Report 18 September 2020

MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS

The season is coming to an end and autumnal weather is expected next week.

Most of the ski lifts and mountain huts are either closed or soon will be.  For more details, consult the relevant pages on the Chamoniarde site.

Regarding hiking, conditions are excellent and should remain so if the weather is favourable.

In the high mountains, the season is finished and even if the snowfall last week had temporarily improved the conditions of some routes, the hot weather since has reversed most of this, with rockfalls becoming frequent again.

 

For now, conditions in the Tour sector are OK, (the hut closes on Sunday 20th September.)

All the huts in the Mer de Glace sector are now closed  but climbing here should still be possible on pleasant autumnal days.

In the Aiguille du Midi sector, the Pointes Lachenal traverse and the Cosmiques ridge are still being done despite the dry conditions. There have been some parties also on the  Contamine-Grisolle (exit at the top of the Triangle then return by the shoulder) , the Chéré Gully and on the south face of the Aiguille du Midi.

There has been no recent information about the Midi-Plan traverse.

The Trois Monts is still being done but the route remains more technical than usual, despite the presence of a fixed rope at the Mont Maudit Col.

Crossing the Valley Blanche is reported to be complicated in places.  However, interest in this route will fade with the closing of the Panoramic lift this weekend.    

A track is visible on the Plateau route above the Grand Mulets.   No further information is available.

Normal route of Mont Blanc:  The Bellevue cable car closes on Sunday 20th and the Mont Blanc tramway the following weekend.  The Nid d'Aigle, Tête Rousse and Goûter huts remain open,  (closing dates were given in the last update).  There has been an increased amount of stonefall  in the Grand Couloir and several  parties have chosen to turn back in recent days.  Also, the cable was severed  by a huge, night-time rockfall.

In the Conscripts sector, the conditions are now as dry as they were before the last snowfall.  The Glacier de Tré-la-Tête is dry and below the Col des Dômes  it is necessary to weave between treacherous crevasses.  There is ice, “canolles” (unstable ice formations) and a risk of stone fall on the slope between the Dômes and the Bérangère.  Therefore, to do the Domes de Miage  it is preferable  to go there and back from the Col des Dômes.

It is over for Mont Tondu, except from the south via the Valley des Glaciers.

On the Italian side, there has been reports of parties on the SE ridge of the Aiguille Noire de Peuterey and of rock climbing on the Aiguille Croux.

There has been regular activity around the Torino hut (Marbrées, Entrèves, Tacul satellites, Dent du Géant, Rochefort ridge ...)   Care is still required on the approach to the “Salle a Manger” due to the unstable terrain.

 

As for climbing and hiking in the Aiguilles Rouges, all the lifts will be closed after this weekend.

The conditions described in this update  will certainly change in the coming days.

As the huts are now closed, it will be more difficult for Chamoniarde to obtain information, so do not hesitate to send in your feedback.

 

Report 10 September 2020

MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS 10/09/2020

The mountains are benefiting from an Indian summer, with cool nights and warm days.

Conditions are generally good, given that it is the end of the season

Activity continues in the Tour sector.  (The lifts close on Sunday 13th, but the hut remains open until the 21st.)  The normal routes on the Aig du Tour, (most parties choose to go up by the Col Supérieur du Tour, which remains fairly dry, and descend by Col du Tour,) the Tête Blanche and the Petite Fourche are been done regularly

The Table Ridge remains feasible, though the start is not obvious.  On 08/09 the Migot Spur was climbed, (average conditions with ice  and rocks showing through inconsistent snow,) with a descent by the Forbes Ridge, (good conditions: dry on the crest and snow on the N side passages).  As stated in a previous report, the classic descent is not feasible due to a large bergschrund beneath the Adams Reilly Col.

The Argentière and Charpoua huts,  together with the Argentière lifts are closed for the season. The traverse of the Drus is no longer feasible. The glacier is impassable and recently there has been a large rockfall.  

There is still some activity from the Couvercle (winter room), notably on the S Ridge,  S Ridge integral and the normal route on the Moine.  The bergschrund for the Contamine is currently impassable.  The start is now by a F6b/c crack on the right; foresee extra gear.

A party turned back at the large crevasse on the Courtes glacier while attempting the Pointe Isabelle. Crystal hunting seems to be the main activity in the rest of the sector.  A lot of rockfalls have been noted, especially near the normal route on the Droites.

