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The Club produces a regular English translation of the Chamonix conditions report from La Chamoniarde to help climbers without an understanding of French to access up-to-date information on conditions in the valley. An archive of these reports can be seen below: 

 

Report: 23 June 2022

La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 23rd June 2022

What’s it like up high after the heatwave?  Conditions are more like the end of July or the beginning of August. Rather sad to see the mountains like this and it’s only the beginning of summer. Let’s not mention global warming.

What about the details? In general snow routes have taken a big hit although some are OK. Colder but less stable weather on the way so route choice will be critical.


Tour/Trient

Mid-August conditions around here.

Good conditions on the Aiguilles Dorées traverse (best done East-West).

The Albert 1er hut has a temporary telephone problem. To contact them, please use the contact form on the website: https://refugealbert1er.ffcam.fr/bottom_contact.html 

There are few changes around the Aiguille du Tour. The normal route is being done by the Col Supérieur du Tour (dry at the top but ok). It's also possible to climb the arête de la Table: dry couloir and some rockfalls, possibility to go via the intégral ridge to avoid exposure.

Purtscheller, Tête Blanche (VN) and Petite Fourche OK.

On the other hand, things are getting worse on the Chardonnet with more and more ice on the Forbes arête (see cahier de course) which is still in acceptable conditions for those who have a good technical level. It feels like it's over for the Migot (the bottom traverse is dry, the top slope is ice). The descent is also more complicated.


Argentière

The end is approaching for Flèche Rousse (very dry ridge) which is becoming tricky.

The crux of the upper part of the Glacier du Milieu is now dry (you have to rappel on the way down).

Rock, rock, rock!!!


Charpoua

The hut is open. Almost nobody around! Access by the marked "Charpoua express" variant (more snow).

A few teams on the Drus traverse. The glacier is already becoming complicated. Some teams went up high, some via abseiling. The Contamine looks dry.

The rock routes on the Evèque/Moine are also dry.

Some teams on the Directe Américaine without more information.


Talèfre Basin

Teams are on the Moine every day (VN, S ridge: crampons useful for the nevé then all dry; Contamine: rimaye ok) and on the Nonne-Evèque traverse ("conditions crèmes").

The Whymper rimaye is still ok but it is now very dry. It feels like the end.

No one for the moment on the Moine ridge: the rimaye looks fine, ridge ok.

The end is also approaching for the Jardin Arête.

One team off to the Droites bypassing the oblique couloir. It's completely dry right to the top!

No one on the Courtes but voie normale looks OK. Descent via the Col des Cristaux: upper slope is snow but the bottom is drying out, no big rock falls seen.

Pointe Isabelle still possible, two decent crevasses to cross, 2 ice axes recommended.


Leschaux

End of the day for the Aiguille de l'Eboulement (dry couloir, complicated descent).

Les Périades via the Mont Mallet glacier is still on.

The Walker spur will be possible subject to future precipitation and a weather window.

Good conditions on the Petites Jorasses.

Climbing routes around the hut tip-top, blue sky.

No snow on the balcony path from Talèfre.

Regular and important rock falls from the N side of the aiguille du Tacul: avoid the left bank of the Leschaux glacier.


Envers des Aiguilles

The hut opens tomorrow! Access to the hut is ok: no snow, a ladder has been added at the bottom and a passage secured by the footpath team.

The rock here is dry!

Some important rock falls have been reported on the access to the Pointe des Nantillons, more info to come.

The rimayes for the République/Grépon Mer de Glace are crossable on the right. The glacier des Nantillons descent is still possible but for how long?


Requin

Access to the refuge ok, no snow.

Ascent from the Vallée Blache to the Cosmiques or Torino tracked and fine.

A track is also in on the glacier de l'Envers du Plan to come down from the Aiguille du Plan.

Dry rock.


Helbronner

Access to the Salle à Manger is dry (take the right side of the couloir and follow the cairns). Arêtes de Rochefort in good condition (snow a bit soft on the way back depending on the timing).

