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Report 2nd September 2017

A quick update, as Autumn arrives, for the conditions in the mountains following the recent bad weather. It has snowed down to 2500m, with the showers being very localised.

 

Albert 1er Hut: 5 cm of snow (the landline phone is not working, please use the mobile: 06 60 33 73 62)

 

Envers des Aiguilles Hut: only a few cms at the hut and the lower sectors (Tour Verte, Tour Rouge...) should dry quickly.  The Aiguille de la République and the Grépon look to have a lot of snow.

 

The north side of the Aiguilles de Chamonix: The rock is plastered with snow and patience is needed before climbing in this sector, (Pilier Rouge de Blaitière, Peigne...).

 

Cosmiques Hut: about 30 cm of new snow, plastering the rocks.  Be aware of a potential avalanche risk (fresh snow and wind) on the 3 Monts route. 

 

Torino Hut : About 10cms.  The rock routes (Dent du Géant, Tacul satellites) should be dry by the beginning of the week, when the good weather returns.

 

Goûter Hut: 20 cm. The normal route up Mont-Blanc should be re-tracked in a day or two.

 

The forecast is for the weather to improve, starting on Sunday with an East wind at altitude until Monday.  Temperatures will remain cool for the time of year.

 

Report 30th August 2017

 

No real developments since the last report of 23rd August. However, the conditions are going to change with the bad weather forecasted for the next few days.

We are getting reports of numerous stone falls, sometimes large, from many areas in the Mont Blanc Massive.  Great care is needed in choosing suitable routes and respecting the time of day!


The Charpoua hut is now closed. Some of the other huts and lifts will also close soon.  Please visit the dedicated hut websites and the Company du Mont Blanc site ( www.montblancnaturalresort.com ) for the latest information.  


Because of pipe laying work, it is forbidden to use the path between Lognan and the Argentière glacier viewpoint/Lognan hut.  Access is only possible via the Pierre à Ric and the path that climbs up under the Lognan hut.

It is also forbidden to go up the Mont Blanc Tramway tracks between Bellevue and the Nid d'Aigle. Access to the Tête Rousse is possible by either the Rognes path or the Chalets d’Are.

 

Report 23rd August 2017

Latest update on conditions. :

 

Last week it rained up to 4000m and then with the lower temperatures, the snow became very hard/icy. First class cramponning skills are needed.
Otherwise, the dryness continues with the snow bridges on the glaciers becoming ever weaker.  

 

- Albert 1er : The Petite Fourche, the Aig du Tour, both by the Table Ridge and the normal route, remain popular.  Crossing the Col Supérieur du Tour is very technical and it is better to use the Col du Tour, which itself is more awkward than usual. The bergschrund crossing has collapsed, though it is still possible to get across on the right.

 

- Argentière : The Petite Aiguille Verte is now bare ice and not feasible.  The bergschrund at the Col des Grands Montets is awkward but passable, (fixed rope.). The Belvédère (East) ridge is dry and popular. The conditions for rock climbing behind the Argentière hut remain excellent.  Parties are also doing the Col du Tour Noir, there and back.

 

- Charpoua : The storm last Friday resulted in a lot of stone fall in the gullies in this sector and some areas are unstable, notably near Ciao Marco (to be avoided). The Dru traverse is still being done but crossing the glacier is becoming difficult.   

 

- Couvercle : Do not start the Nonne-Evêque by the gully but  go instead on the left, (looking up.)   A large stride is needed to cross the Moine bergschrund but the normal route and S ridge are still being climbed. On the Verte, there have been some parties on the Grand Montets and the Moine ridges, (time taken very variable between parties.)

 

- Leschaux : Still a little bit of snow on the Grand Jorasses N face but parties have tried the Walker spur, some successfully, others chosing to turn back.  Be aware of stone fall in this area!
Anouk and Contamine on the Petites Jorasses have been done recently.  The hut can only be contacted by telephone, (internet not working.)

 

- Envers des Aiguilles : Very little has changed since the last update.  The bergschrund for the République has become more awkward but it is still passable.

 

- Requin : The hut approach is OK and the rock routes in this sector continue to be climbed. There is some ice on the approach the Aiguille du Requin, but not a problem.  For the Pierre Alain, it is better to return by the normal route, because some of the streams (torrents) are difficult to cross in the afternoon. Virtually nobody going up the Vallee Blanche anymore.

 

- Torino : No major changes in the access to the Tacul satelittes.  The Aiguilles d'Entrèves traverse is best done in reverse, (i.e. NE to SW,) so that the ice slope is done in ascent.   Ice present on the Rochefort Arete, some parties retreating, others reaching the Canzio bivouac and then the Jorasses traverse. The belays below the Canzio have been damaged, 2 x 50m ropes advisable.

 

- Cosmiques : The snow is still very hard on the 3 Monts traverse;  good cramponning  technique essential!  There is a fixed rope at Mont Maudit, but also ice.  No information for the Pointes Lachenal. The Laurence and Cosmiques ridges remain in condition.  The snow bridges on the Vallee Blanche crossing are becoming ever more suspect.  

 

- Goûter : Conditions are becoming increasingly awkward as the end of season approaches ; proper alpine equipment and experience  essential.  You are reminded that due to work on the Tramway, it is forbidden to walk up the track. To reach the Tête Rousse or the Nid d'Aigle it is necessary to go either via the Chalets de l'Are or the Rognes route.

 

- Conscrits / Durier : The Tré la Tête glacier is very dry but the Central Dôme de Miage and the East Dôme are still being done (there and back)   The traverse to the Durier and  Mont Tondu from the Conscrits hut are also being done.
Conditions are OK for the Bionnassay traverse, though it is more difficult than usual.  

