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Report 20th June 2017

Starting with some information for hikers:

With the opening of some of the lifts, the hiking season is now well underway.

Most of the trails are without problems, despite the continued presence of some snow patches, (especially on north facing slopes in the Aiguille Rouges).  If there has been a clear, cold night, crampons may be essential for Mont Buet or for the descent from Col de Salenton towards Bérard.
No problems with the Col du Brévent and the path from the Index to Lac Blanc.  
Also, no problems to get to the Albert 1er hut from the La Tour lifts.

The few snow patches between Platé and the Dérochoir, (above Plaine Joux,) do not cause any difficulties.  

Conditions for the Tour du Mont Blanc have improved and the Col des Fours and the Fenêtre d’Arpette are now feasible; some snow patches remain but these should soon disappear.  

 

For the alpinists:

With the current heatwave, many of the snow and mixed routes are rapidly going out of condition.    The approaches to some of the rock routes (bergschrunds and gullies) are also deteriorating and it is advised to consult the Office de Haute Montagne, the hut wardens or the guides etc, for the latest information.

 

- Albert 1er: The Copt and Table couloirs are now out of condition for the season.  The Migot Spur is not to be recommended. The Forbes Arete remains feasible, despite some ice, (2 ice axes and some ice screws recommended).  The descent from the Chardonnet is OK for the moment.  The normal routes on the Tête Blanche, Petite Fourche and Aiguille du Tour are OK but take care on the glacier and while crossing the bergschrunds.

- Argentière: The rock routes are free of snow.  Awaiting information on other routes, though they look to be very dry.

- Charpoua : The hut is open and the climbing conditions are good in this sector. A party has done the Petit Dru, (there and back) and the traverse looks feasible.  The glacier goes OK for the moment.  The approach to the hut is via the new ladders situated just before the Egralets.  Those opposite Montenvers were removed last year. Access to the Flammes de Pierre involves several pitches of climbing, abseiling on return, (the line is a bit to the right of the « old » way directly opposite Montenvers; topo available from the OHM. From Montenvers, please use the ladders and do not go via the ice caves.

- Couvercle: The Whymper Couloir is no longer feasible.  Rock climbing is the main activity for this sector, though the Courtes traverse is OK, if there is a good freeze and that one starts very early.  The moraine on the approach to Egralets is in bad condition and appears to be dangerous.  Use the new approach to be found a little earlier on the Mer de Glace.

The Jardin Ridge goes well for the moment as does the Grands Montets ridge, with some ice on the N side, (cable car shut.) The descent by the Moine ridge is still about 80% snow and technical. Also, the bergschrund is very wide.

- Leschaux: The rock near the hut is in condition including the Petites Jorasses (Anouk).  There is still snow on the top third of the N face of the. Grandes Jorasses but it is melting rapidly.
- Requin: Climbing above the hut, with the approaches being good.  Some parties have gone up the Valley Blanche.  Nobody on the Midi-Plan

- Envers des Aiguilles: Lots of activity in this sector.  Access and route conditions OK.

- Torino: Rock climbs in good condition but the approaches to some of the routes on the Tacul satelittes are becoming more awkward.   Traverse of the Aiguilles Marbrées and the Entrêves are being done. On the Tour Ronde, the SE ridge intergral is in condition.  Good conditions for the Dent du Géant but the Rochefort Ridge is awkward.  The traverse of the Valley Blanche towards the Aig du Midi is OK but care needed as some of the snow bridges are becoming weak.  Parties on the Kuffner by the direct approach but conditions are not great and it is still corniced in places.

- Cosmiques: With the heat, activity is mainly centered on the rock climbs.  The first pitch of the Chéré couloir is totally dry.  The Contamines Mazeaud and Grisolle look to be feasible, (given good freezing,) but the bergschrunds are big.  One party on the Pilier des 3 Pointes, supposedly in good condition.  Nobody on the Gervasutti Pillar, but looks like it should go.  The 3 Monts is popular.   The traverse of the Pointes Lachenal has been abandoned in favour of the Laurence and Cosmiques Aretes.

- Plan de l’Aiguille: The rocks in this sector are dry and in condition, though crampons may be necessary for some snow patches. Charmoz-Grépon in good condition but the Nantillons glacier will soon no longer be feasible.  Parties on the Frendo Spur, no further information other than the left exit being favoured.

