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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.

 

Report 23 June 2018

 

A quick update following several days of good weather. With the warmth, conditions are rapidly evolving and some alpine route may soon not be practical. The mountain footpaths, however, are improving with each day.

 

- Albert 1er : The Migot Spur and Forbes Aret are being done regularly, good conditions if there is a good freeze. Some ice is beginning to appear on the Migot.  No problems yet on the descent by the normal route.

The classics in this sector (Tête Blanche, Petite Fourche, normal route on the Aiguille du Tour...) are in condition. The Table couloir is no longer practical, one needs to take the Table Ridge from the start.
There is still a lot of snow on the hut approach from the La Tour lifts; ice axe and crampons essential. Some snow blocks have detached and slid across the footpath, take care. The path from the lifts is not yet recommended for hikers.

 

- Argentière : good conditions for the Petite Aiguille Verte and the Aiguille d'Argentière (glacier du Milieu, Whymper, Flèche Rousse, Arête du Jardin). Very hard snow in places.  The « Y » has been done, no further information).
The Tournier Spur on the Droites was climbed in very dry conditions and difficult to protect.  A lot of bare ice on the Couturier and the bergschrund appears to be very open.  

 

- Charpoua :  The « Y » is no longer in condition,  The  Flammes de Pierre is dry, the Contamine on the Evêque is OK,  A party went for the Contamine on the Dru this Saturday.  Still some snow on the Drus normal route, should be OK by the end of the week.  

 

- Couvercle : Generally good conditions in this sector if there is a good freeze.
Arête du Jardin on the Verte has been done but not that on the Moine, (snow).  The Whymper remains popular. The normal route on the Droites, traverse of the Courtes and the Aig de Talèfre have all been done. Parties on the Moine, (including the E Face Contamine), the Nonne-Evêque and the Évêque.

 

- Leschaux : Good conditions continue in this sector, (see the hut Facebook page.)  The Aiguille de Leschaux and the Petites Jorasses will soon be dry.
Still some snow fields on the traverse path to the Couvercle, crampons useful in the morning.

 

- Envers des Aiguilles : The rock is mostly dry. The bergschrund for the République is awkward but passable, followed by not much snow in the couloir but OK. One party on the Charmoz-Grépon this Saturday.  Another party on the Bec d'Oiseau on Friday, no further information. The Ryan was done last week in OK conditions, (see route book.)

 

- Requin :  Rock dry behind the hut. Parties ascending the Valley Blanche towards the Cosmiques and Skyway.

 

- Torino : Generally good conditions but be aware of stonefall around the Tour Ronde. There is a track on the Traverse of the Jorasses but no further information and there appears to be still too much snow. Aiguilles du Diable traverse OK but still some snow between the Isolée and the summit.

 

- Cosmiques : Good refreezing and good conditions in this sector.  These last few days has seen parties on the Küffner.  The Triangle du Tacul, (Contamine-Grisolle and Chéré) and the 3 Monts traverse are being done.  Laurence Ridge, Cosmiques Ridge and Pointes Lachenal are popular.

 

- Plan de l'Aiguille : Parties on the Peigne, the Pélerins and the Petits Charmoz.  No problems for the descent of the Nantillons glacier for the moment. The Frendo is being climbed, given a good freeze.

 

- Grands Mulets : Activity continues in this sector.  Ice is slowly reappearing on the N Ridge of the Dome, but condtions are still OK. 

 

Durier/ Plan Glacier/ Conscrits : Good conditions in this sector, if there is a good freeze.  The Bionnassay Ridge, Dômes de Miage and Mont Tondu are popular. No information either for the Lée Blanche or the Aiguilles de Tré la Tête. Approach to the hut possible by the glacier.

 

- Monzino : good conditiions for the Pointe Innominata, some ice on the ridge Some parties on the S ridge of the Noire Noire and the Aiguille Croux.
Climbing on the Pilier Rouge du Brouillard (Gabarrou-Long, Anneaux Magiques et Bonatti).

 

- Gonella : The hut approach is in good condition, ascending the true right bank of the Miage glacier, crevasses filled in.   The Voie du Pape is tracked, good conditions, the glacier is OK though there are some fragile snow bridges.  The ridge after the Piton des Italiens is broad. Nobody for the moment for the Tournette Spur, probably have to wait until next week, (the gully up to the Sella bivouac is already very dry and with a little ice above.)

 

Conditions for hikers are improving but some sectors still have a lot of snow, notably on the big Aig Rouges classics. Good mountain boots and hiking oles are the minimum recommended and depending on the route, crampons and ice axe may be essential. (Tour des Aiguilles Rouges, Mont Buet, Lacs Noirs, Glière, Lac Blanc, Col du Brévent, Albert 1er from the lifts...).

 

The Tour du Mont Blanc is very popular but care is needed in crossing the cols and streams.  Proper equipment is needed.  Crampons are advisable and essential on some of the variations.   

 

Ice axe and crampons may be useful for the approach to certain approaches and descents for the rock climbs in the Aig Rouges.  

