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Questions from members

Children and 4000

A "medical" question: at what age you can take the kids over 4000 m?
I try to be more specific: Up to what age can be inconvenient for the physical growth or to transport a child to a higher altitude to 4000 m, m rather than 4300, 4500 m ... (lung problems that may be affected, altitude sickness ...)?

Thank you
Paul Brunatto

Giro suffered this question to our "consultant" prof. Giambattista Parigi and simultaneously the public here in case someone else wants to answer (we have several doctors among the members!).

I (but I'm not a doctor ...) I brought my son to make his first 4000 (Breithorn W) at the age of 12 years, which I believe is the minimum limit; of course it depends not only share, but also by the difference in height and the degree of the child / kid workout, which still must be well motivated.

For more physically demanding tours (altitude and altitude) I think that the limit set by the ski-mountaineering school SUCAI (16 years) is correct: in 57 years of courses we have never had problems.

Greetings and best wishes for your trips!

Flavio melindo

The "4000" Italian

In the section of the site where you report the 4000 by country I saw that those entirely on Italian territory are 10; You could kindly indicate what?
Thank you


It is often said that the only entirely Italian 4000 is the Gran Paradiso. In fact, there are ten of 82 4000 "official" in Italy, namely:

Gran Paradiso 4061 m
Monte Bianco Courmayeur 4765
Picco Luigi Amedeo 4470 m
Mont Brouillard 4068 m
Punta Baretti 4006 m
Grand Pilier d'Angle 4243 m
Aiguille Blanche de Peuterey 4114 m
Punta Giordani 4046 m
Pyramid Vincent 4215 m
Black Horn 4322 m

A friendly greeting

Flavio melindo


I would like to have more information on fixed ropes to the north of the channel as described by Dufour Vs. socio Vareno Boreatti: are positioned all along the canal? The ridge to the summit by the end of that channel that brings difficulties than normal Switzerland? The channel that snow conditions reports (usually) in this period (late July)?

Thank you in advance.

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In this respect the Pier Mattiel Guide, advisor to the Club, send us the following announcement:

I am ritardissimo for the answer! Still it does not change much, because I would not know what to say on the fixed ropes in the North Channel. I can think of is that they are positioned in one of the channels that the Dufour Peak, the north side, down on the Monte Rosa glacier (normal route to Nordend) already well above the plateau in 4000, say almost Silber Sattel.

Personally I have never seen but once, during a crossing, I got out first along the normal Dufour Switzerland, for the crest, then to reach the Nordend have fallen into a canal for about 200 m. (Climbing without double strings) and I landed on the Monte Rosa glacier not far from the normal route to the Nordend and less than 200 m from Silbersattel. The channel was snow and ice ° 45 - 50 ° with some stretch of mixed but generally not hard line, it must be said that though it was early in the season, the first type of June (I had skis).
If so, in my opinion it would have no way to make the climb to the Dufour by this route, even if it were equipped with fixed ropes; always better to normal Swiss way to more practical crest, fast and above all safe. It could serve instead to combine Dufour and Nordend in the same day without the long ride, (actually there is another virtually unknown step, if not for some very expert guidance of Monte Rosa, the Italian normal route to Dufour allows you to navigate to Silbersattel , but it is very complex).
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Lucio are Bassani of Turin and two years ago I started what I believe is becoming a real passion. In my poor curriculum "mountaineering" I can insert:
1. Breithorn W 4164 m;
2. Gran Paradiso 4061 m;
3. Signalkuppe 4554 m;
4. Dome de Neige des Ecrins 4015 m;
5. Castor 4228 m (July 2006).

I'm looking for information on the climbs to Weissmies 4023 m (via normal) and Mont Blanc (4807 m from the shelter Goûter), scheduled for the last two weeks of July.
In particular I would like to have latest updates about the condition of the crevassed Weissmeis (I saw on the internet a few steps equipped with metal stairs) and the real difficulty of the climb referring to my previous (and in particular the exposure of the final ridge).
In addition, in order to reassure a companion of adventure, I would require information about the dangers of the Grand Couloir.
Thank you so much for your attention and availability.
Best regards
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Dear Lucio,

will respond to your questions Consultant Mountaineering Club 4000 Group, a Mountain Guide Pier Mattiel.
About the "normal" to White, on our site, and precisely under "REPORTS" will find all the information that you need under the title "The normal way to Mont Blanc"
As for the way of the Gouter, and in particular just because of the Grand Couloir, as you'll read, we do not hesitate to advise in the strongest climb in this way that we consider "the most dangerous and deadly path of the Alps".
See you soon. Best regards.

