Monte Rosa Climb: Facts & Information. Routes, Climate, Difficulty, Equipment, Preparation, Cost

Set in the heart of the Alps, between the Italian Piedmont region and Aosta Valley, and the Swiss Canton of Vallais, the Monte Rosa massif is one of the main attractions of the famous European mountain range. Although from its name one might imagine it to be pink, or full or roses, the “rosa” is actually a false cognate from rouése, a patoise word that means glacier. Therefore, save for its rocky ridge summit, what Monte Rosa does have a lot of is snow and ice.

Climbing Monte Rosa is consequently an experience that any mountaineering enthusiast should aspire to. Furthermore, not only is this a sight for awe inspiring views, it is also less crowded than the nearby and more popular Mont Blanc, and a thrilling challenge for any and all feet. Such a feat as touring this massif of course requires proper guidance. With around ten peaks of over 4000m, a certified guide will be able to help with acclimatization, logistics, and most importantly showing you the right way to make the best of your mountaineering experience.


Check out all the Monte Rosa mountain ascent trips listed at Explore-Share and get ready to climb this stunning massif!


Climbing Routes

Monte Rosa
Photo: courtesy of Marco Cunaccia

Monte Rosa massif has many over 4000m peaks. The most famous are Dufourspitze (Punta Dufour), Dunantspitze (Ostspitze), Grenzgipfel, Ludwigshöhe, Nordend, Parrotspitze (Punta Parrot), Signalkuppe (Punta Gniffeti), Vincent Pyramid, Zumsteinspitze (Punta Zumstein), and Breithorn.

Because there are many peaks, there are also many possible climbing routes. To explore a wide range of this massif’s mountains you can join this 5-day climbing excursion to different 4000 meter peaks starting from Zermatt, or, what is also known as the “Spaghetti tour” which covers eight different peaks and kicks off from Cervinia. This 2-day Breithorn and Pollux ascent is also a great option.

Otherwise, the most emblematic mountains of the massif are:

Dufourspitze

Monte Rosa
Photo: courtesy of Peaks Hunter Mountain Guide Team

At 4,634 m , Dufourspitze is the highest point on the Monte Rosa massif. There are two routes to its summit. The Normal Route kicks off from the Monte Rosa hut at an altitude of 2,883 m, between the Gorner and Grenz glaciers.  On this route, you will go up the west face of the mountain until you get to the rocky ridge to the top. The other route to the Dufourspitze summit is via de Marinelli Couloir that tackles the east side of the mountain on a much more challenging climb. This 2-day ascent will take you to the Dufourspitze summit in the company of seasoned guides!

Punta Gnifetti

Monte Rosa
Photo: courtesy of Marco Cunaccia

Also known as the Signalkuppe, this peak lies at an altitude of 4,554 m. The Margherita hut, on its summit, is the highest in Europe and dates back to 1893!

To get there, the ascent to the top of Punta Gniffeti via the normal route, which kicks off from the Italian side, usually from the Gnifetti hut or Mantova hut, is the easiest. It takes the west side of the mountain to its summit. Alternatively, it is also possible to follow a route from the Swiss side that kicks off at Monte Rosa hut.  Then, there are other routes that are progressively more challenging. The Cresta Signal takes the east side and is more difficult than the previous two. Otherwise, climbing up the Southwest ridge, the Southeast wall and the Northeast wall are also possible, however a lot more demanding!

Whichever route you wish to explore, climbing with a pro will ensure that you make the best of the experience. This 2-day ascent starts off from Mantova Hut and is a great option to tackle this stunning peak. Another option is this 3-day excursion to the Margherita hut that also tackles some of the other surrounding peaks before the Gnifetti summit overnight.

