The monks of the Grand Saint Bernard Hospice, which sits at an altitude of 2469m on the border between Switzerland and Italy’s Aosta Valley, continue a tradition of hospitality that began over 1000 years ago. Founded in 1050 by Bernard of Menthon to accommodate and protect travellers, the hospice cannot be accessed by road once the first snows have fallen and access in winter is by skis and snowshoes alone.
We offer three days of snowshoeing based out of this legendary venue with its outstanding backdrop, alternating between Switzerland and the Aosta Valley. This trip to the high Alps is filled with history and is a guaranteed change of scene!
Day 1: Bourg Saint Bernard - Great Saint Bernard Hospice
From Bourg Saint Bernard (1950m) we climb up through the infamous ‘Combe des Morts’ (Combe of the Dead), named for the number of travellers who perished in bad weather here during the 18th and 19th centuries… Having soaked up the atmosphere and décor of the place, we adjourn to the hospice for the evening.
Elevation gain : 510 m
Day 2: Fenêtre de Ferret
After a hearty breakfast prepared by the fathers themselves, we make our way to the Fenêtre de Ferret (2698m), a mountain pass on the border linking the Grand Saint Bernard valley with the upper Swiss side of the Ferret valley. We climb to a small promontory at an altitude of 2823m. The views from here over the Grandes Jorasses, Mont Dolent and the east side of the Mont Blanc range are simply superb. Night in Grand Saint Bernard Hospice.
Elevation gain and loss : 600 m
Day 3: Western Col de Barasson
Once breakfast is over we start our climb to the frontier ridge at the Col de Barasson (2635m). The view of the Italian side of the ridge is once again magnificent. We finish our trip by returning via the Combe de Morts and on to Bourg Saint Bernard. We aim to arrive at the station in Martigny (Switzerland) at around 5pm and be back in Chamonix by 6pm.
Elevation gain : 500 m - Elevation loss : 900 m
Owing to adverse conditions (weather or snow cover) and/or the participants’ technical snowshoeing ability, this programme may be modified at any time by the mountain professional leading your group.
Group session associates several people who don’t know each other. It allows for a planned program to benefit from an attractive price on fixed dates. This formula is ideal for people looking for the friendliness of a group.
Dates 2021: January 15 to 17 - February 05 to 07 - March 12 to 14 - March 26 to 28 - April 16 to 18.
Price 2021: 440€ per person based on minimum 4 participants.
Included in the package:
- Organisation and mountain Leader guiding service,
- half-Board accomodations at Grand Saint Bernard Hospice in quadruple room,
- picnic lunches,
- shuttle from and back to Chamonix,
- snowshoe, pole, avalanche transceiver (DVA), shovel and probe rental.
Not included in the package :
- Drinks and personal expense (souvenirs…),
- repatriation insurance (mandatory),
- anything not mentioned in « included in the package.
You are a private group, you can ask for a customized trip.
- Exclusive guide
A more individualized relationship between your group and the professional.
- Choose your date of departure
You can choose your date of departure within the limit of the hut availabilities.
- Flexibility all along the trip
Depending on weather conditions, your level and your expectations, the guide can suggest you some different options of itinerary.
2 people: 850€ per person
3 people: 630€ per person
4 people: 525€ per person
5 people: 460€ per person
6 people: 415€ per person
7 people: 385€ per person
8 people: 360€ per person
Meeting point : Meet at 9.30 am at the Compagnie des Guides office in Chamonix. Minibus transfert to the train station of Bourg Saint Bernard in switzerland.
Possibility to meet at Martigny train station on day 1, equipped for the hike (contact the hiking department at the following number +33 4 50 53 92 78).
Ability level : 3/5 - Moderate trek. For active people who does not mind training to prepare for the hike. Multi-day snowshoe hike for people with trekking experience. 5 to 6-hour hike with average vertical gain between 500 m and 700 m. Snowshoe hikes on steeper terrain. Prior experience recommended. Each hiker carries daily necessities, picnic and safety avalanche safety kit. Hike with a lighter backpack on day 2.