Some teams have done the Jorasses traverse without more information. The descent by the normal route does not pose any particular problem at the moment. A team on the E face of the Jorasses via 'Mad Max' without more information.

Marbrées  traverse (most teams do the full traverse to avoid abseiling) and the Aiguilles d'Entrêves OK.

The Tour Ronde is now done by the main ridge. Even abseiling from the Freshfield col is not very attractive. The N face and the Gervasutti couloir are in trouble.

A lot of activity on the Aiguilles du Diable: rimaye OK, dry traverse, snowy couloir (watch out for refreezing), dry rock (before the storms!)

The Küffner has dried out but remains in good condition (for the time being!!!) with a good refreeze.

Rimayes for the rock routes are still good overall. Approaching from the Helbronner is best. The start of the Grand Capucin is now from the "Francesco terrace" (the Aiguillettes couloir does not go anymore) where you can leave big boots and glacier kit (you can go back down by the rappels of the Echo des Alpages). The rimaye of the Pyramide du Tacul is still passable.


Aiguille du Midi

It rained at the hut for most of the night before turning to snow. About 5cm this morning, a little more at the Tacul.

Vallée Blanche: Beware of crevasses, especially between the Rognon and the pointes Lachenal (well, everywhere actually!).

Midi-Plan Arête: It's now very dry (ice/rock/sand) and where is snowy you will be wading. But why not if there is a good refreeze? Chamonix aiguilles traverse in good condition. The ledges on the Col du Fou are dry but there is enough snow to melt for water. Descent by the abseils of the Brégeault arête then the Nantillons glacier.

Lots of activity on the traverse of the pointes Lachenal (quite dry but you can avoid the ice) and on the Cosmiques Arête.

The Contamine-Grisolle has dried out and is now almost all (good) ice (it will warm up your calves - to be continued with the forecasted storms). The exit of the Triangle is icy with a lot of crevasses here and there. Chéré OK (first pitch a bit dry then good steps). Best to abseil before the mixed section.

The voie normale on the Tacul was retracked this morning by going right out on the shoulder. Latest info is that the previous path is still there but with one steep bit. A serac fall last weekend ravaged the bottom of the face (ice blocks etc).

On Mont Maudit, conditions are still good but the ice is not far away. Beware of the risk of avalanche if it starts to snow with the storms. It is worth mentioning that there was a major serac fall here last weekend.

The Contamine rimaye on the Pointe Lachenal is starting to open up but is still crossable.


Plan de l'Aiguille

The Mallory is finished.

The Frendo exit is all ice.

Teams on the Peigne-Pélerins-Deux Aigles-Plan traverse.

Crampons are no longer necessary to access the normal route of Peigne, the Pilier Rouge de Blaitière or the NE+VN of the aiguille de l'M.

Unstable rock on the N side of the Petits Charmoz just below the summit.

No news from the Cordier pillar or from the Charmoz-Grepon (looks dry). The descent by the Nantillons glacier is still ok, but for how long?


Mont Blanc by the Grands Mulets

Not many people around. The upper Jonction route won't survive for long (narrow passage). The hut guardian plans to re-mark the lower route but until then you will need to have a good sense of direction. The N ridge of the Dôme and the Plateaux can still be climbed on foot.


Mont Blanc by the Aiguille du Goûter

As a reminder, from 9 July to 28 August 2022, the first departure from Le Fayet via the Tramway du Mont-Blanc is at 7am instead of 8am. This earlier departure time will allow the Goûter couloir to be crossed at a time when the probability of rock fall is lowest.

In the meantime, the conditions have dried out with rockfalls already in the Grand Couloir. It is still advisable to cross in the morning, to avoid bad weather and to cross with caution. For the options of crossing the famous crevasse on the Bosses ridge, we will let you have a look here. With a decent level of mountaineering technique, good crampons and an ice axe, it shouldn't be a problem.


