Report: 12 July 2024

La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 12 July 2024.

There's not much changing in the high mountains!

A bit of sunshine, but often a SW wind which complicates refreezing conditions for snow routes and glacier approaches. No heatwave, but it's warm in the high mountains. There was a lot of wind and rain last night below 4,000m. The rock has dried out nicely, but it's still too early for some of the high altitude climbs.
Le Tour/ Trient
The Dorées traverse is getting a lot of traffic and is in good conditions despite the bad freeze. The Copt couloir is very unstable and should not be climbed or descended.
The Col Blanc has a 50m abseil on the Swiss side.
The Col du Tour on the Le Tour side has been equipped with fixed ropes.
The rimaye on the normal route of the Aiguille du Tour has partly collapsed. Take care when crossing it, but it's still passable (on the left hand side, below the main summit).
The poor refreeze isn't helping matters on the Chardonnet (teams have turned back because of the poor refreeze over the last few days). It's the end for the goulotte Escarra. Things have got worse on the Migot spur (dry/mixed lower ramp), with rockfalls on 09/07 at the bottom due to poor freeze conditions & a route finding error by one team.
There is still névé after the junction of the paths coming from Charamillon and the Col de Balme, then snow again 100m below the refuge, but fine for good hikers.
Argentière glacier
Access to the refuge is still via the glacier. Access via the ladders should be fixed next week - we'll keep you posted!
Snow routes are OK when it's freezing: glacier du Milieu there and back, Flèche Rousse, col du Tour Noir. The Couturier is no more.
The Jardin arete is in good condition but needs to refreeze for the descent. Still too much snow at the top for the Charlet-Straton arete.
The time hasnt come for the Tournier spur yet (+ rock falls at the bottom).
Otherwise, the rock is dry!
It's pretty much dry to climb up to the refuge via the path and the "Charpoua express" option.
The American Direct has been climbed (a little snow on top to make water, otherwise it's dry). The Drus traverse has also been done. Some névés to access the Flammes de Pierre arete and then below the Petit Dru summit: quite a few manoeuvres to remove and put on crampons, which wastes time. The Z is covered in snow. Some of the abseil belays on the S face are still covered in snow - it's "wet"! The Charpoua glacier goes very well.
Climbers on the Flammes de Pierre, Contamine (SW ridge) on the Evêque and Sale Athée (Aiguille du Moine).
Talèfre Basin
The balcony paths are being done every day, with a few névés on the way to the Leschaux (bring crampons and ice axe).
It's all good for the Moine! The normal route has dried well (a few névés, but crampons are no longer necessary). The rock on the E face (Contamine route, Aureille Feutren) goes well.
Generally speaking, the rock is dry!
For snow routes, it's the refreeze that's the issue. Generally speaking, the rimayes have opened up and there is often a decent gap. The Whymper Couloir is still a possibility, as it is still well covered in snow. Still no one on the Jardin arete and the Droites traverse. "Traverse of the Courtes in good conditions if it refreezes. Accessible belays on the descent of Chenavier. Enough exposed rock to protect the Aiguille qui Remue traverse. One team made a mistake on the descent (too far to the right) and were taken out by the PGHM, so dont follow their track."
Pointe Isabelle still looks good and is doing surprisingly well on the glacier.
Snow routes (Aiguille de l'éboulement and Périades via the Mont Mallet glacier) OK if refreezing.
The W face of the Petites Jorasses (Contamine, Anouk) and that of the Aiguille de Leschaux (Boule à facette: "a chunk of snow above the rimaye that will come off in the next few days + wet passages in the lower part because of the névé at the 3rd belay") are generally dry, the access is fine even if you are "up to the knees with a bad refreeze", rimayes OK.
On the Grandes Jorasses, the transition between mixed and rock climbing is underway (although it's still a bit early for the Cassin, for example).
Envers des Aiguilles / Requin
The bottom of the access ladders to the Envers refuge has been redone (photo above)! Beware of a few unstable boulders at the foot of the ladders. There is still some snow to access the refuge.
The rock is dry except for the Aiguille de Roc / Grépon-Mer de Glace - Aiguille de la République E face sector, which is not recommended at the moment (ice/snow fall) from the ledges/benches when it gets hot. Cross the rimaye on the right (photo below). Easily 10m of fixed ropes missing: thus tricky on the way up, OK with a big abseil on the way down.
Mixed opinion on access to the Fou: 2 teams did it, one team failed at the rimaye. 
The access to the Requin hut has been repaired. The ascent of the Vallée Blanche is still going well, as is the Envers du Plan glacier. The Dent du Requin (Renaudie) is being climbed. On the south-east face of Pierre-Alain, access to Congo Star seems complicated because of a large névé: to be checked.
Few changes.
Jetoula is dry but crampons needed for the access couloir.
The access to the Salle à Manger is drying out and the unstable terrain is coming out, so be careful when and where you put your feet down. Good conditions on the Rochefort arete (snow ridge, good track, just some ice around the fixed rope, dry rocky section). Lots of people on the Dent du Géant...!
Still too much snow to consider the Jorasses traverse with any peace of mind. The normal route was climbed in good conditions (if it refreezes).
A good rimaye defends the Gervasutti couloir on the Tour Ronde. On the other side, only the full Freshfield arete is worth considering!
Teams on the Kuffner (see "cahier de course" on website, it's better when it's freezing). Stiil snow on the Diable traverse so it's not really on the agenda.
The rock is dry and the rimayes go well! The rimaye in the Aiguillettes couloir (Grand Capucin start) is still passable but it can change quickly.
Aiguille du Midi
Still good conditions on the Trois Monts (no ice, rimayes OK).
The Midi-Plan goes well (N side traverses in snow, abseil sector OK but avoid going too late), it's better with a good refreeze...
Traverse of the Aiguilles: quite a lot of snow with all the advantages (water supply and snow that secures the rocks) and disadvantages that go with it. But you have to adapt (and sometimes put crampons back on) and sometimes go around on the Mer de Glace side. It's better when you can stay on the crest (dry). The Spencer couloir is still filled with snow, so you can down climb it or abseil. Glacier des Nantillons OK (no crevasses, no falling rocks or ice to get the abseils on the spur).
Plan de l'Aiguille
Curtains for the Mallory.
Lots of teams on the Frendo Spur. Generally good conditions this week but the conditions are deteriorating rapidly at the top (left exit: an ice traverse then a fractured rock couloir): bring steel crampons, two ice axes and long ice screws.
The rock has dried well but crampons are often still necessary!
Some activity on the Peigne (still some snow). Quite a bit of snow on the descent via the normal route of the Pélerins, which makes it more technical (the névés probably prevent you from getting to the easiest part): mountain feet recommended! The Peigne-Pélerins-Deux Aigles-Plan traverse is also possible (Davaille-Julien has been done, the rimaye to get onto the glacier is currently tight against the rock).
Teams on the Cordier pillar and to Charmoz-Grepon! The Blatière looks dry.
Mont Blanc via the Grands Mulets
There are still a few motivated skiers (but better to go up via the Trois Monts). Skis on at the glacier. The corridor route and the N face are still passable, and you can ski down all the way to the Jonction!
Most teams are now coming on foot.
Wands show the way to the Jonction (from the Plan de l'Aiguille, set off early and allow between 4 and 6 hours depending on your pace to reach the refuge). You can also get there via the historic route and the Gite Balmat.
Most teams are going via the plateaux, but the N ridge of the Dôme du Goûter is still in good condition: a great way to climb Mont Blanc?
Mont Blanc via the Gouter
Ascent to Tête Rousse:
The ascent is now only by the summer path, with no more snow except on the Rognes plateau. 
The crossing of the glacier to reach the refuge is tracked.
The Rognes path is suitable for mountaineers.
Ascent to the Goûter:
Generally dry except for the crossing of the couloir, (in snow, 1m deep gully in the middle), the cable is in place. A few rock falls observed in the afternoon.
Ice/snow just below the old hut.
Dôme du goûter:
Watch out for a crevasse at the bottom of the Dome, just about covered but waiting for you. 
Bosses ridge:
The traverse before the wall of the "mauvaise arete" (where the N face track breaks off) is well crevassed.
Ice on the "mauvaise arete", 2 threads at the bottom, 1 at the top (shallow ice), narrow ridge, difficult crossing.
Plan Glacier / Trè-la-Tête
Plan Glacier: "the access path to the Contrebandiers from the Col du Tricot is done with crampons and ice axe for the less experienced, and microspikes for those in trainers", according to Hubert the caretaker. The secondary access, via the Ours moraine, is passable. The footbridge has not yet been installed, but should be within a week. The Mettrier ridge is dry up to 200m below the summit. If it refreezes, it can still be traversed in its entirety. No info on the arete Tricot, looks like a lot of snow. 
Access to the Conscrits hut is via the footbridge, and there is still some snow before you reach the hut. The route across the Dômes de Miage is well tracked, as is the route over the Aiguilles de Tré-la-Tête. A few U-turns due to bad freezing conditions.
Durier: plenty of people on the Royal traverse (Miage - Bionnassay - Mont Blanc). The Bionnassay is in good condition, narrow as usual and requires attention and a sure footing.
Gonella / Monzino
The Aiguilles Grises /Pape route is good when it's freezing!
The Tournette spur can be considered when the weather is good. Plan to climb early to Quintino Sella.
The Punta Innominata with descent via the glacier du Brouillard has been done. People are climbing on the Aiguille Croux.
Little activity from the  Eccles.
Peuterey Integral ("Still some icy snow on the S ridge of the Noire. There's still a lot of snow on the rest of the route, which has its advantages: water, avoids some tricky rock passages, and its disadvantages") and the classic Peuterey ridge (see report on CamptoCamp).
Brief Notes
Still snow on the approach to and descent from the Perrons traverse.
Access to the Pointe Percée via the normal route is forbidden until further notice for safety reasons (falling ice and rocks). Descent only via the Sallanches chimneys - combe des verts.
Maladière / l'Arche de Noé "At the belay at the end of 7a (belay 7) there is a Kestrel's nest with young inside (2m to the left of the belay). This is a protected species, so please avoid the area at all costs, otherwise the parents will attack you and/or leave the nest and the young will die! This will be the case for at least 4 weeks.
The snow line is gradually climbing to around 2500m. 
The Jonction from Les Bossons is passable. There is still some snow to climb to the Albert 1er refuge and the Conscrits refuge.
The Col du Brévent and Col de Salenton are still snow-covered: mountain feet and appropriate equipment needed. The same goes for Mont Buet.
Some snow to reach the Col Cornu from Plan Praz. Lac Cornu is completely covered in snow. However, the Col de la Glière is not recommended (see photos below).
As far as the Tour du Mont Blanc is concerned, there is still snow on the Col du Bonhomme, but there are good tracks. The variant via the Col des Fours is not recommended. In the Val d'Arpette side, there is a 30-minute walk in the snow on the Champex side and then 2 steep névés to cross on the Trient side: for good, well-equipped hikers only!

