Gran Paradiso: Climbing my first 4000m Summit

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I just climbed my first 4000m summit in Italy with my dad. This mountain was his first, too, about 40 years ago when he was my age. Although this summit isn’t very technically challenging, the elevation and exposure in the final stretch make it fairly challenging. Here is the view from the last few meters of the climb to the summit:

On the first day, we climbed from Pont, Italy up about 950 meters to the Refugio Chabod at 2750 meters. This first day was along a very regular, very well-maintained trail through the forest and up past the tree line into some snow and finally to the refuge.

The second day, we woke up at 4AM to start hiking before sunrise, before the snow has a chance to soften. We climbed up about 400 meters to get to the start of the glacier and another 600 to get to the summit at 4061 meters. We had to be roped together as we trudged up the glacier, in case one of us fell into one of the gaping crevasses in the ice below us. Our guide pointed out unsafe snowbridges and crevasses that were invisible to our eyes, and expertly chose the snowbridges which were stable enough to cross over. The rocky climb to the summit was difficult in our crampons, but the amazing panoramic view at the summit, with snow-capped mountains stretching as far as the eye could see, made our effort well worth it.

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And then, we hiked about 2000 meters downhill. But eventually, we got tired of that and decided to slide down on our butts:

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