Some information sector by sector before the beautiful (but hot) days that are coming. The isotherm is forecast for above 4,000m, which means that it will be hot, but what about the quality of the refreeze? You will have to take this into account in your choice of route and strictly respect the schedule! Conditions evolve very quickly at this time of year, and can change from one day to the next (and therefore between the time we write these lines and the time you will read them or when you will be on the ground). Since yesterday, the mountain has been drying out visibly...
The Vallorcine télécabine is now open. You can use it to go up to the Albert 1er refuge via the Col des Posettes and the Autannes in 4 hours. Otherwise you have to climb the moraine path (beware of rock falls underneath the Bec du Pcheu, especially in bad weather).
Arête de la Table (turn left just before the steep rocky part of the couloir de la Table), VN de l'aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche, Petite Fourche OK.
Lots of activity on the Chardonnet via the Migot spur and the Forbes ridge (ice is starting to come out under the “bosse"). The descent is fine (good steps, no ice). The track meanders between big crevasses below the col Adams Reilly. An alternative may be to look for a small col on the right-hand side which gets you back down by the combe of the Migot spur, less crevassed.
There is a lift up to Plan Joran at 8am and 4.30pm (except at weekends). Beware of the moraine at the bottom of the ladders and the fixed rope (it’s been outside all winter) that allows you to get back down to the glacier.
Arête de Fleche Rousse in good condition.
Glacier du Milieu reserved for experienced rope parties: beware of a crevasse that is opening up at the bottom of the glacier (rope up or stay roped up all the way down), rimaye OK, upper slope in hard snow, gully (20m) in ice (downclimb recommended; beware of the old slings and the solidity of flakes/spikes if you choose to abseil; ok belay on the left bank but abseiling in fairly unstable rock = not recommended if other teams are around).
Teams on the arête du Jardin (still some snow) and on the Charlet Straton (no more info).
Col du Tour Noir ok but beware of a crevasse on the Y couloir.
No info on the NNE des Courtes. The same on the Couturier side where conditions are deteriorating (no recent activity). It's a bit early for the Tournier spur (snow).
The climbing routes are "tip top"!
The hut was supposed to open this Saturday 18 June but there might be a delay until next week, we'll let you check directly with the warden! No info on the sector but we think that the crossing of the Drus (maybe snow in the Z) and the Contamine are possible.
Bassin de Talèfre
Opening of the brand new hut on Thursday 16 June. The access by the new "Charpoua" ladders is quite dry.
On the Moine everything is good (rimaye, dry rock...); S ridge, S ridge intégrale, normal route, Contamine.
The Whymper is still possible: good snow bridge on the left bank to pass the rimaye. The secondary couloir is dry but still goes well. The couloir above is snow. To be continued with the coming hot weather.
The lower part of the col Armand Charlet is very dry.
Lots of activity on the arête du Jardin: the rimaye goes perfectly, snow couloir (short mixed section of 5-10m). The climbing part is dry. Access to the col Armand Charlet: an equipped abseil of 30m or mixed climbing descent. You cross the col via the N side (hard snow but ok).
VN des Droites traversed there and back by the oblique couloir which passes for the moment. Nobody has done the traverse so far as we know.
VN des Courtes also done there and back. A team left for the traverse but without more information.
No one on the Pointe Isabelle which seems ok by eye. Be careful with the big rimaye under the seracs before the mixed ridge. As a reminder, the PD+ rating of this route is not really relevant anymore.
Here too, conditions worthy of a month of July.
Balcon Mer de Glace practicable from the Couvercle, only the usual snow in the couloirs.
Access to the Périades bivouac via the Mont Mallet glacier, not so bad by eye.
Still a few teams on the SW couloir of the Eboulement but the timing is tight. You have to be at the summit at sunrise, still a bit of route finding for the descent.
Petites Jorasses: generally dry face except for some snow at the top, some teams planned without more information.
The N face of the Grandes Jorasses is still well covered with snow.
Envers des Aiguilles
Refuge closed until June 24th.
No information on this sector unfortunately (if you have any we are, as usual, happy to take it!) The classic Aiguille de la République & Grepon Mer de glace must have been done? Beware of the descent by the Nantillons glacier which may evolve quickly (ice crevasses/rock falls).
The hut opens tomorrow Thursday 16th June. No particular worries for the access to the hut.
The ascent of the Vallée Blanche is tracked. Like everywhere else, it will last less long than usual this summer.
The rock is dry.
Punta Helbronner Sector
Dent du Géant (the ropes which were damaged last year have been reinforced) and Rochefort arête (start ok but ice is beginning to show below the aiguille de Rochefort, good cramponing technique needed, ridge not too narrow), its being done everyday. The access is already quite dry, the couloir (ice, snow and mixed) should be avoided because of rock falls between the rope parties. Prefer the passage by the rocks on the right bank. Then it's dry and crampons back on 150m below the Salle à Manger (mixed).
No information on the Jorasses traverse nor on the descent by the normal route. As a reminder, the Val Ferret refuges (Bocalatte and Dalmazzi) are closed and therefore in winter refuge mode.
Marbrées traverse and the Aiguilles d'Entrêves OK. Tour Ronde by Freshfield couloir OK. Gervasutti couloir still possible according to the latest news (watch this space like everywhere else!).