Translated with kind permission from an original report by La Chamoniarde.

Readers are reminded that conditions in mountain environments are prone to (sometimes rapid) change and that they should use their own best judgement when visiting them.




Mathews Unveiled

Mathews Unveiled

On 6 July 2024 AC members gathered in Chamonix for the unveiling of the newly restored Mathews Monument. The monument, originally dedicated to AC founder member and former Club president CE Mathews, has been relocated to a position of greater prominence near the entrance of the Couttet Park and rededicated in recognition of the enduring relationship between the town of Chamonix and the Alpine Club.

The AC's Honorary Keeper of Monuments, Charlie Burbridge takes up the story:

After four years of effort the day had finally come to unveil the relocated, restored and rededicated Mathews Monument in Chamonix. We had hoped for poor conditions in the mountains and a patch of sun over the Couttets to encourage a crowd. We were blessed instead by biblical quantities of rain. I'm pleased to report that this did little to dampen the enthusiasm of those who attended to witness our President and the Mayor of Chamonix remove the covers on the new signs next to the wonderfully restored monument.

AC President Simon Richardson, Claude Marin and AC Keeper of Monuments Charlie Burbridge stand
with the new bilingual monument information boards

The Mayor, in good mountaineering tradition, had prepared a wet weather plan and we decanted to the town hall for drinks. Representatives of Chamonix, the Chamonix Guides, the British Mountain Guides and the Alpine Club gathered to listen to a fine speech by the Mayor followed by a response from AC President Simon Richardson.

The monument represents a great deal for the AC, Chamonix and British climbers generally. It is a testament to Charles Mathews' humility that he would be the last person to whom he thought a monument should be raised. I hope he would be pleased to see it resurrected in recognition of the fraternity so aptly described in its inscription:

"Mountain Lovers
To a mountain lover
The members of the alpine fraternity
To one of its members
The brother to one of those who
Assisted the founder
Friends to a very sure friend
He went away, wept by all"

The information signs are lovely. They describe succinctly the genesis of the monument and have a picture of Mathews which has caused some onlookers to describe him as 'smoulderingly handsome'. 

The monument in its new site - Photo: Town of Chamonix

It is interesting to see the vast amount of work that has been completed on the new Couttets hotel complex and to realise how the monument could so easily have been lost forever in the renovations. Instead, it may stand for several more hundred years to represent the enduring affection with which British climbers hold this magnificent range of mountains and the town and people of Chamonix.

Finally, and most importantly, we should acknowledge the tireless work and determination of Claire Burnett and Claude Marin without whom none of this would have been possible.




Harish Kapadia to Receive 2024 Ulsan Ulju Mountain Culture Award

Harish Kapadia to Receive 2024 Ulsan Ulju Mountain Culture Award

AC member and former editor of the Himalayan Journal Harish Kapadia is set to be honoured at the 2024 Ulsan Ulju Mountain Film Festival. Kapadia will receive the presigious Mountain Culture Award in recognition of his contributions to Himalayan exploration and peace campaigning.

Announcing their decision, the UMCA committee said:

"Harish Kapadia(79) is an “explorer for peace” who has made significant contributions to the accumulation, analysis, and dissemination of the exploratory knowledge in the Himalayas, as well as to peace efforts in mountain conflict zones."

Kapadia joins an impressive list of previous recipients which includes Reinhold Messner, Sir Chris Bonington, Catherine Destivelle and Stephen Venables.

On behalf of the Alpine Club, we would like to congratulate Harish on this well-deserved mark of recognition.




Report: 5 July 2024

La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 5 July 2024.

Here's some news in a nutshell. There have been no major changes since our last update on 28 June. A bit of fresh snow at altitude and a very variable night-time refreeze, which directly affects alpine activities. As far as rock climbing is concerned, the rock is drying quickly, then gets wet again. If in doubt, contact us! A weekend of disturbed weather is forecast, so it remains to be seen what the conditions will be like at the start of the week, with fresh snow, refreezing and wind at altitude. 
There is still some snow (and snow just below the refuge) on the way to Albert 1er, which is OK for good hikers. Otherwise, no major changes, but conditions in the high mountains will depend on the refreezing. 
Argentière Basin
Conditions are good if there is a freeze for the following routes: Couloir en Y, Flèche Rousse, Col du Tour Noir, Col d'Argentière, Charlet Straton. There are also good conditions on the Glacier du Milieu, but this is only for experienced climbers. If we get some sunshine, rock climbing conditions will be great. To access the hut, get on the glacier from the Point de Vue. You need to be roped up on the glacier.
You'll have to wait for the snow to melt before you can climb the Drus, although it's possible for good climbers who know the route. Teams planned for l'Evêque, Sale Athée and l'Aiguille du Moine. Waiting for them to return. On 04/07 a party climbed Pointe Wenger, dry rock and a good approach.
Couvercle Hut
The snow has gone on the hut path. A lot of activity on the Aiguille du Moine: the névés on the normal route can be avoided but it's better to bring crampons. The S ridge and E face are dry. The Nonne-Evêque traverse is also ok (no snow on the “rasoir”). The Whymper couloir on the Aiguille Verte can be done if there is a freeze (big runnels to cross, accessible belays). Teams have bailed on the Droites and on the traverse of the Courtes (poor freeze). Lots of cornices on the Jardin ridge.
Glacier du Géant

Leschaux Refuge
Open and guarded again. Conditions as of Thursday 4th on the refuge's Facebook page: 
"This morning's freezing conditions were great, so all the snow routes were excellent.
- aiguille de l'Eboulement via the SW couloir ✅️
- Les Périades via the Mallet glacier ✅️
- circuit from the refuge under the Jorasses ✅️
- Petites Jorasses and aiguille de Leschaux: wait 1 or 2 days for the rocks to dry. 
- climbing routes above the refuge ✅️
- Mer de Glace balcon path ✅ but beware, there's still a lot of snow = crampons compulsory!"
The ladders are being refurbished today (05/07) for access to the Refuge du Requin and the Envers des Aiguilles. Access will therefore be 5-star. 
Requin Refuge
The climbing is dry and sunny! The ascent of the Vallée Blanche is trouble-free. Access via the Midi Plan was also tracked on 04/07. 
There's still snow at the start of the Pierre Alain and the Dent du Requin, but it's not too bad. Rimaye de l'Aiguille du Plan OK.
The Ryan was done on 04/07: "good rimaye, still quite a bit of snow in the north facing gullies and accumulations on some terraces. Longer route than usual", said the guardian. 
Grand Capucin
Kuffner in good condition on 04 and 05/07. Good refreezing thanks to the clear nights. A team on the Arêtes du Diable did everything with crampons. Might be worth waiting a bit. Rochefort tiptop but no one has continued on to the Grandes Jorasses traverse. Two teams to the summit of the Noire de Peuterey, probably via the S ridge. One team to the red pillar of Brouillard. No one on the Innominata ridge. 
Info From the Grands Mulets Guardian 
"Cross the glacier from the old "gare des glaciers" and approach the Jonction with crampons on. The Jonction at the bottom is fine, with markers on the glacier to guide you to the best route. 
Very good snow cover from the Jonction onwards, wuth the possibility of being on skis from 2800m. The North ridge of the Gouter has been tracked (snow). Track on the plateaux. North face skied yesterday (04/07) and should be skied this morning (05/07). Refuge open and manned until the end of the month”.
Gouter Refuge
The couloir is still well filled in with snow. Be careful, however, with the latest "warm spells" and the time of day when you use the couloir. The couloir (including the “bédière”- the runnel dug by flowing water) can be crossed without any particular difficulty. The crevasses of the Dôme are generally well filled in. Overall, the route to Mont Blanc is in good condition. 
Lots of people on the “Royal traverse" from the Durier hut. 
Great conditions. Access to the hut is now via the summer path, with a few snow patches, but at this altitude, the snow is melting quickly. If you access via the glacier, you'll have to take off your boots and cross the river, which isn't great! The traverse to the Durier is fine. 
Col du Bonhomme
As for hiking, the snow persists above 2300/2400m. So you need to be careful about the routes you take. 
For Lac Blanc, the access path from the Index chairlift is not recommended. There is a lot of snow on steep terrain. It is therefore preferable to access the refuge and lake from the Flégère gondola, as you won't be walking in the snow on this route. It's all about walking! The snow is just above the refuge.
- Tour du Mont Blanc: The snow is melting all along the route, but the 3 main cols and the Col du Brévent are still covered in snow. Crampons and walking poles are still recommended. As far as alternatives are concerned, only the Col du Tricot is recommended. It is still too early to consider the Col des Fours, Pas d'entre deux Sauts and Arpette. 
- Tour des Aiguilles Rouges & Tour des Fiz: Crampons are still highly recommended, particularly for the northern slopes.
- The Jonction (Gite à Balmat) looks doable, but there are still some névés at the summit. Beware of steep and potentially exposed terrain. 
- In the Val Montjoie, there is no more snow at the Col de la Fenêtre, on the way to the Jovet lakes (remember, no bivouacking or swimming in the area in July and August) and on the ridge between the Aiguille Croche and Mont Joly. Crampons and ice axes are still required for getting to the Robert Blanc via l'Enclave and the Grande Ecaille.
We'd like to thank all the refuges and all the people who contribute in any way to providing us with information. Your feedback is extremely useful to us!

