Report 3rd August 2020

                                                                CONDITIONS MONTAGNES 03/08/20

A quick update of the general conditions.

The short heat wave last week cleared a lot of stabilising snow from the mountains.

The good conditions that prevailed for the snow and mixed routes in July are now a distant memory.

The brief cold snap and snow today, (Monday,) will merely hide the underlying bad conditions for a few days.  At high altitude, be aware of the risk of small avalanches, (depending on the amount of snow deposited,) over the next couple of days.  

With the return of the hot weather and with the 0ºC isotherm around 4500m foreseen for Wednesday, the best choice will be the (solid) rock routes.  The glacier approaches are still OK, (take care with the snow bridges if the freezing is poor), as are most of the bergschrunds.  However, this can quickly change from one day to the next.  

On the normal route up Mont Blanc, the condition of the Grand (Goûter) couloir has degraded considerably, giving a serious risk from stone fall.  At the end of last week, many parties, and especially those with professional guides, turned back. Before setting out, it is important to be mentally prepared to turn around should conditions not be right on reaching the couloir.

For more specific information, contact the Chamoniarde directly.   

Report 28 July 2020

 

                                                                MOUNTAIN  CONDITIONS 28/07/20

 

It’s hot!  The 0°C isotherm is above 4000m. In general, the snow and mixed routes continue to become drier and slowly degrade.  It is necessary to pay attention to the re-freezing, snow conditions, weak snow bridges and stone fall in exposed areas.

 

Tour Sector

The normal routes on the Aig du Tour and the Tête Blanche are still in condition. The Forbes Ridge on the Aig du Chardonnet is becoming more and more technical and might soon no longer be feasible.

 

Argentière Sector

It is over for the snow routes on the Aiguille d'Argentière (Glacier du Milieu, Flèche Rousse). The Jardin Ridge remains possible for experienced parties, descending by abseiling, (50m abseils,) down the  "La part des Anges"  or by the Glacier du Milieu, (good crampon skills needed with a possibility of abseiling from Abalokovs in the steeper section.)

If the freezing allows, the Col du Tour Noir and the Col des Grands Montets (or the Aiguille by the Belvédère Ridge) remain feasible. (The Petite Verte is now ice).

Conditions no longer good for the Tournier Spur,  (Droites).

Rock climbing is the main activity in this sector.

 

Charpoua Sector

Care needed on the footpath, (notably in descent,) between the Mer de Glace Balcon and the new ladders.  The path was damaged during the winter and some short passages are missing a handrail. 

The Charpoua glacier is very chaotic this year  and unlikely to improve. The track is continually changing, reconnaissance and experience are highly recommended.  

Rock routes are being done in this area (e.g. Sale Athée, Contamine on the Evêque.)

 

 

 

Talèfre Sector

Nothing to report since the last update, other than given the temperatures foreseen, it will be over for the Whymper couloir, Jardin Ridge etc.

 

Leschaux Sector

The rock routes on the Aiguille de Leschaux, Petites Jorasses and above the hut are being done.

Some parties on the  Walker Spur  (Cassin route); no further information.  The storm on Friday deposited some snow and there is certainly some verglas in places.  

 

Envers des Aiguilles Sector

No major changes, the bergschrund for the Grepon-Mer de Glace / République is still passable but needs some ingenuity, (do not let it over impress.)  Abseils are needed for the descent by the Nantillons glacier.  Ice is becoming more prevalent, as is the stone fall.

 

Plan de l'Aiguille Sector

Climbing in the cool in this sector.  Crampons still useful for the approach to the Pilier Rouge de Blaitière and the Gendarme Rouge du Peigne.

Probably over for the Frendo Spur, (stone fall and the upper part almost totally ice.)

 

Aiguille du Midi Sector

Care needed with the snow bridges on the Tacul normal route and especially at the second bergschrund, (in ascent,) which looks ready to collapse, (see photo.)  Keep an eye also on the state of the snow, (notably in descent) and on the seracs.

