La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 7th July 2022
The drought is getting worse in the high mountains and the heat wave won't help. The conditions will continue to change rapidly, so please take this into account and don't hesitate to call La Chamoniarde or the huts for the latest information.
Snow and mixed routes are suffering more and more and few are still doable in reasonable conditions.
For those who want to go up there to cool off, you will obviously need to aim for rocky things (beware of rock falls).
As we have said, the Chardonnet is finished (keep the Chardonnay for the evening).
Arête de la table on the Aiguille du Tour: the integral is better in order not to expose oneself to rock falls in the lower section of the classic ridge.
As a reminder, the Col du Tour is the best way to get between the Le Tour side and the Trient. The Col Blanc needs a 50m abseil.
The rimaye on the normal route (VN) on the Aiguille du Tour is still OK, the glacier du Tour is also OK.
Rock climbing: Aiguille de Purtscheller, traverse and routes on the Dorées perfect.
It's still possible to descend by the Glacier du Milieu for experienced climbers coming off the Arête du Jardin but it won't last long. It will then be possible to abseil down the (steep) route "La part des Anges": 2x50m ropes are needed; the belays are staggered (and therefore not always easy to find), to be considered only with the topo at hand.
Col du Tour Noir and rimaye du Col des Grands Montets are still possible as glacier routes.
Rock routes and Arête du Rabouin OK.
The American Direct on the Drus has been climbed regularly since the beginning of the good weather period. Beware of rock falls with the dryness.
A team was rescued at belay 14 of the Contamine route (two pegs ripped out).
The Charpoua glacier can still be climbed by going high, without abseiling.
As a reminder, a new abseil line was equipped last autumn from the Grand Dru (topo). Bearing in mind current conditions on the glacier, the right hand line is better and allows you to get back on the glacier high up.
Rock routes are dry (teams planning the Sale Athée).
The Peace of God reigns on the Ecclesiastical ridge (Moine, Nonne-Evèque) where everything is looking good.
For the Verte, it is now only up and down by the Arête du Moine (see cahier de course).
It's dry on the Droites. On the Courtes, alternating snow and rock under the col de la Tour des Courtes then a pitch of ice below the summit. A rock fall on the Argentière side of the Aiguille qui Remue has changed the route of the Courtes traverse (pretty dry anyway). The descent from the Col des Cristaux has gone into “crystal hunter” mode.
If it's not already the case, it will soon be the end for the Pointe Isabelle.
Crampons are useful for a passage that has become sketchy on the Couvercle-Leschaux traverse.
Petites Jorasses: glacier ok (a big snow bridge but it seems solid), dry routes (quite a few teams on the Contamine).
Aiguille de Leschaux: more complicated glacier, the track wanders between the crevasses, it might change.
The Cassin on the Walker spur seems to be on (beware of rock falls and overcrowding). The glacier approach goes well enough but beware of ice falls that cross the track. There is good snow at the bottom. Then it's all dry. Above the red chimney (cheminée rouge), there is mixed terrain (rock-ice) which requires many time-consuming manoeuvres with big boots/rock shoes/crampons. It's good to have a technical ice axe.
Envers des Aiguilles
The rimaye of the Grépon-Mer de Glace / République is complicated (see cahier de course): getting established on the rock is very thin and steep ("it's scary"): it should evolve quickly (maybe possible to go lower).
The Tour Rouge hut has been damaged. The door is no longer "fixed". Try to secure it (having said that, no snow forecast).
The descent by the Nantillons glacier is no longer in good condition and is rather challenging: ice and substantial rock fall. Moreover, the snow bridge in the large crevasse under the serac has collapsed: you have to abseil down the crevasse (20m, dead man), cross over the bridge which has collapsed halfway down and then come out on the other side (exposed to rock falls and the serac). There is still the solution of abseiling "Le soleil a rendez-vous avec la lune" but it is long and not obvious without having climbed it.
The other rimayes are ok for the moment.
The ascent of the Vallée Blanche is still OK but it's complicated: crossing the stream above the refuge (in spate with the temperatures and the poor freeze) & crevasses between the combe and the plateau above the Géant seracs.
Dent du Géant/ Arêtes de Rochefort/Jorasses traverse (info from a team who did it on July 9&10, thanks for the info!
