Mont Vélan

Mont Vélan, Ollomont, Aosta Valley, Italija

Mont Vélan, towering at 3,727 meters, is a prominent mountain located on the border between Switzerland and Italy, in the Pennine Alps. Notably the highest peak between the Great St Bernard Pass and the Grand Combin, Mont Vélan is distinguished by two major glaciers on its northern slopes: the Glacier de Tseudet to the west and the Glacier de Valsoray to the east. Its western flank also features the historical Glacier de Proz.

The mountain’s strategic position places it south of Bourg-Saint-Pierre in Switzerland’s Valais canton and north of Etroubles in Italy’s Aosta Valley. The massif also includes the Petit Vélan, a lower summit situated to the north of the main peak.

Historically significant, Mont Vélan’s first ascent was accomplished on August 31, 1779, by Laurent Joseph Murith, a knowledgeable priest and scientist from the nearby village of Sembrancher. Accompanied by two hunters familiar with the terrain, Murith’s expedition faced considerable challenges including a daunting ice wall, which they overcame by meticulously carving steps and handholds. Their ascent, starting from the Glacier de Proz, is remembered for its adventurous spirit and Murith’s unwavering determination, successfully culminating in reaching the summit. This pioneering climb not only marked a significant achievement in the history of mountaineering but also highlighted Mont Vélan’s unique geological and geographical attributes.