The traverse of the Trois Monts and especially the section at Mont Maudit, (by the mixed gully on the left) is becoming increasingly difficult.

Conditions remain very dry for the Midi - Plan despite some fresh snow on Friday.  They are not going to improve.  

For the Triangle du Tacul, it is probably best to wait until the heat wave, (and stone fall) is over.

No problems with the bergschrunds for the rock routes in the Valley Blanche bowl, (except the Aiguillettes gully for the Grand Capucin; approach from lower down and by an ascending, leftward traverse.)   

There is a wide bergschrund to cross on the descent from the Pointes Lachenal. The Cosmiques ridge is very dry but still popular, (using an abseil on the N side.)  

 

Helbronner Sector

The bergschrund at the foot of the snow gully to reach the Salle à Manger is no longer passable.  It is necessary to go up the rocks on the true right bank.  Above this it remains dry.  It is recommended to leave the hut early in order to get back down early.  The Rochefort Ridge remains in good condition and is popular. 

The Rochefort-Jorasses traverse is still being done but the Pointe Young is very icy in the morning.  It is recommended, for example, to climb it in the afternoon and then bivvy at the Pointe Marguerite.

The descent by the normal route is still reasonably OK, (either by the Whymper rocks or under the serac).  There are newish abseil points and a 50m rope is sufficient for the Whymper rocks and the Reposoir.

The traverse of the Aiguilles Marbrées is very dry but, like last year, there are no problems at the abseil area. The traverse of the Aiguilles d'Entrèves is OK, the bergschrund on the descent  remains passable but below this there is ice.  The Tour Ronde remains feasible by the Freshfield.

Following what happened with the Kuffner, the approach to the Col du Diable has become dry.  Even though the route remains popular, the conditions are not nearly as good as last month.

 

Envers du Mont Blanc Sector

The Ratti-Vitale (Aiguille Noire de Peuterey) is being done, the Freney glacier is OK.  There is still some snow on the Aiguille Croux; ice axe necessary.

The direct approach to the Red Pillar du Brouillard is complicated and parties have recently preferred to pass by the Eccles.  This approach is chaotic and requires a high level of motivation.

There is no first-hand information for the Freney Pillar, which looks to be dry again.  

The Innominata and  Brouillard by the col Emile Rey are very dry. They may be possible but only if the temperatures are much lower than forecasted.

Mont Blanc by the Gonella is being done, the snow bridges are holding up and the track avoids the biggest holes. The exit under the Col des Aiguilles Grises has degraded and is now mixed, (rotten rock and ice.)   The ridge below the Piton des Italiens is very narrow in places.

 

Conscrits Sector

The glacier up to the Col des Dômes is still OK.  There is some ice on the way up the 3rd Dôme. Despite everything, the descent to the Col de la Bérangère is still on snow but with more hot weather and storms, conditions could rapidly deteriorate.

Concerning the Bérangère, there and back: no comment other than the are still some large snow patches.

The Mont Tondu has also become much drier, with ledges of rock and gravel lower down and ice higher up.  It is only recommended for people at ease on this sort of terrain.    .

The traverse of the Aiguilles de Tré la Tête was done 27/07 in good conditions, (some ice  below the summit which was easy to avoid.)

There is no longer any snow on the path from the Col de Tricot to the Plan Glacier. The Mettrier Ridge integral is still being done, (but for how long?).

The Bionnassay ridge remains in good condition.

 

Mont Blanc Normal Route

The Rognes path remains closed by council order.  

No comments for the rest of the route, other than keep an eye on the condition of the Grand Couloir in the coming days.

Report 20th July 2020

 

                                                                MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS 13/07/20

Here is some information on conditions for the beginning of this week.  Note: the forecast is for unstable weather.

Despite the absence of a major heatwave, the mountains are very dry.  This is partly because there was not much precipitation in Spring and early summer.

Over the last two weeks the conditions for the snow and mixed routes have generally degraded, as is nowadays normal for July.  However, freezing conditions have been good. The snow cover is well settled and supportive, often even later in the day.