Guiding policy : each mountain leader can guides a group from 4 to 8 people. The Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix's guiding policy is one of the strictest in the mountain guiding business.
Accomodation : 2 nights at the Grand Saint Bernard Hospice, in quadruple room* (or Brunet mountain hut in dormitory in the case of a change of plan).
* For people signing up alone, we cannot guarantee that you will share your room with a person of the same gender.
Before & after the trip: we have some hotel partners in Chamonix with special prices for our customers.
- Participants must have an insurance with repatriation cover. Cancellation insurance is highly recommended. You can take out insurance offering both of these types of cover when you sign up.
- Participants must also take valid ID with them.
We recommend you to pay particular attention to the choice of your equipment. It contributes greatly to the success of your stay. Weight is decisive: you always have to evaluate the ratio weight/comfort, to find the best compromise. In a general way, it is better to pile up several light coats rather than wear one big clothing.
- Boots for snowshoeing should be warm and waterproof. They should also provide high ankle support. New boots should be worn a couple of times before.
- If your feet tend to get blisters easily, you can apply baby talc on dry feet in the morning before wearing your socks.
- Minimum size 40 L (a back-pack with extra room is better than too small).
- Once everything is packed, make sure there is enough room to fit your picnic lunch.
- Although backpack covers are very convenient in bad weather, we recommend using a very large plastic bag as a pack-liner to protect your personal belongings from getting wet.
Underwear : avoid using cotton. Compared to technical synthetic material, it is heavier and it dries slowly. Wool is also getting popular amongst sportswear brands. Synthetic and wool are warmer ; they dry fast, and allow you to pack light.
Taking enough time to pack is essential, as you are going to carry every item for several days in a row. Avoiding extra weight can easily be done by packing your clothes tightly, placing heavy items at the bottom of the pack, and avoiding empty spaces. As a result weight is better spread throughout your back and weight impression diminished).
- 1 synthetic long-sleeve shirt,
- 1 light polar fleece,
- 1 pair of Goretex pants, 1 long synthetic underwear to wear under your trousers,
- 1 a pair of wool socks,
- 1 Goretex jacket,
- 1 pair of fleece gloves, 1 pair of mittens, 1 pair of silk gloves,
- 1 warm hat, a scarf or neck warmer,
- 1 water bottle (1.5 quart, to 2 quarts minimum) isothermal if possible,
- 1 pocket knife + 1 « spork »,
- Cap or sun-hat and sunglasses (category # 3 minimum), sunscreen (face and lips),
- a camera and a pair of binoculars (optional).
What you need for the entire trip
- Down jacket or warm polar fleece,
- long underwear or sweat pants for the evening,
- changes of clothes: (T-shirt, underwear and socks) prefer synthetic to cotton,
- Pocket light or head lamp,
- Individual first aid kit *,
- Ultra-light shower kit (feel free to customize …) + synthetic « dry fast » towel,
- 1 one-person sleep-sheet (silk is the most comfortable and remains the lightest),
- ID card or passport + spare change for personal expenses + paper tissues and toilet paper,
- gaiters (recommended if your Goretex pants don’t have a boot-skirt).
* Elastoplast (stretchable strapping tape), band-aids, second skin, medicine for common aches and pains (diarrhea, headaches, sore throat…). Don’t forget to bring personal prescription treatment if you have one. Mountain leaders also carry a complete first aid kit.
Partners : You can rent your equipment with our rental shop partners and benefit from a preferential rate Ravanel & Co, Sanglard Sports & Concept Pro Shop.
A 10€ discount voucher coming from the shop Au Vieux Campeur will be given to the first 500 clients from the ‘Cie des Guides’ (voucher to be collected at our office). Closest shop ‘Au Vieux Campeur’ : Sallanches.