La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 21 July 2023
As anticipated in our last update, a rather exceptional southwesterly weather system (high temperatures, strong winds, poor refreezing) has been in place over the massif for the past week. This has slowed down activity and dried out the high mountains, particularly the snow routes (given initial feedback, it could have been a lot worse).
Because of the low level of activity, we don't have much recent information and you'll have to ‘go see' when the weather permits to see how a lot of the routes are doing! There's still a bit of wind forecast at altitude over the next few days, and the weather isn't exactly perfect, but there are still some slots up for grabs!
Here's some information sector by sector:
It's still OK for the classics. However, it's the end of the road for the Aiguille du Chardonnet: the descent has become very problematic at the Col Adams Reilly rimaye (several rescues).
It's the end of the road for snow routes except for the Col du Tour Noir.
The arête du Jardin (Aiguille d'Argentière) can be considered for experienced climbers if the descent times are respected (bivouac recommended on the arête).
Rock climbing remains the main activity.
The glacier to get to the Drus is still OK (the ascent track is rejoined on the descent after abseiling): one team yesterday on the Contamine.
Unlike last year, the “roture” (gap between snow and rock) on the Evêque is easy to climb.
Access to the Flammes de Pierres via the fixed ropes ("Passage des guides") is not easy this year and it is better to use the 3 pitches on the “roche moutonnee” (https://www.chamoniarde.com/images/files/Acc%C3%A8s-Charpoua-et-Flammes-de-Pierre.pdf).
As a reminder, access to the Couvercle refuge is only possible via the ladders at the foot of the Moine. The moraine below Les Egralets is very poor.
You can climb on the Moine (normal route, S ridge, Contamine: deep gap between snow and rock), La Nonne, L'Evêque, behind the refuge...
Quite a lot of (soft) snow and big cornices at the top of the Moine arête, which has not been climbed in its entirety.
Curtains for the Droites, the Courtes... Still a few people on the Pointe Isabelle but the end is approaching (the big crevasse is opening up, 10m of ice on the steep bit).
There are still climbers regularly on the Walker on the N face of the Jorasses, which is in good condition, as is the descent via the normal route (a serac fell from the top and cut the track).
The glacier leading to the Petites Jorasses is still easy.
The balcony path is dry.
Envers des Aiguilles / Requin
No particular problems in this sector apart from a major rock fall at the start of the season at the bottom of the 3rd Pointe des Nantillons (route L'homme du Rio Grande").
The rimaye for the République/Grepon Mer de Glace is still going well.
There have been few changes to the descent of Les Nantillons since this report in our cahier de course.
The access to the Salle à Manger is now completely dry. If you stay on the route, it's fine. Otherwise it's very loose. There are still teams on the Dent du Géant and the Rocheforts Arête. A few brave souls on the Jorasses traverse and the Hirondelles Arête (the first 150 metres of the ridge are tricky because of a recent rockfall).
Conditions are no longer good for the Kuffner (overhanging rimaye + dry ridge) and the traverse of the Aiguilles du Diable (dry access couloir + rockfalls).
Nothing to report concerning the rimayes on the satellites, apart from a serac fall that has affected access to the Pyramide du Tacul (ice blocks) but which is still passable.
Traversing the Vallée Blanche is fine.
Aiguille du Midi
There's climbing around the Cordier pillar (watch out for stuck ropes on the way down). As long as the Nantillons glacier is OK , so is the Charmoz-Grepon!
Mont Blanc via the Grands Mulets
Mont Blanc via the Aiguille du Goûter
You can climb the Aiguille Croux, Punta Innominata, Ratti Vitale to the Aiguille Noire de Peuterey.
Access to the Eccles is still OK with a freeze.
Access to the Pilier Rouge du Brouillard (particularly on the way back if you don't go up to Mont Blanc) is becoming more complicated (watch this space). The most recent info is that the Col Eccles went very well (without abseiling).
It remains to be seen whether the Innominata has withstood the heat. The last feedback was that there is a tricky ice section on the Brouillard ridge, but it could be avoided.
Most of the footpaths are now dry.
Crampons are less and less useful on the Aiguilles Rouges to access the routes.
Note the opening of the new via ferrata at the Cascade de Bérard!
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.