 

From the Albert 1er, the Aiguille du Tour, by the normal route and the Table Ridge, is popular.

It is perhaps over for the Migot Spur, (a mixed section with mediocre rock and a risk of stone fall from other parties.)  Conditions are slightly better for the Forbes ridge though it is technically more difficult than usual, (a steep bergschrund to cross and 25m of ice at the mound). A lot of snow has gone from the descent, giving a risk of stonefall, especially as it can be busy. Below the Adams Reilly col, the descent track goes over a very narrow snow bridge.

Reminder : during the week, people with a reservation at the Argentière hut can go up with the Plan Joran lift at 8h00 and descend at 17h00, (it is possible to buy a ticket online at the Mont Blanc Natural Resort site or from the vending machine at Argentière).

The Flèche Rousse ridge, Jardin Ridge and Charlet Straton  are in good condition. Good crampon skills are needed above the Glacier du Milieu bergschrund, (the narrows on snow without an obvious track, several metres of ice between the col and the summit.)

Quite a few parties have done the Tournier Spur on the Droites, (in good condition except for the mixed section higher up).

Good conditions for the Drus traverse. Follow the glacier high up, (descent track,) before re -descending to the starting ledge, (best to check outthe way the night before.)  

In the Talèfre area, crampons are needed on the approach to the Moine (normal route, S ridge.  No information on the bergschrund for the Contamine, (E face.)

The Moine Ridge is being done, take care to make an early start to avoid bad snow, especially on the descent.  The Whymper is still feasible in descent, if early.

Lots of parties doing the Jardin Ridge and the normal route on the Droites, (the approach gully looks very dry and uninviting, perhaps best avoided by going via the slope to the Droites col). No information for the Courtes traverse. The Courtes glacier is OK, as is the bergschrund for the Pointe Isabelle, (for the moment.)

 

The rock routes near the Leschaux are being climbed. Several parties have done the Cassin Route on the N face of the Grandes Jorasses, (Walker Spur).

Good conditions in the Envers sector, the bergschrunds are mostly OK and the rock is dry.   Crossing the bergschrund for the Grepon-Mer de Glace and the République normal route is complicated, (sketch available at the hut!).  The descent of the Nantillons glacier remains feasible, (below the serac, which appears to be unstable, there is some ice.)

A party turned back on the Ryan (bergschrund impassable.)

The Frendo spur remains popular but there is a lot of ice on the exit.  Crampons are useful for the approaches to the Red Pillar de Blaitière and the routes on the Gendarme Rouge du Peigne.

The Charmoz-Grépon and the traverse of the Chamonix Aiguilles are popular

The ridge down from the Aig du Midi  is in good condition.

Overall, the bergschrunds for the rock routes in this sector are OK, (parties were sen on the Gervasutti pillar, no further information.)

More and more crevasses are appearing on the Valley Blanche traverse, (the higher track crosses quite a few snow bridges which might soon pose problems.)

The lower part of the Triangle du Tacul is now ice, (the Contamine-Grisolle and Chéré remain popular).

Many parties on the traverse of the Pointes Lachenal and the Cosmiques Ridge but these routes are also becoming dry, (take care at the abseils.)

No major changes for the Trois Monts route.  There is a crevasse opening up in the middle of the face which could pose problems and there is a bergschrund to cross below the shoulder of the Tacul.  Also there is a steep ice gully to get past the Maudit, requiring 2 ice axes and some ice screws and lastly, some ice on the traverse to the Brenva Col. 

 

The approach gully to the Salle à Manger, (Dent de Geant), still has snow but higher up it is dry.  Take care to stay on route and of stonefall from other parties.  Avoid descending too late.

There has been a lot of parties on the Rochefort-Jorasses traverse, which remains in good condition.  The descent by the normal route is fairly OK. There has also been activity on the Hirondelles ridge and the Tronchey, (no further information.)  