Miage/Bionnassay

Access to the Conscrits refuge is recommended by the path.

Conditions are still acceptable on the Dômes. Beware of crevasses on the way up to the Col des Dômes. Crossing the Dômes in good condition (no ice). Quite a lot of snow on the descent by the Bérangère which makes it pleasant.

Mont Tondu continues to dry out but is still ok.

The end for the classic Mettrier ridge intégral.

Aiguille de Bionnassay traverse still in good condition: good refreeze this morning, dry rocky part, snowy ridge, stay on the crest from start to finish!


Gonella

The hut might have to close in July because of the lack of water.

Good conditions to access the Aiguille de Bionnassay from here too.

The Pape route is in good condition at the moment. The glacier du Dôme is good (good track, some impressive snow bridges), the exit to the col is still mainly on snow. The ridge is in good condition (snow).

A few teams on the Tournette spur. The Quintino Sella is accessed from the Miage glacier (new green fixed rope in place at the beginning of the spur so you can't go wrong). From the hut, the Mont Blanc glacier is easy to cross. Continuation of the route in good condition (for the moment).


Monzino

Dry rock (Aiguille Croux).

Still a lot of teams on the Punta Innominata (return by the glacier ok).

Access to Eccles is complicated (a lot of snow and soft, it's wading) and so no activity (arête du Brouillard, Pilier Rouge, Innominata). A team on the Freney pillar but still a lot of snow.

Ratti-Vitali (Aiguille Noire de Peuterey) still a bit wet, you have to work hard to cross the glacier but it's ok.

No one on the Blanche or the Grand Pilier d'Angle from Monzino.

Teams seen on the Peuterey Intégrale, good conditions.

A team on Divine Providence without more information.


In short:

Still some snow on the Col Cornu/Col de la Glière; Col de Salenton/Buet, Col Corbeau.

No need for crampons to access (and descend) the Pouce, the Chapelle de la Glière or the S ridge of Persévérance.

A boulder hanging 2m above the last belay on Voie Jaune at Chéserys.

Quite a few unstable boulders on the N side of the Pointe d'Orny (altitude 2,850/2,900 m) on the right bank of the Combe des Ecandies which can reach the path that climbs to the col.

We are told that there are 2 young falcons on pitch 2 of Tatie Crochue to the right of the Crochues tower. Please avoid the area until the end of July.


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.

 

 

 

Report: 15 June 2022

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...


Le Tour

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.


Argentière Basin

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"!


Charpoua

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.


Leschaux Sector

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).


Requin

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).


Miage/Bionnassay Sector

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).


Gonella Sector

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.


Monzino Sector

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.


Moyenne Montagne

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.

 

 

 

Report: 08 June 2022

The period of bad weather period is almost over, so we're going to give you some info for route planning, we'll go into more detail after we get some feedback.

In the Argentière basin, snow conditions seem to be good. The col du Tour Noir and the col des Améthystes are in good condition. The Aiguille d'Argentière and Flèche Rousse are being done. There are lifts from Plan Joran Monday to Friday at 8am and 4.30pm.

Around the Albert 1er, it hailed just a little. Everything is being done as before: Aiguille du Tour, Arête and couloir de la Table, Tête Blanche, Petite and Grande Fourche, Forbes and Migot. L’envers des Dorées is accessible by foot from Saleinaz without any problems. The conditions for the traverse of the Dorées E-W are generally good.

In the Mer de Glace sector: At the Couvercle, the Contamine on the Moine, the South ridge and the normal route are being done. The bottom of the Whymper is very dry! (Tricky to climb!) The refuge opens on June 10th. La Charpoua opens on June 18, Leschaux and le Requin on June 11. You can climb above the Envers but access to the hut, which normally opens on June 24, is still snowed in.

