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Report 2nd August 2018

An update just before the weekend. As you will have noticed it has been very hot during the day recently and freezing levels have been variable.  The conditions on the snow/mixed routes and glacier approaches have changed rapidly.  Also, there is a risk of afternoon/evening storms for the longer routes. The best option is to stick to the beautiful Chamonix granite!

 

Tour Sector

- the Aiguille du Chardonnet is no longer in condition, lots of ice on the descent route.

- glacier approaches OK, e.g. for the Table ridge integral, normal routes on the Aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche and Petite Fouche.

- rock routes like the Dorées traverse and Purtscheller S ridge are OK.

 

Argentière Sector

- Petite Verte : A lot of ice, not for beginners

- the bergschrund for the Col des Grands Montets can still be crossed on the left but is very exposed to stone fall.  A rope sling is in place on the true right bank (less exposed) to make a 15m abseil.

- The Aiguille d'Argentière is no longer in condition (Flèche Rousse, Glacier du Milieu). There has been a lot of stonefall on the N faces making the routes here dangerous.

- only the rock climbs or the Rabouin ridge are to be recommended

 

Talèfre / Charpoua Sector

- Drus Traverse: it takes time to find the right route for the glacier.

- Pointe Isabella (bergschund and crevasses are opening up beneath the seracs but no ice on the ridge), Courtes traverse (some snow on the ascent, ridge and descent dry), and the Droites “true” normal route (the traverse under the Droites col very dry) remain feasible.

- no comment for the Moine, Nonne, Évêque

- Aiguille Verte: Moine ridge, (bergschrund goes on the far left, 30m abseil), and Grand Montets ridge (the gullies between the Pointes are very dry) are in condition.

 

Envers des Aiguilles

The bergschrund for the République and Grépon/Mer de Glace is awkward but still passable, check it the night before and have 2 technical axes.  The Nantillons glacier descent is also complicated (e.g.25m abseil from a flake on the true left bank at a crevasse) but OK for experienced parties.

 

Aiguille du Midi Sector

- The Frendo is very dry and no longer in condition.

- Midi Plan: conditions have deterioated, (lots of ice and poor quality, sandy rock.

- Vallée Blanche traverse: The crevasses are opening up, the route through changes every day.

- Gervasutti Pillar: the bergschund is still passable, (left), but stonefall has been reported.

- Mont-Blanc by the 3 Monts : popular (there and back), several ice sections e.g. at the Col du Mont Maudit, (2 axes recommended).  

 

Mont Blanc by the Gôuter

The access restrictions to the Goûter hut have been extended.

A rockfall has destroyed the cable across the Grand Couloir, so is not protectable.

 

Dômes de Miage / Aiguille de Bionnassay

The ridge is popular. It is very sharp, (need to progress on one side or the other.  There is ice at the Piton des Italiens. No problems for the glacier approach to the hut.  Lancherons ridge is completely snow free.

 

Mont Blanc via Aiguilles Grises

Still in condition. There is a new phone number for the hut +39 0165 885 101.  (N.B the “0” is necessary in Italy).

 

Monzino

- Glacier approach to the Eccles still OK.  

- the bergschrund for the Red Pillars no longer passable.

- Innominata Ridge: very dry, stonefall reported.

 

Torino Hut Sector

- Kuffner : very dry, being done every day, stonefall reported.

- Parties still doing the Diable ridge: the bergschrund remains passable (on the right), approach gully dry, (stonefall especially from other parties), rock snow free.

- No problems reported for the bergschrunds on the Satelitte rock routes, (if you have information, please use the Chamoniarde online route book).
Apparently,there are fixed ropes at the bergscrunds for the Voie des Suisses (Grand Capucin) and Lifting du Roi, ( Roi de Siam).

- Dent du Géant : the approach to the Salle à Manger is dry, afternoon stone fall reported, otherwise good conditions for the Rochefort arete.  

- Jorasses traverse is been done regularly in generally good conditions Conditions on the glacier decent are deteriorating.  

 

Grandes Jorasses

- Walker Spur still in good condition, the Red Chimneys gradually drying.

- Jorasses traverse still in good condition, some ice near the Point Walker

- descent by the normal route OK despite limited re-freezing.  

 

Miscellaneous Info : 

There is a new Via Ferrata at the St Gervais Thermal Park.  It is not suitable for beginners, 1st part AD+, 2nd part TD/TD+. 

A bolt is missing onthe first pitch Piano Forte (Tour des Crochues) with serious consequences in case of a fall.

 

Report 29th July 2018

This report starts with the conditions for hikers.

No longer any problems on the Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB), the work on the Arpette path down to Trient is finished.

For the Tour des Aiguilles Rouuges, there are still some hard snow patches near the Col de Salenton and the Buet summit.
The Col de la Glière also still has snow, good boots and hiking poles needed.

It is very hot, sun protection and taking lots of fluid are essential, especially for children.

 

High Mountain :

The long spell of hot weather is affecting the conditions, particularly for the mixed routes.   The snow is giving way to ice on certain routes and the danger of stonefall is increasing.

 

- Albert 1er : The Migot Spur is no longer feasible and the Forbes Ridge is not  to be recommended.  The other “classics” in the area are OK, though care is needed at the bergschrunds.
The Col du Midi des Grands was done there and back, the traverse was not in condition.

