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Report 5 August 2016

There have been no big changes since the last update. Conditions generally remain very good.

The recent bad weather has put down a dozen or so centimetres of fresh snow at the Cosmiques and Gouter huts.  This was combined with strong winds which are likely to continue through the weekend.  Be warned, this could result in windslab and wet snow avalanches at altitude.
It will be necessary to wait several days for certain routes to come back into condition.

 

Albert 1er :  Table Ridge, the normal route on the Aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche, Petite and Grande Fourche are being done regularly. For the Chardonnet, the Forbes ridge remains feasible but the approach to the Migot Spur has become seriously complicated.

 

Argentière : Climbing is still popular behind the hut.  The Jardin ridge, Flèche Rousse, Glacier du Milieu and the traverse of the Tour Noir are also popular.

Mer de Glace Basin: Rock climbing is popular in this area, as well as near the Talèfre and the Leschaux.  The Whymper is no longer recommended and the Moine ridge still has a lot of snow.  The Moine is OK.


Torino : the conditions are generally good with numerous parties on the Grand Capucin, the various satellites, the Diable Ridge and the Gervasutti Pillar.
Good conditions also for the Italian side of the Mont Blanc starting from the Monzino, Gonella, Dalmazzi and Boccalatte huts. The Quintino Sella bivouac, (for the Tournette Spur,) is closed for repair work.

Cosmiques : The rock routes are feasible but the 3 Monts will certainly be out of condition for the next few days due to risk of windslab avalanche. The Frendo remains very popular, however there is still a passage of ice to exit the route.
Conditions were recently excellent for the Grands Mulets route via the N ridge of the Dôme. Contact the hut warden for more information regarding the best route across the Jonction.

Conscrits : generally good conditions. The traverse of the Aiguilles de Tré la Tête, the traverse of the Dômes de Miage and the traverse to the Bionnassay have all been done recently.

For hikers ; the situation has much improved, though there are still some snow patches which might cause problems, for example at the Cols de la Glière and Salenton, (heading for  Mont Buet.)

The snow/rain level will have dropped today, (5th August).  This means, as mentioned above, it will be several days before normal conditions return.

 

Please do not hesitate to inform the Office de Haute Montagne of the details of your outings

Report 28 July 2016

Conditions are generally very good for the time of year, though early starts are needed to get the best from the night time freezing, which is not always that good.

- Albert 1er : There are no problems with the normal routes on Tête Blanche, Petite Fourche and Aiguille du Tour, (including the bergschrund on the latter.)  The Couloir de la Table is now very dry and not recommended, but the Arete de la Table is in good condition.  There is a very large bergschund at the foot of the N face of the Tête Blanche which almost certainly makes access to this climb impossible. The Purtscheller and the Col du Pissoir are being climbed. The Forbes ridge is in good condition.  The bergschund on the Migot is awkward but still possible on the left.  For the descent from the Chardonnet, 2 ropes of 50m are recommended.

- Argentière : lThe rock routes are in good condition, as are the Glacier du Milieu and the Flèche Rousse Ridge. The Jardin ridge is also being done. The Tournier Spur is dry.
The Tour Noir traverse is very dry and no longer to be recommended.
No problems with the approach to the hut from the Grands Montets.  
Petite Aiguille Verte is OK but ice is starting to appear in some places.

 
- La Charpoua : The rock routes are mostly free of snow.  Some parties have done the Drus traverse.

- Le Couvercle : The rock routes are popular.  The Whymper is not in condition, but the traverse of the Courtes is.  Nobody has been on the Droites for more than a week.  The route up to the Pointe Isabelle is becoming more and more awkward. The Grands Montets ridge was done, descending by the Moine Ridge.

- Leschaux : The approach is OK for Anouk and the  Contamines on the  Petites Jorasses. The abseil points onTonton Daniel have been renewed.
4 parties left for the Walker on the 28th, making rapid progress.

- Boccalatte : The normal route on the Grandes Jorasses is still in good condition, parties passing below the serac without a problem.  The rocks at the Reposoir are dry. The traverse from the Canzio bivouac was done recently. Abseilling down the Rochers Whymper is possible with a 60m rope but better with 2x 50m.


