Zermatt has the reputation of being so quintessentially Swiss! If you are booked on to the Italian High Level Route then this evening you will meet your guide, IFMGA guide Olly Allen.

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.

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. If you would prefer a single room then this will be possible for us to arrange on the three hotel nights within your itinerary and also whilst you are in Zermatt. Single rooms do incur a supplementary fee.

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. 

hotelalpenhof

HOTEL ALPENHOF

HOTEL

The family-run 4-star superior Wellness Hotel Alpenhof is located in the center of Zermatt, opposite the Sunnegga Cable Car Station and a 5-minute walk from the Gronergrat Railway. The Wellness Hotel Alpenhof hotel has 5 floors and each room is equipped with a mini-bar, cable TV, free WiFi, a safety deposit box, a seating area, and a bathroom. Most rooms also have a balcony.A diverse selection of gourmet menus and freshly prepared food is served at the restaurant. Local and international wines, as well as little snacks can be enjoyed in the new hotel lobby.Guests can relax in the Spa area with natural light, a large indoor pool, a hot tub, a sauna, steam baths and a tropical shower. A beauty salon and relax rooms are available as well at the Wellness Alpenhof. Luggage storage will be available for the trip.

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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!

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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!

pension-heino

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.

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HOTEL FLORA, MACUGNAGA

HOTEL

Luca and Katherine who run the 3*Hotel Flora are always a pleasure to visit. This is very much a family run hotel in the best Italian style! Situated right in the heart of Macugnaga it is perfectly placed for you to explore the town and take in an apero at one of the local cafes. The hotel’s restaurant serves local dishes and if the weather is mild you can enjoy dinner on the terrace.

rifugi_pastore3

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. 

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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.

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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.

RIFUGIO TEODULO

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. 

Pricing:

$3995.00 per person  (Shared room)

$695 Single Supplement

$1000 Per Person Deposit

To inquiry about this trip, please contact Patty Baird at patty@cedarhousesporthotel.com or call anytime at 530.582.5655. We would love to chat with you!

WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • Bespoke privately guided trek to include 9 full hiking days
  • Three 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
  • 3 nights in 4 Star hotel in Zermatt with half board (Day 1 and Day 10 and 11)
  • Fees and expenses of a fully qualified International Mountain Leader
  • 1x Single journey on the Sunnegga Funicular railway from Zermatt on Day 2
  • 1x Single bus journey from Saas Grund on Day 5
  • 9x Packed lunches to include; 1 sandwich, a piece of fruit and a cereal bar
  • IFMGA Mountain Guide for the glacier crossing down to Zermatt

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED

  • Flights
  • Trip Insurance
  • Snacks and drinks for dinner/lunch
  • Transfers to the meeting and departure points

Additional transport or cable cars outside of the scheduled itinerary

At the time we receive written notice that you must cancel your trip, the following fees will apply:

91 + more days prior to departure  – 100% refund less 3% processing fee

61-90 days prior to departure – 30% of deposit

31-60 days prior to departure – 50% of full  payment  (full payment will have been made)

30 days or less prior to departure – 100% of full payment