Rock climbing is still happening near the Leschaux, (the hut shuts on the 13th,) on the Aiguille de Pierre à Joseph routes, (it is over for the Aiguille de Leschaux, the Petites Jorasses remains possible but with a risk of being wet in places.)  and in the Envers des Aiguilles sector (the hut closes on the 15th  ) The Grépon-Republique bergschrund is reported to be "easy but scary”.

The Plan de l'Aiguille sector is also dry.  For example, Aiguille de l'M (NE Ridge and normal route), Petits Charmoz traverse, Pilier Rouge de Blaitière, Lames Fontaine, Papillons Arete, normal route / SW ridge on the Peigne are being climbed.

The traverse of the Chamonix Aiguilles was done on 08/09, descent by paraglider.  There has been o recent information concerning the Nantillons glacier, (should be feasible), the Cordier Pillar, the Charmoz-Grépon (looks to have snow)) or the Frendo, (the crest looks white but this maybe just hiding problems)

In the Aiguille du Midi sector (N.B. the Panoramique is open weekends in September) the S faces are being climbed, e.g. Aiguille du Midi and Pointes Lachenal). The Cosmiques Ridge and the Pointes Lachenal traverse are also being done.

The Midi-Plan, there and back, was done in OK conditions.  

There have been some parties on the Triangle du Tacul. The Contamine-Grisolle was reported to be in good condition, the Chéré gully is still fairly dry.

The normal route on the Tacul remains technically difficult. Some parties have managed the Trois Monts route.  The Maudit is overcome now by the serac, (very steep for 4-5m, 2 axes and ice screws needed.)

There are good conditions for the Gouter route, if the time of day is respected, Crampons are only needed from the Gouter hut onwards.  

The huts in this area stay open as follows, (dependent on the state of the sanitation and the weather):   

- Nid d'Aigle : closes to the public on 27th September,(when the TMB closes.)

- Tête Rousse : closes to the public on Monday 12th October at 8am.  (Capacity reduced to 36 places from 1st October.)

- The “camp de base” (near Tete Rousse) closes on Sunday 26th September at 8am.  

- Goûter : closes to the public on Tuesday 13th October at 8am.  .

 

The Dômes de Miage  traverse is still being done (the Conscrits hut closes on 19/09). However, the ice is never far away above the Col de la Bérangère and the snow bridges on the Trè la Tête glacier remain treacherous.  

The traverse of the Aiguille de Bionnassay is in good condition and is being done regularly, (Durier hut closed.)

The Monzino hut remains open for another week. There are quite a few hikers traversing to the  Col Chasseur and climbers on the Aiguille Croux. Two parties did the Innominata Ridge on 09/09, (no further information, especially about the access to the Eccles.)

The classics in the Helbronner sector are still being climbed with the traverses of the Aiguilles d'Entrêves and the Marbrées being very popular.

The Dent du Géant and the Rochefort Ridge (some sections of ice) are being done daily in good conditions.  The access to the Salle à Manger can be problematical if one leaves the main track.

Some parties on the SE ridge integral of the Tour Ronde and on the Aiguilles du Diable traverse, (the snow at the end of August improved conditions in the access gully and the rock is dry on the ridge.)

The Tacul satellites are being climbed. The bergschrund for the Pyramide du Tacul is a bit awkward, (black ice and many crevasses.)

The Tronchey Ridge (Grandes Jorasses) was done on 09/09.  No further information neither for this nor for the descent by the normal route, which must have been awkward.

The Boccalatte hut is shut.  The winter room is open for emergencies only and is not suitable for overnighting, (bad sanitation).

Report 4th September 2020


This report is based on information received following the resumption of activity in the high mountain.


After the storms there was a period of cold weather, but the temperatures have risen significantly today. The new snow has on the whole improved conditions but remember the season is ending. Vigilance is needed on the glaciers; the new snow can conceal the weak snow bridges and some crevasses.  The rock routes exposed to the sun are climbable again.

 

Aiguille du Midi Sector

 

There has been climbing on the  S face of the Aig du Midi.  There is some snow on the ledges, but the rock is mainly dry. Conditions have improved, for the time being, on the Cosmiques Arete and the traverse of the Pointes Lachenal (the 3 Pointes), both of which are retracked. On the Tacul, a party turned back yesterday due to knee deep snow after the 1st bergschrund. A party today crossed the 1st bergschrund in the middle and went up the lefthand side, (looking upwards.)
A party turned back at the second pitch on the Chéré Gully, (a lot of snow on top of the ice): A second party attempted the Tacul, crossing the bergschrund in the middle and going left up under the Triangle. (No further information yet.)   

The traverse of the Valley Blanche was re-tracked yesterday. 

