La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 7 July 2023
The summer continues - so far we have been spared the heat... An initial period of heat seems to be looming this weekend (isotherm above 4000m, thunderstorms?..). Despite this, conditions are drying out in the high mountains, although a large number of snow routes are still possible provided there are good refreezing conditions (watch out for what happens this weekend...) Naturally, we will be gradually moving towards rock climbing. Be careful, it snowed in the thunderstorms on the south side two days ago and the rock may be plastered.
There hasn't been much change since last week, but here's some brief information area by area (if nothing is specified, it means there have been no changes since our last bulletin). Don't hesitate to give the guardians a call to get the latest information on the route you're planning! And don't forget to give us your feedback once you've downed the beer(s)!
There are a few bits of névé on the way to the refuge, but these are not a problem for most hikers!
It's the end for the Migot spur: the last attempts failed at the rimaye.The Forbes Arête is still in decent condition. The rimaye at Col Adam Reilly is in bad shape. Nothing to report on other routes.
Following a breakdown, the Plan Joran gondola has reopened.
Some people are still using the left bank of the glacier to avoid the ladders, but this may change.
The route via the ladders is also popular. To get back on the glacier, you have to descend a very steep section of snow. A fixed rope is in place under the snow. It is possible to abseil from a bolt at the top.
Rock routes are getting a lot of traffic (Charlet-Straton, Jardin etc)!
One team has climbed the Grands Montets ridge. Quite a few sections of bad rock. The alternative route to avoid the Pointe Ségogne was not/is no longer possible (loose rock, landslide). On the calotte, there are some very steep rimayes to climb (bring two ice axes). They tried the descent via the Moine ridge (untracked, too much snow). They reached the Whymper but it was a bit late and it felt like the end anyway.
There are still climbers on the American Direct (beware of the heatwave and falling rock fall).
The window of opportunity for the Drus traverse is here (still a bit snowy). The Contamine on the Grand Dru has been climbed (still névé on the route). The glacier is fine.
An attempt to descend the Moine Arête (by a team coming up from the Grand Montets) was abandoned because of the snow and lack of knowledge of the route. It might work for other climbers who know the route. This is the end for the Whymper. The Jardin Arête would be climbable, but there's then the problem of the descent. We're in a bit of a pickle when it comes to all the snow routes (Droites, Courtes), a good freexe is vital and that you're a good climber. However, conditions are no longer optimal.
Moine (S ridge, normal route, Contamine), None-Evêque OK.
Pointe Isabelle is ok if it freezes.
New website for the refuge!
Top conditions on the W face of the Petites Jorasses (glacier ok, dry rock).
Alert: The Walker spur on the N face of the Jorasses is in (optimal) condition. Dry rock up to the triangular névé, winter conditions above. Beware of overcrowding!
For the motivated, the Brèche des Périades is still a possibility.
Envers des Aiguilles / Requin
The climbing season is in full swing! No particular problems with rimayes or anything else!
The snow is disappearing on the way up to the Envers hut.
Grepon-Mer de Glace and the other routes are OK.
It's complicated to get to the foot of the Ryan Arête (some find it, others don't!). The start is a wet 4c crack. Access also possible from the Requin!
Access to the Requin via the Mer de Glace on the left or right bank is possible.
The Envers du Plan glacier is still accessible (right bank). As for the lower part, following several route finding mistakes, the guardian has drawn up a small sketch for you (see photo below).
Dent du Requin & Aiguille Pierre Alain OK
People are still going up (and down) the Vallée Blanche!
Arête de Jetoula: snow approach to the start of the couloir. All dry. New tat on the abseil points. A little snow on the way to the summit of the Marbrées.
Rochefort-Jorasses traverse: Good general conditions. Access to the Salle à Manger is drying out, a few rockfalls after the 1st couloir.
Rochefort arête: very good conditions.
Pointe Young is dry except for the last 2 pitches where there is still a little snow (climbing with crampons). The couloir below the brèche de la Pointe Marguerite is full of snow. After Pointe Croz, it's all snow: a narrow ridge at first, then a bit easier. Descent via the normal route in good conditions.
Rochers de Reposoir: mixed (snow/rock). Glacier well filled-in with snow but a few large snow bridges to watch out for below the Reposoir. A few teams also on the Hirondelles arête.
Kuffner Arête: continues to dry out. A good refreeze is absolutely essential.
Aiguilles du Diable traverse: access couloir: snow at the bottom, rubble/snow at the top. Good conditions once on the ridge, then poor mixed conditions again on the exit to the Tacul.
Aiguille du Midi
Conditions remain good overall, but the route to Tacul - Maudit - Mont Blanc is becoming increasingly technical: it hasn't snowed recently and you need to be comfortable with cramponing. There are still a few ice blocks falling from the seracs on Tacul. Two ice axes may be useful for the Col du Mont Maudit (particularly on the descent if you want to avoid abseiling, as there is no fixed rope in place).
The traverse of the Vallée Blanche changes according to the snow bridges, but is still OK.
Plan de l'Aiguille
Grutter: ice axes/crampons for the approach, then it's all dry!
Crampons still needed for access to the main sectors (Peigne, Pilier Rouge etc).
The Nantillons glacier is holding its own!
Crampons no longer needed for the Frête des Charmoz (dry descent).
Mont Blanc via the Grands Mulets
It's all dry from the Plan de l'Aiguille. You can cross the Jonction, you’ll just have to find the right way! A little snow as far as the refuge. Ice on the N ridge of the Dôme (take two ice axes). The plateaux route is also passable. Peace and quiet guaranteed. Climbing the N ridge and descending Trois Monts can be a great combo for those with the necessary skills.
Mont Blanc via the Aiguille du Goûter
The "Sentier des Rognes" is still very snowy.
The conditions in the Goûter couloir are not changing in a good way: big runnels, rock falls during the day or when the freeze is poort. Watch this space! In any event, you'll have to get there early and be careful. It is possible (and advisable) to clip the cable by taking the lower route.
Above, the conditions are still good. The section on the N face around the crevasse on the Bosses ridge is fine.
Dômes de Miage/Bionnassay
Good conditions on Mont Tondu, the Aiguille de la Bérangère, the Dômes de Miage traverse (also fine as a there and back) and the traverse of the Aiguille de Bionnassay. People on the traverse of the Aiguilles de Tré la Tête, but no info at present. Two ice axes recommended for the Mettrier Arête. The summer path to the Conscrits hut is almost completely dry.
Good conditions overall, but still exposed to seracs on one section. Ascent to the Col de Bionnassay fine.
Still a little snow on the S ridge of the Aiguille Noire de Peuterey.
Ratti-Vitale: access to the Freney Glacier via the col Brogliata (15m abseil), the glacier is easy and the bridges seem solid. Rimaye ok (big snow bollard). The route is dry.
The Col Eccles is easy to traverse.
A rockfall has affected the start of the Pilier d'Angle. A V+ pitch on the crest is necessary (good rock, a few pitons in place).
The climb up to the Eccles is still a good one (as long as it's not too warm)! Innominata possible when it refreezes.
It has snowed high up in recent thunderstorms (the Freney pillar looks very snowy, and a rope team was evacuated from Divine Providence for the same reason).
Translated with 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.