- Grands Mulets:  No longer feasible with skis but conditions remain OK on foot. The Jonction goes well, (follow the higher line of indicators). The snow bridges in the bowl below the hut need care. The N ridge of the Dôme is in condition despite some ice, (no need yet to pitch it).

- Goûter: With the hot weather, the danger of stonefall has increased and it is very important to cross the Great couloir before the afternoon.  Work is being carried out on the rail track between Mont Lachat and the Nid Aigle and it is forbidden to walk on/near the track before 1/12/2017,  (by municipal order.). 

- Plan Glacier / Durier : Lancherons Ridge is dry and the glacier OK for the approach to the Durier hut.  Mettrier ridge is very dry. Bionnassay traverse in generally good condition, despite several cornices.  

- Conscrits: It is best to approach the hut by the suspension bridge footpath, rather than by the glacier.  Central peak of Dôme via the col des Dômes, (there and back) in good condition but the traverse is more awkward. There is a 20m section of bare ice that is very narrow and needs to be passed “a cheval”. Descent to the Bérangère has some ice, which can be by-passed for the moment.   Mont Tondu is in condition, with some ice, easily avoided. Traverse of the Aiguilles de Tré la Tête is condition but with an ice pitch at the summit of the N peak.

- Monzino: conditions perfect for the rock routes.  Parties on the Innominata, no further information. The Brouillard Ridge intergral was done on 16/17 June.  Some snow after the Col Rey then inconsistent snow on the exit from the S face and in the exit gully.

 

Without doubt the conditions will change over the coming days as result of the heatwave. Take care!

 The Chamoniarde ( http://www.chamoniarde.com/?page_id=1857&lang=en ), looks forward to your reports to help with future updates….

 

 

 

Report 13th June 2017

Some news of mountain conditions during this period of heat and sun, with night time re-freezing either very weak or non-existent.  It is important to respect the time of day and chose routes not affected by the warm conditions.  With the heat, the paths at mid altitude are becoming free from snow. At mid altitudes, the heat is clearing the snow from the footpaths.

Hiking:
Though the snow is rapidly disappearing, some paths, namely those N facing, remain awkward.  No problems with the Plan d’Aiguille to Montenvers traverse.  The Planpraz lift is open but the Flegere lift only opens on the 17th June.  No problems going to the Col Cornu and back but there is still snow on the path to the Col de la Glière and the lakes in this area remained covered. The Chésery Lakes are accessible and reappearing from under the snow.  However, there is still a lot of snow towards Lac Blanc, which remains iced over.

Because of work being carried out, it is forbidden to use the approach to Flégère by the main track, (Lanchers piste,) including all the paths that cross it, until 28th July, (Council decision)..  This also means there is no access via the Floria Cafe

Some snow remains on the last part up to the Jonction, take care!

Condition are much improved for the Tour du Mont Blanc, though some sections still demand care and good equipment.

 

Alpinism:
- Albert 1er:  Until the lifts open this coming weekend, the approach to the hut is either by the moraine or by Charmillon.  On the Chardonnet, the Forbes Ridge and the Migot Spur have been climbed; some ice not in good condition but basically OK.  No particular problems experienced on the descent by the normal route.  The normal routes on the Aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche and Petite Fourche are in good condition.  The first third of the Table Couloir is dry, making the Table Ridge a better choice.   The Copt couloir was climbed on 10/06; there is an ice section in the middle, though conditions OK for the moment by keeping to the left.  

- Argentière: No information for the moment.

- Couvercle: climbing has started on the Moine, (normal route and S ridge,) the Nonne and the Evêque. The Whymper Coulir is still being climbed but conditions are deteriorating, the final ridge has become narrow and with soft snow.  A party completed the Couturier, where the conditions seem to remain OK for the moment.  The normal route on the Droites is tracked, as is part of the Courtes traverse.  The Pointe Isabelle remains feasible, though several of the snow bridges are becoming delicate.  Nobody has attempted Jardin Ridge yet and it does not look like crossing the bergschrund will be feasible for much longer.  

 

- Leschaux:  The hut is open; approach by the new ladders, taking care on the moraine.  The traverse from the Couvercle is OK, even though several snow patches remain. No problems for the approach to the Périades.  The Petites Jorasses looks to be in good condition.  There is still too much snow on the Walker Spur, (Grande Jorasses.)

- Le Requin: Good climbing in this sector, (Renaudie, Congo Star, Pierre Alain normal route, Chapeau à Cornes). Crevasses are appearing on the way back up the Valley Blanche, take care with snow bridges weakened by the heat.

