At the beginning of last week the high pressure weather system together with good freezing conditions, (if you start early,) encouraged a lot of alpine activity. This report is concerns the period 27 to 29 June.
Couvercle Sector: Quite a few parties on the Whymper, Courtes traverse and the Ponte Isabelle. The E spur of the Droites was done in good conditions, though with a lot of snow, (only one pitch of actual rock climbing.) Concerning rock routes, the Moine has been climbed but the normal route still has a lot of snow. The Mer de Glace Balcon approach to the hut is passable, (with a few patches of neve below the hut.)
Leschaux Sector: The Mer de Glace Balcon route from the Couvercle is being done but some sections require crampons. The rock routes behind the hut are dry as is the Petite Jorasses which looks to be in condition.
Envers des Aiguilles Sector: The hut will open on July 2nd. No information yet from this sector. People are already doing routes on the Nantillons, Tour Verte and Tour Rouge. Awaiting news concerning the longer routes.
Requin Sector: No problems concerning the approach to the hut for the moment. No tracks yet on the Envers glacier.
Albert 1er Sector: good conditions on the Aiguille du Tour, (normal route and the Table couloir), Tête Blanche (normal route and N face), Petite Fourche. The Purtscheller is also being climbed. Parties have reported good conditions on the Chardonnet, (Forbes Ridge, Migot Spur and the normal descent route.) The approach to the hut from the La Tour lifts still has some awkward snow patches and is unadvisable for novices, families etc.
Argentière Sector: good conditions on the Aiguille d’Argentière normal route, the col du Tour Noir and the col Supérieur du Tour Noir (there and back). The Flèche Rousse ridge is tracked. The Jardin ridge has also been done but there is still a lot of snow. The N faces have not been climbed, many snow slides.
Torino Sector: traverses of the Aiguilles Marbrées, Aiguilles d’Entrêves and the Aig Toule are been done regularly. Good conditions on the N face and Gervasutti on the Tour Ronde and also for the Kuffner ridge; the direct approach for this from the Torino giving no problems, including the bergschrund. A party starting from the Fourche Bivouac reported signs of a recent rockfall after the Gendarme (without consequences for the moment.) The parties bypassed the Androsace (pitched) before regaining the ridge. A party was seen on the Brenva. The Rochefort Arete is tracked, though has several delicate passages.
Aiguille du Midi Sector: Frendo Spur was done in good conditions, (after a night in the Plan de l’Aiguille). Good neve on the approach, the rock sections had plenty of snow, (crampons worn throughout). The ridge is OK.
Triangle du Tacul: Contamine Grisolle – Contamine Mazeaud – Contamine Négri – goulotte Chéré have been done. The 3 Monts traverse is tracked and in good condition, (steep ice for several metres on the Mont Maudit, 2 axes recommended, though it might be possible to bypass.)
Durier Sector: One needs to do the approach from the Plan Glacier very early in order to have good conditions. The route from the Piton des Italiens, traversing the Bionnassay, has been done for the first time this season. The ridge is OK, (no cornices or ice but very narrow.)
Conscrits Sector: Dômes de Miage traverse, Bérangère and Tondu all in good condition. The hut approach is still been done via the glacier. The work on the foot bridge might be finished by 1st July
Monzino Sector: parties have done the Inominatta ridge, Brouillard Pillar Rouge (Bonatti route and Anneaux Magiques) and the Hyper couloir on the Brouillard. At the beginning of this season the approach to the Eccles bivouac is comparatively easy. Nobody has attempted the Peuterey Intergrale yet, (lots of snow.)
Gonella Sector: Conditions generally in good condition for the Mont Blanc. The Dome glacier is OK. There is a good track from the Piton des Italiens to the summit.
Mont-Blanc – the normal route is very popular. If you chose the correct time of day, crossing the Grand couloir is OK. The bergschrund on the ridge is either bypassed on the right, (fixed rope,) or on the left, (nothing in place.)
In conclusion: If the night time freezing levels remain good, then it is time to do the snow routes. If it is rock routes that you want, then it is only the S facing ones that are in condition. (Do not forget that the approaches to the routes in the Aiguilles Rouges have a lot of snow, be equipped accordingly).
Finally, for the hikers: the snow is slowly melting but still remains in many sectors above 2200m , making some passages difficult. The mountain lakes are starting to reappear from their snow cover, the approach to some remains awkward. We cannot give a list of the conditions of all the hikes, so if in doubt do not hesitate to contact the Office de Haute Montagne.
Enjoy the mountains and stay safe.