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Report 19th July 2017

Conditions at altitude continue to deteriorate and the stone fall risk is increasing in numerous areas.  Take care with your route choice and respect the time of day.

 

- Albert 1er : the conditions remain OK for the normal routes on the Aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche and Petite Fourche. The Table ridge, Aiguille Purtscheller and Aiguilles Dorées traverse are still popular.  Some of the snow bridges in the area are now suspect.

 

- Argentière : Rock climbing is the main activity in this sector.  The Aiguille d’Argentière is no longer recommended, especially the Glacier du Milieu. The glacier walk up to the Col du Tour Noir and back is popular. The descent from the Grands Montets is still OK and the return from the Rognan to Lognan has recently been re-equipped. There is bare ice on the Petite Aiguille Verte.   The Grands Montets Ridge is in condition, though a crevasse blocks the exit and requires some “initiative”. Descent via the Moine ridge with a 30m abseil at the bergschrund.

 

-  La Charpoua : The Dru traverse is popular  and the glacier remains OK.  The rock routes near the hut are also in condition.

 

- Le Couvercle : The rock routes remain accessible, the bergschrunds  generally not posing a problem, though the one for the Contamine on the Moine is awkward  Parties have climbed the Moine Ridge on the Verte, there and back, the bergshrund going on the left.

 

- Leschaux : Good conditions for the rock routes near the hut. Some parties have done the Petites Jorasses W face and the Aiguille de Leschaux. Likewise, there have been parties on the Walker Spur; some ice at the level of the “cheminées rouges”, (red chimneys). There are new way markers on the glacier approach to the hut. Continue up the Mer de Glace, past the drum, to find the orange cairns.

 

- Envers des Aiguilles : for some of the routes with a glacier approach, the  bergshrunds are awkward.  It is is still possible to pass the bergschrund for the Republique by climbing a slab to the right then traversing back left to start the route.

 

- Le Requin :  No problems reaching the foot of the routes and parties are still going up the Valley Blanche.

 

- Torino : No bad reports concerning the bergschrunds in this sector.  On the other hand the glaciers are becoming problematical with numerous fragile snow bridges.  Conditions for the Rochefort Arete have deteriorated, many parties having turned back. No major problems for the approach to the Dent du Géant, though take care of other parties in the approach gully.  The traverse of the Jorasses is feasible but technically more demanding than usual.  Parties still doing the Kuffner, (dry, approach directly,) and the Aiguilles du Diables (the approach gully is mixed with unstable rock.) It has been reported the Tour Ronde is very unstable, including the SSE Ridge, (2-3 pitches to reach the col then keeping to the Brenva side, rather than following the crest.) The approach to the Pilier d’Angle and Aiguille Blanche de Peuterey is no longer in condition, (chaotic glacier and stone fall/ land slips.)

 

- Cosmiques : When there has been a good freeze, some of  the Triangle du Tacul routes have been done. Petit Frounet and Chéré, their first two pitches are dry but protectable.  Contamine Negri and Grisolle have some sections of bare ice.  It is very important to start these routes early! 

The 3 Monts is still popular, though the route requires a good technical ability, (bare ice in several sections.)   Parties on the Gervasutti Pillar have reported generally good conditions.  The bergschrund at the foot of the Rébuffat-Baquet route, (Aig du Midi, S face) is opening up and requires “jump start”.

 

- Plan de l’Aiguille :  The Frendo is no longer feasible, too dry and lots of stone fall!   The Nantillons glacier is in very bad condition.  

 

- Monzino : All the routes in the area are being done, though as the conditions are dry, they are technically harder than usual.

 

- Gonella : The normal Italian route up Mont Blancis still in condition.

 

- Boccalate :  Parties are still doing the normal route on the Grand Jorasses, the route remaining OK.

 

- Robert Blanc : conditions still very good for the Dôme des Glaciers and the Lanchettes ridge, though some snow bridges are becoming fragile in the upper of the route.

 

- Conscrits : A lot of bare ice on the  Dômes de Miage traverse and it is now rarely being done. There and back to the central Dôme Central via the Col des Dôme, as well as the East Dôme, remains feasible.  Except for the Bérangère, the other routes are no longer in condition.

 

- Durier : The Bionnassay Ridge is still very narrow (knife edge), but feasible given a good technical level. The ice is just below the surface at thePiton des Italiens.

