Child pages
  • cosmology
Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata

Alpine Cosmology Workshop 2018

Welcome to the Alpine Cosmology Workshop website. Tervetuloa, grüß Gott!

This is an annual workshop organized since 2009. The conference is supported by the University of Helsinki, Max-Planck Institut fuer extraterrestrische Physik (MPE), and Planetarium Südtirol/Alto Adige.

The concept of the workshop is to combine a scientific part, in which each participant delivers a review on their topic with a group activity in which every participant is engaged. To this end we have selected to conduct the workshop at several huts located in the Alps, connected by hiking trails. Each day has approximately 6 hours of the workshop and 6 hours of hiking, during which the participants usually continue the discussion of the scientific topics and establish new collaborations. The no escape principle, and no contact to outside (poor cell-phone reception is however available), possible during the workshop, are unique attributes of the conference and allow participants to concentrate entirely on the subject of the conference, which includes:

  • Theoretical and observational cosmology
  • Physics of galaxy clusters
  • Coevolution of galaxies and black holes
  • Environmental effects in galaxy formation
  • Gravitational waves
SOC:    A. Finoguenov, K. Enqvist, N. Kaiser, E. Komatsu, E.Egami, V.Faraoni, C. Sarazin, J.-P. Kneib, M. Voit, M. Donahue, S. Colafrancesco, C. Raeth, I.Mandel
LOC:       A. Finoguenov,  C. Romero, V. Faraoni, F. Käfer, J. Comparat, D. Gruber, E. Carpentier

The full instructions regarding preparation is summarized on this page, as well as insurance coverage and risks associated with any such outdoor activity. For logistical reasons, in 2018 the participation at the conference is limited to 20 people (usually we have a limit of 30 people, but the selected route cannot accommodate that many this year).

To register, please write an email to alexis at mpe dot mpg dot de 

or alexis dot finoguenov at helsinki dot fi (usually works better)

suggesting the title of your contribution. 

The dates of the 2018 workshop are July  16-20 2018. 

The registration for the conference has been closed. The practical information has been sent to all registered participants.

The 2018 route is located in Aosta valley and more precisely in Val Vogna (Italy) and features 

  • a moderate main route with a weather-secure access to each hut and escape possibility on each day 
  • optional hike to 3320m Corno Bianco and return to the same hut


The meeting starts on July 16 (2018) in Alagna Valsesia (Italy), which has public transport connections to Milan, Turin and Geneva. Note that transportation options are limited on Sundays (e.g. on 15.7.18). For plannig use  ATAP website ( The bus line of interest is Linea 50.

Participants arriving earlier should arrange for their own accommodation. During July 16-20 (2018) the accommodation is reserved by the LOC.


July 16:

  • Destination: Rifugio Valle Vogna (1.5 hour hike from the bus stop). Accessible under most conditions. Alternative meeting point. For those arriving with cars -  we can park the cars next to the rifugio (hut in Italian).

  • lunch at the hut
  • 4h of talks starting 2pm. Dinner at the hut

July 17:

  • Breakfast at the hut starting 7am. 
  • 4h of talks starting at 8am. Lunch at the hut. Last chance to join the conference.
  • 1pm Hike. Destination: Rifugio Abate Carestia (2.5 hour hike);
  • 2h of talks


  • Dinner at the hut

July 18:

  • 7am breakfast. 
  • Excursion day. All hikes are optional.
    • 8am. hike including a beginner level via ferrata (good for your first try of via ferrata, just make sure to bring your own equipment: lanyard, helmet, harness)

to Corno Bianco and back (4h total)

And here is the panorama as seen from the top of Corno Bianco:

  • 8am. Hike to the pass "Bocchetta di Netscio" and back (4h) - most of the part is together with the group going to Corno Bianco
  • lunch at the hut
  • 4h of talks starting at 2pm
  • dinner at the hut


July 19 

  • 7am breakfast. 
  • 7:30am hike to the hut (Rifugio) Ospizio Sottile
  • Lunch at the hut
  • 4h of talks starting at 2pm
  • Conference summary
  • dinner at the hut

July 20

  • Breakfast at the hut starting 8am. 
  •  Return to the Rifugio Valle Vogna (3h).
  • Lunch at the hut. 
  • Adjourn

Here is the scheme with our hiking trails marked. We will provide a proper map on site.