Duration of the ascent

Monte Rosa
Photo: courtesy of Juho Lukkari

The time it takes to climb Monte Rosa will depend largely on what kind of trip you decide to take. The “Spaghetti Tour” usually takes around six days as it covers many peaks on the glaciated massif. However, climbing to the summit of any of the individual mountains takes somewhere around two days. Of course, this will also depend on your experience and physical preparation. Keep in mind that climbing mountains of this altitude always requires some acclimatization. Going with an experienced guide is a great way to pace your ascent safely.

Mountain Huts

Monte Rosa
Photo: courtesy of Juho Lukkari

The Monte Rosa massif has several mountain huts on its different faces. As previously mentioned, the Margherita hut on the summit of Punta Gnifetti is the most famous because it is the highest in Europe. However, the Monte Rosa hut, on the west side of the massif at an altitude of 2,883 metres, is a popular starting point for many excursions and boasts an amazing hi-tech and environmentally friendly new construction. The Gnifetti hut is another landmark refuge in the area at an altitude of 3647m, and has beds, hot showers, electricity and heart-warming food in a Michelin-star restaurant! The Mantova Hut lies at an altitude of 3498m near the Garstelet Glacier and is another well equipped and popular refuge in the region.

In all, you will enjoy great views and the rest that they provide after an intense day up the mountain. Furthermore, you will also participate in the unique and lively mountaineering environment of the Alps and meet a lot of interesting people!

Although these are the most well known huts, there are others in the surrounding region such as the Grande Halte, Carestia, Ospizio Sottile, Valle Vogna, Pastore, Barba Ferrero, Ferioli, Campo, Zar Senni and Crespi Calderini, among others.

Check out this 6-day Monte Rosa hut-to-hut traverse!

Physical Requirements and Technical Conditions

Monte Rosa
Photo: courtesy of Juho Lukkari

One of the great things about Monte Rosa is that it offers options for climbers of all levels. The normal routes to the summits of Dufourspitze and especially Punta Gniffeti are moderate in difficulty. Therefore, under proper guidance and with a good fitness level, they can be tackled by almost anyone.

Some of the more challenging aspects of climbing Monte Rosa include altitude and glaciated terrain. Of course, alternative or longer routes present a greater dare for more experienced climbers. In all cases, it is best to go with a seasoned guide that can show you the way and help with acclimatization and mountaineering techniques. You can also take a mountaineering course, such as this one in Chamonix before setting off on your adventure!

Climate & Equipment

Monte Rosa
Photo: courtesy of Juho Lukkari

Save for its rocky ridge, the Monte Rosa massif is mostly covered in snow and glaciers, specially in winter. Therefore, climbing this stunning Alp gem is usually done in the summer months of June, July and August. Nevertheless, at higher altitudes you will encounter sub-zero temperatures and snow year round. Therefore, when planning your trip it is important that you consider adequate clothing for a wide range of temperatures, a good sub-zero sleeping bag, top quality hiking shoes, crampons, an ice age, as well as protection from the sun.

Estimated Price

Monte Rosa
Photo: courtesy of Juho Lukkari

The estimated price for an individual 2-day tour is approximately 700-800 EUR. The amount will vary depending on which peak you decide to explore and the route difficulty. Of course, longer tours will cost more, and keep in mind that prices may or may not include the overnight hut price.

Other activities in the area

Photo: courtesy of Remy Maquignaz

One of the best things about the Alps is that there is always so much to explore and to do! Climbing to the summit of at least one of the Monte Rosa massif peaks should definitely be on any adventurer’s wish list. However, don’t stop at that! While in the area you can also find some fantastic hiking programs such as this 2-day excursion around Monte Rosa hut where you will get to discover the Gorner Glacier.

Via Ferrata is another must to try while in the Alps. A suggested alternative is this Bethaz-Bovard option which is the longest Via Ferrata in the Aosta Valley! Or, you check out any of these other great options in the area!

If you like jumping into waterfalls and swimming as well as hiking and exploring the mountains, then you might want to try  canyoning in the Aosta Valley.

