Mont Paillasse (2414m) is a not very prominent relief of the northern extremity of the ridge between Valsavaranche and Val di Rhêmes, in the Gran Paradiso National Park. North of it there is only the insignificant but rather panoramic summit named Mont Blanc de Rhêmes (2205m), beyond the homonym Col du Mont Blanc (2171m): a mountain hut (casotto in Italian) for the Park rangers lies in the immediate vicinity.
West side of Monte Paillasse 2414m, seen during the climb of Torre Tonda
In spite of its limited height, the view from the top of Mont Paillasse is very wide: towards the north, in absence of any obstacle, it ranges over a great number of mountain groups of the Val d'Aosta, from Mont Blanc (the true one!) to Monte Rosa. The broad central valley extends at its foot, included the nearby Aosta, the regional chief-town.
In the opposite southern direction, the sight pushes forward faraway into the two parallel valleys of Valsavarenche, the only one entirely placed inside the Park, and Val di Rhêmes. The opposite ridge of Val di Rhêmes is visible towards the south as far as the Glacier of Torrent and Grande Rousse (3607m).
In a similar way it is possible to view a great part of the opposite side of Valsavarenche, with the Gran Paradiso summit (4061m)
in the background; in the foreground one can see: Punta Valletta (2793m),
Mont Favret (3173m)
and Gran Nomenon (3488m).
During the ascent from the Col du Mont Blanc till to nearly the top of Mont Paillasse, Gran Nomenon hides completely the rear summit of La Grivola (3968m),
that suddenly peeps out just in correspondence of the Mont Paillasse top.
Looking southwards along the ridge, the first summit that stands out in the foreground is Punta Chamoussière (2942m)
; it comes before the other nearly aligned summits of the ridge: Punta di Ran (3272m),
Punta di Bioula (3414m)
and so on.
There are different routes to Mont Paillasse both from Rhêmes Saint Georges and Buillet, at the beginning of Valsavaranche, all connected by interesting alternative routes: none presents any difficulty.
The main route keeps an unpaved road climbing gently through the wood: many shortcuts let you avoid the hairpin bends. One could describe it as a trip for families with children, taking into account that the wonderful wood, mainly made of larches, extends above the col du Mont Blanc. Therefore it supplies a shady pathway, particularly welcome in the hot 2003 summer; in addition the undergrowth offers any kind of fruits as strawberries, raspberries and bilberries, that imply a slower pace!
On the other hand, the difference in height of the route has to be taken into account: starting from Rhemes Saint Georges, there are about 1000 m as far as Mont Blanc de Rhêmes, more than 1200 meters up to Mont Paillasse summit.
- Mont Blanc de Rhêmes 2205m
- Mont Paillasse 2414m
- Punta Chamoussière 2942m
- Punta del Ran 3272m
- Punta Bioula 3414m
- Mont Favret 3173m
- Gran Nomenon 3488m
- La Grivola 3969m
- Grande Rousse 3607m
Views from the summit of Mont Paillasse
View northwards: a glider flies over the summit of Mont Blanc de Rhêmes. In the background the opposite side of the central valley, culminating with Monte Rosso di Vertosan (2943 m) and Mont Fallere (3061 m).
View towards NE: Mont Blanc de Rhêmes is in the left lower corner, the town of Aosta is visible on the right in the bottom of the valley. Far in the background, mountain groups from Grand Combin to monte Rosa can be hardly recognized in the mist.
View towards SE: La Grivola (3969 m) peeps out behind Gran Nomenon (3488 m). In the background, on the right, the Gran Paradiso group with the summits of Herbetet (3778 m), Piccolo - and Gran Paradiso (4061 m).
View southwards: in the foreground the ridge between Valsavarenche and Val di Rhêmes. On the right, the ridge between Val di Rhêmes and Valgrisenche is visible in the background.
View from Saint Nicolas of the ridge between Val di Rhêmes and Valsavarenche: the first summit on the left, above the wood, is Mont Paillasse (2414m), then Pointe Chamoussiere (2942m) and Pointe du Ran (3272m) follow.
From France, through the Mont Blanc Tunnel or the Col du Petit Saint Bernard: you can drive through SS.26, following Aosta direction and, before arriving in Villeneuve, turn right towards Introd
or you can enter in motorway A5 (at Courmayeur or Morgex), exit: Aosta Ovest.
From all the other directions: get the exit of Aosta Ovest by the motorway A5.
Then you can drive through SS.26 Aosta, direction Courmayeur, and just after Villeneuve turn left towards Introd.
Shortly after Introd, at the junction go to right following the sign "Val di Rhêmes" as far as Rhemês Saint Georges.
Turn left and look for a parking space near the church.
Inside the borders of the P.N.G.P. (Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso), at the moment (summer 2004) dogs are generally not allowed, except along a pair of paths, and free camping is forbidden (except for climbers from sunset till dawn).
The ranger at the hut near Mont Blanc de Rhêmes told me that mountain bikes are allowed, strictly along the pathways.
No fees are due.
Books and mapsBOOKS (in Italian)
E. Andreis, R. Chabod, M.C. Santi
Guida dei monti d'Italia: Gran Paradiso- Parco Nazionale
Ed: Club Alpino Italiano - Touring Club Italiano (1980)
Guide dell'Escursionista: le valli del Gran Paradiso e la Valgrisenche
Ed: L'Escursionista (2003) - Rimini
Andar per sentieri in valle d'Aosta- 70 itinerari
ED: Istituto Geografico De Agostini, Novara, 1988
Sentieri e rifugi - Carta turistica 1:50000
Gran Paradiso- Valle d'Aosta
IGC- Istituto Geografico Centrale
Carta dei sentieri e dei rifugi 1:25000
Valsavarenche, Val di Rhêmes, Valgrisenche
At the locality Voèx (Rhêmes Saint Georges), beyond Dora river, just outside the P.N.G.P. borders, there is the "Camping val di Rhêmes" : during the summer evenings, from the camp site by binoculars it's possible to see clearly, notwithstanding the distance, herds of ibexes (steinbocks) grazing on the slopes of Mont Paillasse.
You can get meteo information at the official site of the Regione Valle d'Aosta
Valle d'Aosta Meteo