Translated with kind permission from an original report by La Chamoniarde.

Readers are reminded that conditions in mountain environments are prone to (sometimes rapid) change and that they should use their own best judgement when visiting them.




Report: 28 June 2024

La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 28 June 2024.

An update for the end of June! There hasn’t been much change since last week. Conditions up high for snow routes remain tricky (freeze, wind) and weather windows have been few and far between. Today it looks like the mountains are warming up a bit and things may start to change quickly.

Albert 1er 
The classics are being done regularly. Several teams have turned back when the freeze has been poor. On the Chardonnet, the Forbes Arête is very snowy which makes it difficult to protect. The Migot Spur is in excellent condition when there’s a freeze. The Escarra has been done (well filled). It’s best to take a 60 meter rope if you are descending the new abseil line as some belays are more than 25m apart. You could think about doing the normal route as the rimaye is well filled. The hut is mostly packed out. 


The hut opened last weekend. The Plan Joran lift is open (only for alpinists and rock climbers) 7h40 to 8h20 ; 13h40 to 14h20 and 17h10 to 17h50. Closed on Sunday.
When you get to the glacier, traverse diagonally to the right bank heading for the Chardonnet. You need to be roped up as you’re wandering around amongst crevasses. It’s too early for the ladders as these are still under snow. Snow routes including: Col du Tour Noir, Glacier du Milieu, Aiguille du Tour Noir, Pointe Supérieure des Améthystes and Arête du Jardin are in good condition if there’s a good freeze. The Flèche Rousse has been tracked (2 axes best). If there has been a day of good weather to dry the rock, you can certainly climb on the lovely red granite up here.

The Refuge is still shut following last week's rock fall. It may be possible to open next week. The winter room remains open. The path to the hut is snowy but there’s a good track. Well equipped and experienced walkers could consider it. The last few periods of warm and good weather (there weren’t many!) brought an end to the mixed season on the Grandes Jorasses. We’re heading into the rock climbing season but we may need to wait for a few days of good weather to climb on the Petites Jorasses. The routes around the huts are doable. The Mont Mallet glacier is tracked. No track on the Aiguille de l’Eboulement but it looks OK.
The snow is melting on the access paths to the Charpoua and the Couvercle but you need to stay alert. There are still some snow patches and some slabs are wet. There are also snow patches on the path from the Couvercle to the Leschaux  The path onto the glacier is delicate.
Conditions on the Whymper are also very dependent on the freeze. Feedback from recent teams was that the rimaye can be crossed on the left-hand side, the secondary couloir has hard snow with a more technical icy bit at the top, then unconsolidated snow for the traverse into the main colour. The rest is okay as well as the summit ridge.
The Col Armand Charlet has lots of snow making it more technical. Nobody on the Arête/Aiguille du Jardin or the Androsace as there is still too much snow.
The normal route on the Droite has been tracked as well as the Courtes there and back. The Pointe Isabelle and the Col des Cristaux are fine.
No rock climbing activity as there is too much snow. There is still a lot of snow on the normal route on the Moine but the South ridge and the Contamine have dried out. 
Poor freeze has also been an issue up here. On the night of 26/27 June teams heading for the Whymper were sinking in up to their knees.
One team on the Contamine on the Drus without any further information, particularly about the glacier route. There was also an attempt at the Directe Américaine but it stalled because there was too much snow above the “bloc coincé”.  The window for Sale Athée seems to be approaching.
Envers des Aiguilles

There's climbing practically everywhere. There's still a bit of snow on some of the routes on Aiguille de Roc and Très-la-Porte.
A party has climbed the Grépon-Mer de Glace but it's too early. The rimaye passes tiptop but after that theres a lot of snow and water, snow mushrooms on the top: they did it all in big boots.
Descent via the Nantillons glacier in soft snow, lots of purges. Abseil belays were visible , but a bit of a “canyoning" atmosphere.
Teams on the Aiguille du Fou (Voie Américaine and Ailes du Désir).
Requin Sector
Access to the refuge from Montenvers is on the left bank of the glacier.
The ascent/descent of the Vallée Blanche is tracked and goes well even if it is often soft...
Glacier de l'Envers du Plan (Midi-Plan descent) tracked.
Teams on  Congo Star (snowy access).
Still lots of people (perhaps too many people) on the classics. Nobody on the Jorasses traverse Travis as there is too much snow and lots of cornices. The Rochefort is ok when there’s a freeze. Access to the salle a manger is still on snow. On the Tour Ronde the north face and the Gervusatti are still ok. You need to descend (and if necessary climb) by the Freshfield Arête. The Kuffner Arête is being done and it’s good when there’s a freeze. Watch out for overcrowding.
One team left this morning for the Diable traverse but there's surely still a lot of snow. You can climb on the Tacul satellites: Grand Capucin (voie des Suisses/O Sole Mio OK by the direct start or the couloir); Pointe Adolphe Rey; Pyramide du Tacul.
Aiguille du Midi
There's still quite a bit of snow at the top of the S face of the Aiguille du Midi, but it's climbable! It's dry on the S face of the Pointes Lachenal.
The Trois Monts route is still in very good condition (the rimayes on the Maudit are fine, the Col du Mont Maudit is in snow: be careful on the descent as there is no protection).
Arête Midi-Plan, goulotte du Triangle du Tacul OK if refreezing. One party attempted the Bodin-Afanasieff but turned back due to lack of refreeze.
Plan de l'Aiguille
The rock is drying out nicely.
There's still snow on the Peigne normal route, which makes it a bit more complicated. The window of opportunity is there for the Frendo Spur. On the other hand, the Mallory-Porter is nearing the end.
It's still too early for Charmoz-Grepon, the NW ridge of Blaitière and the Aiguilles de Chamonix traverse, but today it's drying out visibly.
Mont Blanc via the Grands Mulets
You need to carry skis as far as the glacier. The Jonction can be crossed low down (one bridge to watch out for). It’s tracked on foot and skis, as is the north ridge of the Dôme du Goûter.
The north face and plateaux are still in good condition for skiing, provided you aim for the right time (a serac fall on the north face at the classic spot probably messed up the exit from the face)...
Mont Blanc via the Aiguille du Goûter
Now mountaineers (only) can take advantage of the trains to the Nid d'Aigle (trains at 7am, 12pm and 4pm, booking and presentation of a reservation in one of the refuges required).
Good conditions for the moment. On the Bosses ridge, most teams take the path (steep but easy) on the north face to get around the “mauvaise arete".
Plan Glacier / Durier
Access from the Miage refuge is possible with dry feet up to the junction of the two paths. There is still snow on the path from the Col du Tricot.
Things are calming down in the area. Bad refreeze, hot weather: the snow is melting and the crevasses are opening up. 
However, in the words of the guardian, “The Mettrier remains beautiful". The route is still passable. It may be preferable to take the Lenoir option. 
The access to the Durier hut from Plan Glacier is in snow, better with a good refreeze. 
Good conditions overall on the busy Aiguille de Bionnassay route.
Access via the glacier is no longer possible. The snow is melting fast on the path, but beware of snow bridges over the torrents, which are high and hollowed out by the high flows (due to the recent heavy rainfall + melting).
With a good freeze, all the routes in the area are in good condition - we can't say better than that.
Mont Blanc via the Aiguilles Grises
The general conditions are still good, regardless of the quality of the freeze. However, we need to be cautious about the crevasses on the Dôme glacier.
A team climbed the Tournette Spur: access OK to Quintino Sella if refreezing, but plan to be early. Rimaye OK but the upper part not so easy due to the quality of the snow.
Aiguille Croux: plan to use crampons and ice axe for access: Cheney route (on descent, we put crampons back on for the median névé of the normal route but the abseil belays are clear); routes on the SE face (Ottoz, Euroteam, Jean- Marie etc) with descent via the Euroteam abseil belays.
A team is due to head for the Eccles tomorrow, to be continued (but from the looks of things all the routes are well loaded with snow and cornices above).
Tour du Mont Blanc
Few changes. No problem for well-equipped hikers (good shoes, poles, small crampons in the bag). Beware of a torrent crossing at the Col de la Seigne. The Tricot option is feasible, but not the others (Col des Fours, Pas d'entre deux Sauts, Val d'Arpette closed by the municipality of Orsières).
Tour des Aiguilles Rouges
This activity is reserved for experienced hikers with good crampons! The Cols du Brévent and de Salenton require caution and a mountain footing.
Hiking in the Chamonix Valley
Lots of snow on the grand balcon paths.
Lac Blanc (still snow-covered!): a 20-minute walk in the snow from La Flégère (OK with poles and good shoes). Crampons are useful from the Col des Montets/Trè-le-Champs and the Lacs des Chéserys. Still not recommended from the Index; nor is the Planpraz-col Cornu - col de la Glière - Index section.
It's also too snowy for hikers on the Col de la Terrasse, Albert 1er and Jonction sections.
Chamonix-Zermatt by footpath
Because of the snow, it's still too early to consider this trek (more alpine than the TMB, with several passes approaching 3000m). Most hikers are cancelling for the time being.