In the Plan de l'Aiguille sector, everything is being done (Lâmes Fontaines, Aiguille du Peigne (snow on the descent) etc etc). There has been a rockfall on the last bit of the Petits Charmoz. It’s impassable on the Mer de Glace side with a lot of loose blocks. 

At the Cosmiques, there was 10cm of snow this weekend with a lot of wind. The Grisolles and Chéré are in great condition, the Mazeaud was tried without more information. Midi-Plan was climbed yesterday, watch out for refreezing conditions. The last pitches of the Frendo are ok, more snow is needed. The South face is plastered, so wait a while. For the Vallée Blanche traverse, the crevasses are rather open, cross at the lowest point. Tracks on the Tacul this morning, Küffner has been done.

The normal route of Mont Blanc is being done and everyone finds their own solution to the Bosses arête problem; N or Italian side. The cable in the grand couloir will go back in Thursday 09/06.

Access to the Grands Mulets from the Plan de l’Aiguille seems to have deteriorated a lot, there is a lot of portage until the Jonction. No tracks so far!

Around the Torino, it is already quite warm, and everything is back to normal in the area: Marbrées and Entrèves traverse ok, Dent du Géant and Arête de Rochefort ok, still a bit early for the Grandes Jorasses traverse.

On the Italian side, Gonella and Monzino open on June 10th.

Plan Glacier: It has become very dry towards the Mettrier, be careful with time keeping and don’t have an epic!

The access to the Durier which opens tomorrow 09/06 is rather dry and is done from below. The conditions on the Dômes de Miage and Bionnassay are quite good.

At the Conscrits, all the classics can be done, despite the dryness, you have to rope up on the glacier. The ascent to the Dômes goes well and the descent by the Bérangère to the refuge is good. Mont Tondu is OK, no attempts on the Lex Blanche the face of which looks good. The N face of the Aiguille de Tré-la-Tête is apparently all ice. The footbridge (“passerelle”) is in place but you can still get through via the glacier although the steep slope to the refuge is ice.

In the lower hills, it is becoming more snow free, we are almost a month ahead of the snow conditions. We still need equipment on Mont Buet, Col du Brévent, Col d'Anterne, Lac Cornu and Lacs Noirs. The Tricot footbridge is in place. Around Flégère, there is still a névé to reach Lac Blanc, and there is more on the other side.

The Evettes via ferrata is doable, but the one in the Saint Gervais thermal park is closed until further notice due to a landslide.

Access to the climbing routes in the Aiguilles Rouges still requires snow kit.

The Flégère lifts open on June 9th and Brévent, Vallorcine, Bellevue and Prarion on June 11th, the Mont Blanc tramway on June 13th.

 

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.

 

 

 

Report: 25 May 2022

A bit of info before a long weekend (for the lucky ones amongst you).

 

The recent bad weather has deposited a little snow in the high mountains: there is a total of 15 cm at the Cosmiques refuge (probably more above 4,000m). The base below the fresh snow did not refreeze and at the moment you are sometimes sinking up to mid-thigh: skis or snowshoes can be very useful depending on where you go! The rock is already dry!

No big changes since our last update. The snow and mixed routes were being done when the refreezing conditions were not too bad.

 

Skiing activity is now concentrated on Mont Blanc. Going to the Grands Mulets, it’s skis off and on a lot from Plan de l’Aiguille but that is quite normal. Beware of the snow bridges on the Bossons glacier. The Jonction is still OK (wands in place). No changes after that (one ice axe is enough for the N ridge of the Dôme). You can also ski from the Cosmiques hut via the Trois Monts route.

 

Some odds and ends:

- Some wood and crockery but no gas in the Albert 1er winter refuge.

- No blankets or crockery in the Argentière hut's winter room.

- Forecast opening of the Couvercle hut: mid-June but to be announced.

- A team climbed the Brouillard intégrale in 3 days last weekend: Val Veny road open. Lots of snow from the col du Brouillard: they kept their crampons on. Delicate passages in the couloir above the col Emile Rey.