- Climb up to the salle à manger: dry.
- Traverse of the Rochefort arete to Canzio: Good conditions. Snow. On some short passages (maximum 10 meters), the ice is not very far under the snow. When it is rocky, everything is dry.
- From Canzio to Pointe Walker: Everything is dry until Pointe Croz, no need for crampons. The couloir up to the Pointe Marguerite is dry, but it doesn’t matter. The bivouacs at Pointe Marguerite are still covered in snow (we cleared one of them, it's done). From Pointe Croz to Pointe Walker good conditions, with snow. The bivouacs at Pointe Whymper are under snow.
- Descent: Some ice in the rocks below the summit. Traverse under the seracs ok, good track and snow. Rochers Whympers dry, abseils ok. Traverse to the Rochers du Reposoir, snow, no ice. Rochers du Reposoir, dry, no need for crampons. Glacier after the Rochers du Reposoir, crevasses filled in. A steep 10m passage (black ice) at the very end (but if you take your time it's no problem).
Aiguilles Marbrées traverse (best to do the full route) and the Aiguilles d'Entrêves (no ice) OK. SE ridge of the Tour Ronde more than dry!
Kuffner: The end. It's very dry, bad conditions (risk of boulder falls).
Arête du Diable: Dry but still doable, beware of rockfalls (other climbers) in the access couloir.
Aiguille du Midi
Crossing the Vallée Blanche: It's getting worse, several precarious bridges (especially in the Gros Rognon sector and under the Aiguille de Toule (see photo below). It is necessary to pass well below the Pyramid du Tacul.
Midi-Plan: Curtains, it's too dry.
Pointes Lachenal traverse: It's very dry, ice on the access slope and on the traverse. It's no longer an AD route. You need to be comfortable with cramponing. Note there is a big slab that is hanging off the serac of the E face of Tacul and that overhangs the descent track.
End for the Chéré (the ice is coming off...!). Grisolle may be possible but not attractive.
Cosmiques Arête: Very dry, beware of the abseiling area under the gendarme.
No bad news from the rimayes for the rock routes but it can evolve quickly (except for Harold et Maud which was already complicated a few days ago).
Trois Monts: Conditions are holding for the moment even if the two rimayes on the Tacul are showing signs of activity (cracks). The ice is not far away on the exit slope to the Col du Mont Maudit. It's quite steep and you need to be very comfortable with cramponing (especially on the way down). Preferably in teams of 2.
Plan de l'aiguille
For the Charmoz-Grepon, we would like to tell you that it's finished because of the state of the Nantillons glacier but we will let you decide for yourself.
A few teams on the Cordier pillar (descent by abseil).
A bit of activity on the traverse of the Chamonix Aiguilles but it's quite dry. You have to descend by the numerous abseils on the W face of the Blaitière (50m max) then those of Fidel Fiasco.
Still open. Access to the refuge is long and complicated but it is possible. Call the guardian to get advice. You can still cross the Plateaux.
Dômes de Miage / Bionnassay
The traverse of the Dômes de Miage has clearly deteriorated (ice above the col de la Bérangère, exposed). It is now only for experienced climbers and should be done in the direction of Bérangère-Dômes in order to do the ice part on the way up.
Dômes de Miage there and back is still possible for less experienced climbers.
It's over for the Tondu ("the drier it is, the more it collapses"!!!)
The Aiguille de Bionnassay traverse is still in good condition (no ice at the moment).
The refuge is closing this Sunday 17/07.
Brouillard arête: Rock fall above the Col Emile Rey.
Access to the Eccles is chaotic (snow bridges, seracs). It's better to go via the Punta Innominata.
Good conditions on the Innominata this morning (11/07).
Access to the Red pillar of Brouillard is sporty (50m abseil on the right bank). It's ok for the moment but for how long?
Teams on the Freney pillar without more information. Teams also on the Ratti-Vitale but the crossing of the glacier is reminiscent of Mordor.
Teams on the Peuterey Integral. It's dry until the Blanche. There is still a very small névé under the Pointe Brendel and another difficult one under the Cravetti. Ice not far away on the Peuterey ridge, to be continued.
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.