 

Report 15th June 2018

A weekend update to the report from the 12th  June, (which for the most part is still valid).

 

Most of the lifts in the valley opened on the 16th June, (more info here) but there is still a lot of snow above a certain altitude.  Check that your chosen footpaths are passable and have the right equipment with you.

 

The work at the Grand Balcon Sud between Planpraz and Flégère is finished and the footpath now open.  There is still a lot of snow on the way to Lac Blanc, (from the Index and Flégère: crampons essential).  No problems to get to the Chéserys lakes and to descend to Trè- le-Champ or the Col des Montets

The Grand Balcon Nord, between Montenvers and the path descending to Chamonix via Blaitière is OK.  However, there are steep snow fields to cross to reach the Plan de l’Aiguille.

 

The large boulder which was blocking the path up the Berard valley has been cleared (dynamited!)  Above 1700m there is still a lot of snow.

 

At Loriaz, the snow is still causing problems both towards Emosson and the col de la Terrasse: crampons and ice axe needed.

 

For the Tour du Mont Blanc, there is still snow at the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme but there is a good track.  The Fours variation is only feasible with crampons.   The bridge at the level of Arnuva is not yet in place.  For the moment crampons are necessary for the Grand Col Ferret, because of the exposure on some sections, (though the track is improving with each day.).

 

Crampons and ice axe advisable for those wanting to access the rock climbs in the Aiguilles Rouges.

 

The return of good weather on Thursday, has encouraged activity in the high mountains.

The Grands Montets lifts opened on Saturday.  The Petite Verte looks to be in good condition.  The Couturier has been done in good conditions, (glacier approach OK, a small vertical section at the bergschrund, no ice but very firm snow for the whole of the couloir), descent by the Whymper.

 

The Leschaux hut is open. The SW couloir of the Eboulement is in good condition and popular.  The rock climbs above the hut are dry.

 

The damaged ladders on the way up to the Envers hut have been replaced.

 

The N ridge of the Dôme du Gouter is tracked.

 

Concerning the 3 Monts route, there is quite a lot of fresh snow, (20cms at the Cosmiques), making the avalanche risk on the Maudit too important. (Tacul tracked).  Patience needed.

A party turned back on the Midi Plan Ridge, (no further info). Chéré, Cosmiques Ridge, Laurence Ridge and Pointes Lachenal traverse are all popular.  

The annual Mont Blanc Unlimited pass is valid on the Skyway (Courmayeur) while the Aig du Midi lift is closed.  

 

Concerning the Gouter route up Mont Blanc, the MB Tramway is open as far as the col du Mont Lachat.  It is forbidden to go up the rail tracks to the Nid d’Aigle. Either take the path by the Chalets de l’Are or by the Dérochoir (lots of snow, crampons and ice axes essential). More info here

 

On the Italian side, the Monzino and Gonella huts have opened for the season.  To get to the Monzino, there is 80m of hard snow at the exit of the equipped section, (a rope is in place and with good boots it is OK).  Climbing on the Aiguille Croux (Ottoz, some snow on the normal route descent,) and the Aiguille Noire (S ridge, Ratti). The Freney glacier is OK.  No tracks yet up to the Eccles bivvy but the glacier and the Innominata ridge look to be in good condition.  Too early for the Brouillard ridge, (too much snow).

 

No specific information for the Voie des Papes , (Mont Blanc from the Gonella), but with all the snow this year one would expect it to be in good condition, (if there is a good freeze.)  

Report 12th June 2018

Changeable weather, unreliable refreezing, rain up to 3600m, Aig du Midi lift closed…..  Despite all this, things are still getting done in the mountains.   Lower down, the snows are slowly receding, though there is still a significant amount in the cwms and below the cols.

The Aiguille du Midi and Plan de l’Aiguille cable cars will be closed until 7th July.  The Planpraz cable car opened today (12th).  Montenvers is open and most of the other lifts will open this coming weekend (16th).  More info at  Compagnie du Mont Blanc.

 

However, just because the lifts are open does not mean that all the footpaths above are possible.  There is still a lot of snow in places, together with the associated dangers.

 

Albert 1er :

It is still best to get to the hut by the moraine path, (crampons not necessary as far as the hut.)  Be aware of stonefall danger when crossing the gully after the Combe de la Vormaine.

 

No major changes since the last update.  When the weather permits, the classics are being done, despite often a lack of refreezing: Aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche, Petite Fourche, Aiguille du Chardonnet (Forbes Arête, Migot Spur, descent OK).  The S ridge of the Aiguille Purtscheller is dry.

The narrows in the Table Gully on the Aig du Tour are dry.

 

Mer de Glace Hut approaches :

The prepared paths (new Charpoua route, Egralets, Leschaux) were damaged this winter and are slowly being put back in order.  The approach to the Envers hut is not recommended because a ladder is detached and many of the metal footsteps are deformed.  There is avalanche debris covering the route to the Requin hut.  The moraine at the foot of the Montenvers ladders does not present problems.