- The team that did the Aiguilles du Diable traverse blew the schedule: big effort (no track, bad refreeze) + quite a lot of snow on the rock in the sections on the N side.

- A few teams on the voie normale on the Moine (crampons and ice axes were useful). Note that the Contamine should also be possible.

- A serac fall from the left side of the Triangle du Tacul that reached the descent track of the Pointe Lachenal traverse.

- As a reminder, following a big avalanche this winter, the path between the lac d'Armancette and the Tré la Tête refuge is blocked (trees in the way etc). So you have to go back down to La Frasse from the chalets du Truc then back up to Tré la Tête.

- The Filia path is closed due to wood cutting.

- Climb up to the Plan de l'Aiguille by the Pré du Rocher: there is still a snow slope below the refuge, ok for good hikers who are properly equipped.

- Still some névé (so some exposure) on the Grand Balcon du Nord: only for experienced and well-equipped hikers (poles and good shoes).

 

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.

 

 

 

Report: 19 May 2022

Suddenly it’s summer. As you have probably noticed, it's getting hot. As is often the case at this time of year (well, normally in June), conditions are unpredictable in the high mountains for snow routes: a lot of snow has yet to settle, high temperatures during the day, and poor refreezing. The rock is already a sure bet at the end of May.

The 2022 spring ski season will not live long in the memory. You can still skin a bit around Emosson but you will have to hurry up ("y'a le feu au lac" as they say in French).

Aiguille du Tour on skis is still possible (skis on not far from the refuge but they save time on the descent) or an Aiguille d'Argentière (skis on below Lognan).

More activity on Mont Blanc by the Trois Monts (see report from Guitariste on the cahier de course).

A similar situation around the Grands Mulets. There is a long portage from the tunnel entrance (skis on 200m below the gare des Glaciers). A better way is the lower route from the Plan de l'Aiguille (skis on/off a few times). The same goes for the return trip to avoid crossing under the N face of the Aiguille du Midi, it's hot. The Jonction is best crossed low down. The N ridge of the Dôme is still in good condition (icy but 1 ice axe is enough if you feel comfortable). The crevasse on the Bosses arete can be avoided either by crossing the entire N face of Mont Blanc to reach the Rochers Rouge or turn it on the left and get back to the ridge. Otherwise there is the option of going via the “plateaus” and the Corridor route. On the descent, the N face has become technical (sastrugi at the top, bumps and then an icy section following a serac fall). Descending by the Corridor route is better (a few meters of hard snow at the level of the Mur de la Côte). Then a long boardercross between the crevasses to the Jonction!

 

The mountaineering and rock climbing season is upon us. Generally speaking, the mountains are quite dry and the refreeze often mediocre. This has a big effect on snow & mixed routes with several rescues last weekend for teams stuck on slopes/couloirs with soft snow on top of ice or because of rock falls/collapses. Trail breaking may also be hard on approaches and on ridges. Trails are gradually being made. At the moment, the feasibility of snow & mixed routes depends almost exclusively on the quality of the refreeze (and of course on your technical and physical level).

Le Tour area: It’s almost snow free up the crest of the moraine to the refuge (snow 100m below the refuge).

Aiguille du Tour (VN, Table ridge), Tête Blanche, Petite Fourche, Purtscheller S ridge OK.

The Forbes arete was climbed last weekend (difficult as there is still a lot of snow). Teams also on the Migot spur (for info one team baled this morning because of a bad freeze, watch this space for the teams planned for tomorrow!): the glacier is well filled in to access the foot of the face without going up high but beware of snow bridges with a poor freeze. Rimaye OK. First ramp all snow. Mixed section in good condition. Black ice on the summit slope. Like last year, a wrong track leads too much to the right on the descent and leads to poor abseils and a dead end. The route is not easy to follow between the (big) crevasses below the col Adam Reilly.