Translated with kind permission from an original report by La Chamoniarde.

Readers are reminded that conditions in mountain environments are prone to (sometimes rapid) change and that they should use their own best judgement when visiting them.




Report: 21 June 2024

La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 21 June 2024.
We've had a brief taste of summer over the last few days, but high pressure is struggling to get going. As for the wind, it seems to want to settle in for good...
Classic conditions for June! In the high mountains, there's a lot of snow and random refreezes (short nights, but the good news is that the days are starting to shorten today... frequent SW winds, cloudy skies), which certainly affects conditions on snow routes. The rock is gradually drying out and is an alternative in the event of poor refreezing. Refreezing has been particularly bad over the last two days, greatly limiting activity. The rain, warm wind and sand have melted the snow visibly, but the snow cover remains promising!
In the "moyenne montagne", there's still plenty of snow, which means you need to adapt your choice of hikes and equipment.
Albert 1er - Trient
No snow patches now on the path up to Albert 1er from Charamillon/Tête de Balme. Snow can be found on the slope just before the moraine. Last Saturday's heavy rains caused a landslide above the couloir on the "moraine path", but this had no impact on practicability.
All the classic routes in the area have been climbed: Aiguille du Tour (couloir & Arête de la Table, normal route), Tête Blanche (normal route, N face), Petite Fourche. Good refreezing conditions are needed for the Aiguille du Chardonnet routes (Forbes arete and Migot spur).
There's still too much snow on the Dorées traverse, especially on the N side. It can be partially traversed E-W as far as the Col Copt.
There's plenty of climbing around the Orny hut including the Clocher du Portalet and on the S face of Les Dorées!
The refuge opens this Saturday, 22 June! As a reminder, there is uplift for mountaineers (only) on the Plan Joran gondola every day except Sunday): 7:30 - 8:30 am / 1:30 - 2:30 pm (ascent and descent) and 5:00 - 6:00 pm (descent only). Tickets can be purchased at the Plan Joran ticket machine (bank card only).
The route to the refuge is via the right bank of the glacier (a few crevasses to jump over, but it's fine). Too much snow for the moment on the ladder side.
The rock is drying out nicely, so you'll find plenty to do! Too much snow for the Jardin ridge.
If there is a decent refreeze snow routes should be fantastic. The Aiguille d'Argentière via the glacier du Milieu was done in good conditions last week. Looking at it, the Couturier couloir could still be climbed.
As a reminder, there are major works underway at Lognan-Les Grands Montets. The whole sector is off-limits (see map), but access to the Petite Verte and the Grands Montets ridge is still possible via the Col des Grands Montets (just don't head for the construction site).
The Charpoua refuge is reached via the balcony path (still too early for the "Charpoua Express" variant), on which there is still some snow. No activity apart from climbers on the Flammes de Pierre (the ropes on the Passages des Guides are in good condition, photo above).
Still steep névé in a couloir to cross to reach the Couvercle hut.
Still too much snow on the south face of the Moine (so too early for the S ridge and E face). Nobody on the other "ecclésiastiques" routes (Nonne, Evêque).
Good conditions for the Whymper on the Verte when there's a refreeze. The rimaye goes well, some belays may still be under the snow (plan two 60m ropes) much of the descent is down-climbing not abseiling.
Normal route on the Droites possible (lots of snow but no cornices), teams on the Courtes and back. Pointe Isabelle tracked, but needs to refreeze a bit for it to go well.
Several large boulders have fallen onto the terrace of the Leschaux refuge, which is unfortunately no longer guardianed until further notice. The winter room remains open (don't hang around too much on the terrace!)
Some opportunists seized the chance to climb the Linceul or Rêve Ephémère, but the foehn has put an end to that. The rock behind the refuge is dry. A period of fine weather should make the Petites Jorasses climbable.
The Mont Mallet glacier is going very well at the moment.
There are several gullies and névés to cross on the balcony path, so good crampons and ice axe are a must! Not suitable for hikers at the moment.
Envers des Aiguilles / Requin
Bottom of the ladders: there's a knotted rope attached to the rope ladder. It's "sporty" and people abseil down it. The footpath department should intervene soon. 
You will find the snow halfway between the ladders and the refuge de l'Envers. It's on the slabs, so you have to be careful, especially when it's getting hot... Getting around the refuge isn't easy either. Hikers, this is not the time for you!
The SW wind has dried out the lower sectors (Tour Rouge, Tour Verte, Pointe des Nantillons, Aiguille de Roc: Pedro Polar) where you can climb without a care in the world. For the République normal route and the Grépon-Mer de Glace, a window of good weather should make them possible to climb.
The Requin refuge opens this Saturday, June 22. "Still a lot of névé in the couloir, between the ladders (photo below) as well as on the path but on the whole, it's fine".
Aiguille du Midi
Not much change up here, as conditions on the classics (Midi Plan ok up to Rognon, Triangle du Tacul etc.) vary with the wind and the refreeze!
The season switch (crampons gradually replacing skis) is underway on the Trois Monts route, which remains in good conditions (wind permitting).
Few changes here either (Rochefort, Dent du Géant, Marbrées, Entrèves, Tour Ronde: descent or access via the Freshfield arete). Bad refreeze in recent days and almost no activity. The Kuffner is possible when the freeze is good. We'll have to wait a little for the Jorasses and Aiguilles du Diable traverse.
Plan de l'Aiguille
The refuge is open.
You can climb the NE ridge of the Aiguille de l'M, the Pillar Rouge de Blaitière, the SW face of the Gendarme 3078m of the Peigne. Axe and crampons for access, obviously.
The Mallory has also been climbed recently, so keep an eye on it as conditions evolve. It's a bit early for the Frendo Spur, but the right window is coming up!
Mont Blanc via the Grands Mulets
Mont Blanc can still be skied, but the sections on foot are getting longer. The Jonction higher path has deteriorated and you now have to take the lower path. Little has changed above: the Dôme's N ridge, plateaus, Corridors and N face are all good.
Mont Blanc via the Goûter
Nothing to add to the precise and recent information and photos published on the refuges social media:
Ascent to Tête Rousse:
- Option from Bellevue, traverse to the Plan de l'Are towards the Nid d'Aigle ladders, some névés at the top but generally dry.
- The Nid d'Aigle refuge has been open since June 8, so drop in and say hello 
- From Nid d'Aigle to Tête Rousse, most of the guides are still on the glacier, with very few people on the Rognes (presence of ice).
Ascent to Goûter:
- From Tête Rousse to Goûter, great condition, snow everywhere, the cables have been dug out.
- Dôme du Goûter: very good condition
And for the final sprint  : 
- Option 1: Arête des bosses, "mauvaise arete" icy, 2 threads on the Italian side, 1 thread on the Chamonix side 1m below the ridge. 
- Option 2: North face track in great condition both up and down.
Dômes de Miage - Bionnassay
The footbridge on the summer path leading to the Conscrits refuge has been reopened, and the guides have been busy making the path safer. The path can now be used, but beware: there are still many snow-covered sections on which slipping is not an option: crampons and ice-axe are essential, and the route is probably not suitable for hikers for another week or two...
For the ascent via the glacier, you now have to cross the torrent on a snow bridge. It is advisable to rope up for this passage, as the bridge will soon be very fragile.
Most of the routes in the area were climbed when the weather and refreezing allowed: traverse of the Miage, traverse as far as Durier, Aiguille de la Bérangère, Mont Tondu, traverse of the aiguilles de Tré-la-Tête, good conditions everywhere.
There's snow at 2600m when climbing up to the Plan Glacier. The Mettrier arete is still passable. The classic ascent to the Durier should only be considered when there's a good freeze and early in the morning!
Aiguille de Bionnassay: Be careful on the ridge before the rocky section (cornices, poor refreezing). Beyond that, it's OK (a few cornices in places on the NE ridge).
Mont Blanc via Gonella
Good general conditions: good track, crevasses on the Dôme glacier but goes well, no ice below the Col des Aiguilles Grises or on the way to the Piton des Italiens.
Monzino sector
The refuge opens today!
Lots of snow here too. (Photos above).
The ascent to the Eccles is untracked (the Pillars are still too snowy).
Aiguilles Rouges
As a reminder, the routes to the left of the Frison Roche are closed until 15 July by a municipal by-law (work on the summit of the Brévent).
Crampons and ice axes are required to access the routes. There are a few névés in some of the less steep routes or in the transitions (Hotel California, Cocher-Cochon...).
A steep cornice on the Col des Crochues (you can belay the second on a spike on the N side).
Voie des Français (Aiguille du Pouce): snow-covered approach, cornice at the Aiguille de la Glière which is easy to avoid. The start is virtually at the second belay (10m below belay no 2, yellow rope). The return via the ridge is complicated (snow, ledges): it's better to wait a little longer!
The Perrons traverse is fine (crampons + ice axe).
We're starting with some good news: the Bellachat refuge will be open from Saturday 29 June! Bookings only by telephone on 07 75 83 02 70!
Most of the hikes are now accessible, but there is still snow on some of them: contact us to check the conditions. You'll need crampons and mountain boots for the Grand Balcon Nord, Lac Blanc from the Col des Montets and the Lacs des Chéserys, Brévent - Refuge de Bellachat section.
On the other hand, it's still too snowy for: Jonction, Gare des Glaciers, Mer de Glace balconies, refuge Albert 1er, col de la Terrasse, col de Salenton/Buet, lac Blanc from the Index, col de la Glière - lacs Noirs - lac Cornu - col Cornu, col du Brévent (you can get round this by going up to Brévent on the piste via the Brèche du Brévent).
Tour du Mont Blanc: fine for hikers with some experience (still quite a lot of snow but good tracks on the main passes: Bonhomme, Seigne, Grand col Ferret, Balme, Brévent: go around the latter via the piste and the breche du Brévent)... Good boots, poles and micro crampons in the rucksack are still essential. The Tricot variant is fine, but it's still too dangerous for the Fours and Arpette variants (see photo below for the latter). Watch out for slips/falls and river crossings! 
Tour des Aiguilles Rouges: it's very snowy at the moment. The first (very experienced) hikers have crossed the cols in the last few days. The trail is not very well marked, so it's quite physical. You need to know your way around on a map, as the paths are not visible for long stretches. Proper crampons are recommended. So this is for the most experienced hikers only! For the others, it's best to postpone!
Tour des Fiz: Here too, there is still a lot of snow on the route (above 2100m), particularly at the col d'Anterne, col de la Portette (photo above) and Dérochoir. The markings are still not very visible, so a navigation tool and appropriate equipment (poles and crampons) are strongly recommended. Flaine and the Varan from the Platé hut is for experienced hikers only.