- Envers des Aiguilles : The bergschrund for the Grépon has become very awkward, but no problems for the other approaches, except for the Ciseaux. A party went for the Ryan on the 29/07.

- Le Requin : The descent from the Midi-Plan is OK for the moment, as well as the approach to the Pierre-Allain. Nobody has gone for the Renaudie recently. Good conditions in both directions for the Vallee Blanche, on foot.)


- Torino : Generally ggod conditions for this sector.  The approach to the Dent du Géant is becoming very dry, danger from stone fall; likewise for the gully on the Aiguillettes au Grand Capucin and for the approach to the Aiguilles du Diable.
Tour Ronde is feasible by the SE ridge “intégrale” and by the Gervasutti Couloir.  The N face is OK if there is good freezing.  
The approach to the Pyramide du Tacul looks awkward.

- Plan de l’Aiguille : The Frendo Spur is in good condition and is (over)popular, (14 parties in one day !).  The left exit has some ice patches.

  An important rock fall has been reported at the level of the 2nd abseil on the Epéron des Minettes.  Crampons not needed for Lépidoptère.  However, crampons still needed for the Pilier Rouge de Blaitière and for the decent of the Peigne snow field.

- Cosmiques : If there is good night time freezing then the Contamines, Grisolle, Negri and Chéré on the Triangle du Tacul are popular. The 3 Monts to Mont Blanc is in condition with just a little ice after the Col du Mont Maudit, ice screws useful.  
A party went for the Gervasutti Pillar on 28th.
On the traverse of the Pointes Lachenal there is an unstable zone at the foot of the abseil, but it is easy to avoid.

 

 - Grands Mulets : The traverse of the Jonction is best done by the lower track. The N ridge of the Dôme is in excellent condition but the descent by the Plateaux is not recommended due to a lot of open crevasses. Contact the hut warden for advice on the best route to take.


- Mont Blanc : Good conditions on the  Bionnassay Ridge and the normal French and Italian routes. There is stonefall danger in the Grand Couloir in the heat of the day or if there has not been good night time freezing
- Les Conscrits : The approach via the glacier is not recommended.  The footbridge path was closed due to damage by storms but should be repaired and re-opened by the 29th July.
The Mont Tondu, the traverse of the Aiguilles de Tré la Tête and the traverse of the Dômes de Miage are being done regularly. Nobody on the Lex Blanche for more than a week.

-Other Areas : The fixed ropes on the  Pointe Dufour, Mont Rose have been stripped away by rockfall, foresee two abseils of 40m. (belays in place.)
The Grand Paradiso is in good condition.
Still a lot of snow on the Hornli ridge, Matterhorn making it a bit awkward, (though apparently no problem for Pippa Middleton !).

Hikers are advised to avoid the Col de la Glière and Lacs Noirs sectors as potentially dangerous snow fields remain there. Mont Buet still has snow, so proper equipment is essential.

Emosson sector: there is still a lot of snow in this sector, though the dinosaur tracks are now mostly visible.

Report 18th July 2016

The snow that fell a few days ago has mostly melted, but could still cause problems in a few places at altitude. Reports from the recent outings indicate generally good conditions in the massive.

- Albert 1er : The gullies on the Chardonnet are dry.   The Forbes ridge is being done regularly but not so for the Migot where the bergschrund is difficult.
The bergschrund on the Aiguille du Tour goes on the right, the Table Gully has a dry section in the middle and is not to be recommended.  The Table ridge is in good condition, likewise the Tête Blanche et Petite Fourche.

- Argentière : Very good conditions for the Glacier du Milieu, the Flèche Rousse ridge, the Jardin ridge,  the Col du Tour Noir and for the descent from Grands Montets.
The Charlet Straton and the Col d’Argentière have been climbed, as well as the traverse of the Tour Noir, descending by south pillar with two abseils of 50m and one of 30m.

The N faces are out of condition, having an air “cannyoning” about them

- La Charpoua : The Drus traverse was done in guidebook time on 18th July

Routes on the Flammes de Pierre are being done but with the heat the Sans Nom is no longer in condition.


