Monte Rosa: Be In It

Hikers in the Zermatt Valley, Switzerland | Sarah Higgins
Hikers in the Zermatt Valley, Switzerland | Sarah Higgins

Monte Rosa: Be In It

Hike the less famous (although just as beautiful) mountain in the Alps 

In our third edition of our Travel: Be In It series we take a closer look at a big mountain in the European Alps. No, not that big mountain, the one that took out UTracks’ top active travel destination of 2019, but Monte Rosa.

Monte Rosa is located on the border between Italy (Piedmont and Aosta Valley) and Switzerland. It is Switzerland’s highest peak and the second highest mountain in Western Europe at 4,634m (15,203 feet). It was first summitted in 1855, although on our tours we’ll leave the climbing to the mountaineers. 

Also, the name Monte Rosa translates to Pink Mountain. Makes it seem even more alluring!

Read on as we cover 5 active travel benefits of exploring Monte Rosa.

Don’t let Mont Blanc be your only Alpine Hike


OK, we understand everyone loves to walk Mont Blanc. It was the number one travel destination of 2019 and is often cited as one of the premier hikes in Europe. Given Mont Blanc’s immense popularity (and I’m assuming you, dear reader, have possibly walked it already?), why not relive the excitement and breathtaking experiences of the Tour du Mont Blanc with a similar, but completely different Alpine hike?

Pilgrims on the Camino trail will often start planning a different Camino route as soon as they’ve reached Santiago de Compostela. If you’re looking to have a similarly great experience to the Mont Blanc classic, don’t overlook Monte Rosa.

Half the Fun is in the Training

The peaks of Liskamm & Monte Rosa as seen on our walking holiday in the Alps |  <i>John Millen</i>
Walking the Tour de Monte Rosa is very scenic but can also be quite strenuous. We have three trips around Monte Rosa and according to our honest trip grading system, two are graded as moderate and one is graded as challenging. 

On the challenging Tour de Monte Rosa Walk, the daily guided walks are around 5-7 hours. There are many challenging stages during the walk with steep uphills, descents, and sections of the trail which require care. The focus is on keeping a steady pace with time to stop and take photos.

You will need an excellent level of fitness to participate fully in this walking adventure. It is considered suitable for experienced walkers only, with a strong walking pace. Early in the season (June) you may encounter snow on the passes which may be quite deep making the walk more difficult.

As with all our challenging programs, we expect participants to be regular outdoors people, enjoying aerobic sport around four or five times a week over some period of time. Preferably this has been a long term interest but if not, you have set a program of fitness preparation with at least three months lead in time to your trip. The fitter you are for your trip, the more of a holiday it will be.

Reward yourself with Alpine Delicacies

Fondue is a typical meal on the refuges in Switzerland |  <i>Tim Charody</i>

How does stunning alpine vistas get even more incredible? When you’ve got a dinner table of local delights in front of you. On a hiking tour of Monte Rosa, enjoy guilt-free dining. There’s plenty of cow’s and goat’s Toma cheese available, raclette (a shared pot of melted cheese) and gratin, all made from alpine pastures. Don’t miss the saucisson, which is a dry cured sausage. To wash it all down, don’t go past the Bebbiolo DOCG wine, considered one of the best and most sought after Piedmont wines (DOCG meaning Denomination of Controlled Origin, so the wine must be made locally).

History doesn’t have to be Explored Solely in a Museum

Group ascending a mountain on the Tour de Monte Rosa Walk above a stunning alpine lake |  <i>Andrew Bain</i>

On a visit to Europe it is inevitable you will come face to face with history, even if you’re not specifically trying to! On a hike around Monte Rosa, you’ll witness history but it won’t come in the form of an old church or an exhibit-filled museum. Instead, you can walk in the footsteps of the famous geologist/engineer/artist/etc Leonardo da Vinci. 
Leonardo studied Monte Rosa in the late 15th century and it is widely acknowledged that he even climbed up to an altitude of 3,000m. Historians are able to assume this due to the detail in his drawings. He writes of Monte Rosa:
No mountain has its base at so great a height as this, which lifts itself above almost all the clouds; and snow seldom falls there, but only hail in the summer ... and this hail lies unmelted there ... and in the middle of July I found it very considerable. And I saw the sky above me quite dark, and the sun as it fell on the mountain was far brighter than in the plains below, because less atmosphere lay between the mountain and the sun. (From The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci)

Better Travel Memories For You

Cows grazing in the postcard perfect setting of the Gressoney Valley

Need more convincing about how awesome it is to walk the Tour de Monte Rosa? Hear from Ceejay, a UTracks Traveller from Germany.
Just a note to say, thank you. I had a wonderful week on the TMR. The preparation list was very comprehensive and I was thankful not to need my blister kit. Everything was well organised, my gluten free and no meat needs were well met with delicious foods. Our amazing guide, Maxim crafted lovely salads and fruit for us each day. Being the slowest in our group going up the hills was no problem for Maxim who managed everything really well. We had a very fun group with lots of stories and laughs. It is very special to meet like minded people who adore these mountains. It was my first week-long walk for many years but the pacing was just right and I never felt exhausted, just expectedly tired. The views just have to be seen to be believed, photos don't reveal the breath-taking "wow" feeling of being there. Thank you, I will be back :)

Interested in Hiking Monte Rosa?


For the popular small group guided Tour de Monte Rosa Walk, click here.
For the self guided 8 day Monte Rosa Alpine Walk, click here.
For the self guided 6 day Monte Rosa Alpine Walk, click here.
Click here to view all of our Monte Rosa trips.
Will you be strapping on your hiking boots and venturing to Monte Rosa? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
Read our other in depth reviews in our Travel: Be In It series:
Italy, Switzerland, Monte Rosa, Travel Be In It, Alpine Hikes

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