Translated with kind permission from an original report by La Chamoniarde.

Readers are reminded that conditions in mountain environments are prone to (sometimes rapid) change and that they should use their own best judgement when visiting them.




Save the Date: 2024 Annual Dinner and AGM

Save the Date: 2024 Annual Dinner and AGM

The 2024 Alpine Club Annual Dinner and AGM will be held at the Castle Green Hotel in Kendal on 23 November 2024.

Further details on the event schedule and booking will follow.

This year's event coincides with the Kendal Mountain Festival, providing members with the opportunity to catch mountaineering and outdoor events over the weekend.




Report: 14 June 2024

La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 14 June 2024.

Great weather, isn’t it? If you were quick off the mark you would have enjoyed blue skies on Wednesday and Thursday but we now have two days of unsettled weather before the next good spell. Metéo France stopped publishing an avalanche report on the 6th of June, but we shouldn’t forget the avalanche risk: lots of wind and fresh snow at altitude, so constant vigilance!
Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB)

Not much change to report here. The snow is gradually disappearing but over the Cols Bonhomme, Seigne and Ferret there is continuous snow cover. We reiterate our previous advice about what is needed: good physical preparation, ability to analyse the safety of snow bridges and steep sections and adequate kit. We advise you against any TMB variants for the time being.
Aiguilles Rouges
The Plan Praz and Brevent lifts are now open so walking and climbing activity will increase in the Aiguilles Rouges. Axe and crampons are essential for approaches to climbing routes.   Watch out for cornices and ice above you when you are climbing. The mountain lakes are still under snow. There is now a track in to get up to Lac Blanc from Flegere.  Good shoes/boots advised. We advise you against trying to get to Lac Blanc along the footpath from the Index as it is tricky terrain. Some patience will be needed before summer walking conditions arrive.
Albert 1er
Lots going on around here. The snow is gradually melting on the approaches and becoming more weight-bearing so it’s less hard work than last week.  The Migot spur and the Forbes arete are in good condition but lots of snow around the summit.  Lots of people on the classic routes, which are in good condition: Couloir and Arête de la table, Tête Blanche, Petite Fourche, Aiguille du Tour. 
As far as approaches to the hut are concerned we advise against the summer path because of steep snowy slopes. It’s better to use the path by the moraine which is dry until you reach the usual summer path. Lots of people expected this weekend with the forecast good weather on Sunday.
No recent feedback on climbing. The hut opens on 20 June, so activity will probably pick up.
The Plan Joran lift will be open to alpinists from 22 June every day except Sunday. There will be a ticket machine (bank card only).  7h30 - 8h30 / 13h30-14h30 (ascent and descent) and 17h00 - 18h00 (descent only).
From the top of the ladders there are still a few snow patches so it’s still too early for walkers. Generally the snow is weight-bearing depending on the time of day. The rimayes are beginning to open up but nothing to report at present. It’s too early for the normal route on the Moine (very snowy) and for rock climbing in general. Lots of teams in the Whymper couloir yesterday. The approach can be done on foot but on the way back there may be deep snow depending on the timing. The rimaye is starting to open up but at the moment it’s okay.  Classic mistake: lots of teams start too far right at the bottom. All the belays have now been dug out. The S side of the Col Armand Charlet is OK. Far too much snow to consider the arete du Jardin. The classic traverse of the Grande Rocheuse via the normal route is fine.
Attempts at the normal route on the Droites but to no avail. One party reached the summit but not necessarily by the right route!
There and back on the Courtes can be done, but we'll have to wait for the weather to settle down before we can do the traverse.
No-one on the Pointe Isabelle! Snowshoes could be useful!
Lots of people on the Grandes Jorasses. The Aiguille de l'Eboulement and the Périades look to be in good condition. For climbing, the rock looks dry with glacier approaches well covered in snow. 
The Charpoua opens tomorrow, 15 June. It looks as though the Flammes de Pierre should be possible.
Envers des Aiguilles
The Envers des Aiguilles opens tomorrow, June 15. To get to the first rungs of the ladders, you'll have to scramble. New rungs are due to be installed shortly to make access easier. Above, the snow has melted well but there are still continuous sections on the large slabs below the refuge and on the final ascent. Ice axes and crampons are required. It is possible to climb Les Nantillons and La Tour Verte. For the rest, we'll wait for the sun to come out to get a good view. 
Same as last week on the South faces of Aiguille du Midi and Lachenal: the climbing is going well in the steep pitches at the bottom. In the final pitches that are less steep, it may be preferable to put on big boots and crampons. Here too, beware of falling ice. 
A detailed recap of the conditions on the 3 Monts and the descent of the N face here.
The Triangle gullies (Négri, Grisolle, Mazeaud, Chéré) have been tracked. 
Helbronner/Torino Sector
A lot of people on the classics (crossing the Marbrées and the Aiguilles d'Entrèves, but beware of the number of teams present).
The Tour Ronde routes are still in good condition. Be careful on the "normal route" down (E face) as it heats up quickly and strongly (rock falls from 9-10 am).
Good conditions on the Dent du Géant (good route to the Salle à Manger). The Arête de Rochefort (Rochefort ridge) was climbed as far as the Aiguille de Rochefort yesterday (beware of the wind and snow forecast for the near future).
A team climbed the Kuffner yesterday, Wednesday 13 June, but there was too much snow (cornices, etc.). We'll have to wait for a spell of good weather for the snow to settle.
There’s climbing on the steep routes on the Tacul satellites but beware of falling icicles. Snow on the ledges and sometimes a little ice in the cracks.
Conditions for accessing the Gouter are good and you can still leave from Bellevue or Bionnassay via the Plateau de l'Are (the municipal by-law prohibiting the approach via the Rognes and the rails is still in force). The tramway will reopen tomorrow as far as Bellevue, but work is continuing to reopen the upper section. 
The couloir below the Gouter is all snow, and with a good load-bearing capacity the approach is quick. Above, the passage through the ice to get a foothold on the “mauvaise arete" is improving, as the snow has stuck at this point.
The Tête Rousse and Gonella refuges are having problems with phone signal. For reservations ring the Gouter.
Plan Glacier
Guardian report: 15/06/24: "The access path from Miage is clear up to the junction with the Chemin des Contrebandiers (2600m), access possible in hiking boots with small crampons just in case."
On the Metrier, top conditions, good refreeze,  rimaye great  and snow not too deep.  Now there are some good steps....
Traversée des Dômes excellent conditions, perfect Chaborgne descent.
Bionnassay: south face. Very good refreeze, there were a few centimetres of fresh snow accumulated in the gullies, but otherwise it was perfect! Top conditions for skiing.
The Durier refuge is open, but the warden hasn't seen anyone yet. Lots of snow and lots of wind. We recommend climbing via the Métrier or the Conscrits. 
Access remains the same as in previous weeks: climb the left bank of the glacier, cross the widest part of the torrent (to limit the consequences if you enter the water). Then navigate by eye to the refuge. 
The last few days have been very busy around the refuge: the Dômes traverse, Métrier and descending to the Conscrits, Tré la Tête, Lée Blanche. The approaches are in compact snow. Good conditions on the above routes. Everything has been done on foot and there are no skiers around. It's raining today at the Conscrits. 
As for the footbridge, it will be installed next week (check date with hut). In any case as there is so much snow around you need the right kit. Not advised for walkers at present.