 

Argentière basin: No recent information. Skis are certainly still very useful for the approaches. Some teams have climbed the Couturier. Be careful with time keeping and descend the Whymper as early as possible. No information about the Flèche Rousse. Many rock routes are waiting for you.

 

Charpoua/Couvercle: No need for skis here.

One team baled on La Naïa last weekend. At the same time, a few teams on the ‘couloir en Y’ but it already feels like the end. The Whymper is being done when Miss Meteo allows (and she's a bit moody at the moment). No info on the Arête du Jardin, the VN des Droites or the Courtes traverse.

 

Envers des Aiguilles/Requin: No info but climbing on the lower sectors should be possible soon. Don't forget crampons and ice axe for the approaches.

 

Helbronner sector: The Skyway and the hut are closed until May 28th. No information yet about the Rochefort arete. The Dent du Géant, the Marbrées and the Aiguilles d'Entrêves traverse should be possible.

On the Tour Ronde, the N face, Gervasutti couloir are still possible. Descent is now by the Freshfield couloir (2 abseils possible). Rebuffat couloir done but no more information.

 

The Kuffner has been tracked. The section between the La Fourche bivi and the Gendarme is "scrappy" and doesn't go. It is therefore necessary to do the direct start using the couloir.

The ridge is quite dry (very mixed up to the demi-lune) but mostly on rotten snow/sugar which doesn't make progress easy. Variable snow on black ice on the descent from the shoulder. It is better to go around by the summit and the col du Mont Maudit or by a traverse (exposed) that joins the track via the N face of the Maudit.

No information about the arête du Diable (a team is planned tomorrow). You can climb on the side of the satellites: Grand Capucin, Roi de Siam, Pointe Adolphe Rey, E ridge of the Pyramide du Tacul (rimaye ok but exposed approach).

 

Aiguille du Midi Sector: Lift and Cosmiques refuge open. As a reminder, the abri Simond is closed. Bivouacs are tolerated for one night from sunset to sunrise.

You can climb on the S faces: Aiguille du Midi, éperon Cosmiques, Lachenal.

It’s curtains for the gullies except on the Triangle: Contamine-Negri OK, Contamine-Grisolle (see cahier de course), Chéré OK, goulotte des Allemands fine, rock protection. One team on the Bodin-Afannassieff (quite dry at the bottom but good ice conditions afterwards).

Midi-Plan good after a good freeze (one team left for the Chamonix aiguilles traverse but no further info). The Cosmiques arete is dry as far as the abseils, then go around the N side. Pointes Lachenal OK.

Mont Blanc du Tacul is being done by skiers and walkers. The Trois Monts route can be considered on foot there and back (plan an abseil on an Abalakov to cross the second Mont Maudit rimaye), two axes needed depending on your ability.

 

Plan de l'Aiguille Sector:

The Mallory has been done but no refreeze and the exit is ice. It's still a bit early for the Frendo spur (snow in the rocky sections), the exit is also not great by eye (very black ice) from the end of the snow arete.

Papillons arete is dry, bring ice axe and crampons for the descent. It seems a bit early for the summit of the Peigne, the routes on the slabs and the gendarme 3009.

The Red Pillar of Blaitière is dry by eye (crampons and ice axe needed for the approach) as well as the Frêtes des Charmoz and the NE ridge of the M.

 

Mont Blanc by the Aiguille du Goûter: No activity yet but it wont be long. The refuges are about to open. The conditions are similar to those of the end of June. There is snow above the alpage de l’Are.

 

Sector Bionnassay/Dômes de Miage

Skiing is pretty much all over in this sector (2h30 of portage on the Armancette glacier descent). Mettrier arete in good condition. The SE ridge of Bionnassay is also in good condition (nice track).

The bridge on the Conscrits path won't be in place before mid-June (until then it won't be passable). It will be necessary to go via the Mauvais Pas. The Dômes should be possible on foot.

Do the Gonella refuge and the Pape route still exist?  We haven't heard anything about them all spring!

