It was a fair way up from the valley floor, but worth the effort. It started out slow and cold (me), but the higher we got, the better and more enjoyable it became. And warmer in the sun too. Six hours and 2100m’s later we were greeted by the Madonna on the summit of Gran Paradiso at 4061m, the only 4000er completely in Italy. The conditions were great and though it was mostly a snow climb (some even skied part of the route) we got a small, high altitude via ferrata section in too to spice up things a little. And although it was the same route down it was super beautiful all the way. Outstanding training mission and pizza was the reward.