Translated with kind permission from an original report by La Chamoniarde.

Readers are reminded that conditions in mountain environments are prone to (sometimes rapid) change and that they should use their own best judgement when visiting them.




AC Members Receive 2024 RGS Awards

AC Members Receive 2024 RGS Awards

Among the recipients of the 2024 Royal Geographical Society's Medals and Awards are two RGS members. Former AC president Stephen Venables has been honoured with the Patron's Medal in recognition of "his lifetime’s contribution to geographical discovery in the high mountains of the world" and Professor Chris Clark has received the Busk Medal "For profound influence on the understanding of glacial systems through the ‘British-Irish Ice Sheet’ reconstruction." 

Venables on the summit of Ngabong Terong

In typical fashion, Stephen responded to news of the award by downplaying his own achievements, commenting "What a wonderful honour and surprise, to be rewarded for what is essentially having fun – exploring remote corners of the world’s most spectacular mountains, in the company of some of the world’s finest mountaineers.

Congratulations to both Stephen and Chris for these well-deserved marks of recognition.




John Ashcroft

The Club has recenlty been informed of the death of John Ashcroft. John had been a member of the Club for more than 50 years and the committee would like to express our sincere condolences to John's friends and family at this difficult time.

A funeral will be held on 11 June.




Report: 31 May 2024

La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 31 May 2024.

Last update for this month of May-vember!
After our short spell of fine weather on Tuesday, it's been yet another wet week!
No major changes in conditions. It's still snowing up there and in the "moyenne montagnes", everything is melting very slowly but the snow cover is still substantial for hiking above 2000m.
When we woke up this morning, the ground was white up to 2000m.
More than 50cm of light snow has fallen at the Goûter and Cosmiques huts, and 30cm of wind-blown at the Helbronner! Watch out for the risk of avalanches/purges over the next few days!
So there are no major changes in the high mountains. The transition between skiing and alpinism is proving difficult! Please refer to the previous update or call La Chamoniarde if the information you are looking for is not below!
The Conscrits refuge is still open. ‘The Conscrits summer footpath will be “open” on 18 June (work on the footbridge is scheduled for 17 and 18 June). In the meantime, you have to access the refuge via the glacier, a route that has become very wet. As in previous years, you now have to climb up the LEFT BANK and avoid the gorge on the right bank (the former Tré la Grande ice slope) where a fall could be fatal. You need to cross the torrent on the flat bit (there's a snow bridge that you can still cross) at the point where, if you go into the water, you will only get wet (and not drown). The rocky bar on the left bank is equipped and goes smoothly. Very soon, the passage through the bar will be reinforced with a rope and a small temporary footbridge will be installed to cross the torrent (see photo below). Up above, probably no changes.
The Plan Glacier refuge has been open since yesterday. It's dry up to 2300m above the Chalets de Miage. On the way down, you can ski to 1900m. Above, travel is only possible on skis for the time being. The Mettrier arête was done in excellent conditions last weekend, and the N face of Les Dômes has also been skied (last weekend).
The Durier refuge will open on 15/06. Quite a few skiers on the N face of Bionnassay in recent weeks (access via the Nid d'Aigle/Tête Rousse: don't forget the portage, skis on at the Nid d'Aigle).
The Nid d'Aigle refuge will open on 3/06. The Tête Rousse and Goûter huts are open. As a reminder, the TMB and cable car are closed (the Bellevue lift will open on 8/06) = you have to walk! Snow clearing and work in progress on the railway line + a ban on walking introduced by the APHN = access via the Crozat and the Chalets de l'Are for most people, no information on the Rognes. There is a good footpath from the Nid d'Aigle, so snowshoes are not essential. On the other hand, you shouldn't try to open up a variant because as soon as you leave it, you will be wading around.
The cable has been reinstalled in the Goûter couloir and is accessible, as are those in the upper part of the face below the refuge. Before the snow, there was a good track that will soon be remade. Beyond that, snowshoes were not necessary, but they could prove useful for retracking the route between the Goûter refuge and Vallot (this section is in very good condition). The Bosses ridge remains technical at the ‘mauvais arete’: it is narrow, there is ice on the Italian side and the passage on the N side is not necessarily ideal. There's an abalakov in place (to be confirmed!!!) and it's a 30m pitch: ‘Mont Blanc is still a climbers mountain’!
If there is a weather window, Mont Blanc on skis via the Grands Mulets refuge is still in good condition. Some bits of skis on/off between Plan de l'Aiguille and the glacier. The Jonction higher path is changing and opening up, but it's still OK for the moment. The Jonction lower path was retracked on 30/05.
The North ridge of the Dôme is snowy, with only a short section of ice on the last step. For the Bosses ridge, see above.
The most popular route is: plateaus, Corridor and the Mur de la côte (which is skiable). The ascent via the plateaus remains very exposed to serac falls.
The descent via the north face of Mont Blanc was made again this week in fresh snow.
Aiguille du Midi and the Cosmiques refuge area:
The Panoramic opened last weekend.
For the Trois Monts, we have to solve the equation weather + snowpack stability = not easy lately. But very good conditions when it does!
Otherwise no changes (activity on the Lachenal, Triangle, Cosmiques arête)! The approaches (including the crossing of the Vallée Blanche) are being done on foot (they will have to be tracked).
There was a big fall of seracs below the Col du Diable in the usual place (between the Pyramide du Tacul and the Pointe Adolphe Rey), so best to keep your distance there.
The rock has a hard time drying out between the snow falls, but the S faces will dry out quickly when the high pressure returns.
The Skyway and the Torino refuge are open. Still lots of skiers in the area. Lots of teams traversing the Marbrées and the Aiguilles d'Entrêves. The Tour Ronde is in good condition: the ‘normal route’ is all snow; the N face was climbed on 28/05 in good conditions (rimaye ok, some black ice on the surface in the gully, beware of the risk of avalanche on the upper slope) as was the Gervasutti couloir (rimaye blocked, all snow). The approaches are tracked on foot.
The Montenvers train will reopen tomorrow, Saturday 1 June, as will the gondola to the Mer de Glace and all the access paths = back to normal!
The Couvercle guardian will be back with the first bookings (perhaps tomorrow or Sunday), until then the winter refuge is accessible. Access is not easy at this time of year: the winter access routes (central couloir, Pierre à Béranger) are no longer passable and it's a bit early to take the path from the top of the ladders (snowy couloirs, exposed to avalanches/purges). The best option is to check with the guardian. Above the refuge, it's as white as everywhere else!
The Requin will open on 15/06, Leschaux on 11/06, l'Envers on 14/06, date to be announced for the Charpoua!
No news (= good news) from the Argentière glacier area (refuge opening on 20/06, there will be mountaineering mechanical uplift this summer).
Access to the Albert 1er refuge (open) is still via the moraine path. The summer path from the top of the ski lifts is still too snowy and dangerous (there was an accident last weekend, see photo below).
The classic routes are being done on foot (which can be quite tricky) and on skis: Aiguille du Tour normal route, Couloir de la Table (currently very snowy), Tête Blanche normal route. There's been no recent activity on the Chardonnet (‘very good snow cover, and good conditions to come once the snowpack has settled’).
For hiking, don't go above 2000m if you want to be safe! Don't forget to call La Chamoniarde to check out the feasibility of your project!
Hiking on the Tour du Mont Blanc is off to a very slow start (refuges are opening and the first hikers are warming up). The cols and high altitude sections are very snowy. These are not névés but long stretches of snow, which means:
- Paths and markings not visible = risk of getting lost
- Walking for a long time in the snow = more physical or even exhausting stages if you have to (re)track, have good hiking boots + gaiters (snow gets wet!)
- Risk of slipping/falling: carry and know how to use crampons or even a small ice axe (snow is slippery!)
- Take care when crossing streams and torrents so as not to fall through and get swept away.
In these conditions, it is only for very experienced, trained and adequately equipped hikers. Most hikers who set off at the moment turn back (remember to do so before it's too late!).
Finally, here's some other news:
- The opening of the Bossons chairlift has been be postponed (repair work)
- Emosson dam road has been open since Thursday
- A static rope has been installed to access the Vipère etc routes (Barberine), as the existing rope was damaged.