The Marbrées and Aiguilles d'Entrèves traverses continue to be popular, (no ice on the descent.)  

On the Tour Ronde, the SE ridge and the N face look to still be feasible but it is probably finished for the Gervasutti Couloir, (bergschrund fragile and the upper part very dry.)

It is probably also over for the Kuffner ridge, which has dried considerably, exposing several sections of rotten rock.

Even though the approach gully is dry, conditions are good on the Aiguilles du Diable, which remains popular.

From the Monzino, the Innominata is mainly dry but feasible, given a good freeze. The Freney and Brouillard Red Pillar are being climbed.  Rock fall is becoming more frequent on the Brouillard Ridge and it is necessary to respect the time of day.  

Be aware that the approach path to the Borelli bivouac is now officially closed, (council order of 19th July,) following an avalanche there. On the Peuterey ridge, the climb up the GPA, (Grand Pilier d’Angle) is dry, (start early). There is 30m of steep, blue ice on the final ridge, 2 axes recommended.

For the Mont Blanc, the Italian normal route by the Aiguilles Grises and the N Ridge of the Dôme du Goûter (30m of ice) remain feasible.  No comments for the normal route via the Aig du Goûter, other than, (as always,) cross the Grand Couloir at the right time of the day.  

For the Dômes de Miage traverse, the glacier is OK.  Conditions remain good throughout the traverse.  The ice is never far away on the climb up the 3rd Dome. The descent to the Bérangère col is steep and again the snow cover is thin over the ice, (good crampon technique needed.)   
Mont Tondu: the conditions are becoming drier but it remains popular. 

Good conditions continue for the Aiguille de la Bérangère, there and back.  

The Aiguille de Bionnassay traverse remains in good condition.

 

Crampons are no longer needed for the Perrons traverse.

The Cornu lake and the Noir lakes are now accessible from Planpraz and Col Cornu. It is advised not to pass by the Col de la Glière as there is a short but steep and exposed snow slope there.  

Poles and good footwear suffice for the normal way up the Buet.

 

Report 13 July 2020

 

                                                                MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS 13/07/20

 

This summer has not had any periods of excessive heat, meaning conditions in the mountain are mostly OK.  Be aware that there is a bad weather forecast for this Wednesday.

For a change, this update starts with information for hikers.  Most of the paths are now snow free and there are a lot of walkers everywhere.

The sector between the Col Cornu and the Col de la Glière, and including the part above the Index chairlift, remain problematical because of patches of hard snow. The have been several accidents and for those without the necessary experience  and equipment it is better to choose from one of the many other options.

There is still a large snow patch, (exposed but with a good track) on the path from Charamillon/Autannes to the  Albert 1er hut.

Likewise, there are snow patches on the Tour des Aiguilles Rouges, (Col du Brévent, Col de Salenton), du Buet and in the Emosson sector.)

On the Tour du Mont Blanc, the Fours and Arpette variations are now feasible  for correctly equipped hikers, (good boots and poles.)  

For rock climbers, crampons are no longer necessary in the Planpraz/Brévent sector.   They remain a good idea for the area between  Chapelle de la Glière and the Aiguille de la Persévérance (Index/Lac Blanc/Crochues sector).

For the Plan de l'Aiguille, crampons are no longer necessary for the Aiguille de l'M, Papillons Arete and the normal route on the  Peigne.