 

- Goûter/Tête Rousse : The Mont Blanc normal route remains very popular, despite frequent stone fall.  Take care and respect the time of day.  

 

- Grands Mulets : There is little snow left on the Bossons and Jonction glaciers,(dry), and the track follows more or less that shown on the IGN map.  About 60 to 70m of bare ice on the Dôme N Ridge.

 

 

 

 

Report 13 July 2017

Conditions at altitude are becoming even drier, meaning even fewer snow and mixed routes are now feasible.  Likewise, the approaches to, especially the bergschrunds, some rock routes are becoming more complicated.

The weather is due to improve over the next few days and with the rise in temperatures, one needs to be particularly vigilant!

 

- Albert 1er : There has been no activity on the Chardonnet for 10 days. The normal routes on the Aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche and Petite Fourche are still OK, though the snow bridges on the glacier are becoming more fragile.   The Table ridge is feasible if started directly by the ridge, (initially bad rock.)  Good conditions also for classic rock routes (Purtscheller S Ridge, Dorées Traverse).

 

- Argentière : No recent news, though the rock routes above the hut are in condition. (some stonefall danger).  The return path from Rognan to Lognan has been re-equipped and now feels less exposed.

 

- Charpoua : The Dru traverse is in good condition, no problems for the glacier, up and down, (done on 13/07).  Rock routes are also OK (Contamine, Sale Athé…)

A lot of parties on the Dru N Face, even though this area is subject to stonefall and summer is not the ideal time.   

 

- Couvercle : Only the rock routes are to be recommended and the approach/return for some of these  are becoming more awkward. Most of the snow and mixed routes are not currently feasible, though conditions change rapidly and it is best to consult the hut warden.

 

- Leschaux : The routes near the hut are dry and the approach to the Petites Jorasses remains OK. The approach to the Périades is also OK, if there is a good night time freeze. The upper part of the Walker Spur still has plenty of snow but with the rise in temperatures one would expect it to be climbed by the start of next week.  Feel free to ask the warden for more information.

 

- Envers des Aiguilles : In general, the bergschrunds are technically difficult in this area. The Mer de Glace face of the Grepon is not being done because of difficulties in descent, (bad state of the Nantillons glacier and abseilling down “Le soleil à rdv avec la lune” is long and complicated.)  No problems for the routes without glacier approach (Tour Verte, Pointes des Nantillons, Pilier des Contes, Dalles de l’Envers).

 

- Le Requin : The approaches to the hut and routes are still in good condition and the rock is free of snow.  The way up the Valley Blanche remains OK, (with care.)

 

- Torino : The Rochefort Arete is being done, the bit of snow that fell in a recent storm has improved conditions.  Good conditions for the traverse of the Grand Jorasses and the normal route, (2 short sections of ice).  The Kuffner and Aiguilles du Diable traverse were done yesterday, some verglas but basically OK.

 

- Les Cosmiques : Mont Blanc by the Trois Monts was done on 13/07 and is popular : the Tacul is OK, (care needed at the 2nd bergschrund), the lefthand track on the Maudit avoids exposure to the seracs , (especially on ascent) but has 2 sections of ice, (use of ice screws possible.) Ice just below the surface on the traverse to the Brenva Col and the Mur de la Côte, but should not slow one down.

Conditions difficult for the Pointes Lachenal, bare ice on the 1st and 3rd summits both on ascent and descent.  The abseil area has loose blocks, expect to make a 30m abseil.

Triangle du Tacul very (too) dry.

 

- Plan de l’Aiguille : The latest information is that conditions on the Frendo have got a lot worse.  Crampons are still needed for the approach to the Peigne N Face.

 

- Les Grands Mulets : The warden is going back up to the hut on the 14th July, so we expect an update of conditions for this route up Mont Blanc on the 16th.

 

- Tête Rousse/ Goûter :  For the moment the condition of the approach to the Gouter is “normal” but the stonefall frequency could increase with a rise in temperatures.  It is important to reduce the risk by crossing the Grand couloir as early as possible, (before the afternoon). The recent storms have cleared the soft snow off the Tete Rousse glacier and crampons are needed to cross it.

