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….