In the high mountain, for once, the conditions are not deteriorating too quickly.  There has not been a lot of change since the last update.  In general,  the classic snow and mixed routes are slowly becoming  drier but mostly still OK,(though the approach might be more awkward for some routes.)  Examples of routes in condition are: the Aiguille du Tour (Table ridge & normal route), Purtscheller S ridge, Tête Blanche & Petite Fourche, Aiguille du Chardonnet (Forbes Ridge and Migot spur; (take care at a snow bridge below the Col Adam Reilly on the descent), Aiguille d'Argentière (Flèche Rousse ridge & Glacier du Milieu), Frendo Spur (ice on the exit), Midi-Plan (traverses on the N side already a bit dry), Cosmiques Ridge  & Pointes Lachenal, Triangle du Tacul (Chéré and Contamine Grisolle), Mont Blanc by the Trois Monts (crossing  the  Maudit remains technical, to be avoided in descent) ,Kuffner Ridge, (best approached by the direct gully, be aware thatthe rocks below the Androsace are unstable), Dent du Géant & Rochefort Ridge, Aiguilles d'Entrèves traverse (very popular), Tour Ronde (Gervasutti couloir, N face, SE ridge), Innominata Ridge, Voie du Pape and the  Aiguilles Grises on Mont Blanc, Aiguille des Glaciers & Kuffner ridge, Dômes de Miage traverse, Mettrier Ridge intégrale, traverse of the Aiguille de Bionnassay, Mont Blanc par le Goûter.

The weather window last week  favoured a lot of activity on the “grandes courses” . with for example the Peigne-Pélerins-Deux Aigles-Plan traverse, Charmoz-Grepon, Grepon Mer de glace, Ryan Ridge, traverse of the Chamonix Aiguilles, Drus traverse, Moine and Jardin ridges on the Verte,  Jardin ridge on the Aiguille d'Argentière, the Cassin, (Walker Spur), on the Grandes Jorasses  N face (still quite a bit of snow), Traverse of the Grandes-Jorasses, Gervasutt Pillar, traverse  of the Aiguilles du Diable, Peuterey Intregal, Brouillard ridge being done.  

On the other hand, it is over for the N faces in the Argentière sector (Couturier, the others have never really come into condition !), the Y couloir, the col and Aiguille du Tour Noir,  the descent by the Envers du Plan glacier,Mallory & Eugster.

Rock climbing is popular just about everywhere e.g. Aiguilles Rouges, Argentière sector, Charpoua / Talèfre /Leschaux, Requin/Envers des Aiguilles, Plan de l'Aiguille, Valley Blanche sector/ Tacul satellites, Monzino/Envers du Mont Blanc.

The mountains are proving to be very popular.  With climate change, the period when some routes are in condition at the start of the season is becoming shorter and shorter, requiring a change in habits.  The bivouac sites can be busy (though bivving could be a good idea at the moment!)  Also, the routes can be crowded, (delays, stone fall etc.) .

Other information

- Stonefall on the  Tournier Spur (Droites)  on 09/07

- Landslip from the Tricot ridge on 8/07

 

Report 2/7/2020

                                                                MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS 02/07/20

An update for the end of the week.

The recent rainstorms deposited a small amount of snow above 3600m.

 

Tour Sector

The lift system here opens for the season this weekend.  There are still snow patches on the traverse from the top of the Autannes chairlift, (Charamillon lake sector).

Generally good conditions : Aiguille du Tour (Table Ridge and normal route), Tête Blanche, (normal route, the bergshrund on the N face looks to be OK,) Aiguille du Chardonnet (Forbes Ridge, Migot Spur) are all popular.  The Purtcheller S Ridge is also feasible.

 

Argentière Sector

The Plan Joran lift is open at the weekends.  During the week, alpinists with a reservation at the  Argentière hut  can use the lift. (It should be possible from 3rd July to buy a ticket online at the CMB website  (https://www.montblancnaturalresort.com/en /). However, it will not be possible descend with the lift.  For more information contact the hut directly.  

Glacier du Milieu, Jardin Ridge (early start!) - Charlet-Straton - Flèche Rousse are in good condition. It is probably over for the  Y Couloir.  For the N faces and notably the Couturier (the couloir looks to be in good condition,) the slow re-freezing  at this time makes the approaches difficult, (soft snow on the glacier) and all the parties have turned back lately.

No problems for the rock routes!

 

Charpoua Sector

From this weekend the Montenvers train will run daily.

A party has done the Dru traverse.   The glacier is chaotic but passable. Still some snow on the “ Z” passage and the upper part, (not a problem.)