 

- Argentière : the recent rain has affected the Glacier du Milieu, which is now hard snow/ice, particularly under the Vierge. The bergschrund is difficult to cross as the bridge has collapsed, two axes and cramponning skills needed.
Good conditions for the rock routes near the hut.

There is a stonefall risk on the Petite Verte.  

 

- Couvercle : the Courtes traverse is being done. The ridge and descent are fairly dry, so the route is for fast parties only.   The Pointe Isabella remains popular, the snow bridge is still intact. The “true” normal route on the Droites is OK, (the diagonal couloir variantion is no longer feasible). The Moine ridge on the Verte and the rock routes on the Moine are in condition. On Sunday, some parties went for the Grand Montets ridge, awaiting further info. The Jardin ridge is no longer feasible.

 

- Leschaux : The Walker has been popular recently.  Big boots and crampons for 2 pitches at triangular snow and at the red chimneys, otherwise OK in rock shoes.  No problems for the descent (normal route). The approaches to the Anouk and Contamine on the Petites Jorasses are OK. The Périades remains feasible, the glacier is OK, (with just a little ice at the start). The approach to the Aiguille de Leschaux is OK.

 

 -Charpoua : The traverse of the Drus and the Contamine on the Grand Dru are popular.  The glacier goes both above and below the serac, (melted snow).  Below the serac there is short, steep section.  The glacier descent goes on either side of the rognon.

The Contamine on the Evêque is popualar. Getting on to the rock from the snow is awkward due to a plug of snow.   A fixed rope was replaced at the end of summer 2017, though there is still some old rope around.  

There has been recent work on the summer approach path to the hut, a ladder was added at the start and several chains repaired.  

 

- Envers des Aiguilles : It is finished for the Ryan; The République bergschrund is awkward but still goes.  No problems reported for the other routes in the area. The descent of the Nantillons, is awkward since the snow bridge collapsed.

 

- Requin : The route up the Valley Blanche and the approaches to the routes behind the hut are in condition.  

 

- Torino : Good conditions for the Rochefort Arete and the Jorasses traverse. The way up to the Salle à Manger is dry, stonefall risk.  Parties are doing the Aiguilles du Diable and the Kuffner, (direct start.)  The Grand Capucin bergschrund is awkward but the other approaches appear still to be OK.

 

- Cosmiques
Triangle du Tacul : The Chéré is still being done (early morning).  The Negri is no longer feasible. The snow slope on the Grissolle before the narrows appears to be black ice, the rest looks OK.  Cosmiques ridge is very dry.  Midi Plan: there is ice on the north side.

Mont Blanc by the 3 Monts : 2 axes needed for the Maudit, (ice).

 

- Grands Mulets : It is still possible to get to the hut from the Gite à Balmat. The way through the Jonction is difficult to follow. The N ridge of the Dôme is hard snow, (with a bit of ice), 2 axes needed.  The Plateaux is tracked.  

 

- Les Conscrits : the Tondu is no longer recommended.  Dômes traverse: some ice between the col and the 1st Dôme and towards the Bérangère.  Tré la Tête traverse : no info. 

 

- Monzino : stonefall reported on the Eccles bivouac approach, (under the fore summit of the Pointe Inominata.)  Inominata Ridge is still being done.  Doubts about the Freney Pillar approach.  The Col Emile Rey is no longer feasible.  Go via the Pointe Innominata to reach the Schneider ledges, Ratti/Vitali and the Noire de Peuterey.

 

Report 23rd July 2018

Some new information for the start of a week that promises to be hot.  In general, the conditions at altitude are remaining good even if some areas are inevitably becoming dry.  The storms at the weekend brought some fresh snow, the snow/rain limit was around 3500m with about 25cms at 3600m and 30cms at 4000m, (very much varying from one area to another.) This snow has quickly transformed and settled, temporarily improving the conditions on some routes.  The snow has rapidly cleared from south facing rocks.

 

Tour Sector

- A good track means that, with some care, the approach to the Albert 1er hut from Charamillion/Les Autannes is OK.

-Col du Midi des Grands and Col Supérieur du Tour are dry but OK

- Aiguille du Tour by the Table Ridge and the Normal Route are OK

-Normal Routes on the Tête Blanche and Petite Fourche (a double 50m rope is needed for the abseil back over the bergschrund at the Col Blanc on the Swiss side).

- Dorées traverse is being done, no further info.

- S ridge of the Aiguille de Purtscheller is OK but be careful of loose rocks when abseilling back down.  

- Less people on the Aiguille du Chardonnet.  It is probably finished for the Migor Spur.  Still ice on the “Bosse” leading up to the Forbes Ridge despite the recent snow.  The ridge is dry and can be done without crampons: do not traverse onto the N face to avoid the pinnacles, (black ice), instead keep to the rock.  You need to be comfortable with this sort of ground in order not to lose too much time, (several short abseils from pinnacles).  The descent remains in good condition.

 

Argentière Sector

- Hut approach: no problem, the bergschrund at the Col des Grands Montets can be passed without difficulty on the left for the moment.

- The normal route on the Aig d'Argentière is being done.

- Jardin and Flèche Rousse ridges are OK, as are the Argentière and Tour Noir cols

- Traverse of the Tour Noir is no longer feasible.

