Makes me wish I were up there too. Really nice pic.
Yes Dean, makes me wish that to and I supposed to be there! Story goes like this. After climbing Mont Blanc in August 2002, plan was to head to Gran Paradiso. There were 10 of us in 3 cars. Toni (picture taker) and the gang in his car where willing to proceed to Gran Paradiso while the others, including the driver of car in which I travelled, where emotionally drained after Mont Blanc and did not want to go there but just to enjoy the Mont Blanc success in Chamonix. I wanted to go to Paradiso but there was no space for me in Toni's car. I didn't want to push the others to go there and do something they don't want only because of me so I gave up and stayed with them 3 more days in Chamonix, which was pure tourism. I was sorry not to go than but when I saw the photos, ahhh. There will be time for Paradiso again but will I be lucky to catch weather that good? I seriously doubt that.
But: the summit on which the Madonnina stands is not the highest point of the mountain. On your picture you can see 3 summits starting from the right one which you called "Pillar" (Il Roc 4026 m), then the "Madonna-summit" (4058 m) and finally on the left the main summit (10 minutes from the "Madonna-summit" (II), 4061 m)
Do people ever climb up on the little stone pillar on the very summit or is the summit the area at the base of this pillar? Merci, Danke, Grazi... NOAH
The same question about this pillar was asked on the other Gran Paradiso photo that I posted. I really wouldn't know but I don't see why some climbers would not climb it so they could say they did Paradiso the harder way. I wonder would it tumble down the mountain if you sneeze harder up there? :-) The real summit or highest point is left of the pillar where you can notice people, particularly the one in red and a white dot, which is statue of 'Madonna' or Virgin Mary.
Astonishing Picture. I have now decided to try and climb GranParadiso in the summer. Is it always so crowded? Thx!
Thanks in the name of author, it's fantastic shot. Yes, not only crowded but in opinion of many overcrowded. But don't let this turn you aside. It is like this with many Alpine 4000+m peaks. Gran Paradiso has status of easier 4000er which makes it so popular. Amazing beauty makes it up for that so go ahead.
Thanks for posting it, Velebit. And congratulations to the author, of course. We are thinking of a possible climb to Gran Paradiso next summer, as a means of acclimatization before attempting Mont-Blanc. Is that final climb hard? I believe I read somewhere it was grade II
You welcome Eza! I was supposed to be there and take the shot myself but then, just two days after climbing Mont Blanc, I didn't have will to tackle another 4000er. I just wanted to relax and enjoy. Half of the party felt the same so we gave up on Paradiso. Latter when I saw these shots of our party that went there I almost regretted the decision :-) We should have gone to Paradiso first because after MB it is hard to motivate yourself for another round of exertions. But then again if you go to Paradiso first you are quite tired for MB. From my experience it isn't easy to do several 4000+m peaks on several different locations in few days. If you ask me after Paradiso it would be better to rest for a week, wait for body to produce more blood cells and then go. Then MB is pure joy. But problem is that such wait is expensive when you are far away from home and you simply can’t wait :-) For example next year we went to Piz Bernina first and after two day proceeded to Monte Rosa. During first two days on Monte Rosa I was so tired, it was suffering. Only on the third day on Monte Rosa I finally felt great but then it was time to go home. Well, each body reacts differently, this is just my experience and my school how to deal with 4000ers in future.
That final climb on Paradiso is nothing to worry about if you ask me. But crampons must be removed if rocks are dry and that is best scenario.
Just a line to let you know, Aleksandar: we finally went to the Alps and bagged both Gran Paradiso and Mont Blanc in five days. Two days for the Gran Paradiso, a "rest" day at the Mer de Glace in Chamonix and another two days for Mont Blanc via Gouter route. It can be done, therefore, but Mont Blanc might have been a little more enjoyable with some more time for acclimatization. Thanks for your information. And, by the way: you were right about that final climb on Paradiso. It's not hard, but we found some ice and snow on the rocks and our guides decided to get going with crampons on. Only thing to say is that the final exposed steps were a little bit too impressive for me. Maybe I should get some more rock training ;-)