Torino Sector

The Marbrées and Entrèves traverses are being done again, as has the Rochefort Ridge. Likewise, there is climbing on the Dent du Géant.   (Take care on the unstable terrain at the level of the Salle à Manger and above the bergschrund.)

 

Envers des Aiguilles Sector

The rock has dried well, and climbing is possible everywhere in this sector.  This morning there was a party on the Mer de Glace face of the Grepon.  The bergshrund goes once more on the right, then traverse to the left.  There is some snow on the ledges, but this is not a problem for the climb.  No information for the descent of the Nantillons glacier.

 

Conscrits Sector

The Tondu was re-tracked two days ago, the conditions being easier due to the new snow.
The Dômes de Miage traverse was done this morning in good conditions, (no ice for the moment!)

 

Chamonix Aiguilles

The ledges of the Pilier Rouge de Blaitière look to still have some snow, though a lot disappeared today.
Snow remains on the ledges on the Peigne normal route. No further information for this sector, which is taking time to dry in some areas.

 

Mid Mountain

The hiking conditions were not affected by the recent snowfall and remain excellent.

Please note that the Remuaz path between  Col des Montets and the cairn at Tête aux Vents will be closed from 7 to 11 September. 

 

 

Report 31 August 2020

A taste of winter in the mountains at the end of August !!!

 

There is quite a lot of snow at high altitude: the rocks are well plastered, beware of the risk of avalanches and snow sluffs on some routes! Be careful also at the snow bridges on glaciers ...

 

There is snow down to 2300m but it is unlikely to affect the hiking trails for long.  

 

Some feedback from the hut wardens:

- Cosmiques: 50 cm of cold and very windblown snow

- 30/40 cm at the Gouter, also windblown

- Torino: 20 cm, (no snow at the Monzino)

- Envers de Aiguilles: 20 cm

-Couvercle: 20 cm

- Albert 1er: 20 cm

- Conscrits: also, 20 cm

- Col de Balme: 8 cm

Report 24 August 2020

 

                                                                MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS 24/08/20

Some selected information.

As the season advances the conditions continue to evolve.  Caution is still needed with snow bridges and in potentially unstable areas.

The Dômes de Miage traverse is still being done, starting from the Bérangère and returning by the Trè la Tète glacier, (a bit of ice below the east summit and some open crevasses on the  glacier, as one would expect at the end of the season.)

There has been a large landslip above the Miage glacier which has cut across the path to the Durier hut from Plan Glacier.  This area still looks unstable, but not confirmed.  It is advised to approach the Durier hut from the Dômes de Miage. The Aiguille de Bionnassay remains in good condition.

The Gouter route up Mont Blanc is back to “normal”, with the stonefall being less intense.

The Gonella hut has been shut since 18/06, no further information.

The is some recent information concerning the Trois Monts route on the Cosmiques hut’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/refugedescosmiques/posts/3090977520950974

Since this Monday it is no longer possible to cross the Tacul bergschrund on the left, (looking up) .  Therefore, you are advised to go to the right, but it is your call! 

The bergshrunds for the rock routes in this sector have not worsened.

On 22/08 another landslip was reported on the approach to the Salle à Manger (access to the Dent du Géant and Rochefort Arete). The Marbrés and Aiguilles d'Entrèves traverses are still being done.

A few parties are still doing the Jorasses traverse. Not much has changed on the normal route, (still at the limit)

See the Chamoniarde route book for the latest information on the Nantillons glacier. (https://www.chamoniarde.com/montagne/cahier-de-courses). The Charmoz-Grepon bergschrund is still passable but the glacier approach is very exposed to stonefall

No recent information for the République/Grepon Mer de Glace bergschrund, which is very tricky since the collapse of the “tunnel”, Otherwise, no changes, it goes !

Already there is snow on the N face of the Grandes Jorasses but there are still some parties doing the Cassin, (Walker Spur).  The rock routes in this sector are in good condition; no problems with the glacier approach to the Petites Jorasses.

The Charpoua hut shuts this Thursday, still some parties doing the traverse of the Drus, the glacier remains passable , but perhaps not for long. “Good if one likes the Himalayas”.

In the Albert 1er sector, it is preferable to approach Aig du Tour by the Col du Tour, (fixed ropes in place,) as the Col Supérieur is very dry. The summit slope of the Petite Fourche is ice.

 

Report 16th August 2020

 

                                                                MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS 16/08/20

A general update on conditions based on recent information received by Chamoniarde from various sources.