- Black ice is beginning to appear on the Petite Verte ridge.

 

Charpoua Sector

The traverse of the Drus is being done regularly.  A party went to do the Eveque on 23/07, more info available when they return.

 

Talèfre Sector

- With the hot weather forecast for this week and the level of dryness, the Whymper is no longer feasible.

- Pointe Isabelle is still in condition.

- the Courtes traverse still feasible if one starts early start and there is a good freeze.  

- the "true" normal route on the Droites remains feasible but not the start by the “diagonal gully”.

- Except for the Contamine-Labrunie, (awkward but possible), the bergschrunds at the foot of the rock routes pose no particular problems.  

- Moine ridge on the Verte is dry low down but with some snow in the upper part.

Leschaux Sector

- Still one small snow field to cross to reach the hut by the Balcon path, (crampons useful.)

- Périades glacier tracked.

- Climbs being done on the Petites Jorasses, Aiguille de Leschaux (glacier approaches OK) and the routes above the hut.

- The Walker is being done regularly, (mixed above the triangular snow patch), though  t is probably worth waiting a day or two after last weekend storms.

 

Envers des Aiguilles

- N.B. the hut approach has changed, more info here

- Generally good conditions for this sector.

- The bergschrund for the République is becoming more awkward but still OK.  The bergschrund for the Ciseaux is very exposed.

 

Requin Sector

- Aiguille du Plan has been done, there and back.  

- The rock routes are dry and the approaches globally good for the moment.

- Nobody has been up or down the Valley Blanche recently. 

- The slabs to reach the first pitches on Congo Star have been bolted.

 

Grands Mulets

N Ridge of the Dôme still being done, tranquillity guaranteed.  The warden will be back at the hut on Monday and be able to provide the latest info.

 

Aiguille du Midi/Plan de l'Aiguille Sector

25 cm of new snow fell at the weekend.  

- the Tacul was retracked on Sunday (22/07) and the Maudit on Monday (23/07).

- some parties on the Chéré and there is a track towards the Contamine-Negri, no further info. In general, the conditions for the Triangle are poor.

- Cosmiques Ridge is completely dry, no need for crampons.  

- Pointes Lachenal traversed regularly, (warning, in some places the snow cover above the ice is very thin.)

- a little bit of snow on the ledges of the Midi S face.  A party climbed the Cosmiques Spur.

- Frendo Spur very dry and has not been done for a few days now.  

- The rock routes are generally dry in the Chamonix Aiguilles.  Crampons no longer needed for the normal route on the Peigne, (descend by the Papillons ridge.)

- No recent info for the Nantillons glacier, conditions will be continuing to deteriorate.

 

Mont Blanc Normal Route

L’arrêté préfectoral  (municipal law), restricting the approach to the Gouter hut has been extended to 1st August 2018.

Mountaineers who stay at the hut or bivouac at the Tête Rousse are doing the Mont Blanc (there and back) without problems.  

 

Plan Glacier/Durier/Conscrits

- The path to the Plan Glacier from the Col du Tricot is free of snow.

- The traverse of the Dômes de Miage is generally in good condition but be aware that the ice is never far away, (good cramponning technique needed.)  The glacier is heavily crevassed and below the Col des Domes can be difficult to spot.  No ice on the descent towards the Bérangère.

- No recent info for the Aiguille de Tré la Tête but conditions were OK a week ago.

- A lot of ice on the Mont Tondu.  

- The Mettrier ridge no longer in condition, (nobody done it for more than a week.)

- Tricot Ridge is being done regularly, but ice is appearing on the traverse after the Aiguille de Tricot.

- There is a section of ice under the summit of the Aiguille de Bionnassay.  The E ridge is airy but with a good track.  There is ice about, especially before the Piton des Italiens.

 

Robert Blanc Sector

- 2 snowfields to cross at the end of the classic hut approach from Lanchettes

- The cables leading to the Col du Mont Tondu have been repaired. The E ridge is dry.

- Dôme des Glaciers: the glacier and Lanchettes ridge (via the Col des Glaciers) are feasible.

 

Gonella Hut Section

Mont Blanc by the Aiguilles Grises is being done regularly: the glacier is OK; the ridge is airy with some ice at the level of the Piton des Italiens.

 

Monzino Hut Section

- the rock routes are dry.  To get to the Ratti, pass under the E face of the Noire de Peuterey

- Access to the Eccles bivouac via the Brouillard glacier is still OK.  

- Innominata and Brouillard ridges are in good condition, (even if a bit dry.)

- Parties doing the Freney Central Pillar and the Brouillard Pillars, no further info.  

- No news for the Peuterey ridge, the recent snow may have temporarily improved conditions, (quite a lot of ice in the upper part.)

 

Punta Helbronner Sector

10 cm of fresh snow at the hut, (already melted,) and about 30cm at 4000m.

- Brenva Spur no longer in condition, lots of ice before the recent snow fall, (which may have improved conditions for a few days.)

- Kuffner being done frequently.  It is necessary to approach directly by the couloir and not from the Fourche bivouac. (more info ici).

- Aiguilles du Diable traverse remains feasible, (party foreseen for the 23/07). The bergschrund is OK, the couloir is becoming dry near the top, danger of stonefall from other parties.