 

- Monzino : The Brouillard glacier is no longer passable it is now necessary to go via the Pointe Innominata to reach the Eccles bivouac, (an additional 4 hours.)  Some parties on the Peuterey Integral, Freney Pillar, Brouillard Ridge integral and the Pillar Dérobé. Conditions are very dry and some sections can be challenging.  It is also difficult to find snow to melt for drinking/cooking.

 

Report 17th August 2017

The snow that fell recently was not enough to make any lasting difference to the conditions for the snow and mixed routes, which continue to become even drier

 

Albert 1er Sector : It is becoming difficult to cross both the Cols du Tour and Superior du Tour.  Some parties have managed but others have turned back.  The normal route on the Tête Blanche is now awkward though still possible.  The Aiguille du Tour bergschrund is very wide but possible to get around on the right, with a sufficient level of technical ability.  The normal way up the Petite Fourche remains the only route feasible for novices.

 

Argentière Sector : The activity here is concentrated on the rock routes near the hut.

Charpoua Sector : The routes are dry and the Dru traverse was done recently, the Charpoua glacier still being OK.  


Couvercle Sector :  Everyday there are parties on the Moine and Nonne-Evêque.  Some parties went for the Moine Ridge on the Verte, (no further information yet.)  No known activity on the Grands Montets ridge.


Leschaux Sector :  The rock behind the hut is dry. The glacier approach to the Petites Jorasses is becoming complicated. The Périades, there and back, remains possible but good cramponning and route finding skills needed.

 
Envers des Aiguilles Sector : is popular but with the dry conditions, certain bergschrunds are very open. It is no longer possible to get onto Subtilité Dulférienne, Tout va Mal and California Dream.
Following the retreat of the glacier, 7 bolts have been added at the foot of Marchand de Sable with a new belay some 6m up.  Likewise, a new first pitch has been added to Rivière d'Argent at Tré-la-porte.


Requin Sector : the approach to the hut and to the routes still present no major difficulties.  Parties continue going up and down the "Vallée Blanche".


Torino Sector : The classics of this area remain feasible, though special care is needed, as conditions are very dry. The Rochefort Arete is OK and was done recently as far as the Canzio bivouac.   The Pyramide du Tacul bergschrund is very open and technical. A large stride is needed to cross the bergschrund on the Trident du Tacul. The Aiguilles du Diable traverse is in condition.

 

Cosmiques Sector :  Pointes Lachenal traverse, Laurence Arete and Cosmiques ridge are popular.  The traverse of the 3 Monts was tracked today (17/08).  The Midi-Plan traverse was done shortly after the snow fall but is now no longer in condition.  Nobody seen on the Triangle du Tacul, (too dry). Fragile snow bridges have been reported on the traverse of the Vallée Blanche.  


Conscrits Sector :  The Central Dôme, there and back, via the Col des Dômes and the East Dome E remain possible.  The traverse from the Bérangère is bare ice and subject to stone fall.  Some parties went towards the Durier. The traverse of the Bionnassay is in good condition generally .

 

Report 13th August 2017

The new snow at altitude earlier in the week has for the most part disappeared.  The rock is now generally dry except for some areas high up, where there is still snow on the ledges.

 

Albert 1er  Sector :  The Col du Tour would appear to present less of a problem than the Col Supérieur but is still awkward.

 

Mer de Glace Sector : There were parties on the Moine S Ridge and normal route and also the Nonne-Eveque.   Still a little snow on the summit of the Petites Jorasses but the West face is feasible, as are the routes above the Leschaux hut. There are parties planning to go for the Périades on 14/08.
At the Envers des Aiguilles, some snow remains higher up but the routes on the Pointes des Nantillons, Tour Rouge and Tour Verte are feasible.

 

Torino Sector ; Activity reported on the classic routes in this sector, though be careful of stone fall and weak snow bridges.  The Tacul satellites, Dent du Géant and the Arete du Diable are mainly dry.  The Rochefort Ridge is tracked as far as the Canzio bivouac, with some difficult sections.  2 parties left for the Kuffner this morning, (13th), no further information.

 
Cosmiques Sector : Climbing on the Midi S face and the Eperon.  No activity on the Triangle du Tacul.  The traverse of the Pointes Lachenal was done in OK conditions.  The Normal route on the Tacul is tracked. It seems that Mont Maudit was climbed this morning.

 

The normal route up Mont Blanc is tracked.

Dômes de Miage traverse was done this morning but the route is still technical, requiring ice screws. The « there and back » to Dôme Central by the Col des Dômes remains the better option. Parties have traversed towards the Durier hut then traversed the Bionnassay, (no further information.)

 

Please do not hesitate to inform the Office de Haute Montagne of your outings, either directly at the office or through the online route book.

 

Report 11 August 2017

A quick update of the mountain conditions.

 

The bad weather these last few days has virtually halted all activity in the mountains.

Snow fell to 2200m this morning.  There has been about 10 cms of new snow at the Cosmiques hut, 20cms at the Goûter hut and 30-40cms at the Dome du Goûter. 

The new snow is not enough to significantly improve the existing very dry conditions of the snow/mixed routes but does mean it will be some time before the rock routes at altitude are feasible again.  

Special care is needed on the glaciers, because some of the snow bridges, already weak from the previous dry and hot conditions, are now camouflaged by the new snow. 

The rain and snow showers are due to continue this afternoon but the weather should then start to improve on Saturday, with the temperatures low for time of year.

 

Patience, patience…