Italian Side of Mont Blanc

Climbing continues in the Monzino sector, e.g. Vitale Ratti on the Noire and on the Aiguille Croux. The best approach to the Eccles is still by the glacier. The Freney is still being done. The approach to the Pilier Rouge has become more complicated, it is necessary to go via the Eccles.

There is no recent information for the normal Italian route up Mont Blanc.

In the Helbronner sector the bergschrunds are OK for the climbs on the satellites, with the exception of the Pyramide du Tacul, which is delicate. There are no particular problems for the traverses of the Aiguilles d'Entrêves and Marbrées. The approach to the Salle à Manger, (Dent de Geant) is dry. It is important to keep to the track and be wary of stone fall from other parties, (or your own.)  The Rochefort ridge remains OK.  The traverse of the Jorasses is being done regularly. The normal route on the Jorasses is also still being done but it is at the limit. There is ice higher up, (2 ice axes recommended, ice screws), the glaciers are passable but have some large crevasses/holes.

Conscrits Sector

Dômes de Miage traverse: The Tré la Tête glacier is still in good condition.  The ridge is all on snow but the descent to the col de la Bérangère is awkward with sections of ice, (good crampon skills needed). Doing the traverse west to east is easier.  
It is over for the traverse of the Aiguilles de Tré la Tête as the North Aiguille summit ridge and the Col des Glaciers are completely ice. For the Pain de Sucre and Mont Tondu there are some good snow slopes which allow most of the ice to be avoided on the way to the summit.
Snow patches help on the descent from the Aiguille de la Bérangère.

Durier Sector

Conditions for the Bionnassay ridge are good, all on snow and with a good track.  The descent is awkward, foresee a night in the Gouter  to allow an early morning descent,

Aiguilles de Chamonix Sector

- Peigne : since the landslip in the Papillons couloir, parties have been seen on the ridge and the normal route.  The couloir is pockmarked from impacts but this does not seem to have affected progression.

- Charmoz-Grépon : the bergschrund at the base is very wide.  It was still passable on the 8th and 9th August by climbing down into it, (this could change).   The Nantillons Glacier has some sections of ice; no information concerning the rockfall risk.

- Pilier Rouge de Blaitière : there is a ramp of snow for the approach.

- Aiguille de l'M : no comments

 

Cosmiques Sector

The Tacul is still climbable but the snow bridges are weakening, notably in the middle section.  There has been no feedback for the crossing of Mont Maudit.  It was re-tracked on 15th August, (30 cms of fresh snow.)

The Cosmiques Ridge remains very dry. There have been reports of some unstable blocks and water seepage at the exit chimney, ( to be kept an eye on)

Activity on the Pointes Lachenal traverse has been limited.  There is a large bergschrund and also ice, which was covered by thin layer of snow on the 13th August.  Many parties have turned back before the abseil, (large blocks standing on unstable sand/gravel.)  The last Point is to be avoided, as the descent is exposed to seracs

The bergschrunds for the rock routes in this sector remain passable, for the moment.

Envers des Aiguilles Sector

The bergschrunds for Marchand de Sable - Pedro Polar have become awkward. It would appear the bridge across the Grépon-République bergschund has collapsed, (awaiting conformation). Stone fall was reported yesterday in the Bec d'Oiseau gully (do not hang about below the faces).  Crampons are needed to reach the foot of the routes. The other bergschrunds in the sector are OK.

Charpoua Sector

The glacier is becoming more chaotic, but still passable by the lower track.  The Drus traverse therefore, remains feasible. The Moine is being climbed on regularly (Voie du Druide - Sale Athée), and also the Flammes de Pierre. Crampons are needed for the approach to the Contamine on the Évêque.
The hut closes on the 27th August.

Couvercle Sector

The glacier is still OK for the S ridge and normal routes on the Moine. For the E face, there are no problems with the bergschrund, (the snow is remains reasonably high up to the face).   The Nonne-Évêque traverse is still being done.  The bergschrund for the Moine Ridge on the Verte is challenging and should be checked out first, (awaiting further information.)

Leschaux Sector

The rock routes on the Aiguille de Pierre à Joseph, Leschaux and Petites Jorasses are in condition.

Numerous parties did the Walker Spur, (Cassin) last week, (with stone fall linked to its popularity).  Conditions are likely to change with for rain/snow forecasted.  Contact the hut for more information.

 

 

Argentière Sector:

Here rock climbing is the name of the game!

Tour Sector

The normal routes on the Aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche, Petite Fourche and the S Ridge of the Purtcheller are still being done.

Emosson Sector

The dam will be closed for the entire day on the 18th August.  There will be no access the Loriaz path,  Vieux Emosson, Vieux hut or the dinosaur prints area.