- Climbing on the Satellites is still good, no problems reported concerning the bergschrunds.

- Tour Ronde : SE Ridge intégrale is feasible.

-Aiguilles d'Entrêves and Marbrées traverses are OK.  

- Good conditions for the Dent du Géant and Rochefort Ridge (retracked on 22/07, no ice.)  For the N ridge of the Dent du Géant, go along by the rocks when descending under the E face, (ice and broken rock.)

 

Grandes-Jorasses Sector

- Traverse and normal route on the Grandes Jorasses are being done regularly.  (Parties left to do the traverse from the Canzio 23/07 but it is probably better to wait a day or two for the snow to go.)  The normal route was retracked on 22/07. 

Generally good conditions for Mont Dolent . no further info.  

 

Aiguilles Rouges

- still some snow fields which can cause problems at the Col de Salenton, between the Index and Lac Blanc, at the col de la Glière, by the lacs Noirs and Cornu and between the Col du Brévent and the Brévent summit.

- still some snow on the approaches and descents for certain rock routes.

 - still some snow in the Emosson sector to reach the site of the dinosaur footprints, (which itself is nearly completely free of snow,) good boots suffice.  

Summer conditions by the Grenairon hut: some easy snowfields to climb the Mont Buet and the Cheval Blanc, (descent towards Emosson is dry until the Col du Vieux.)

 

Tour du Mont Blanc

- still some steep and exposed snow on the variants at the level of the Col de la Grande Ecaille and after the Cabottes spur, (the path between the Tête Nord des Fours and the col de la Seigne). The Col d’Enclave has snow on the Contamines side. There is still some snow in the Bellaval cwm.

-  it is not advised to take the Fenêtre d'Arpette variant due to work being carried out on the Trient side.  (The Champex side is nearly snow free.)

 

Haute Route Chamonix-Zermatt : 

- by the paths: still quite a lot of snow on the higher cols but feasible with good boots and hiking poles. 

- by the glaciers: crevasses still well filled in.

Report 11 July 2018

Some complementary information to the last report and route book , (5th July,) for the mid and high mountain.  

 

High Mountain

 

- Conditions still good for the Dômes de Miages traverse and the Aig de Bionnassay.

- Dôme des Glaciers : Lanchettes ridge is still accessible from the behind the hut and by the col des Glaciers ; the Glaciers glacier is feasible.

- Robert Blanc sector : Mont Tondu : the E ridge is dry, Mont Tondu glacier is feasible.  The W face, (above the Jovets lakes) still has some snow. There is 30m of cable missing to reach the Col du Mont Tondu.

- Mont Blanc by the Aiguilles Grises : the Dôme glacier is still good, the ridge after the Piton des Italiens is narrow for about 30m.

- Eccles bivouac is popular, with climbing on the Freney pillar,and Peuterey Integral.  Be aware that the rock quality on the Brouillard ridge is often mediocre.  

- Brenva Spur: More and more ice is appearing on the Gussfeld variant, foresee extra ice screws. 

- Kuffner :  The ridge between the Fourche bivouac and the start is no longer really possible (unstable terrain) and so one needs to start by the direct gully.  The ice is surfacing here and there, (notably on the traverse under the summit of Mont Maudit.)  2 axes and some extra screws recommended.

- The abseil line from the Canzio bivouac has been re-equipped. (30m abseils).

- Mont Blanc by the 3 Monts : the rope which was in place at Col du Mont Maudit is in a very bad state.

- Contamine-Grisolle / Contamine-Mazaud : still feasible if you sleep at the hut, conditions OK but there are sections of black ice.

- Nantillons glacier is still snow.  

- Frendo Spur, feasible with an early start or from a bivouac at the top of the rock section, (stonefall reported higher up.)  Recent parties have used the righthand finish.  

- the approach to Congo Star (Aiguille Pierre Alain) is awkward, (slab difficult to protect,) numerous parties have turned back.  Best avoided until it is « equipped », i.e. bolted.

- Drus traverse popular, still snow on the approach to Flammes de Pierre.

- Courtes normal route in good condition.  For the traverse, the ridge is very dry, and unstable in places, (notably at the level of Aiguille qui Remue.)  A route for very fast parties only.   

- Petite Aiguille Verte in good condition.

- Grands Montets ridge popular, the Segogne slabs are not dry, but can be passed easily.   The Whymper Couloir is still feasible in descent (but maybe not for long).  The Moine Ridge is perhaps the better option, (still quite a lot of snow, crampons all the way.)

- Aiguille d'Argentière : Flèche Rousse ridge still in condition, The upper slope of the descent by the normal route is by abseil from Abalakovs, (check them !), bergschrund OK, Glacier du Milieu OK, (still snow).

- Col du Tour Noir in excellent condition.

- Tête Blanche : the bergschrund on the N face is no longer passable, NE ridge OK.

- Generally good conditions for the Dorées traverse : rock dry, (including the Copt gully), crampons to cross the Copt col and then for the mixed section on the N face  of the Aiguilles Penchées.  50m abseil form a rock spike to cross the bergschrund on the descent.

 

Mid Mountain

 

No major changes, there is still snow in some places.  

- The Col des Fours variant on the TMB is feasible with good boots and hiking poles.  

