A Personal Journey Climbing in the Monte Rosa Massif

Ana RosbergSeptember 03, 2020

In this Episode 1 of our series “My Latest Explore-Share Adventure”, Ben shares his experience climbing in the Monte Rosa massif with IFMGA certified mountain guide, Jacopo.


The Monte Rosa massif is one of the stars of the Pennine Alps, located between Italy and Switzerland. This beautiful group of mountains is ideal for climbers because there are many 4,000-meter peaks one next to the other, which makes it a top spot for mountaineering and exploration. 

One of our clients, Ben, enjoyed exploring the Monte Rosa massif with mountain guide, Jacopo, from the Peakshunter team, this summer. Ben is very fit, does triathlon, and is an avid cyclist. After several months of having to stay put in the UK, he was eager to get back out and into the mountains. Jacopo is a 2019 certified IFMGA mountain guide and qualified yoga teacher who left a hectic career in TV and post-production for a more holistic life in nature in 2010. He brought his love for the outdoors, his expertise and his cheerful personality to the tour. 

Climbing Monte Rosa
Beautiful views of the Monte Rosa massif.

Ben had originally booked a Tetnuldi ascent in Georgia for mid-August,  but unfortunately, it had to be canceled due to Covid-19 related travel restrictions. Instead, he opted for a replacement of the original plan, and we created a tailored version of this exciting 6-day “Spaghetti Tour” in Monte Rosa for him. 

The Monte Rosa tour went from the 22nd to the 29th of August. It was a success. When we reached out to him to find out how his experience had been, he was happy to share his impressions with us, as well as some stunning pictures!

Read the fantastic Q&A we shared with Ben below to find out all about his great adventure in the Monte Rosa massif!

 

Q: What motivated you to go climbing in the Monte Rosa massif?

Climbing Monte Rosa
Ben sets off on a new adventure in Monte Rosa.

A: Being able to get away, abroad, after all this time in the UK, and get my climbing, after not being able to do Tetnuldi in Georgia this year. 

I was motivated by Monte Rosa particularly due to the great number of peaks (above 4,000m) that are clustered in the same area, and the fact that it was going to be quieter and have fewer queues than Mont Blanc.

 

Q: What was your prior experience and how did you prepare?

Climbing Monte Rosa
A challenging, fun stretch to put some technical skills to test.

A: I’ve done triathlons before and I always try to stay fit but, until this, my experience in the mountains so far had just been high altitude hiking. Although this was the hardest climbing I had ever done, it was just right as it pushed me to challenge my endurance and also on a mental level, but always in total safety and control. The guide, Jacopo, ensured that I was alright and that the plan matched my level perfectly. In my opinion, anybody with good cardiovascular fitness and some basic prior notion of crampon use can tackle a challenge like this one.

 

Q: What were the 3 highlights of your trip? (The tour involved climbing several of the mountains in the Monte Rosa massif).

Climbing Monte Rosa
A successful ascent with a smile to prove it.

A:

  1. Castor peak: it was really beautiful with a little bit of steep ice walking, and a tight and exposed summit ridge.
  2. Zumsteinspitze was special. The wind that morning was really strong so we decided to go to the Margherita Hut and wait, as Jacopo was confident that the weather would improve. And it did! So when we set out again and started approaching the summit, we had it all to ourselves because everybody else had turned back earlier. When we got to the top, we spent a lot of time there, enjoyed spectacular views, and took lots of pictures!
  3. The fact that the weather was perfect all of the days, the huts were good and high standard, with great accommodation and meals, which allowed for a really great experience altogether.

 

Q: What do you think is the added value of going with a guide and what was your experience with your guide like?

Climbing Monte Rosa
Jacopo and Ben on a sunny break.

A: It’s the mental aspect of it, the security, being able to adapt the program and itinerary exactly to one’s level. If for one reason on one of the days you’re not feeling well, you can make that an easier day, and then focus on resting and getting back to top form the next day with a more challenging ascent.

I think that to really maximize this customization, it is key that at most there is a ratio of 2:1 with the guide, with the ideal being 1:1 for the guide and client to really work together well and make the most of the experience.

 

Q: What plans do you have for future adventures?

Climbing Monte Rosa
A crisp day away from the crowds, high up in the mountains.

A: Mount Elbrus (the highest peak in Europe) next year for sure! I’d also like to do Mont Blanc at some point to tick it off my list, with the same guide, Jacopo. Also Mount Ararat in Turkey (the highest peak in Turkey). I’d still consider Tetnuldi, and on a long term basis, with the necessary training and technical preparation, also something like Lenin Peak, which for me would be a real lifetime achievement.

Those are great plans! Thank you, Ben, for sharing your experience and pictures with us!

 

After the great chat we had with Ben, we reached out to Jacopo to get his opinion about what he enjoys most about guiding the Monte Rosa program. This is what he had to say:

Climbing Monte Rosa
Jacopo with the dramatic landscapes of the Monte Rosa massif in the background.

“I believe the most beautiful aspects of the Monterosa Tour are the fact that it’s a hut-to-hut trip always above 3000 meters and the absolutely astonishing beauty of the landscapes you can enjoy during the various climbs in which you can cross two nations and two Italian regions!

During the trip, you always dominate all the different valleys, from the narrowest and steepest in the Aosta valley to the long and open valley of Zermatt, in part still covered by the Grenz Glacier. At the same time, the trip unfolds in the presence of Monterosa’s highest peaks, with their massive rock walls, with their harsh ridges and spurs, and with their majestic suspended seracs. Meanwhile, the path is traced upon giant glaciers, that vary from gentle slopes to steep and crevassed walls that make the ambiance really suggestive!

My favorite aspect of guiding this trip is the possibility to tailor the program on the physical capacities of the guest and on his expectations and goals, it becomes a personal journey in the massif!”

Thank you, Jacopo, for sharing your enthusiasm and for your great guiding!

 

Climbing Monte Rosa
Warm light bathes the beautiful Monte Rosa peaks.

With over 10 peaks boasting an altitude of over 4,ooo meters, there are plenty of options to explore the Monte Rosa massif!  This means a wide variety of climbing routes for all levels, including the famous 6-day Spaghetti tour, which gets its name from the amazing pasta served in the lovely, well-equipped mountain huts.

Overall, Monte Rosa is considered to be one of the most beautiful massifs in the Alps. Some of the most famous peaks in the area are the Duffourspitze and Punta Gniffeti. Getting to Monte Rosa is quite easy, as it is just a 2-hour drive away from Milan Malpensa airport.  A must for outdoor adventurers of all levels!


What are you waiting for? Read more about climbing Monte Rosa and check out our unique selection of programs in the Monte Rosa massif to start planning your own adventure!

Want to know more
about Mountaineering in Italy?

Share this article on your network:

Other users viewed:

Need help discovering your next adventure?

Try our concierge service

Join our Newsletter

Stay up-to-date on the best adventures!