- Le Couvercle : The rock climbs are back in condition and proving popular.  The normal routes on the Droites to the Nonne-Evêque, the Pointe Isabelle and the Moine have been done.  The traversée of the Courtes was done on 18/07 in very good conditions.

 
- Leschaux : 2 parties did the Anouk and the Contamine on the Petites Jorasses.  The Comte route on the Aiguille Pierre Joseph has also been done.
The Aiguille de l’Eboulement was climbed on 16/7 in good conditions.

The Walker is drying well and should be in condition soon.


- Envers des Aiguilles : Climbers are active on the Tour Rouge, Tour Verte and the Pointes des Nantillons. Bienvenue au Georges V, Amazonia et les Fleurs du Mal have been done recently.  There were also parties on the Mer de Glace face of the Grepon and the Aiguille de la République on 18/7.  The Ryan does not look like it will be in condition for several days.

 
- Le Requin : The rock routes behind the hut are in condition. Parties are going up the Vallee Blanche without major problems.


- Torino : A very popular sector for both rock and snow/mixed routes.  Generally good condition which might change as the temperatures rise.

The approach to the Kuffner remains by the taking the direct gully and not via the Fourche The Aiguilles du Diable traverse is also being done; there is little snow remaining.

- Les Cosmiques : The rock routes on the S face of the Aiguille du Midi and the Pointes Lachenal are being climbed.  The Contamine Mazeaud, Negri et Grisolle and the Chéré have been popular these last few days, as well as the Cosmiques Ridge and the traverse of the Pointes Lachenal.
For the Midi-Plan it is best to sleep at the hut to take advantage of the freezing conditions, (if indeed it does freeze,) during the night.  The 3 Monts route up Mont Blanc is not presenting any problems, just some ice at the Col du Mont Maudit.

- Les Grands Mulets :Parties foreseen to do Mont Blanc from here on 19/7.  The crossing of the Jonction is best by the lowest track.

- Plan Glacier / Durier : There is snow on the last 100m vertical on the approach to the Durier hut, crampons probably essential.  Some parties left for the Bionnassay ridge on 18/7, no further information.

 
- Les Conscrits : The Dômes de Miage and Mont Tondu are in good condition. Parties also have done the Aiguilles de Tré la Tête and the Lex Blanche.  (Some ice low down, ice screws useful.)   The approach to the hut via the glacier has become complicated but remains possible by the true right bank for the moment. There are a couple of snow patches remaining on the approach via the footbridge which might need crampons early in the morning.


- Boccalate : There is a warden now at the hut and conditions for the normal route up the Grande Jorasses are good.

- Monzino : The Aiguille Croux, the  Pointe Innominata and the Innominata Ridge are being climbed.  Parties have also been seen on the Peuterey ridge heading for Mont Blanc.

- Gonella : The normal route up Mont Blanc from the Italian side is being done regularly, without any bad feedback.


The weather forecast is for an important rise in temperatures over the next few days, beware of stonefall later in the day!

Conditions in the Aiguilles Rouges have improved, but crampons may still be necessary in certain areas.
There is still a lot of snow on the approaches to the Cornu lake and the Noir lakes and so these walks are not yet to be recommended. Care is also needed on the descent from the Brevent Col on the Anterne side and from the Col du Salenton on the Berard side, crampons useful early in the morning.  There is also still snow on the Buet, so you need to be properly equipped, (crampons and ice axe.)

 
The Col de la Terrasse from Loriaz is doable but there is still snow in the last section. The Veudale Gorges are still snowed over as are also the dinosaur tracks.

 
Concerning the Tour du Mont Blanc, there is snow at the Col du Bonhomme, care needed. The rest of the route is without any special problems, though be careful when crossing the mountain streams when in spate.

Report 11 July 2016

For the most part, the snow routes were in good condition last week, thanks to good freezing at night.  However, the hot weather this last weekend means alpinists are now preferring either the rock routes or snow routes above 3600m.  

