Difficulties:Not too difficult
from 01/07 to 30/09
Departure:Glassier (1549 m)
Arrival:Grand Combin (4314 m)
Difference in level:1430 m + 1335 m
How to get there
Aosta Est highway exit. Follow the directions for the Gran San Bernardo tunnel. In Variney, turn right for Valpelline. After the town, turn left for Ollomont and follow the road to the village of Glassier.
With its 4, 314 metre height, Grand Combin is the highest peak in the alpine range between Mont Blanc and Dent d’ Hérens. The climb on the normal Italian route is fascinating: complicated, wild and not well-travelled. These elements differentiate it from the classic four-thousand high peaks in the Monte Rosa or Mont Blanc ranges. The feeling of isolation is more marked here than elsewhere, despite the two rest points, the Chiarella all’Amianthe hut and Musso camp located at the base of Spalla Isler.
Description of the route
From the village of Glassier, take the wide mule path that climbs towards Conca di By. Near the small artificial basin, continue climbing diagonally to the By pasture where you will find a dirt road. Cross the road and head North across the large pastures. After passing by a pasture, the path steeply rises on the slop to a strip of rocks you can climb with the help of some fixed cords. After this more demanding segment, you’ll be near the Chiarella all’Amianthe hut (2879 m).
From the hut, climb North along a sort of sediment valley that curves to the left. At the end – to the right – the Colle Amianthe opens leading to the Mont Durand glacier. Continue North on the modest slope, going around the steep glacier slope until you’re in sight of the Col de Sonadon. When you reach the Col, slightly drop to climb to the ledge at the base of Spalla Isler where the Musso camp stands on the left. Free-climb Spalla’s steep face according to the weather conditions. Some fixes are near the top, on the rocks on the left, to ease both ascent and descent. When you reach Grand Combin de Valsorey, where you’ll find a small wooden cross, follow the ridge to the right that leads to the higher peak called Grand Combin de Grafeneire.
Descent down the upward itinerary.
This itinerary requires experience of high mountains and it is recommended that you get a mountain guide to accompany you.