 

- Plan Glacier : There has been some storm damage to the footpaths, but no major problems for the approach.  Some awkward sections on the approach to the Durier, though nothing too « dramatic ».

 

- Les Conscrits : The Mont Tondu is very dry and not to be recommended at moment.  The Dômes de Miage are feasible, preferably there and back to the central summit.  Concerning the traverse, the descent to Bérangère is bare ice and requires excellent cramponning technique. Nobody has been on the Aiguilles de Tré-la-Tête and the Lex Blanche for some time now.

 

- Robert Blanc : The Lanchettes Ridge and the Col des Glaciers on the Dôme des Glaciers are in condition. There have been parties on the Petite Aiguille des Glaciers and Mont Tondu. The Glaciers des Glaciers is OK for the moment.

 

- Monzino : Some parties on the Innominata, feasible but more technical than usual.  The rock routes in this area are very popular.

 

- Gonella : The normal Italian route up Mont Blanc is well frequented and with no particular problems, (the route goes over a snow bridge which is solid for the moment).

 

- Hiking : Good conditions for the Buet, (good boots and poles suffice). The paths below Flégère are open again, except for the 4x4 track under the cable car which will open on 28th July.  

 

Report 8th July 2017

Some miscellaneous information following the recent good weather.

 

Nearly all the snow that fell at the end of June has now melted away. The mixed routes, which temporarily came back into condition, are now dry again.  Despite the high temperatures in the valleys, the situation at altitude is OK, though night time freezing is variable. Concerning the rock routes, the bergschunds are causing difficulties in some sectors.

 

No major changes in the Albert 1er sector, except that the Chardonnet descent is becoming more awkward, (lots of ice).  The Forbes Ridge is just about feasible but the numerous sections of ice require good technical ability. The Migot Spur is no longer practicable.

 

The Petite Verte is bare ice again.  Stone fall experienced on the approach to the Minaret (05/07).

 

Stone fall also reported on the Grutter, Aiguille des Pèlerins.  The Frendo has been climbed, with a lot of ice in the upper part and stone fall risk from the summit buttress, (respect the time of day.)

 

For hikers and climbers, the first train to Montenvers is at 8h00 and the last train down at 18h30.

 

Good conditions reported for the Drus traverse.  Some snow still at the summit of the Petit Dru, not enough to cause any problems but enough for drinking water if bivovuacing.  (N.B. The Charpoua hut is open!)   Too much snow on the Grand Dru summit for a bivouac.   The descent of the Charpoua glacier is OK, keeping more or less directly below the Y couloir on the Verte.

 

Leschaux sector:  The rock is dry, with the exception of the Walker which still has some snow.

 

Envers sector: The bergschrunds are staring to cause problems. Contact the hut warden for details of the route(s) you want to do. The descent of Nantillons glacier is awkward  It is better to descend from the Grepon by abseilling down "Le soleil a rdv avec la lune".

 

Mont-Blanc: The Trois Monts route remains OK.  No problems with the first bergschrund on the Tacul for the moment. However, the bergschrund in the middle has widened considerably and the large snow bridge there is weakening.  Do not forget that this route traverses under the Tacul and Mont Maudit seracs.   A fixed rope with knots and metal link has been placed at the Col du Mont Maudit, (a lot of bare ice).  The traverse to Brenva Col is in good condition, as long as you keep below the bergschrund.

The Grand Couloir and approach to the Gouter hut are in “summer” conditions, i.e. dry.  Take heed of the safety advice.

 

On the Italian side, the Aiguilles Grises route has been done but the glacier du Dôme is becoming a maze of crevasses.

 

Reasonable conditions for the Tricot integral, the Bionnassay traverse, the Kuffner Ridge and the Aiguilles du Diable traverse, though they are more technically demanding than usual.

 

Report 5th July 2017

Here is the latest information, following the recent, mixed weather.

 

It snowed down to about 2500m at the end of last week but, with the exception of a few shaded areas high up, the rock is now dry again.

 

The recent snowfall has temporarily improved conditions for some of the snow and mixed routes but with very warm weather, the bare ice is reappearing again.  This process will be accelerated over the next few days: early starts and extra care are needed!