 

Couvercle

Despite the lack of refreezing these last 10 days, snow shoes are no longer necessary, the snow being firm enough.  The bergschrunds are opening up and though often awkward, are still passable.  

The wake-up calls are earlier than usual because early starts are essential.

The Contamine and Miss Tiques (Moine) are dry, (risk of resurgences after rain/storms.)

Whymper: a fixed rope is in place to cross the bergschrund.  Soft snow in the secondary couloir and on the traverse back into the main couloir, where conditions are good.  More info in the  Chamoniarde Route Book).

 

Col Armand Charlet: The bergschrund here is better than the others.  The couloir in good condition.  Still a lot of snow on the summit ridges.

Still too early for the Jardin Ridge, one needs to find the right window, (i.e bergschrund still OK but the rock dry), which is likely to be small.

 

The normal route on the Droites in good by the diagonal gully (bergschrund goes on the true left), mixed section in good condition.

There and back by the normal route on the Courtes OK.  The traverse looks feasible but the descent from the Col des Cristaux could be problematical depending on the time of day and the freezing level, only for fast parties!

Pointe Isabelle, on foot, in good condition.

 

For experienced hikers, there are still some snowfields on the approach by the Egralets and on the new path to Charpoua hut. Crampons and ice axe necessary for the traverse to the Leschaux hut, which is in reasonable condition, (access to the glacier is made easier with the snow, but some steep snow to traverse, notably in the gorge just before the hut.) 

 

Torino

The amount of refreezing varies from night to night, (never below -1°C.)  It rained at 3500m!  

 

Dent du Géant : crevasses on the glacier filled in, the approach to the Salle à Manger in good condition,. Still some snow and ice in some of the cracks but not bad.

 

Rochefort Arete in very good condition, but it is too early for the traverse of the Jorasses, (normal route in good condition.)

 

Tour Ronde: the bergschrund on the Gervasutti  is open but passable.  SE ridge and the Col Freshfield OK.

 

Küffner has been done but not recommended unless there is a good freeze.

 

Rock climbing on the satellites, (including the Grand Capucin).

 

Cosmiques

The approach is from the Punta Helbronner (Skyway open). The ascent up the Valley Blanche is awkward, especially as the Requin hut is shut, (due to open 15th June).  Rain and wet snow at the beginning of the week.  The track on the Tacul, however, was recovered by snow.

 

Some parties attempted the 3 Monts at the weekend but were turned back by the weather, (strong winds at altitude.) The Tacul is in good condition but the Maudit is awkward, (a breaking crust over 40cms of granular snow).  The parties escaped by the Corridor route.  The Cosmiques Ridge, Pointe Lachenal traverse and Chéré gully are in condition. The routes on the N face of the Aiguille du Midi are awkward due to the lack of freezing.  Crampons necessary on the rock sections of the Frendo.

 

Goûter/Tête Rousse

The normal route up Mont Blanc in good condition. As elsewhere, the problem is with the unstable weather. There is no snow as far as the Nid d’Aigle (approach by the Chalets de l’Are or the rail track.)  The snow is receding on the way up to the Gouter but crampons are still necessary.  The cables are beginning to reappear, making things more agreeable

 

The Bellevue cable car and the Mont Blanc Tramway, (only as far as the Col du Mont Lachat,) open on 16th June.   

 

Grands Mulets

The Plan de l’Aiguille cable car is shut for work, (re-opening foreseen for 7th July).  The approach to the hut is by the Para path.  The snow starts just below the Gare des Glaciers (count on carrying the skis for 1h30-2h from the tunnel). The hut warden has remarked the way at the Jonction with poles, one only needs to remove the skis for about 40m.

 

The N ridge of the Dôme du Goûter is in good condition, with virtually no ice. The way is tracked both on foot and by ski and in descent.   

 

The N face was skied on 10/06 in the mist.  Despite the lack of refreezing, the ski conditions are OK, (hard snow) down to the Jonction.

 

Conscrits

There is no longer snow at the hut.  The approach is tracked on foot is by the glacier, (the summer path still not passable.)

 

The Dômes de Miage traverse is in good condition, the ridge is well tracked and broad.

 

The Aiguille de Tré-la-Tête, (there and back,) has been done.  There is still a lot of snow, a bit of “ploughing” but basically in good condition, with no ice.

 

The Bérangère cwm is also in good condition. 

 

Some ski alpinists traversed the Bionnassay ridge to the Dôme du Goûter. Good conditions but a long approach. 

 

The warden thinks that if the current weather continues, the N face of the Lée Blanche will be in excellent condition for skiing.

 

The Gonella and Monzino are due to open the 15th June.

 

Plan de l’Aiguille

NNE Ridge of the Aiguille du M, traverse and SW pillar of the Petits Charmoz, Papillons Ridge, Minettes Spur, and the normal route on the Peigne have been done, (no further info.)  The cable car is shut but the Plan de l’Aiguille hut remains open.  The paths beneath the lift cables are closed. The approach is by Blaitière and the Pré du Rocher.