- Robert Blanc sector: The classic approach to the hut is free of snow up to about 2600m, (at the top of the Lanchettes glacier moraine).  With each day the snow is disappearing higher up and the path, with its yellow markings, becoming more apparent. There are still some steep, exposed snow slopes on the traverse path between Tête Nord des Fours and the Col de la Seigne. Not recommended for the moment.  For the Col d’Enclave, the spur up from the Jovet lakes is free of snow.  There is some snow on the summit and a lot of snow still on the Bellaval Combe side.

- Fenêtre d'Arpette : still snow on the Champex side but not a problem if one is properly equipped. Work in progress on the Trient side and best avoided.  Please respect the workers.

- Crampons still needed for the normal route up Mont Buet and the Salenton Col (Tour des Aiguilles Rouges). The snow is stable and the is a good track.  N ridge of the Buet is dry

- Steep and exposed snow slopes to reach Lac Blanc from the top of the Index chairlift, crampons needed.  A lot of snow on the approach to the Lacs Noirs from the Cornu Col and on the Glière Col, (steep and dangerous snow slopes.)

- the path between the Are chalets and the Nid d'Aigle is in a bad state and  for the “sure footed” hikers only.  

- several bolt hangers have been removed from Label Virginie (Clocher de Planpraz).

- Rockfall on pitch 3 of Martin Ravanel (Jumelles des Crochues):  a bolt is missing and the party turned back.

 

 

 

Report 5th July 2018

July has started with a period of warm weather.  This has complicated the conditions in the high mountains but has improved the situation for hikers.

 

Tour Sector

The approach to the Albert 1er hut from Autannes is much better.  There is still some snow to cross near the Charamillon lake and also some snow on the final traverse to the hut.  The path has deteriorated  in some of the gullies but remains feasible.  The freezing level for the last few days has been reasonable. 

- Aiguille du Tour by the Table Ridge and Normal Route OK

- Normal routes on the Tête Blanche and Petite Fourche OK. Nobody on the N face of the Tête Blanche (bergschrund open.)

- No news for the Dorées traverse, which should be in condition.

- S ridge of the Aig de Purtscheller OK

- Aiguille du Chardonnet : Forbes Ridge popular ; ice on the Bosse, (two axes recommended), ridge dry. The Migot Spur still possible but going out of condition, (bergschrund awkward), mixed section fairly dry, ice appearing on the upper slope.  Need to do it soon and have a good level of ability.  The descent route remains good, no problem at the bergschrund or with crevasses under the Adams Reilly Col.

 

Argentière Sector

- hut approach and Glacier du Milieu : information here !

- the rock is dry !

- Jardin Ridge and Flèche Rousse, cols d'Argentière et du Tour Noir (still with snow) all OK.

-A party did the traverse from the A Neuve to the col Supérieur du Tour Noir in good conditions.

 

Charpoua Sector

All is good. Still no problems for the glacier. The Dru traverse and the Grand Dru are popular. The Évêque has become a bit more awkward.

 

Talèfre Sector

Conditions good for the rock routes. Condition deteriorating for the snow/mixed routes, (Whymper Couloir, col Armand Charlet, Jardin Ridge ...) which remain feasible though technically harder than normal.  Need to use the nearby rocks to overcome the bergschrund s and have good freeze

- Grands-Montets ridge, descending by the Moine ridge (Verte) OK, (some snow high up, 30m abseil to pass the bergschrund, (needs resourcefulness to pass on ascent!)

- Pointe Isabelle OK, A 4m snow bridge, which looks to be firm enough, gives access to the bergschrund from the Courtes glacier.  

- Courtes traverse feasible for fast partiesand given good freezing, (still plenty of snow on the descent by the col des Cristaux.)  

- The small couloir leading to the normal route on the Droites no longer feasible, it is necessary to use the glacier route.

 

Leschaux Sector

- still some snow on the hut approach via the Balcons de la Mer de Glace (crampons useful).

- probably finished for the SW Gully of the Aiguille de l’Éboulement

- Périades glacier tracked.

- Climbing popular on the Petites Jorasses (Anouk and Contamine) and the routes above the hut.

- A party on the Bonington route, Aiguille de Leschaux, descending on the Italian side.  

- a party found a good way for the Croz spur.  The Walker is dry and should be feasible a few days after the storms when the good weather returns.

 

Envers des Aiguilles de Chamonix

The water supply has been repaired and the hut is fully open again. Not many people here so little to report. The rock is dry but the freezing limited. complicating crossing some of the bergschrunds.  Ryan ridge was climbed on 30/06, (2 technical axes to cross the bergschrund.)

 

Requin Sector

- The Envers glacier is OK (up and down).

- Aiguille Pierre-Alain and Dent du Requin popular: good, firm snow on the approach, rock dry.

- Going up the Vallée Blanche is OK, given a good freeze.

 

Grands Mulets

Some parties before the storms at the end of the week on the Mont Blanc by the N ridge of the Dôme in good conditions.

 

Aiguille du Midi Sector

The cable car reopened on the 4th July.