 

- Albert 1er : No problems for the Aiguille du Tour with the exception of the Table Couloir, which has been out of condition for some  time now. Conditions OK at the moment for the Cols du Pissoir and Midi des Grands The normal routes on the Tête Blanche and Petite Fourche are also OK but be aware the snow bridges on the approach are now weak.

Concerning the Chardonnet, only the Forbes Ridge has been done and not in good conditions, (recent serac fall at the start and ice on the route).  2 x 60m ropes are useful for the descent of the normal route and there is a wide crevasse blocking the way, (though possible to get around for the moment.)

 

- Argentière : The normal route on the Petite Verte was done in good condition on 04/07.  Cols du Tour Noir and Argentière are tracked.   Good, mixed conditions for the Flèche Rousse Ridge.  There is a lot of ice on the Glacier du Milieu, (a good cramponning technique needed.)  The bergschrund goes on the true left bank, (right looking upwards,) then traverse to the true right side, (thin snow bridge.)    The rock routes near the hut are in good condition.

 

- La Charpoua :  The rock has dried quickly and parties left today (05/07) for “Sale Athée” and the  “Contamine”  on the Evèque.  There is still some snow left high up but not enough to cause problems and the traverse of the Drus looks feasible.

 

- Le Couvercle : The rocks near the hut are dry but the Moine Ridge on the Verte still has too much snow.  The Whymper Couloir is not at all feasible but the traverse of the Courtes, (there and back) should be possible, (good ability and early start essential).  The Point Isabelle is very awkward and with a wide bergschrund.

 

- Leschaux : The rocks near the hut are dry but the Grandes Jorasses still has too much snow.

 

- Envers des Aiguilles : Parties climbing everywhere on dry rock.  The bergschrund for the “Subtilité Dulférienne” is no longer possible and that for the “Soleil a rendez-vous avec la Lune” is awkward.

 

- Requin : Good conditions for rock climbing near the hut. Continuing up the Valley Blanche still possible, though care needed with weak snow bridges.   

 

- Torino : The Dent du Géant is in good condition but the Rochefort Arete is narrow and pointed and the approach is becoming dry.  Parties on the traverses of the Aiguilles d’Entrèves and Marbrées, the Kuffner and the Aiguilles du Diable, no further information.  With the hot weather, there is a stone fall danger, especially around the Tour Ronde.  Rock climbing virtually everywhere in the Cirque Maudit and on the Tacul satellites. 

 

- Cosmiques : Rock climbs in condition.  Also, the Contamine Negri and Mazeaud have been done, no further information.  The Pointes Lachenal traverse is back in condition.  The Tacul and Maudit are tracked, no further information.  The Midi-Plan Arete, (to the Aig du Plan, there and back,) was done today, (05/07) in generally good conditions, though ice is beginning to reappear in some places.

 

- Grands Mulets : The traverse of  the Pèlerins  glacier from the Plan de l’Aiguille  is done at the level of the buvette, (way markers) and not by following the path marked on the IGN map. After the traverse, the moraine goes OK at the level of the “point jaune”, (yellow marker?). Glacier des Bossons and Jonction are OK, (way markers). Take care below the hut as the snow bridges are becoming weaker.   Good conditions at the moment for the Nord du Dôme ridge.

 

- Goûter : The Mont Blanc normal route is basically in good condition but care needed crossing the Grand Couloir.  It is essential to move quickly and to cross as early as possible, (both on the up and the down.)

 

- Durier : The Bionnassay Ridge is in good condition.

 

- Conscrits : The  Dômes de Miage traverse is still feasible despite  a very narrow and pointed section and ice appearing  some areas.  No problems for the Bérangère.

 

- Gonella : The normal Italian route up Mont Blanc is in good condition. The latest information for the Tournette Spur is that it is not in condition.

 

- Monzino :  Parties left today (05/07) for the Peuterey, Innominata Integrals and the Brouillard Ridge, no further information.  No special problems for the approaches to the Eccles bivouac and the Pilier Rouge du Brouillard.

 

Hiking :

 

A reminder that all the paths between the Floria and Flégère are closed until 28th July because of works, (copy of the legal decision available on the Chamoniarde site.)  

There has been a land slip below the Aiguille Pourrie which crossed the South Grand Balcon path.  This area remains unstable, so do not linger here.   Crampons are no longer needed for the normal way up Mont Buet but there are still snow patches so good hiking boots and walking poles are essential.