 

Monte Rosa is one of the jewels of the Alps, start planning you ascent and get ready for an unforgettable experience up high in the mountains!

 

 

Hiking in Les Vosges: a beginner’s experience very close to home

It was thanks to a partnership between Explore-Share.com and outdoor retailer A.S. Adventure that Belgians Jens and his girlfriend Leen won a hiking and sylvotherapy weekend in Les Vosges, in eastern France, close to Epinal. They have been guided by Eric a local mountain leader (IML) featured on Explore-Share.

The group takes in the beautiful views in Les Vosges. Photo: Courtesy of Eric Brisbare.

 

Covered in dense forests, the French department of Les Vosges (which borders with Germany) is named after a low mountain range of the same name and is slowly emerging as a popular hiking, trail running and mountain biking destination, just a few hours’ drive away from Luxembourg, Geneva and Brussels.  

 

For Jens and his girlfriend, the weekend away was their first hiking experience and they were happy to share it with their guide and a group of 10 other people, mostly from France. “We walked nice trails and enjoyed breathtaking views along the way. The forest is extremely diverse and it was challenging enough for a first hiking experience,” Jens told Explore-Share.

 

Hiking in Les Vosges
Covered in dense forests, Les Vosges is emerging as a popular hiking destination. Photo: courtesy of Eric Brisbare.

 

They started early afternoon on Saturday from Le Rouge Gazon in Saint-Maurice-sur-Moselle and hiked for 7km among beautiful autumn landscapes. They spent the night in a lovely lodge owned by very friendly locals. After a delicious dinner and a good night’s sleep, they hiked for 11km on the second day, stopping for lunch in a beautiful chalet in the forest.

 

Lodge Vosges
The group had a good rest at a cozy lodge owned by friendly locals.

 

Jens especially enjoyed the interaction with the rest of the group and the lodge where they stayed, which was very cozy. “Basic in a good way”, he summarized. 

 

The weekend also included an introduction to Sylvotherapy, a practice that aims to enhance a person’s wellbeing through contact with trees and their energy. It provided Jens with the chance to learn about the healing properties of spending time in nature and in close contact with the forest. He said,

“I really enjoyed the calm, the silence, taking a step back to reconnect.” 

 

Trees Vosges
The weekend away included an introduction to sylvotherapy, which uses the healing properties of trees. Photo: courtesy of Eric Brisbare.

 

These hikes in Les Vosges are also possible in winter. During the colder months, Eric guides his friends and clients using snowshoes. The silence and peacefulness of nature covered in snow makes the weekend even more magical.

 

Winter Vosges
The Vosges landscapes get covered in snow during the winter months, turning the trip even more magical. Photo: courtesy of Eric Brisbare.

 

“We are very happy that this first hiking experience was a success for Jens and Leen. At Explore-Share.com, we strongly believe great outdoor activities enrich peoples’ lives. Our mission is to encourage our users to get out there, fulfil their dreams and live new experiences”, said Gauthier, the company’s CEO.

 

“Our partnership with A.S. Adventure aims at reinforcing A.S. ‘s corporate mission which is to help its clients to embrace new and amazing outdoor experiences. I’m very excited about this collaboration! Stay tuned, other contests will be organised in the coming months,” he added.

 

Les Vosges offer breathtaking views. This shot was taken in Autumn.
Refreshment pause with a view 🙂
One of the many conifer forests of Les Vosges

Rock Climbing near Barcelona: What are the Best Spots?

Barcelona is world famous for countless reasons. Serving as the second largest city in Spain and Catalonia’s capital, Barcelona is known for sandy beaches, shimmering blue sea, surreal architecture, fantastic food and Lionel Messi. However, just outside of the city limits, a world of abundant and excellent rock climbing opportunities await!

Catalonia, specifically the area north of the idyllic city of Lleida, is recognized as one of Europe’s premier sport climbing destinations. Here, there is a huge variety of different types of climbing the bouldering to be done.