Many teams on the Kuffner arête (be careful with the refreeze and the heat). As a reminder, for the last few years (except at the very beginning of the season), the access to the start of the ridge from the Fourche bivouac is no longer possible due to a landslide.
There is also a lot of activity on the Aiguilles du Diable: rimaye ok, dry couloir but climb on the right bank then there is snow (quality depends on the refreeze). The rock on the ridge is generally dry. A little snow between the Pointe Carmen and the Isolée.
You can climb on the satellites of Tacul (Grand & Petit Capucin, Pointe Adolphe Rey, Pyramide du Tacul...) No news from the rimayes = good news!
Aiguille du Midi Sector
The Aiguille du Midi arête is still in quite good conditions (no ice, good steps).
The Panoramic Mont Blanc is currently closed for maintenance.
Midi-Plan: read the report in our “cahier de course" No news about the Chamonix Aiguilles traverse.
Pointes Lachenal traverse (it's starting to become icy) and Cosmiques arête: Ok but it's drying up.
The Triangle du Tacul has turned grey in no time. Contamine-Negri, Contamine-Grisolle and the Chéré are being done regularly.
The Mont Blanc by the Trois Monts is in good condition (traversed or there and back): Just a bit of ice on Mont Maudit.
Here too the rimayes for the rock routes seem OK.
Plan de l'Aiguille Sector
The refuge is open. On the whole, the rock is dry but there is still some snow on some approaches (Peigne, Pèlerin, Pilier Rouge de Blaitière...).
The Mallory is now finished, even if it had been retracted after the last snowfall.
Some teams on the Frendo spur (dry rock) but the improvement of the exit was short-lived and it is again black ice.
Mont Blanc by the Grands Mulets
Still a few motivated skiers but the portage to the hut needs mountaineering boots.
The Bossons glacier and the Jonction are OK: A big slide below the refuge has filled in the high part of the Jonction and you can go through this (markers in place).
Access by the Gite à Balmat is possible. As for the rest of the sector, a sense of direction and a taste for adventure are required!
There is a footpath across the plateaus. Latest news (last weekend), 30m of ice on the N ridge, abalakov in place.
Mont Blanc by the Aiguille du Gouter
The Tramway du Mont Blanc should open to the Nid d'Aigle tomorrow Thursday June 16th.
The access to Tête Rousse is (already) dry - July conditions then! The traverse of the Gouter couloir is mainly snow but a part of it is already degraded (mixed ice, sand, rock) and the trail is not "tracked"; it will maybe improve with time. The face is already quite dry. There are not many rock falls at the moment and they are being slowed down by snow. Watch this space with the coming heat wave. Conditions are good but more technical than usual on the Bosses ridge with ice below the Vallot. The crevasse can be bypassed either by a detour on the N side (quite steep) or by the S side where stakes have been put in place (steps).
The Mettrier ridge has dried out. There is only snow in the upper third. The integral variant is to be preferred.
The glacier to go up to Durier is OK, then it's all dry and you go up without crampons. Access from the Col des Dômes is also OK.
The crossing of the Aiguille de Bionnassay is reported to be in good condition, as well as the Dômes de Miage (no ice).
Access to the Conscrits refuge is recommended via the summer path and the footbridge. By the Mauvais Pas, there is a rather steep ice slope and an exposed traverse above the gorge before the latter.
It’s drying out quickly on Mont Tondu and the lower slopes are beginning to be cleared of snow (all the rest is snow).
A team did the traverse of the Aiguilles de Trè-la-Tête with good conditions. There is just 40m of ice at the top of the N face of the aiguille de Trè-la-Tête. They descended by the Lanchettes ridge. The descent by the Col des Glaciers is already advised against (loose rock).
The refuge is open. Good general conditions: The glacier is OK, the ridge is OK, the Piton des Italiens ridge is in good condition. Watch this space with the coming hot weather.
No news about access to Quintino Sella or the Tournette spur.
Aiguille de la Noire OK. No activity on the integral of Peuterey nor on the Blanche or the Grand Pilier d'Angle. Visually, the crossing of the Freney glacier by the col de l'Innominata seems complex (access to the W face of the Noire de Peuterey or to the vires Schneider to access the Blanche).
The Ratti-Vitale still seems to be a bit wet.
Punta Innominata and aiguille Croux molto bene!
An attempt at the Innominata ridge last weekend. Access to Eccles by the punta Innominata and not by the glacier. Then a lot of "zucchero" type snow on the ridge and bad cornices - they were evacuated! So we have to wait a bit more (hoping it's not all over at once).
The Red Pillar of the Brouillard looks dry.
There is still some snow around Col du Brévent, Col de la Glière/Col Cornu, Col de Salenton/Buet, Col des Corbeaux/Emosson, the traverse between Col de Tricot and Plan Glacier. Crampons at the bottom of the bag are useful just in case. Only a few névés in the Index-lac Blanc traverse (well marked, ok with sticks and good shoes).
The Signal Forbes trail has reopened following work.
On the Tour du Mont Blanc, just a few névés on the col de la croix du Bonhomme; on the Italian side of the col de la Seigne and on the Champex side of the fenêtre d'Arpette but nothing disturbing. It's a bit more snowy for the Col des Fours variant.
There is still some snow on the Aiguilles Rouges routes but nothing compared to other years at the same period! Crampons not needed for the Brévent/clocher de Planpraz area.
Crampons still a good idea for the Perrons traverse.
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.