 

Report 30th June 2017

A quick update following the bad weather this week.

 

Snow has settled down to 2300/2500m but this will quickly disappear below 3000m with the sun.

 

Above this, there is 15cms of fresh snow at the Torino hut and 20cms at the Cosmiques hut, (40cms of windblown snow throughout the week), 30cms of windblown snow at the Gouter hut and 20cm at the Envers hut. (see photo).

 

Since the beginning of the week, at lot more snow has probably fallen above 3800m and the snow cover will have been affected by the strong winds.  This will have created an avalanche risk, notably on the 3 Monts route, for which it would be wise to wait a bit.

 

After the bad weather, the mixed routes look white again but the conditions are unlikely to have improved.  However, the temperatures have dropped and, if this continues there should be a, temporary, improvement in the general conditions at altitude.

 

Concerning the rock routes, it is necessary to wait a bit for the rocks to dry.

 

Report 23June 2017

An update of the report from 20th June following the rapid change in conditions due to the hot weather.

It continues to be very hot and stone fall is causing concern is some areas.  Generally, it is best to stick to climbs on stable rock, even though some snow/mixed routes remain feasible, (given a good freeze and an early start.)

 

Albert 1er sector: The descent gully from the Aiguille du Chardonnet is bare ice, it is necessary to carry abseil ropes. There are still sections of bare ice on the Forbes Ridge, (see 20/06 report.)  Good conditions on the Table Ridge and the normal routes on the Aiguille du Tour, Petite Fourche and Tête Blanche.

 

Argentière sector: The Grand Montets lifts open on Saturday 24/06.  The Petite Verte looks to be in bad condition, (bare ice).   The OHM is waiting for more condition reports (Petite Verte, Grands Montets Ridge to the Aiguille Verte…). 

 

Charpoua sector: The Contamine on the Grand Dru was climbed on 22/06 in good conditions. The glacier was OK, though maybe not for long.

 

Couvercle sector:  The bergschrund for the Moine Ridge is awkward and the upper part still has a lot (too much?) snow.

Envers des Aiguilles sector: The missing ladders and steps on the hut approach have been replaced.  The unstable zone above the start of the ladders has been purged but the area is still to be avoided after rain.  The granite climbs are in excellent condition, the bergschrunds still being OK.  The Ryan Ridge looks feasible. However, the start is complicated with 3 bergschrunds, keep to the rocks to the left, technical.  It is not recommended to descend the Nantillons glacier because of crevasses and stonefall.  Descent from the Grepon is possible by abseilling down the Piola route "Le soleil a rendez-vous avec la lune" on the Envers side, from Point Balfour.

 

Cosmique / Aiguille du Midi sector:   The 3 Monts remains popular, the Tacul is OK (use the righthand track,) some ice at the Col du Mont Maudit (2 axes useful for the leader, no fixed rope in place.)  Take the lower track towards the Col de la Brenva, (which goes along below the bergschrund, the higher track is exposed and icy).  The Contamines-Mazeaud and Grisolle on the Tacul Pyramide are feasible, given a good freeze and an early start.  The Gervasutti Pilla r is in good condition.

 

Torino / Helbronner sector: The Dent du Géant approach is dry but OK.  The Rochefort ridge is awkward, (very narrow and with ice sections) Different opinions, (depending technical ability?) reported for the Kuffner.  The bergschrund in the approach couloir is fragile. The Aiguilles du Diable traverse is still feasible.

 

Goûter: The dry, hot weather has increased the stonefall risk in the Grand Couloir, including the morning.   Conditions are not good and it is best to postpone plans for an ascent.

 

Monzino: The Eccles bivouac is accessible.  The Innominata ridge was done 22/06 in bad conditions.  Rocks/blocks were streaming down the gully between the two ridges. Therefore, it is not recommended until better freezing conditions prevail.   The Brouillard Ridge (integral) is also not recommended, due to unstable boulders. The Bonatti on the Brouillard Red Pillar has been climbed recently.  The belays and bolts on the Gabarrou-Long ont have been renewed. The pillar is dry, it was approached  by abseiling from the Eccles.

 

Stay safe !

The Chamoniarde ( http://www.chamoniarde.com/en/mountain-topics/climbing-report-book ), looks forward to your reports to help with future updates….