The “Mezzalama” is back once again on the glaciers of the Aosta Valley’s Monte Rosa.
And this time it will scale not two but three 4000m peaks.

The Mezzalama Trophy, the last race of the season on La Grande Course ski-mountaineering circuit, has announced that the forthcoming 22nd edition will take place on Saturday 27 April 2019, starting from the centre of Breuil-Cervinia and finishing in Gressoney-La-Trinité. Alternative dates in case of bad weather are Sunday 28 April, Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 May 2019. «The actual date for the competition – explains Adriano Favre, an alpine guide from Champoluc and head of the organising committee – will be confirmed a few days before the race on the basis of the latest forecasts and athletes will be informed via internet. Ever since its reintroduction in 1997, we have succeeded in holding the Mezzalama race regularly every two years, thanks to a proficuous collaboration with the Italian Meteorological Society coordinated by Luca Mercalli which enables us to identify suitable weather windows, even if just for a few hours».

The historic race, first held in 1933, is the only one in the world that is raced over glaciers; it traverses two “four-thousanders”, the Castor peak (4226 m) and the Naso del Lyskamm pass. «This year - says Favre – the course will go right over the summit of the Naso (4275 m), which is even higher than the Castor. But the real novelty of the 2019 edition will be a third 4000m peak. Instead of starting the descent to Gressoney immediately after crossing the Naso, from an altitude of 3900m the athletes will hike up again on their skis towards the Col de Lys as far as the Roccia della Scoperta-Rock of Discovery (4177 m). As in the 1978 edition of the Mezzalama, we want to commemorate the feat of seven mountaineers from Gressoney who first reached this rocky outcrop emerging from the glaciers between the Aosta Valley and the canton of Valais in 1778. It was a European-level expedition that took place eight years before the conquest of Mont Blanc. The seven Gressoney pioneers, commemorated by an imposing monument in Gressoney-Saint-Jean, were thus both the first to start exploring the Monte Rosa massif and precursors of mountaineering itself».

Entries will open on the site on Friday 1 February 2019 and will remain open until Monday 25 March 2019. 300 teams will be admitted, in the classic formation of three athletes each, for a total of 900 competitors. As usual, athletes are required to provide their mountaineering résumé and a list of races they have taken part in. The Mezzalama race is in fact only suitable for well-trained, all-round ski-mountaineers, i.e. participants must be both good skiers and proficient mountaineers. For added safety on the glaciers, the rules now require that each athlete be equipped with an ice axe, whereas previously one per team was sufficient. Crampons with steel points at least at the front are also obligatory.

The Mezzalama Trophy Foundation, together with all the other organising committees within the international La Grande Course circuit, has always demonstrated its strong interest in the younger generations by including a race designed especially for them in the official program. The Mezzalama Jeunes race for athletes under the age of 18 will be run on the snows of Gressoney on Friday 26 April 2019. On the following day the young contestants, accompanied by mountain guides, can climb up to the high-altitude Mantova and Gnifetti huts to watch the descent of athletes taking part in the Mezzalama Trophy.