- Albert 1er: Generally good conditions. Most of the routes are being done. if it freezes hard enough at night.

- Argentière : The Aiguille d’Argentière is being climbed by the Glacier du Milieu, the Flèche Rousse and the Y couloir ; only average conditons for the “Y”, (sugary snow.)  The normal route on the Petite Verte is popular.  There is a large bergschrund on the Chevalier, (can be passed on the left;) conditions are deteriorating for this route.

- Charpoua / Couvercle: Good climbing on the Flammes de Pierre. The S Pillar of the Grand Dru is feasible.  Sans Nom Ridge on the Verte was climbed on 9/07, The approach up the glacier is OK, but one needs to work out the best line.  The climb up to the Brèche sans Nom is on snow, (but likely to deteriorate rapidly,) then good conditions on the ridge to the summit.  The traverse of the Drus looks feasible.  Descent by the Whymper: conditions are worsening and the central gully is dry.
There has been another serac fall from the Charpuoa glacier:  Take care if in this area as it is unstable. The hut approach by the new route is recommended.  The rock routes near the Couvercle are mainly in condition and the Normal route on the Moine has got a lot better.  It is better to wait until night time freezing improves for the snow routes in this area, (the Courtes Traverse – Pointe Isabelle – Whymper are deteriorating.) 

- Leschaux: No problems to get to the hut from the Leschaux glacier. There is still some steep snow on the balcon footpath, (crampons necessary.)  No problems for climbing on the Aiguille de Pierre à Joseph just above the hut, or on the W face of the Petites Jorasses, (glacier approach OK). The Aiguille de l’Eboulement is still possible if it freezes correctly.   The Periades: the glacier goes OK for the moment.  Concerning the Grandes Jorasses, the mixed routes are clearly not in condition.  The Walker is in the process of “drying out”, situation to be followed! 

- Requin:  The Envers glacier is tracked   The Vallée Blanche is being done, the route is becoming more complicated at the Salle a Manger and it is recommended to pass by the hut and then the ladders to regain the Mer de Glace. The Dent du Requin is in condition. 

- Envers des Aiguilles: The season has started, climbers on the Tour Verte – Tour Rouge – Pointe des Nantillons – République – Grépon Mer de Glace – E Ridge of the Crocodile – Bec d’Oiseau.


- Conscrits: The summer path is open, the ropes are back in place and the footbridge is as new. Some snow patches remain, which require crampons early in the morning, though these are disappearing rapidily with the heat.  Condition generally are good in this sector: Dômes de Miage –Bionnassay traverse – Bérangère – Tondu. 
For the return by the Tré la Tête glacier do not descend until the “Mauvais Pas” but after the “Tré la Grande”, keep to the centre of the glacier, (covered in stones), and at the level of the glacier snout go onto the true right bank, cairns
- Diable Ridge traverse: the bergschrund is OK. The gully has snow all the way.  The aiguilles are dry, (except for a little snow between the Carmen and the Isolée.)
- Kuffner Ridge: Stonefall has been reported after the Fourche bivouac, at the level of the first gendarme, (tower). 

  At lower altitudes, with the recent hot weather, the snow is rapidly melting.  However, there are still many awkward snow patches in the Aiguilles Rouges: (col Cornu - Index - col de la Glière - Brévent by the col du Brévent – Buet –  Emosson sector)

 

The next update will be after the stormy period, which has been forecasted for the next few days.

Report 30th June

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.

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Requin Sector: No problems concerning the approach to the hut for the moment.  No tracks yet on the Envers glacier.

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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.

Report 25 June 2016

 

The weather has changed this week from winter to summer in just a few days. There has been a lot of snow combined with strong winds at altitude last week and the heat these last few days has made conditions difficult for alpinists.  Activity in the mountains is happening again but with caution, given the freezing levels.

- Albert 1er: The approach to the hut from the lifts is not yet recommended for hikers. The normal route on the Aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche, Petite Fourche, Copt Couloir and Aiguille Putscheller were done this week. The Forbes Ridge on the Chardonnet, descending   by the normal route was also done but involved ploughing through deep, soft snow.