Translated with kind permission from an original report by La Chamoniarde.

Readers are reminded that conditions in mountain environments are prone to (sometimes rapid) change and that they should use their own best judgement when visiting them.




Report: 24 May 2024

La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 24 May 2024.

We are looking forward to some sun this weekend after a week of unstable weather. A succession of small disturbances have followed each other with showers in the valley and snow in the high mountains. It’s difficult to estimate how much has fallen. There’s been around 5 to 10cm each day at the Cosmiques hut which has packed down quickly. Probably around 15cm at the Grands Mulets hut. Tracks are still visible up around 3500m.
Although we are at the end of May the avalanche risk isn’t negligible and needs to be taken into account when you’re going into the high mountains. Skis or snow shoes are still necessary for getting around in the high mountains, except very close to the lifts (Midi/Helbronner).
The good weather slot this weekend will allow outings in the high mountains principally around the Aiguille du Midi and on Mont Blanc but also around the Conscrits hut and the Albert Prem.
Skiing remains the main activity.
In the “lower” mountains the snow cover is  receding slowly as always. There is continuous snow cover above around 2000 to 2200m depending on aspect and area. This will limit walking in the popular areas like altitude lakes the grand balcon paths and access to huts.
Despite this there is a lovely contrast between the green in the valleys and everything white above. There is a list of potential walks here. It’s still too early for multi-day walks like the TMB and the Tour des Aiguilles Rouges etc. All the cols are completely snowed up, footpaths and signs aren’t visible, there is a risk of falls when crossing steep snow and rivers, and huts are closed. Things may improve by the beginning of June for experienced teams with the right equipment for managing the snowy conditions.
As expected there are excellent conditions for skiing from the Robert Blanc hut this weekend (Dome des Glaciers).
The Conscrits hut is guardianed this weekend. Access to the hut is via the right bank of the glacier, from the Mauvais Pas. Not much change up here and overall conditions are good. For the ski descent via the Armancette glacier, skis off at around 2000m (300m above the lake).
The Plan Glacier hut has been cleared of snow and will open on 30 May.
The refuges on the Mont Blanc normal route (Tête Rousse and Goûter) open today (except for the Nid d'Aigle, which will opens on 30/05). 
The Bellevue cable car and the Mont Blanc tramway are closed. You will therefore have to set off on foot from Les Houches or the hamlet of Bionnassay.
Snow clearance on the railway line will start on Monday 27 May. In addition, slides have damaged the track below the tunnel before the Nid d’Aigle, and repair work will start on 3 June. Access via the railway will therefore not be possible at the start of the season (or afterwards during the Nid d'Aigle operations/terminal works period).
The Tête Rousse refuge can therefore be reached (by mountaineers only) either via the Chalets de l'Are and then the Nid d'Aigle ladders or via the Rognes (both of which are currently covered in heavy snow from the Col du Mont Lachat/ladders under the Nid d'Aigle; beware of sliding/falling, particularly on the descent as you get tired).
There are no tracks at the moment, so you'll have to make your own: snowshoes or snowplates can be useful tools! Dont be late (risk of avalanches on steep sections such as the Aiguille du Goûter).
We don't have any more recent information about the Bosses ridge than we did in our 17 May update.
A lot of people are expected up there this weekend, so the track should be made and we'll have more information about the Bosses ridge afterwards.
The Mont Blanc ski season is in full swing! No significant changes around the Grands Mulets, apart from the N ridge of the Dôme du Goûter, which is gradually gaining snow (expect 15-20 m of ice, so bring good crampons and 2 ice axes, the route is being tracked this morning, but no further information is available). The Corridors, the Mur de la Côte and the N face are in good nick, as is the Jonction (here it may change more quickly).
Very good conditions on the Trois Monts too (last activity last Sunday, no ice, the crossing of the crevasse on Maudit will have been made much easier with the new snow). An attempt to track the Tacul this morning but no further information (the clearing in the clouds was short!). Beware of the avalanche risk.
The Lachenal traverse and the Cosmiques Arête have been retracked. Some activity in the Triangle gullies (Chéré, Contamine-Mazaud, Contamine-Grisolle, Contamine-Negri) but no news from those further East (they look filled but it's getting hot and fast).
The Skyway, Panoramic and Torino hut reopen today. This will allow a resumption of alpine activity around the Pointe Helbronner (the Marbrées traverse in particular). It's too early for the Rochefort ridges (and Midi-Plan for that matter). For the Küffner, we'll have to wait for a period of high pressure and the settling/stabilisation of all this snow!
The Montenvers train and cable car are still closed. Work is continuing and access is complicated. Keen climbers can reach the Mer de Glace basin by taking the via corda alpina to Les Mottets, then the moraine path and finally the new access (via ferrata) under the gondola. Information and map on the La Chamoniarde dedicated news page. The refuges in the area are all unguarded.
Some activity on the classics in the Tour basin (Aiguille du Tour normal route and couloir de la Table, Tête Blanche, Petite Fourche). The Albert 1er refuge is also opening this weekend! There's a risk that the Migot will be a little too busy and it's too early for the Forbes ridge. Access to the hut is by the moraine path (dry up to 2400m). Skis or snowshoes are still more than useful for travelling up top.
The road to the Emosson dam is still closed (landslides in autumn). It is hoped that it will open by the end of the month, but nothing is certain.



Translated with kind permission from an original report by La Chamoniarde.

Readers are reminded that conditions in mountain environments are prone to (sometimes rapid) change and that they should use their own best judgement when visiting them.




John Wilkinson

We are saddened to announce the death on 14 May of John Wilkinson.  John lived in Todmorden and had been a member for over 50 years.

Report: 17 May 2024

La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 17 May 2024.

Here's some news on the eve of the weekend, with the return of the sun this morning!

The mountains are all beautiful and white!

A good 50cm of snow has fallen recently at the Cosmiques hut. There was 4 cm at the Grands Mulets refuge (which fell without wind).

Watch out for the risk of avalanches in the coming days!


A brief overview of conditions in the mountains:

Most lifts are closed. The Aiguille du Midi and the Flégère gondola remain open.

Most of the refuges have switched back to unguarded mode. The Conscrits, Grands Mulets and Cosmiques huts are open! The Robert Blanc refuge opened today!

Above 2000m, it's winter! Skis (or even snowshoes for short approaches) are still the essential means of getting around. Skiing is still the main activity. There's a bit of mountaineering activity around the Aiguille du Midi and in the gullies (Triangle du Tacul), but things warm up quickly and fiercely at this time of year in other sectors (the E face of the Tacul, for example).

Hikers should always stay below 2000m. You can find a list of possible hikes here. While the Flégère gondola is open, the hikes are not practicable (Grand Balcon, Sud, Lac Blanc etc).

Unless something changes, the Bellachat refuge will be closed this summer.

Valley crags are climbable but higher up (Aiguilles Rouges, Mont Blanc massif: Envers, S face of Aiguille du Midi etc), there's still too much snow.

Fine weather last weekend (Ascension) meant that there was plenty of activity in the mountains! It has since snowed again, but that has only improved conditions!


Robert Blanc Refuge (open since this morning): it’s a 5-minute walk from the Chalets des Lanchettes car park before you put your skis on! A good opportunity to visit this wild sector!


Dômes de Miage: The refuge is open this weekend (one of the guardians went up today!) The latest news is that it's skis on after the Mauvais Pas once you are on the glacier. How long the snow bridges will last that cross the torrent at the bottom of the glacier is anyone’s guess: watch this space!

The traverse of the Dômes was in good condition, as were all the routes in the area (Tondu, North faces).

The Mettrier arete was tracked in good conditions last weekend. The traverse of the Aiguille de Bionnassay is possible if the weather is good and the snow has settled and stabilised.


Mont Blanc via the Grands Mulets: From the tunnel, skis on around 1900m. From the Plan de l'Aiguille, it's all fine (follow the summer path that skirts the moraines of the Pélerins glacier from below). The Jonction can be reached from the bottom as well as the top. Last weekend, there were still several sections of ice on the N ridge of the Dôme: ice screws, good crampons and 2 ice axes on the menu!

The conditions on the Bosses arete have improved: 1st bosse: on the crest then left across the ridge, beware there is a small crevasse to cross.

2nd bosse: on the crest

"False" arete: go around a crevasse on the right then a small steep wall of snow/ice to reach the ridge. The ridge is fine and good.

Rocher Tournette: ok! A bit of ice but not too bad, it's flat. Then the steep part, there's a bit of ice but patches of snow allow you to pass.

Final ridge: all snow.

The Corridors are still very easy, as is the N face of Mont Blanc.


Aiguille du Midi: The ridge has been de-equipped. The Tacul was retracked this morning. The Trois Monts were climbed last weekend in good conditions. There was a slightly overhanging step to cross a rimaye halfway up Mont Maudit (may have changed with the new snow). The rimaye on the Col du Mont Maudit is completely filled in and the slope above is all snow! The traverse to the Col de la Brenva is in top form, as is the Mur de la Côte, which is covered in snow. (That's rare!)