 

Hiking

The snow is receding more and more, but not everything is practicable.

Here is a short but not exhaustive list of accessible hikes (including those that were not accessible at the time of our last updates):

Prarion, Aiguillette des Houches, Refuge de Bellachat, Planpraz, Charlanon, Flégère, Grand Balcon Sud (attention Planpraz and Flégère lifts closed until June 11th), Lacs des Chéserys, Refuge de la Pierre à Bérard, Refuge de Loriaz, Aiguillette des Posettes, Peclerey, Tête de Prapator, Montenvers via Caillet (buvette open every day for drinks and then for lunch and dinner from June 1st) or Les Mottets (reminder: the moraine path is closed, you have to go by the “viaduct” path), Blaitière Alpage and then Signal Forbes (access from Montenvers closed until June 11th, access possible from the the start of the Grand Balcon Nord), Plan de l'aiguille by Grand Bois, Chalet des Pyramides. ..

 

You will still have to wait for :

Lac de Pormenaz, Lac du Brévent, Lacs Cornus, Lacs Noirs, Lac Blanc, Buet, Col de la Terrasse, Refuge Albert 1er, Argentière Glacier point de vue, Grand Balcon Nord, Jonction...as well as treks of several days (Tour des Fiz, Tour des aiguilles Rouges, Tour du Mont Blanc).

 

For our snowshoeing friends, go and watch the tennis on TV (Rolland Garros has started)!

 

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.

 

 

 

Report: 13 May 2022

Summer has arrived quicker than we expected!

It is now the turn of the high mountains to be between two seasons, the skiing season and the summer mountaineering season. In general, skis (or snowshoes) are still essential for getting around in the high mountains, even if you have to carry them for a fair bit lower down. The possibilities for skiing are diminishing but it is a bit early to think about the big ridge routes (large amounts of snow not yet completely transformed and/or not freezing well).

 

There has been little change around Le Tour. You can ski from around 2,100 m. You can easily get up on foot if you stay on the crest of the moraine (snowshoes seem to be very useful to go beyond the refuge). The Aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche, Petite & Grande Fourche are all fine. Teams on the Migot spur but no more information. Teams are also expected on the Forbes arete, to be continued...

 

Around the Argentière glacier, you will need to carry skis for 400m vertical on the way up. Skis seem to be more suitable than snowshoes in this area. The good news is, the Argentière refuge winter room is open, while waiting (we hope) for the refuge itself to open soon.

Not much news in the area except that the Couturier couloir is being done (no more info). The conditions for skiing must have deteriorated on the N faces. The Y couloir should still be possible to climb. Col du Tour Noir, d'Argentière, Aiguille d'Argentière should be OK on skis. The time will come for the Flèche Rousse soon. The rock should also be dry!

 

Montenvers info: as a reminder, there is work going on all summer for the construction of the new lift. Some of the paths and ladders are closed (all the info here). Below is a press release from the Compagnie du Mont Blanc for the attention of mountaineers only:

"We would like to inform you that from 16 May to 3 June, except for occasional modifications, which may be linked to technical and safety issues, and in particular on days still to be defined for the annual technical visits, we will operate the gondola exclusively for mountaineers under the following conditions:
- 30 minutes of operation of the TC MDG in the morning from 9am to 9.30am
- 30 minutes of operation at the end of the day from 16:00 to 16:30
This will allow us to respond to the need expressed by climbers to descend to the glacier in good conditions and to climb back up. However, we would like to draw your attention to the fact that the gondola will only operate in these time slots."

 

Access to the Talèfre basin is still possible on skis from the Aiguille du Midi (central couloir still possible even if the lower part is quite dry and the moraine is still a moraine...). The option on foot from the Montenvers seems more and more logical (it’s dry as far as the Couvercle via the Egralets ladders, which will soon be dismantled) taking the snowshoes for the approaches after the refuge. Access by the new Charpoua route is not feasible (snow).