- Argentière: The lifts only opened today (Saturday) so there is no information yet.  However, there is a lot of snow in this sector.

 

- Charpoua: The snow has largely melted in this area and parties have climbed to the Flammes de Pierre by Elan Vertical and La Reprise. With the high temperatures these last few days   the « Y »is unlikely to be in condition.  However, the Naïa and the Sans Nom should be Ok if the freezing level drops.

- Le Couvercle: The « balcon » route by the new path is being used.  However, there is still a lot of snow below the Tête du Couvercle. Some alpinists have also traversed across to the Leschaux, but there is still a lot of snow, making crampons and ice axe essential.  The S ridge and the Contamines on the Moine have been climbed, but the descent by the normal route is awkward. Some parties retreated from the Courtes and the Whymper due to lack of freezing.  Some others climbed the Verte the following day, in better conditions.

- Envers des Aiguilles: Still a lot of snow in this sector.  The hut is due to open this weekend.

 
- Leschaux: The rock is drying rapidly and the Petites Jorasses should soon be in condition.


- Requin: The Pierre-Allain is dry but has not been climbed for the moment. The Valley Blanche on foot is in good condition but no longer practical with skis.

 
- Torino: Lots of routes are being down from the hut.  Aiguilles Marbrées, the Entrêves and the Toule are in good condition as well as the normal route and the Geant Branche on Dent du Géant. For the Tour Ronde, it is best to go up the SE ridge. The N face and the Gervasutti couloir have been climbed but it is probably best to wait for lower freezing levels.  There is a track to the Fourche but not yet on the Kuffner ridge.
Some rock routes have also been climbed;  O Sole Moi, Voie des Suisses on the Grand Capucin, Bettembourg and  Salluard on the Pointe Adolphe Rey.

- Cosmiques: Chéré, Contamine Mazeaud and Négri on the  Triangle du Tacul are in good condition.  A party has abseilled down the Négri.  The Mont Blanc was climbed on 24/06, apparently without a problem.  The Goulotte Pellissier on the Pointes Lachenal has little ice but climbable, (dry tooling.)  The traverses of the Pointes Lachenal and the Cosmiques Ridge are in good condition.  The S face of the Aig du Midi and the Eperon des Cosmiques are being climbed.  There is a lot of snow on the Midi Plan traverse, (as far as the Rognon.)


- Grands Mulets: Mont Blanc on foot by the N ridge of the Dome is in excellent condition.  It is still possible with skis but avoid skiing down the N face too early, (Unskiable and dangerous at 08.30 on 24/06!)
- Boccalatte hut on the Normal route up the Grandes Jorasses is due to open with a warden on the 1st July.  .

- Refuge Monzino: Innominata tracked the 23/06, Ottoz and Bertone/Zapelli routes are dry and in condition, abseil descent down Euroteam recommended.

- Plan Glacier / Durier / Conscrits: The Mettrier Ridge followed by the traverse of the Domes de Miage and down to the Conscrits was done in OK conditions on 24/06.  The approach to the Durier hut is still being done via the Conscrits hut or via the Mettrier.  The approach to the Conscrits hut is still via the Tré la Tête glacier.

For the hikers:  last week’s heat has greatly improved conditions.  However, there is still a lot of snow above 2100/2200m and numerous paths remain awkward. The Chéserys lakes and Lac Blanc are just beginning to lose their snow cover.

The Tour des Aiguilles Rouges and the Mont Buet are not practical unless properly equipped with ice axe and crampons etc..
The Brévent col, the Cornu col and lake, the Lacs Noirs, the Glière col, the Emosson area and the Albert 1er hut are not accessible for “normal” hikers yet.
The Tour du Mont Blanc still has a lot of snow on the cols and both care and good equipment are essential. The Col des Fours the Fenêtre d’Arpette are not recommended for the moment.
People are beginning to climb in the Aiguilles Rouges but some approaches are awkward or even dangerous due to the amount of snow remaining.
The weather forecast for next week is reasonable and the OHM is waiting for the reports of your outings to help with the next mountain conditions bulletin.