It is over for the Y Couloir, the Cardinal and the Sans Nom (too hot).

The rock is snow free on the Evèque , (Contamine has been done) and on the Flammes de Pierre.

 

Talèfre Sector

No new information since the last update. It is possible that the snow routes will still be feasible if there is a good freeze.

The Moine ridge will certainly still have snow, giving mixed conditions.

The rock routes on the Moine should be feasible (normal route, S Ridge, Contamine).

 

Leschaux Sector

 

There is still a lot of snow on the balcon path, crampons very useful.

It is over for the SW gully of the Eboulement. The Périades  may be possible given a good freeze, (glacier OK).

The rock routes above the hut , on the Aiguille de Leschaux and the Petites Jorasses, (glacier approach OK,)  are snow free .

 

Envers des Aiguilles Sector

The hut opened on the 30th June.

On the approach, care is needed on the moraines. There are still three snow patches on the traverse to the hut.

Not much activity other than a party on the Republique normal route  and the Grépon-Mer de Glace face.  The bergshrund is technical to cross, currently best on the right. Be aware there is some snow waiting to come down from the gully overhanging the shared part of the two routes.  The latest information is that the Nantillons glacier is in reasonable condition.  .

The rock routes on the Pointes des Nantillons are being done, (e.g. L'homme du Rio Grande).

 

Plan de l'Aiguille Sector

The Frendo Spur is being done regularly, (exit on the right). The Mallory looks to be dry in the lower part.

The routes are being climbed on the  Peigne (Papillons Arete, Contamine Vaucher, SW ridge), the Pilier Rouge de Blaitière, the Lames Fontaines, NE ridge of the M (crampons not needed;  the N face routes e,g. the Couzy, are likely to be wet after the storms).  The approach to the slabs on the Peigne is exposed to a landslip zone.  Crampons are useful for the traverse of the  Petits Charmoz.

There is no recent information for the Cordier Pillar or the Charmoz-Grepon, (snow possible on the ledges,) which look to be feasible.

 

Aiguille du Midi Sector

There was rain, snow and hail at the hut the other night !

The Tacul was re-tracked, (fairly hard work,)  on Thursday in good conditions.  A party also left for the Trois Monts. The Mont Maudit is still ascended via a little gully on the left, (2 axes recommended)  or at the exit to the Kuffner,  (some bare ice on the slope to reach the ridge, the descent is not obvious from the summit  to re-join the track towards the Col de la Brenva).

No recent news for the Midi-Plan. Snow mushrooms and cornices have turned back parties on the narrow section after the Rognon.  .

No comments for the Cosmiques Ridge, Pointes Lachenal, Lolo ( Laurence ) traverses.

The Valley Blanche traverse is well tracked, (not too crevassed.)  No track on the climb up from the Requin hut.

The S faces  (Aiguille du Midi, Pointes Lachenal)  and the Tacul satellites (Pyramide du Tacul, Pointe Adolphe Rey, Grand Capucin etc) are being climbed.  On the other hand,  it is still too early for the  Gervasutti Pillar.

 

Helbronneur / Grandes Jorasses Sector

Parties are frequently seen on the Rochefort Arete , Dent du Géant (avoid descending too late in the day from the Salle à Manger), Marbrées and Aiguilles d'Entrèves traverses, N  Face and Gervasutti couloir (Tour Ronde), Kuffner Ridge and  Aiguilles du Diable traverse.  

No information yet for the traverse of the Grandes Jorasses (snow/verglas above the Canzio?).

The normal route on the Grandes Jorasses was done last week.  Still a lot of snow and the parties went to the right of the  Rochers du Reposoir.   Since then,  the rocks may have dried.

 

Mont Blanc Italian (Monzino/ Gonella) Sector

The Aiguille Croux, Punta Innominata, and Innominata ridge are popular, (good freeze needed to go up to the  Eccles).

The Peuterey integral and the Brouillard Ridge, (feasible by the Col Emile Rey with a good freeze,)  have not been done yet. 