Luciano Ratto

And here's the Pier Mattiel answer:

Yesterday (10 July) I spoke with people who were, they told me that the highest cable car up to 3000 mt. last weekend was spinning in practice wanting in this way it could be done in a day even in summer, as is done in the spring skiing (or downhill you reach the shelter instead of uphill) and that the conditions were good .
If the cable does not work:

For the normal route to Weissmies:
It starts from Saas Grund and the cable car go up to 2400 mt; from here in a little time you reach the refuge Weissmieshütte to 2700 m. The next day you climb rocks from near the top station of the cable car 3098 m, then continues in the same direction again on stony slopes or snow depending on the snow until about 3300 scarce, then turn right and short descent we enter the glacier, here very crevassed. Cross it passing under the wall-side NO Weissmies to switch over, where the slopes killed and in principle you climb where the gradients are lower, bypassing even some serac and is tipped to climb the ridge, after the cross for access to the slopes leading to the dorsal; there are always crevasses to be overcome and it is therefore possible that one of these is open longer than normal and to avoid the complications local guides have put a metal staircase to facilitate the transition, (it happened a few years ago also at Gran Paradiso. ..). Then, having reached the ridge, the climb towards the summit, at first broad and wide then it becomes an increasingly sharp ridge as you climb, in principle it is never either too exposed or too sharp, (in spring is practicable in ski well prepared alpine skiers) is obvious that if the ice is in vivo anything becomes difficult.

For the Mont Blanc the considerations expressed in the report of the Vie Normal, the only news is that the way of the Grand Mulets normal is no longer viable except in spring and even early, because he opened a big crepo between the small and the great plateau, whereby to climb or descend through the refuge Grand Mulets instead of doing Plateau climb along the east side (of Dom de Gouter slope 40 ° very long degrees) going to reach the normal route of the well before the Vallot Gouter .
The exposure hazards of the Grand Coluloir idem, the considerations expressed at the time, every year at least a couple of people lose their lives; But we have to consider a continuous flow of people going up and down from the spur of the Gouter, several thousand people per season.
L 'other novelty is that now it has been rifattto ref. Tete Rousse (I'm sorry but I preferred first) becoming a big and modern retreat that can accommodate a lot 'of climbers.

Pier Mattiel

Strahlhorn and Gran Combin de Tsessette

We would like to do the Strahlhorn (from Britanniahütte) and the Grand Combin de Tsessette (from Ref. Panossière) March period in April, without skis. My partner can not ski. What are the pitfalls of the two ways?

And 'advisable to get them shoe? I look forward to tips!

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Respond partner and Mountain Guide Pier Mattiel

For Strahlhorn (from Britanniahütte) in April, preferably end, and not after recent snowfall the snow is usually well established, and the path always attended so it is definitely possible to climb it in rackets, keeping in mind that compared to the skis, the rise time / descent and virtually doubles the effort is disproportionately higher, because there are many long false floors. Then I would say that the glacier in snowshoes is INDISPENSABLE security ropes, I emphasize it because when you are there along with other 150 ski mountaineers who climb gleefully strictly no rope, one might as well forget about it. (They can serve crampons for short crest of the summit).
For the Grand Combin de Tsessette (from Ref. Panossière) things I am very different, first of all it is much less frequented and much longer, with first a long plateau on the glacier and then up the hill slopes greatly increase, the normal route begins along the 'route of the corridor, then turn right and surpasses a slope that gets steeper up to the good 40 °, then exceeds a serac barrier depending on the season and the vintage can be easy or too complicated (ice ax crampons and good technique required), finally, above the glacier breaks down a little bit again becoming skiable although quite steep until a few meters from the summit of the Grand Combin de Pannossier, which can not be reached, but through lower and reach the Mur de La Cote down it (50 ° for a short distance, often icy even in spring) to set foot on the summit of the Grand Combin de Tsessette plateaus from which to easy bumps to the summit. Another chance to climb less technical and more rapid is the path along the Corridor, but it involves taking considerable objective risks from falling seracs above (at board level, the Corridor is good only in descent skiing).
In essence, while the ascent of Stralhorn in spring shoe is altogether reasonable, the Grand Combin is much more challenging, longer and more isolated, in short, his climb requires a good and thorough preparation mountaineering.


Pier Mattiel