The gullies on the east face of the Tacul were well exposed to the sun last week: rock falls, "It's not too bad" said the hut guardian. The Lafaille goulotte was in good condition with a very early start ("Rimaye goes all the way to the left. Belay is buried on the approach slope under metres of snow. For the descent, aim for another belay with a bolt on the left bank of the rocky spur below"). The Triangle was climbed on Ascension Day (last weekend): Chéré - Mazeaud - Grisolle: conditions OK. La Negri should also be possible. For the time being, the approaches are more comfortable on skis and/or snowshoes, but the conditions can quickly settle down.

Crossing the Pointes Lachenal and the Cosmiques ridge OK!


Helbronner: the Skyway and the Torino hut (winter room only) are closed until 24 May. Activity on the Tour Ronde: normal route, Gervasutti couloir, N face. It looks like an attempt on the Kuffner ridge was made but they turned back (too much snow).


Mer de Glace Basin: The Montenvers train and gondola are closed. Work is in progress (dismantling of the temporary lift, the old telecabine and the old stairs). The site is closed (under the hotel: terraces and viewpoint inaccessible) as is access to the Mer de Glace until the 21st. The paths leading up to Montenvers (except the one between Les Planards and the Caillet buvette) will be closed from 20 to 31 May. Access will be possible for climbers via the via Corda. You can follow the closures on La Chamoniarde.

The refuges are all in winter mode. Its an hour's walk to get to the bottom of the new cable car. Access to the Couvercle hut is still via the central couloir (too much snow on the ladder access) but it's dry in the middle (scree). The Whymper couloir on the Aiguille Verte has been climbed in good conditions, as has the Pointe Isabelle. Here too, skis or snowshoes are essential.


Argentière Glacier: Here too, access is difficult as the Pierre a ric (home piste) is closed. Otherwise, it's all white!


Le Tour: Access to the Albert 1er hut (winter mode) is via the moraine path. There is snow at the water intake at around 2000m. The classics are popular with skiers (Aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche, Petite Fourche). The Migot spur at Le Chardonnet may be an option once it has stabilised.


Some activity on Mont Dolent: Normal route and Gallet ridge.



Translated with kind permission from an original report by La Chamoniarde.

Readers are reminded that conditions in mountain environments are prone to (sometimes rapid) change and that they should use their own best judgement when visiting them.





Steve Swenson Receives AAC President's Award

Steve Swenson Receives AAC President's Award

Alpine Club member Steve Swenson has been announced as the recipient of the 2024 American Alpine Club President's Medal in recognition of 'extraordinary accomplishments in the climbing world'.

Swenson with his teammates on the successful 2019 expedition to Link Sar

Swenson is quoted by Gripped Magazine as finding the award "very humbling", taking the opportunity to thank friends and family for their many years of support.

Originally from Seattle, Swenson has been climbing for more than fifty years and has climbed routes that have twice been recognised by the committee of the Piolets d'Or, as well as making ascents of Everest and K2 without supplementary oxygen.




Report: 3 May 2024

La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 3 May 2024.

"La chance sourit aux audacieux."

Well we have had two storms and an unexpected bit of sunshine inbetween this morning: It rained/snowed most of the day yesterday at altitude: let's hope that it will have finally stuck on some of the faces. This morning there was 20cm at the Conscrits hut, 45-50cm at the Grands Mulets, 20cm at the Argentière hut (accumulations of 1.5m in places, numerous sluffs on N and E aspects). So watch out for the risk of avalanches this weekend!

The Grands Montets ski area closes this Sunday evening, May 5 (large area closed from Monday May 6: Pierre à Ric, glacier de la Pendant, glacier de Lognan and des Rognons, col des Rachasses and Grands Montets). The Aiguille du Midi and Montenvers will remain open (the train will close on the evening of 12 May, with the Flégère gondola opening on Monday 13 May). The Skyway is closed until 24 May!

The Albert 1er and Requin refuges (the latter is manned from 8 to 12 May) have switched to winter mode. The same will apply to the Argentière hut from Sunday.

The Conscrits hut (open throughout May and continuously until September), the Cosmiques hut and the Couvercle hut (the warden sometimes comes down during periods of bad weather) remain open. The Plan Glacier refuge is due to open on 30 May.

Find out more if you're going on the Chamonix-Zermatt haute-route, as some of the huts have also closed.


We don't really have any information to give you about the high mountains, as the weather windows have been few and far between: "Fortune favours the bold". It's a real headache for skiers and especially for hut guardians, who have to juggle with cancellations. Skis (or snowshoes perhaps) are essential for getting around in the high mountains. Plan to walk a little to reach the cable car at the bottom of the Vallée Blanche.


The walks currently available are listed in this document. We would remind you that most of the classic hikes (as well as multi-day treks) are still not practicable (and that this will be the case for the whole of May). There is still a lot of snow at high altitude, so there is a high risk of slips and falls, as well as the risk of getting lost (invisible paths and markings). Successive storms have caused many trees to fall, and there will be a succession of trail closures to carry out repairs.



Translated with kind permission from an original report by La Chamoniarde.

Readers are reminded that conditions in mountain environments are prone to (sometimes rapid) change and that they should use their own best judgement when visiting them.




Join Us for the Unveiling of the Newly Restored Mathews Monument

Join Us for the Unveiling of the Newly Restored Mathews Monument

Following a three year project to relocate, restore and rededicate the Mathews Monument in Chamonix it has finally landed in its new permanent home at the entrance to the Couttet Park. Originally, it was dedicated to the memory of CE Mathews (founding member and former president of the Club) but has now been rededicated to also represent the shared history and comradeship between Chamonix and the Alpine Club.

A ceremony will take place at 5pm on 6 July 2024 at the site of the monument in Chamonix and the monument in its restored state will be unveiled by the Mayor.
Chamonix is keen to assemble as many members of the AC and the British community in Chamonix as possible for the ceremony. Please join us there to celebrate the close association between he Club and the massif and help us recognise the enormous effort that Chamonix has invested in this symbol of our shared history.




Report: 26 April 2024

La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 26 April 2024.

The mountains look so beautiful!
Not much to report compared to our last update...this may change very quickly with the arrival of the föhn!
Lifts still open are: Grands Montets, Aiguille du Midi, Montenvers and the Skyway.
From Sunday evening, the Albert 1er refuge will be closed, and the Requin refuge will be manned by reservation only. The winter rooms will be accessible .
For hiking, there are no changes from our last update.

Albert 1er
Lots going on here. The Aiguille du Tour, Petite Fourche and Tête Blanche are still being done. The Chardonnet remains very dry, and there is rock at the exit of the Migot spur (not climbed).
The Col Supérieur du Tour remains the best option if you are crossing the ridge.
To return to Le Tour, descend the moraine towards the "cabane électrique" (electric hut).

Ski touring is still flavour of the month! All the cols are being done. The Aiguille d'Argentière and the Aiguille du Chardonnet are loaded.
It felt pretty hot yesterday afternoon when the sun came out.
A few purges were observed on the NE face of the Courtes. The Col des Cristaux rimaye looks complicated to cross.
It's best to use the central couloir to reach the refuge.
There is little activity in the sector due to bad weather. The couloirs and the rimayes are well filled. Be careful to adapt your route according to your skills.
Pointe Isabelle looks magnificent and well-filled. You'll have to trail break.
The equipment on the arête will be dismantled over the next few days and the Z will be maintained until May 12.
The whole sector is in good condition (as long as the wind doesn't blow!)
The Contamines-Grisolle, Chéré, Gabarrou-Albinoni and Lafaille gullies are being done regularly, as well as the Cosmiques Arête and the Pointes Lachenal. Approaches can be made on skis or snowshoes.
Note to skiers: some steep slopes are hard, so think about using crampons, ropes etc
The Tacul was attempted yesterday, but they turned back at the last rimaye, which is difficult to cross  (see photo above).
Even if the wind has worked the snow, conditions in the Vallée Blanche are still very good, even from the Col d'Entrèves. The Salle à Manger is still going strong and the Combe du Requin is filled in. You can ski all the way to the gondola.
The Brèche Puiseux is still being skied and is in good condition.
Grands Mulets
The ascent of Mont Blanc is still in condition. The route remains the same: Jonction (higher path), Plateaux then Corridor.
The N ridge of the Dôme du Gouter and the 2nd "bosse" are still icy. The mur de la cote is also hard, so crampons are needed. The N face has been skied, and conditions are starting to look good in the middle of the slope.
Activity all over the place: on Mont Tondu, Col des Lanchettes and Armancette.
The biggest difficulty is the Mauvais Pas, because of ice above it; this should improve with the arrival of the foehn, already present today.

Translated with kind permission from an original report by La Chamoniarde.

Readers are reminded that conditions in mountain environments are prone to (sometimes rapid) change and that they should use their own best judgement when visiting them.




Ian Clarke

The Club has recently been informed of the death of Ian Clarke, who passed away on 24 March 2024. Ian was a long-standing member of the Alpine Club, having joined in 1975 as an Aspirant Member and graduated to Full membership in 1982. 

Our thoughts are with Ian's friends and family at this time.