Climbs on the Brouillard Red Pillars are being done.

The Voie du Pape (Italian normal route for the  Mont Blanc)  is being done if the freezing conditions allow, (snow on the Col des Aiguilles Grises).  The window for the Tournette Spur is going to be very short, (the slope above the Quintino still has snow but not for long, after the Spur is mostly dry.)   

 

Dômes de Miage / Bionnassay Sector

It rained up to the summit of the Dômes de Miage.  Conditions are good for the traverse, ( the ridge is reasonably broad with no ice but crevasses are beginning to appear on the glacier.)  No comments for the Aiguille de la Bérangère.  Still plenty of snow on Mont Tondu, (snow sluffs below the Lanchettes).

Due to poor re-freezing  there has been no recent activity on the Tré la Tête, Lée Blanche etc.

Arête Mettrier : This was done a few days ago in mixed conditions.  The route  taken was basically the Integral :  the first part was very dry, the second part was on snow and the final ridge gave mixed climbing. 

Tricot Ridge : the Brèche Chapelland has dried out terribly, (stonefall danger.)

For the Plan Glacier hut approach  there are still some snow patches on the traverse from the Col de Tricot, (experienced hikers only).  From Miage, there is hardly any snow left on the path but the footbridge at the level of the Ours moraine is not yet in place, (wet feet crossing the torrent!)  

There is still plenty of snow on the way up to the  Durier hut. Remember that the way up to this hut is an alpine route and not to be underestimated.  An early start is needed to minimise stonefall risk.  

The Aiguille de Bionnassay traverse is in good condition, (no ice).

 

Goûter/Grands Mulets Sector

 

The Mont Blanc normal route remains in good condition.

It is just about over for skiers.  It is perhaps possible by N ridge of Dôme du Goûter, (which is almost completely with snow and the Jonction is still OK,)  with a descent by the normal route

 

Most of the hiking trails are now free of snow, exceptions being the  Cornu and Noir lakes, the Buet, Albert 1er hut from the Autannes chairlift and the Col de la Terrasse.

Report 25 June 2020

 

                                    MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS 25/06/2020

 

The good weather this week has allowed for a lot of activity.

For the hikers in mid mountain, the conditions have slowly improved but there is still some snow, notably in Aiguilles Rouges.
The Chéserys lakes and Lac Blanc do not present a problem but the cols du Brévent, Cornu and Glière still have snow and the correct equipment is needed.

Likewise, for the Tour des Aiguilles Rouges, crampons could prove useful.

 
The Grand Balcon Nord traverse should be without problems despite two short snow patches where care is needed, especially with children..

On the Tour du Mont Blanc, there is still snow on the cols but a good track is being created.  Good boots and poles are highly recommended. The footbridge crossing the Bionnassay torrent on the way up to the Col de Tricot is in place.  


There is quite a lot of activity in the high mountain but the lack of night-time freezing is causing some problems for the snow routes. Even with early starts there is a risk of soft snow. 

Albert 1er sector :  With the hot weather the snow on the glaciers is very soft  Be aware of the time of day! 
Generally good conditions for the Forbes Arete and the  Migot Spur.
The normal routes on the Aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche and Petite Fourche are popular

Table Ridge was done a few days ago, the party keeping their crampons on throughout the route, the approach by the Table Gully is OK if frozen.  

The approach to the hut by the moraine remains preferable until the snow patches disappear on the path from Charamillon/Col de Balme.

Argentière sector:  No problems with the approach via the glacier.  Rock climbing behind the hut OK.  The Glacier du Milieu, Col du Tour Noir and Flèche Rousse Ridge have been done recently in good conditions. The Y Couloir and the Couturier OK if there is a good freeze. No new information for the N faces.  

Mer de Glace/Leschaux sector:  The Y couloir on the Verte was done 23/6; soft snow on the approach.  The bergscrunds go in the middle. The ice steps have unconsolidated snow on the crux  Exit by the left branch with ice in the middle.  A party had problems on the Cardinal. No news concerning the Drus for the moment.