The 3 Monts route is popular, conditions generally good.  There is a long deviation to pass a crevasse at the foot of the N face of Mont Maudit.  2 axes recommended for the ice sections at the Mont Maudit col and the Mur de la Côte. The recent storms have hardened the snow surface, which is not yet glass-like but still requires good crampon technique, especially in descent.) On the morning of the 5th there was 5cms of fresh snow at the Cosmiques hut. A party on the Mont Blanc du Tacul the same morning found between 20 and 60 cm (strong west wind). The rest of the route will probably be unstable for several days

- good conditions for the traverse of the Valley Blanche

- no news (is good news!)  for the bergschrunds below the rock (S face, Aiguille du Midi and the Pointes Lachenal...) which should dry

- no or little activity on the Triangle du Tacul, awaiting more info.

- Midi-Plan Arete OK, if there is a good freeze, (a party turned back on 4th July due to soft snow.)

 

Aiguilles de Chamonix

-traverse of the Aguilles de Chamonix looks to be feasible, (no info)

 - Cordier pillar and Charmoz-Grépon traverse very popular

- Nantillons glacier descent still OK

- rock routes dry, (crampons useful for some approaches.)

- no snow on the Peigne normal route.

- the upper part of the Frendo spur is becoming dry but still feasible given good freezing. Recent parties have exited to the right.  

 

Mont Blanc by the Gouter

From the 7th July the Tramway will go up to the Nid d'Aigle, making the approach easier.  “Normal » conditions between the Tête Rousse and the Goûter with stonefall during the day, cross the gully as early as possible. Nothing to note above this.

 

Plan Glacier/Durier/Conscrits

- Conscrits hut approach:  still snow on the summer path, but feasible without crampons. For mountaineers the glacier route is still OK but there is 60m of ice at the level of the Tré la Grande seracs (crampons).

- The footpath from the col du Tricot to the Plan Glacier hut is almost free of snow but still a serious undertaking, good boots essential.  Nothing to note for the path from the Miage chalets.

- Also nothing to note for the approach to the Durier hut, whether from the Plan Glacier or the Dôme. 5 cm of fresh snow at the hut on the morning of the 5th.

- generally good conditions for the traverse of the Dômes de Miage. A little bit of ice above the col to reach the first Dôme. No ice on the descent to the Bérangère but the snow is smooth and hard if there is a good freeze.

- Mont Tondu still popular : the lower ramp is dry, ice appearing at level section.

- no recent news for the Tré-la-Tête

- the Mettrier ridge is almost completely dry, cramponning starts at 100m below the exit which is still snow.

- the rock on the Tricot ridge is dry as far as the Aiguille de Tricot. Above this there looks to be a lot of ice.

- the Bionnassay traverse in good conditions, (no ice.)

 

Gonella Hut Sector

The Dôme glacier still OK to ascend Mont Blanc by the Aiguilles Grises. Tournette Spur was done on 2/07 in awkward conditions.

 

Monzino Hut Sector

No major change in conditions.

- rock routes dry

- the Brouillard and Fréney glaciers are OK. It is essential to get to the Eccles bivouac early, (large snow bridges).

- Innominata and Brouillard ridges OK. Peuterey Intergral has been done (no further info).  A party turned back at the bergschrund for the Vires Schneider. A lot of ice on the Peuterey ridge.

 

Punta Helbronner Sector

- Brenva Spur remains popular.  Likewise, the Kuffner.  Despite the landslips last year, the section between the Fourche bivouac and the start remains possible, (no further info.)

 - Aiguilles du Diable traverse in good condition but the bergschrund and the approach gully are becoming more awkward and may not remain feasible for very long.

- climbing on the satellites is popular.  No news concerning the bergschrunds, (which is good news!).

- Tour Ronde : finished for the Gervasutti and N face.  Conditions becoming more awkward on the slope to the Freshfield col.  The SE ridge intergral remains the only route in acceptable condition, keeping in mind there is a section that is potentially unstable.

- good conditions for the Dent du Géant : the snow is going from the approach to the Salle à Manger but still OK.  Rocherfort Ridge in condition.  

- The abseil line from the Canzio bivouac to the Planpincieux glacier will not be re-equipped for some time, foresee 2 x 60m ropes.

 

Grandes-Jorasses Sector

- Jorasses traverse and normal route in good conditions

- Hirondelles Ridge has been done (no further info.)

 

Aiguilles Rouges

Still no news about the opening of the Lac Blanc hut this summer.

The snow starts about the level of lac Blanc, which can now be reached without special equipment.  Still some snow between the Chésery lakes and lac Blanc.

Between the top of the Index chairlift and lac Blanc, though much of the snow has gone, there remains some patches of hard snow, crampons recommended.

In the Glière combe much of the snow has gone but there is still a steep snowfield below the col.

The way up to the Col Cornu from Planpraz is almost dry but there is still a lot of snow on the N side (lacs Cornu et Noir).

The way up to the Brévent col from Planpraz is dry, good footwear and hiking poles are sufficient for this and the descent towards the Arlevé bridge and the Moede d'Anterne hut. For the Brévent, it appears to be better to go via the Brèche du Brévent.

The snow has nearly all gone from the Brévent lake.

On the other hand, crampons are necessary for the descent from col de Salenton to the Pierre à Bérard hut (no longer any snow between the hut and the Buet village.). The Buet summit still has a lot of snow.

 Crampons/ice axes useful for the Crochues traverse, the Aiguille du Bélvédère.and most of the approaches to the rock routes in the Crochues/Index/Glière sectors, (except for the Crochues towers if one abseils back down.