From steep limestone gorges to imposing rock towers, there is more to climb here than you could possibly do in only one trip. To that end, here is a list to five of the top climbing spots in the region.

Some of the region’s top spots are located right near reservoirs, making for great views once you’ve reached the top. Photo courtesy of Carlos Vidal Arque.

Terradets

Tucked into the southern runoffs of the Pyrenees and renowned for its beautiful limestone gorge and 500-meter high La Paret de les Bagasses buttress, Terradets offers many excellent multi-pitch climbing opportunities.

Terradets has only recently started to be developed as a climbing location, but already offers more than 60 routes and some of the best sports climbing in Spain. Characterized by steep overhanging climbs up tufas, pockets and more tufas, the area presents a real challenge for competent climbers.

  • How to get there: Located just north of the small town of Balaguer and roughly a two hour drive from Barcelona along the A-2 and C-53, this spot is perfect for single-day expeditions. However, with many hostels and hotels in the surrounding could easily be your base for a multi-day climbing expedition as well.
  • Favorite trips:

Barcelona, multi-pitch guided rock climbing

Week of rock climbing in Catalonia

Montserrat

With its rocky pinnacles jutting out of the earth, Montserrat feels a world away from Barcelona’s La Rambla or La Sagrada Familia. Photo courtesy of Guies de Montserrat.

Located 35 kilometers northwest of Barcelona, Montserrat boasts a wide variety of multi-pitch climbing that is largely considered to be some of the best in Spain.

While simply stunning to behold from afar, with rocky pinnacles jutting out of the earth, Montserrat offers many different trad and sport climbing options. Huge rock walls on its north face offer great opportunities for beginners to hone their skills while learning new ones. Meanwhile the pinnacles and crags make for some great sport climbing, not to mention the stunning views from the top.

Some of the most popular routes include Gam del Bisbe at the Frares Encantats; the Via dels Sostres at Paret de l’Aeri; and Cade a l’Agulla del Centenar at Paret Nord d’Agulles. Not to mention, the peaks from Sant Jeroni to Miranda de les Agulles, which offer some spectacular views and challenging climbs.

  • How to get there: getting here is fairly simple and it only takes about an hour to drive from Barcelona along the A-2 or C-58, making it the perfect location for a single-day trip.
  • Favorite trips:

Barcelona, Montserrat, guided rock climbing

Multi-pitch climbing in Montserrat

Vilanova de Meia

This small and picturesque idyllic village north of Lleida boasts excellent multi-pitch craigs, which attract climbers from around Europe and the rest of the world.

There is so much to do in this one spot that you could spend the rest of your life climbing here and still not complete every route there is. The spot has everything from single-pitch 250 meter sport climbs to tough multi-pitch climbs that require plenty of athleticism.

A fan favourite is the famous La Cúpula, which boasts a 15 meter, 15/30º overhang with plenty of good holds. Overall, the limestone in this region is quite particular with many horizontal strips and flat holes, great for trad climbing.

Among the most recommended routes are El Pilar de Sangre, La Roca Alta, Necronomicón, Tierra de Nadie, El Señor de los bordillos and Amadeus, among many others.

  • How to get there: Vilanova de Meia is only a two hour drive up the A-2 and L-303, making this a great spot for day trips from Barcelona. However, with numerous hotels and hostels in and around the town, it’s also a great base for multi-day climbing expeditions.   
  • Favorite trips:

Week of rock climbing in Catalonia

Collegats

Situated well into the foothill of the Pyrenees, the Collegats Gorge boasts an extraordinary variety of different types of climbing.

On the sunnier, south-facing side of the gorge is a massive conglomerate rock, known as Sector Cine. This mostly vertical, but slightly overhanging cliff is about 20 meters tall and makes for an excellent sport climb. From the top, you get excellent views back into the gorge and of the rest of the surrounding area.

