Located in between the Aosta and Piedmont Valleys, Gran Paradiso is a classic alpine ascent. It is the tallest mountain solely located within Italy and boasts incredible views of the surrounding national park.
The climb begins with a hiking approach from Pont, which passes through boulder-strewn fields en route to one of two mountain huts.
The following day requires an early start as Gran Paradiso has one of the longest summit day ascents in the Alps. However, due to its lack of technical climbing requirements, the going is pretty quick.
The climb requires traversing the mountain’s glacier with crampons and an ice axe, before making a 60-meter scramble to the summit. All the necessary skills can be taught to climbers on the first day of the ascent.
Best starting point: Pont, Italy
Duration of the ascent: 2 days
Sitting on the border between Switzerland and Italy, Breithorn is one of the easiest 4,000-meter climbs in Switzerland. By some estimates, the mountain is the most frequently climbed one in the whole country.
Part of the reason for this is the ease of access. The Breithorn climb begins by taking a lift up to either the Plateau Rosa (Cervinia) or Breithorn Plateau (Zermatt). Both plateaus are quite high up the mountain, requiring only a few hours of climbing afterward to reach the top.
This climbing mostly consists of using crampons and an ice axe to traverse the glacier, with only a few tricky parts along some cornices toward the end.
From the top, expect spectacular views out over the neighboring Matterhorn and Monte Rosa massif, with views into the Rhone Valley too.
Best starting point: Zermatt, Switzerland or Cervinia, Italy
Duration of the ascent: 1 day
Another easy mountain climb in the Alps is situated at the northern end of the Mont Blanc massif. Aiguille du Tour offers novice mountaineers a great opportunity to get some high-quality alpine experience.
There are two main routes to the summit, one from the French side and one from the Swiss side. Both routes are fairly straight forward, beginning with an ascent up toward the mountain’s glacier on a chairlift.
Once off the chairlift, only basic cramponing and ice axe techniques are needed to cross the glacier before a brief scramble is employed to get to the top of the rocky spire.
From the top are some of the best views available of Mont Blanc as well as out into the rest of the Swiss and French Alps.
Best starting point: Chamonix, France
Duration of the ascent: 2 day