 

- Envers des Aiguilles: The hut should open on the 16th June.  There are still a few snow patches between the ladders and the hut.  Some routes have been climbed recently in this sector but no further information.  The rock looks to be free of snow. 


- Torino:  A lot of activity in this sector; with the Marbrées and Entrêves traverses, Dent du Géant, Rochefort Arete (very narrow in places,) and the SE Ridge, N face and Gervasutti Couloir on the Tour Ronde in condition for the moment.  Parties are rock climbing on the Tacul satelittes.  The Kuffner ridge has been done but there are large cornices after the Androsace.and the warden recommends waiting still for better conditions.
The Brenva Spur has also been done, the bergschrund could prove awkward.  Theoretically, there should be no problems for the Aiguilles du Diable.

- Cosmiques:  Traverse of the Valley Blanche and the 3 Monts in condition.  There has been activity on the Contamine routes and the Chere couloir, (Tacul Triangle).  The bergschrund on the Grisolle is awkward.  Lots of parties on the Cosmiques Ridge and the traverse of the Pointes Lachenal. A party turned back on the Midi-Plan because of poor re-freezing.
Good rock climbing conditions in this sector.

- Plan de l’Aiguille:  Parties climbing on the Aig d’M and the Peigne, crampons useful for the snow patches.  The Frendo Spur and the Mallory-Porter have been done, no further information.


- Grands Mulets: Though it is still just possible to do Mont Blanc with skis, it is now better on foot.  The traverse of the Jonction requires care but is still OK for the moment; (though becareful not to return too late in the day.)  Very good conditions for the N Ridge of the Dôme with only 2 x 15m sections of ice. The N face of Mont Blanc is in bad condition.

- Goûter:  Very popular, with good conditions for the Mont Blanc normal route. Be aware of the time of day and the risk of stonefall in the Grand Couloir.  The cable is now in place in the couloir.

.
- Plan Glacier: The Mettrier Ridge intégrale is mostly dry, crampons needed for the last 400 metres.  There are some snow patches on the hut approach from the Col de Tricot, but none that cause a problem.

- Conscrits: The summer approach path is nearly completely free of snow and OK for properly equipped hikers.  There is a very good track on the Dômes de Miage, which has a narrow and airy section on the traverse. Mont Tondu and the traverse of the Aiguilles de Tré la Tête have been done in OK conditions. 
No information for the Bionnassay ridge, though it will certainly have been done.  Attention, however, with the poor re-freezing conditions.  


- Robert Blanc:  Good conditions for the alpinists, though snow remains on some of the footpaths.  Crampons and experience needed for crossing the Col du Bonhomme.

Report 7th June 2017

After the last few days of stormy weather, the forecast is now better. Since last weekend there has been about 30cm of new snow at 4000m and about 10cm at 2700m. At altitude, the snow is very windblown and the tracks have disappeared, for example on the Tacul.  The rock routes have a dusting of snow and will need a few days before they are dry again.

Activity in the high mountain is gradually starting again.


- Albert 1er Sector:  The approach to the hut remains by the moraine.  The normal routes on the Aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche, Petite Fourche and the Table Ridge (Tour) should be feasible. The Forbes Ridge looks to be in condition.

- Argentière Sector:  No information.

- Couvercle Sector: This morning (7th June) there was 10cm of wet snow at the hut.  Skis or Snow shoes are no longer necessary so long as one is away and back early enough.  The lower part of the Whymper is dry with danger of stonefall.  It is too early in the season for rock routes in this sector.

- Torino: 20cm of new snow with a wind predominantly from the North.  Parties left this morning for the Dent du Geant and the Aiguilles d’Entrêves.  The “Panoramic” bubbles are due to start running on Thursday (8th June).

- Cosmiques: about 20cm of new snow with strong winds this morning, mainly from the west.  The Laurence Ridge, the Cosmiques Ridge, the Pointes Lachenal traverse and the Chéré Couloir are all feasible.  Take care, there is a lot of unstable snow on the slopes of the Tacul.  


- Grands Mulets: about 15cm of fresh, melting snow. The traverses from the Plan de l’Aiguille and the Bossons glacier remain OK but it is necessary to carry the skis in several places and some sections on the glacier require care.