 

Tour du Mont Blanc

The Fenetre d’Arpette variant is not recommended due to the amount of snow on the Champex side and the state of the path on the Trient side, (repair work due to start on 11th July.

 

General Info : 

- still a lot of snow at the foot of the brèche du Brévent climbing area but does not pose much of a problem.

- lac Bleu is free from snow and accessible.

- A lot of snow on the summer Haute route, Chamonix-Zermatt : get the latest information from the huts and foresee good boots, hiking poles and crampons.

- Generally good conditions for the Mont Rosa and Grand Paradiso.

- Lion ridge (Matterhorn) still has a lot of snow, better conditions on the Hornli side.

 

 

Report 29 June 2018

Some information for the coming weekend which promises to be warm and sunny.  In the high mountain, be aware that the freezing level is going to rise significantly. The conditions may change from one day to the next.  Some extra info in the route book

There have been a number, (too many!) of accidents due to slipping on firm snow : make sure you have the right information and equipment for your proposed route.

 

Albert 1er

- Hut approach : by the moraine for hikers or from Charamillon, (do not take the Autannes lift,) for alpinists (still some snowfield, be aware of  falling snow blocks).

- Col Supérieur du Tour and col du Midi des Grands OK, col du Tour dry (fixed rope in place to reach the glacier but take care of stonefall, epecially if other ropes are around.)

- Aiguille du Tour : summit ridge dry, normal route and Table ridge OK.

- Tête Blanche : Normal route OK, the bergschrund on the N face is very open but can be crossed on the left.

- Petite Fourche OK

- Chardonnet :  Normal route and descent OK.  Some ice on the Bosse to reach the Forbes Arete, but one ice axe is enough; the ridge is dry but OK.  The bergschrund at the start of the Migot Spur is crossed on the right.  The ice starts at the exit onto the summit slope but conditions generally good.

 

Argentière Basin

It is finished here for the skiers, (though still possible in the Monte Rosa area.)

- Hut approach :  The snow starts at Point de Vue, ladders and access to the glacier OK, (steep névé).  From the summit of the Grands Montets, descend in line with the Rognon then bear right to take advantage of the snow.  Do not follow the track traversing under the Aig Verte, (crevasses, exposed to serac fall.)

- Tournier Spur is still being done. The Courtier, however, is not in condition, (bergschrund very open and a lot of ice in the couloir). This will also be true for the Couloir du Y on the Aig d’Argentiere in a few days.

- Col du Tour Noir and Col d'Argentière OK. The approach to the Col Supérieur du Tour Noir and traverse of the Aiguille du Tour Noir are OK.

- Arête du Jardin and Flèche Rousse OK, Glacier du Milieu is hard snow with a good trail/footsteps, (only for experienced alpinists, as it is currently harder than the PD+ grade)

- The approach to many of the rock routes is made easier with the snow, (the approaches  to the Aiguilles du Génépy and Refuge are dry).   Great conditions for climbing in the sun!

 

Charpoua hut

No snow on the new path to the hut.

The rock is dry!  The Contamine routes on the Grand Dru and the Évêque are popular.

The traverse of the Drus (normal route) is being done, (still some snow, the glacier is OK)

 

Couvercle Hut

- The Whymper is becoming technically harder, several parties have turned back at the bergschrund. (fixed rope still in place?)  The secondary couloir is very dry.   Still OK for abseilling down, if you respect the time of day.

- Grands-Montets ridge is being done regularly, the Point Cigogne is still under snow and so is bypassed.

- Nobody has done the Moine Ridge yet, though it looks feasible.

- Col Armand Charlet, bergschrund OK, 2 pitches of 15m to climb the lower runnel, couloir OK. The left-hand exit is dry, the right-hand one goes on thin ice.  The traverse between the Aiguille du Jardin and the Grande Rocheuse is good, neither to dry or too much snow.  

- Arête du Jardin, in good condition, bergschrund and couloir OK for the moment, some rock is showing through but not causing problems.  The rock section is mainly dry with just a little bit of verglace.

- The Couloir en Oblique on the Droites normal route no longer goes.  It is, therefore, necessary to take the lower route.  The mixed section is in good condition and the abseils OK. 

- The Courtes: “there and back “or the traverse in good condition, just have to avoid descending too late.  

- Pointe Isabella remains popular, nothing to note other than the bergschrund and crevasses are increasing in size, the mixed section has lots of snow and the summit ridge is snow.

- The Moine : normal route, S ridge integral and Contamine, (E face) are all OK.

- Nonne-Évêque, good conditions, some snow in places but not causing any problems. The bergschrunds are OK. 

L'Envers des Aiguilles

There is a problem with the water supply, so the hut is not taking any reservations for the moment.  The problem may be resolved this weekend

Still 2 snowfields to cross to reach the hut, crampons very useful!  For the climbing, conditions are good.

Grépon-Mer de Glace : approach by the lower ramp and then the bergschrund is OK.  The descent by the Nantillons glacier is OK for the moment but the snow quality is likely to rapidly deteriorate with the heat.   

 

Plan de l'Aiguille

The 1st section of the Aiguille du Midi lift opens on Saturday 30th June.  Grand Balcon Nord in good condition, (1 snowfield remains but a good track has been made with a pick).