Couvercle Sector:  The Whymper couloir is in condition if there is a good freeze. This morning, Thursday, several parties turned back due to stonefall though some continued.  The normal routes on the Droites and Courtes, including the traverse, are tracked.  The S ridge integral on the Moine was done, still snow on the W side and on the descent.  The Moine ridge on the Verte looks to have a lot of snow.   The traverse to the Leschaux hut is mainly dry but two snow patches make an ice axe and crampons advisable.

A party took advantage of a weather window to do the Linceul a few days ago.  They bivvied on the summit and descended via the Boccalatte. The upper part of the Petites Jorasses still has snow.  The Périades and Aiguille de l'Eboulement look feasible if the time of day is respected.

Torino sector: Quite a few parties have done the Kuffner ridge, the Brenva Spur and the Aiguilles du Diable recently. The Tour Ronde is OK (N Face and Gervasutti) except for the normal route. The Aiguilles d'Entrèves and Marbrées traverses are OK. The Dent du Géant and the Rochefort Ridge are also being done. The rock routes are rapidly coming into condition with the heat.  

Cosmiques sector: Conditions for the normal route on the Tacul are very good.  The Mont Maudit is technically more difficult, two axes needed.  For the moment, the way up is by a little gully below the exit of the Kufner then traverse the entire slope to the Col du Mont Maudit.
The traverses of the Pointes Lachenal, Lolo (Laurence) and Cosmiques Ridges are in good condition.  Likewise, for the gullies; Chéré, Contamines Negri, Grisolle, Mazeaud and the Allemands. Be aware of snow sluffs later in the day.  The Midi-Plan is tracked, there and back until the Rognon.  The S facing rocks are snow free.

Plan de l'Aiguille sector:  Good conditions for the Frendo Spur (exit to the right), the Mallory-Porter and the Eugster diagonal if the time of day is respected.
Crampons and ice axe could prove useful  for the approach to routes on the Chamonix Aiguilles. There have been parties on the Peigne but the Blaitière is not free of snow yet The Lames Fontaine, Petits Charmoz traverse and “M” look feasible. 

Grands Mulets sector:  The hut is closed but there seems to be plenty of activity towards the Mont Blanc, via the plateaux and the N ridge of the Dôme, no further information.  Numerous snow sluffs have been observed.  

Tête Rousse/Goûter sector:  Generally good conditions for the normal route up Mont Blanc, though the ridge just before the Tournette rocks is very narrow.  .
The N face of the Aiguille de Bionnassay was done a few days ago.  

The Rognes path is officially closed, (council order.)

Durier sector:  Still a lot of snow on the approach to the hut, take care if there is not a good freeze or later in the day.
Some parties have done the Aiguille de Tricot and the Bionnassay traverse.
The traverse from the Dômes de Miage is OK if there is a good freeze.

Conscrits sector:  Generally good conditions in this sector.  The footbridge on the summer path has been repaired and is in place.

Robert Blanc sector:  Conditions are also good in this area.  
The TMB variants from the Fours and Enclave cols still have a lot of snow Good equipment is necessary, including crampons if the temperatures drop.

Italian side:  The Mont Blanc by the Aiguilles Grises has been done recently though some parties have turned back due to lack of freezing.  Parties have also turned back from the Tournette Spur

From the Monzino, the Pointe Innominata and the Innominata Ridge were done on 24/06. The rock routes on the Aiguille Croux, (Ottoz, Bertone-Zapelli, Cheney,) are popular; crampons and ice axe being useful for the approach.  There was a party on the  Gabarrou-Long, (Brouillard Red Pillars). No news for the moment about the Peuterey Ridge integral.

You will have worked out that the conditions are generally good  but that the high temperatures have created complications for certain routes and approaches.  Choosing the right route and respecting the time of day are the key factors for the moment.  There is a risk of storms in the coming days.

The OHM is looking forward to receiving information about your outings,