- Goûter: several parties left for the summit this morning.  The Bellevue cable car is due to open on Saturday (10th June), which will make the approach to the normal route up Mont Blanc easier.   The cable has not yet been re-installed for the traverse of the Grand Couloir.

- Les Conscrits: conditions are looking good.  Parties left for the Bérangère this morning.  The summer approach to the hut, (via the suspension bridge) is open but crampons and ice axe are essential. The approach by the glacier remains feasible but it is necessary to go to the very end of the “Mauvais Pas” to cross the torrent.

 

Conditions on the hiking trails have not changed much with problems starting above 2200/2300m. Good equipment is needed, especially for the Tour of Mont Blanc (TMB), i.e. good mountain boots, hiking poles, gaiters and possibly crampons.  The Col du Bonhomme, the Arp Vieille traverse towards Chécrouit and the Grand Col Ferret are the crux sections.

Above the Chamonix valley, the lakes at altitude are still under snow.  Nearer to Servoz, the Pormenaz lake can be approached via La Chorde but there is still a lot of snow on the route from Pormenaz chalets.
Some snow patches remain on the Grand Balcon Nord traverse but these should not be a problem for the well equipped walker.

The Planpraz lift is due to open this weekend.  There is still a lot of snow in this sector, especially if north facing.  Avoid travelling too “light”.   

Report 29 May 2017

The latest information following the good weather over the Ascension holiday weekend.


With the recent high temperatures, the snow has been rapidly melting at the mid altitudes.  Nonetheless, there is still a lot of snow above 2200 / 2300m.   

With good mountain boots and walking poles, the Cheserys lakes are now accessible.  However, the paths to Lac Blanc remain snowbound.  Though some lakes are beginning to reappear, (e,g. Jovet lakes),  most are still covered

The bigger hiking objectives, such as Mont Buet or the “Jonction”, are still not feasible .
The snow starts at around 1700m in the Berard valley.  The Albert 1er hut is best approached from Vormaine via the moraine, the snow starting some 50m below the hut. There is still far too much snow to traverse in from Charmillion

People are starting to walk the Grand Balcon Nord. Careful, there are some large patches of hard snow and one needs to be properly equipped.  The path from Chamonix to the Plan de l’Aiguille is OK but the Pré du Rocher path is not.
No particular problems for the Bellachat and the Aiguillette des Houches.

Conditions are improving for the Tour du Mont Blanc but the right equipment remains essential. 

The ski touring season is virtually over at mid altitudes, though there are still some possibilities in the Emosson dam area, (Pointe de la Terrasse – Pointe des Charmoz).
Following the several days of hot weather, skiing the Valley Blanche is no longer to be recommended.

In the high mountain there has also been a rise in temperatures and the rock routes are becoming free of snow. (Respect the time of day and the limited re-freezing.)


- Les Conscrits: The Dômes de Miage and the Aiguille de la Bérangère remain popular. The ski touring has basically finished in this sector. The traverse of the Bionnassay was done in generally good conditions.


- Plan Glacier: No problems for the approach from the Chalets de Miage. The Mettrier ridge intergral was done recently.  The lower part was dry, conditions improved afterwards.
With better re-freezing, the Dômes de Miage N Face should come into condition; there is very little bare ice at the moment. The approach to the Durier hut via the Lancherons is tracked and nearly all on snow.

- Mont Blanc: the Italian route via Gonella is tracked and in good condition.  The Tournette Spur was done on 25/05 in generally good conditions. The Gouter route is also being done (the train and cable car remain closed).  Respect the time of day for crossing the Grand couloir.
3 Monts from the Cosmiques is tracked, conditions good, but still with a bit of ice at the Mont Maudit col.
Parties are continuing to ski the Grands Mulets route, (by the N ridge of the Dome and the Plateaux). The N Face of Mont Blanc is still being skied.  Conditions for the traverse of the Jonction are worsening, with some fragile snow bridges. It is now necessary to carry the skis in several places to reach the Plan de l’Aiguille.

- Plan de l’Aiguille:  Eugster Diagonal and Frendo Spur (left exit) have been climbed, no further information.  Likewise, for the Papillons Arete.


- Cosmiques: Climbing on the Tacul Triangle including the Contamine Négri, (quite a lot of ice,) the Grisolle and the Chéré. Start early and check the freezing conditions!  The Laurence Arete, the Cosmiques Arete and the traverse of the Pointes Lachenal are all in good condition.
The rock routes exposed to the sun are free of snow, except on the larger ledges.