If there is a good freeze, conditions should be good for the Whymper (beware of overcrowding). Teams are planned for Naya (a gully on the Verte) and the Y couloir; to be continued but the window of opportunity may be short.

Still a few skiers around the Brèche Puiseux (night in a hut the day before) but it feels like the end.

There is not much interest in the Vallée Blanche (which still goes but you should allow an hour's walk to reach the grotto) except for accessing or returning from the routes. There has already been rock climbing around the Dent du Requin! It seems a bit early for the Envers (snow).

 

As a reminder, the Skyway is closed until May 26th incl. Activity around the Tour Ronde (with ski access from the Aiguille du Midi): Gervasutti couloir in good conditions on the way up (rimaye passable in the middle, snow couloir, a bit of mixed at the top); N face possible by sleeping at the hut (rimaye crossable straight up but it might not last long). The "normal winter route" was still doable at the beginning of the week but given the warmth, it will quickly change (you'll have to go via the Freshfield couloir, which is filled in).

No information yet about the Rochefort arete or the Kuffner (snow is still settling and can probably be done when it refreezes). The Midi-Plan was done at the beginning of the week with a lot of snow. Conditions should improve as the days go by.

 

The warmth rang the death knell for the goulottes in the Combe Maudite and Tacul E face. We can retreat to the Triangle du Tacul (Chéré, Contamine-Grisolle, Contamine-Negri), the exit to the summit of the Tacul is tracked.

The Cosmiques arete and the traverse of the Pointe Lachenal are fine.

You can rock climb on the S faces: Aiguille du Midi, Pointes Lachenal. You can certainly consider climbing the steep faces of the satellites (Grand Capucin, Pointe Adolphe Rey).
Lots of activity on skis (but also on foot) on the normal route of the Mont Blanc du Tacul.

The Trois Monts has a green light! Mont Maudit took a long time to be tracked because it was loaded. Needless to say, the seracs are still there (as they are on the Tacul!). There are three rimayes to cross: skis off at the first one and then a bit of ice (25-30 m at 40°, the 2nd one is easy to ski, the 3rd one is a bit tricky but the last slope under the col du Mont Maudit is on snow! Be careful on the traverse to the col de la Brenva (icy, crevasses). Then all good up to the summit.

Around the Plan de l'Aiguille, the Mallory was tracked in ascent last Sunday. It is still possible to sleep in the refuge (winter room)! One team in the Carli-Chassagne, Thursday 12 May, without more information. It's still too early for the Frendo as well as for the rock in the area.

 

Still a lot of activity on Mont Blanc on skis via the Grands Mulets (beer bottling at the refuge in progress). The snow is receding above the Para (skis on at about 2,000m). No change from the Plan de l'Aiguille with the recommended approach being the lower one. On the way back, you can cross "high" under the N face of the Aiguille du Midi.
The Jonction needs to be crossed low down. Then, two options:
- N ridge of the Dôme (in good conditions, no ice) then the Bosses ridge (technical because you have to go around the crevasse) or
- via the Plateaus then the Corridor route.
A serac fall at the bottom of the N face complicates the passage a bit (ice blocks). With the warmth, the quality of the snow is changing but the conditions remain good overall!

From the Trè la Tête, skis need to be carried as far as the Mauvais Pas (bad step). Crossing of the Dômes : nothing to report. On the way down, skis off at 1,800 m above the lac d’Armancette.
Good conditions on the Mettrier arete (skis on a little above 2000m) with a track that’s improving with use (no ice).
The NW face of the Lex Blanche was skied (mostly on the right bank, ice on the left bank of the serac).

No information yet from the back of Mont Blanc...to be continued!

 

Some ski touring is possible from the Emosson dam (Pointe de la Terrasse, Cheval Blanc) but it won't last very long this year!

 

Concerning the hiking, please refer to our last update. Not much change, don't go too high!

 

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.