Last minute changes dictated by the weather are often required. Typically, all the talks will be given, but not all the hikes can be done. We hike both as a group or by a few mini-groups (with 3 people or more), with control over the participants.


Alternatives include

  • Adjustment of hiking route based on the LOC evaluation of individual's experience. 
  • Cancel any part of the hike due to inclement weather. 
  • Use of the multiple access and escape points. 
  • Alpine rescue is covered by the provided insurance. Currently, there is an obligatory personal liability cost, which is introduced to preclude people from abusing the system (no free helicopter rides anymore - 700 Euro personal cost).

Practical details:

  • Huts provide both accommodation (only own sleeping sheet is required by the huts), showers (bring your own light-weight towel, soap and shampoo) and full meals including vegetarian option. We will order both the sleeping sheets and light-weight towels for interested participants as a part of the registration fee. Sleeping sheet weights 100g and has 7cmx15cm in size:
  • Backpack shall be 10% of your body weight. 50l backpack (with rain-proof cover) shall be enough. We can store your extra travel stuff in the cars. Here is an image of a 35l trekking backpack.
  • Water will be refilled at each hut (watch the signs - not every tap serves drinkable water). Bring a light water container like this:
  • You can line-dry (and eventually wash) your clothes.
  • Bring your talk on the USB key. LOC will carry a laptop and a projector. If you prefer to use chalk, we will find a rock for you.
  • Hiking shoes, breathable clothes. Nylon T-short and a rainproof softshell is a minimal functional combination.
    Here is how hiking shoes should look like:

    You need to have them in order to participate. This is strictly enforced for your own safety and comfort as well as the image of the group. The latter is important to get access to certain hikes from the rescue men (hut owners), who will first examine our boots before letting us go. The shoes should cover your ankle. We can provide advice on how to select them. 
  • Hiking poles (these help saving your knees)
  • flip-flops to walk inside the hut
  • sunglasses, sun protection, hat
  • hiking pants - long or at least covering the knees - some rain-proof protection is a great bonus.
  • personal medicine. If you like to hike alone - bring your own first aid kit. 
  • earplugs (for the night)
  • prepare for zero temperatures (Celsius or 30s F)  and snow on the route - in addition to the softshell take fleece, warm hat, gloves
  • plastic bandage for you feet, some people put it prior to hiking. And on the hike: if it hurts - stop and put it on.
  • light snacks for long hikes
  • hiking/skiing socks (and a change)
  • knee/ankle protection if you use it
  • Personal medical insurance valid in Italy is advised (we only cover the transport to the hospital).
  • Personal costs are ~400 Euro, covering meals and accommodation (receipts are given). Huts often do not accept cards. 
  • Participants are expected to bear the costs of travel to the first and from the last access points of the route.

The conference fee is 200 Euro and includes: obligatory Alpine insurance and Alpine membership, map of the area, reserved funds for fees related to unexpected changes of the route, coffee breaks. The fee is the same for every participant, no reduction is possible. The payment of the fee will be done in cash during the first day of the conference. Cancellation is subject to the already incurred costs.

Deadline for registration: May 20 2018, but is subject to the available space. The registration to the conference has been closed.



Hiking is a potentially dangerous activity. The hike descriptions provided by the conference organizers are intended to help plan outings, but conference participants are wholly responsible for anticipating potential hazards and evaluating their physical ability to follow a particular hike. Hiking is a personal choice and requires personal responsibility. Hiking exposes you to risks. Risks are mitigated, but not eliminated by training and skill. Conference organizers, UoH, MPE and UoI assume absolutely no responsibility, including but not limited to injury and loss due to use of information, or participating in activities related to the Alpine Cosmology Workshop. 

Some readers of this disclaimer might consider participating at the conference as risky, while they go on similar routes in private. This disclaimer applies to any hiking activity! The worst risk is underestimating the danger! By participating in the conference you will improve your knowledge of the mountaineering and the relevant safety rules. 


  • No labels