 -  Frendo Spur done on 28/06 in good conditions.

- Charmoz-Grépon Traverse : still a little bit of snow on the ledges but it is good.  Descent by the Nantillons glacier in good condition, no ice, a small crevasse to jump, though larger ones are beginning to appear.

 

Cosmiques Hut

- the hut approach, either up the Valley Blanche or traversing from Punta Helbronner, is OK.

- Midi-Plan has been done both upwards and down to the Requin hut,

- Triangle du Tacul : Chéré, Grisolle, Négri have been done, (no further info.)

- Traverse by the 3Monts , (does not appear to be skiable anymore): ladder in place at the Tacul bergschrund, the ice starts at the Col du Mont Maudit and on the Mur de la Côte : 2 ice axes useful for the leader.   

 

Grands Mulets hut

Finished for the skiers, (too much carrying and bad snow.)

- Hut approaches either from the tunnel, (the traverse of the Jonction is no longer waymarked but without problems) or via the Gite à Balmat are OK.

- N Ridge of the Dôme du Goûter in good condition, feasible in descent with the right skill level.

 

Mont-Blanc normal route :

- Tête Rousse approach for alpinists only.  The tramway stops at the Col du Mont Lachat, it is forbidden to go up the rail track. the route by the Dérochoir is steep, technical, with lots of snow and dangerous for the inexperienced, (crampons and ice axe essential.)   The path between the Chalets de l'Are and the Nid d'Aigle is in a very poor state, (landslip) and is signposted closed.

- Grand Couloir: The traverse of the couloir is still snow/ice and the cable is in place.  Respect the time of day and do not try and cross it after midday.  

- Dôme du Goûter and Bosses ridge are in good condition.

 

Plan Glacier / Durier / Conscrits

- The summer path to the Conscrits is open, (footbridge in place.)

- Still some snow on the path between the Col de Tricot and Plan Glacier.

- The Miage glacier is still filled in and the ridge below the Durier hut is almost dry.

- Mettrier Ridge intégral is feasible, dry up to 3300 m, exit slopes still with snow.

- Good conditions for the traverses of the Dômes de Miage and Bionnassay and are popular.

 

Rifugio Monzino

- Approach to the Eccles Bivouac by the Brouillard glacier is OK but plan to arrive before midday, (snow bridges become dangerous.)

 - Innominata and Brouillard ridges in good condition.

- Grand Pilier d'Angle and the Peuterey ridge from the Col Eccles in mediocre condition, (lots of ice in the upper sections.)

- Access to the Pilier Rouge by Brouillard glacier is OK

- Punta Innominata OK

- Aiguille Noire : crossing the Freney glacier is OK, the lower pitches on the Ratti-Vitali look to be dry now.   Equipes des Bras Cassés and Brendel are OK.

- Aiguille Croux : still snow on the approach, (crampons and ice axe needed), Ottoz, Bertone-Zappelli and Cheney OK.

 

Torino Hut

- Brenva Spur is being climbed regularly in good conditions: access to the glacier from the Fourche bivouac is OK.  Ascent by the Gussfeld variant OK, hard ice beneath 40cm of inconsistent snow for the last 20 metres below the ridge.   The spur OK, 2 axes useful. The best exit goes rightwards to the Brenva Col and takes some finding but is good.

- Both the Kuffner Ridge (the ridge between the Fourche bivouac and the start is unstable and difficult to protect, best to start directly by the couloir,) and the Aiguilles du Diable traverse are popular and in good condition.

- Rochefort Ridge and Dent du Géant in top condition. Likewise, for the Aiguille d'Entrêve, the Marbrées (rock dry, climbing without crampons) and the Aiguille de Toule traverses.

- Tour Ronde : the Gervasutti is still feasible, (take the bergschrund on the left, no ice) The N face is becoming more difficult, (delicate ice in the central gully.)  SE Ridge intégral and descent from the Freshfield Col are OK.

- Rochefort - Jorasses traverse has been done in good conditions on 24/06 (still some snow at the level of Pointes Young and Margherite), The descent has been done by the normal route (abseil the Reposoir.)  Because of a rockfall, one or more of the belays on the lower part of the abseil line down from the Canzio bivouac to the to the  Planpincieux glacier are missing. Foresee a double rope to bypass the missing abseil points.

 

Some miscellaneous information :

- There is still a large patch of hard snow between Flégère and Lac Blanc and a lot, (too much,) snow between the Chéserys lakes and Lac Blanc.

- The path between the Col du Brévent and the Brévent summit is dangerous.  From Planpraz, follow the ski piste to the Brèche du Brévent and so to the summit. Descents via the Bellachat hut and the Aiguillette des Houches are OK, despite some remaining snow patches.

- Ice axe and crampons necessary for the Tour des Aiguilles Rouges and to reach most of the rock routes, (this includes the Crochues traverse.)  

- Still 3 snowfields on the way to the Jonction, poles and good boots suffice.

- Crampons useful for the Perrons routes, (Badabing, Squatteurs de Lune. etc.)  Perrons traverse popular, still quite a lot of snow on the descent. 

- Bodinausore on the Brévent : many bolts are missing, friends/nuts  could be useful . 

- Cocher-cochon : ice axe and good boots useful for the approach, descent dry .

- Via ferrata and via corda des Evettes are OK without crampons.