Farther down into the gorge, closer to the Noguera Pallaresa river, stand the sheer limestone walls of L’Argenteria and La Pedrera, among others. These spots offer varied trad climbing options. The former has many handholds and shorter climbs while the latter is a long, 45-meter ascent requiring a rope and high level of fitness.

Regardless of where in the gorge you go, you are sure to find some excellent climbing spots.

  • How to get therethe Collegats Gorge is about 2.5 hours northwest of Barcelona. Since it’s a bit far from the citiy, it may be best to stay in the town of La Pobla de Segur, though it is possible to go and come back in a single day via the A-2 to the L-303 to the C-14.
  • Favorite trips:

Barcelona guided rock climbing day tours

Week of rock climbing in Catalonia

Cavallers

About as far from Barcelona as one can get in Catalonia, the Cavallers offer spectacular climbing and even better views. Photo courtesy of Miriam Marco Sanchez.

Located up farther up into the foothills of the Pyrenees, in the northwestern corner of Catalonia, lie the Cavallers. These massive granite rock slabs and mountains provide excellent opportunities for great sport climbing as well as longer alpine climbs.

Ranging from intermediate to advanced, the area has numerous climbs through varied terrains as well as straight up barren rock faces. The region is located within Aigües Tortes National Park and has excellent single and multi-pitch climbing options as well as stunning views.

Among the most popular routes are Placa Xalmet, a steep granite slab situated over the reservoir; the Agulles de Comalestorres, an imposing tower of a craig with a trio of sport climbing routes; and the Pasions Quirúrgicas, Directa Americana, Salam Alekum and La Babosa, all of which offer something different and unique in this bold and beautiful region.  

Many of the climbs are nearby roads while others require a bit of hiking to get to. Either way, views throughout the area are fantastic and the climbing is sure to be unforgettable.

  • How to get there: the Cavallers are located well northwest of Barcelona and would be too far for a day trip. The best option is to go and stay in one of the numerous nearby towns in order to get the most out of climbing here. Caldes de Boí is the closest and has a couple of hotels. Erill la Vall and Boí are a bit farther down the road, but are also full of charming places at which to stay. All of these towns are less than 30 minutes from the Cavallers by car. 
  • Favorite trips:

Barcelona guided rock climbing day tours

Week of rock climbing in Catalonia

When is the best time for rock climbing near Barcelona?

From the late spring to the early summer is the best time of year to go rock climbing in and around Barcelona. During May and June, the temperature is warm and rain is uncommon. Daily temperatures are between 22ºC and 26ºC with an average of five days of rain per month.

However, because Barcelona’s Mediterranean climate is fairly mild, many guides offer rock climbing trips throughout the entire year. Winter days rarely cold and only slightly more wet than in the spring and summer. The summer can be quite hot with a strong sun, with highs exceeding 32ºC. The autumn is the season that experiences the most rain with temperatures similar to those found in the late spring.  

How much does a rock climbing trip cost?

With so much variety, you are sure to find rock climbing of all different varieties and levels around Barcelona. Photo courtesy of Marc Vilaplana.

The average cost for a single day of rock climbing is about €200 for a single person. This price generally includes the guiding fee and equipment. Groups of two or more often pay less per person, but how much less varies from guide to guide.  

Other outdoor activities around Barcelona

Aside from the stellar rock climbing, world famous architecture and out-of-this-world cuisine, Barcelona is also a hotspot for numerous other outdoor activities. Climbing Via Ferrata and hiking are also quite popular in the region. A bit farther north, the Pyrenees are a much sought after ski touring destination during the winter.


Check out some of the best via ferrata spots around Barcelona!


Throughout Catalonia, there are many spectacular spots for different types of rock climbing. Photo courtesy of Carlos Vidal Arque.

So what are you waiting for? Start planning your next rock climbing adventure now and get ready to discover the wild side of trendy and cosmopolitan Barcelona!