- Torino: generally good conditions except for the gullies and the normal route on the Tour Ronde. The Diables Ridge has been climbed despite still having a lot of snow.


- Requin: There is about 1h30 of walking to reach Montenvers and the Brèche Puiseux is no longer recommended, (ice/rock in the middle).  The Requin hut is reached by the ladders. The way back up to the Aiguille du Midi is OK but beware of fragile snow bridges.


- Couvercle: approach by the Egralets. Parties have climbed the Whymper and the Col Armand Charlet. The normal route on the Droites looks feasible.  The traverse from the NE of the Courtes has been done. Descent of the Talèfre face by the Col des Droites OK.  A party has done the Couturier, some sections of ice but mostly good by keeping to the right, (looking upwards). Snow shoes useful for the approaches.  It is too early for the rock routes in this sector.


- Argentière: No further information other than the Couturier and NE of the Courtes mentioned above.

- Albert 1er: Good conditions for the normal route on the Aiguille du Tour despite the poor re-freezing. The Migot Spur and the Forbes Ridge look to be in condition.

- Good conditions reported for Mont Dolent, normal route and the Gallet ridge.

The Via Corda on the Rochers des Mottets has not been re-equipped after being vandalised for a second time last year. The Via Corda at Argentiere, (opened July 2016,) provides an alternative.

Report 16th May 2017

Here is the latest news of what has been happening during this spell of good weather.  Following the series of snowfalls, skis or snow shoes are necessary in the high mountain.  Temperatures are rising significantly and conditions are changing rapidly.  Be warned, avalanches are likely, (especially in the afternoon,) on susceptible slopes that have not yet purged.

 

Mont Blanc was climbed yesterday by the Grands  Mulets.  The Jonction is good on skis.  On the N ridge of the Dôme, the ice is never far from the surface, despite the recent snow, (technical axe and good crampons, with parties short roping.)   The Mont Blanc N face has been skied.  Parties left this morning on skis for the ascent by the Trois Monts.  No news concerning the normal route, (Gouter).

Cosmiques Sector: the Cosmiques ridge, Lolo (Laurence?) ridge and Pointes Lachenal traverse have been done.  The approaches to these routes are tracked and accessible on foot.  On the Tacul Triangle, the Chere couloir has inevitably been climbed. Yesterday, a party climbed the Contamine Négri and skied down the Gervasutti couloir, (no info on conditions.)  The Gervasutti Pillar at the Tour Ronde was climbed. (N.B. the Skyway Monte Bianco closed this week until 19th May inclusive.)
Conscrits Sector: the skiing starts at the glacier.  This morning the Domes de Miage and Mont Tondu were tracked. The Col des Glaciers was done yesterday, skiing down by the Dôme de Neige.
Plan Glacier Sector: skiing starts around 2000m on the approach to the hut.  The N face of the Domes was tracked and skied on Sunday, (the skiing started 50m below the summit due to a lack of snow at the top of the face.)

Couvercle Sector:  three choices for the approach to the hut, by the ladders, by the central couloir, (dry low down) or by the Pierre à Bérenger. Lots of avalanches have been seen in the area.  This morning, parties left for the Whymper Couloir and the col de Talèfre.

No information for the Albert 1er and Argentière sectors.  These huts are not staffed and the lifts are closed.

 

For Hikers: the S facing slopes below 2000m are mainly dry but above this there is plenty of snow.  On the N facing slopes the snow level is much lower with deep snow at 2000m.  Check the altitude of your proposed hike and adapt your equipment accordingly.  The mountain lakes remain snow covered.  The hiking season is only just starting, patience needed.

 

 

Report 13th May 2017

Since the May 5th update, it has snowed at altitude together with winds from the S/SW.  The rain/snow limit was about 2500m. This morning, Saturday, the Chamonix Aiguilles are plastered with snow following last night’s precipitations, (without wind.) 
As stated in the last update, the hiking remains feasible up to 1900m for the N facing and 2000m for the S facing slopes.
Concerning ski touring, there has been activity in the Emosson area since the opening of the road up to the dam, e.g. Pointe de la Terrasse, Cheval Blanc.
The Couvercle, Conscrits, Grands Mulets, Requin, Albert 1er and Plan de l’Aiguille huts are open.  It is recommended to telephone in advance. See http://www.chamoniarde.com/?page_id=57 for the contact details.