MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS 19/07/2019
Some information for this weekend
Mid Mountain etc.
Good footwear and poles are still recommended, (some snow patches remaining,) for the following outings:
The Albert 1er hut from the col des Autannes
- Tour des Aiguilles Rouges (col de Salenton)
- Col de la Terrasse from Loriaz, (the steep part is snow free.)
- upper part of the Tré les Eaux valley
- Vieux Emosson / Gorges de la Veudale/ Cheval Blanc (Dinosaur imprints still partly under snow)
There remains a steep snow field below the Col de la Glière, (the ramp is still under snow.)
There is no longer any snow on the way up to the Jonction, Nid d'Aigle or Tête Rousse.
The traverse from the top of the Plan Joran lift to the Argentière glacier viewpoint is indicated with orange waymarks and is for experienced hikers only. For others, e.g. with children, it is necessary to descend the ski piste to Lognan and follow the normal way.
Concerning the Tour du Mont Blanc, the variants d'Arpette (suspect snow bridge above a scree slope,) des Fours, and the way up to the Robert Blanc hut (some snow patches above Lanchettes, a lot of snow from the Col d'Enclave and towards the Col de la Seigne), are now feasible for experienced and properly equipped hikers.
Concerning the Haute Route Chamonix-Zermatt, the Cabane de Pra Fleuri is closed until the 5th August. An alternative is to stay at the chalet de la Barma, (adds about 1h30.) It is open but the warden is only there at weekends,
The Tour des Dents du Midi is feasible.
Following a small rockfall last week on the route "Bon Voyage” at Barberine, the loose blocks at the 4th belay ledge have been removed.
There is still some snow on the Perrons traverser and Aiguille du Van but crampons and ice axe not necessary.
A new heatwave is expected by the end of the week. Be aware of the freezing levels and make early starts.
La Tour Sector
The Forbes Ridge is going out of condition, 70m of ice at the Bosse, (two axes, one technical recommended.) The bergschrund to reach the ridge is becoming more awkward and bare ice is appearing on the descent from the Adams Reilly Col.
The normal routes on the Aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche, Petite Fourche, Table Ridge, Dorées traverse, Purscheller S ridge do not present any major problems and are popular.
The Aiguille d'Argentière normal route remains in good condition, (good footsteps on the final slope; firm snow and no ice.)
The Flêche Rousse ridge has little snow and needs a good level of technique
The Jardin Ridge is being done regularly.
Col du Tour Noir is still feasible.
The Tournier Spur is not appealing, totally dry above the Château.
The approach to the hut is free of snow.
The Drus traverse remains in good condition, (the approach and descent glacier is OK.) It is all “go” for the rock routes.
Here also the main activity is rock climbing: Aiguille du Moine (S Ridge, Contamine and normal route dry, good snow on the approach.) The Evèque and Nonne-Evèque are popular.
Good conditions reported for the Moine Ridge on the Verte, (the small amount of snow remaining is not causing a problem.)
The Courtes traverse remains popular but is becoming more technical. The descent was reported to be bit awkward.
Nobody for the moment on the Pointe Isabelle.
There are always parties on the Walker.
Rock climbing in condition behind the hut, at the Pierre à Joseph and on the Petites Jorasses W face.
Nobody has been on the Périades for a week, (should be feasible if freezing conditions are correct.)
Envers des Aiguilles /Requin Sector
The bergschrund for the République / Grépon mer de Glace is still passable on the true right, (a small slab then snow to reach the corner.)
Some of the bergschrunds are at the limit, (California Dream, Subtilité Dulférienne).
The Dent du Requin (Renaudie and Chapeau à Corne ridge) remain feasible.
Ascending the Vallée Blanche to the Aiguille du Midi or Punta Helbronner is still possible but take care with the snow bridges.
Aiguille du Midi Sector
A crevasse has opened up on the ridge down from the Aig du Midi, (a plank has been put in place.)
Trois Monts route remains OK for experienced alpinists, (with good cramponning technique.) There is a rope in place to cross the Tacul bergschrund, (small step) and at the Col du Mont Maudit, (however 2 axes are recommended.)
Pointes Lachenal, Cosmiques Ridge and the Midi-Plan traverses are very dry.
Some parties are doing the Chamonix Aiguilles traverse.
Plan de l'Aiguille Sector
Frendo Spur is no longer feasible.
Crampons are possibly useful, (if the snow is hard,) to reach the Rouge de Blaitière pillar.
The Cordier Pillar and Charmoz-Grépon approaches are OK. The descent by the Nantillons glacier remains OK, (almost totally on snow according to the latest reports.)
As always, care is needed in the descent gully, (normal route,) from the Aiguille du M (crampons possibly useful on the lower part of the Nantillons glacier if the snow is hard.)
Mont Blanc by the Grands-Mulets
This is a good way to escape the usual Mont Blanc crowds. However, it should not be used as a fallback for those that cannot get a reservation in one of the Gouter route huts. It is for true alpinists seeking adventure and calm
Generally good conditions, the Jonction remains good and the N ridge appears to be OK.
Mont Blanc by the Aiguille du Goûter
The base camp is slowly being established and should be completely operational by the end of the week, (5 tents with 8 places, 40 places in total. Reservations to be made at https://refugeteterousse.ffcam.fr/resapublic.html by selecting "refuge de Tête Rousse" then "Bivouac / camp de base").
Crampons are needed to cross the Grand Couloir. It is then dry up to the Gouter hut.
The Col des Glaciers is no longer possible, (large bergschrund under the col).
Some bare ice is appearing on the Mont Tondu but it remains feasible.
Aiguille de la Bérangère is all on hard snow, no ice.
Dômes de Miage traverse remains in good condition, (glacier well filled in and the route well tracked. However, one needs to be competent with crampons for the descent to the Col de la Bérangère).
The Aiguille de Bionnassay traverse still has ice below the summit and the ridge is very narrow but completely on snow.
Mont Blanc by the Gonella and the Aiguilles Grises
The route is popular. The glacier is OK. The exit onto the ridge is a bit more awkward, (climb the rocks on the right)
The way up the glacier to the Eccles bivouac remains OK, (there is a fixed rope to reach the glacier behind the hut.)
Conditions are dry with frequent stone fall.
The large gully on the Innominata ridge is completely dry, the route is not recommended. Likewise, conditions are delicate for the Brouillard ridge (particularly below and above the Col Emile Rey, crampons are first used at around 4600m.)
Bad conditions reported for the Grand Pilier d'Angle and the Peuterey ridge: there is ice between the bivouac and the col Eccles and the descent from the col to the Freney glacier is very dry. The Freney glacier and the Aiguille Blanche ridge, (still snow on the crest) are OK. The GPA is totally dry, (unpleasant climbing on sandy blocks etc, then completely on ice with stone fall after 09.00h from the rocks below the summit cornice.)
Care is needed on the approaches to the Rouge and Fréney Pillars (ice present and stone fall but the bergschrunds are OK.)
The rock routes in this sector are OK, (e.g Aiguille Noire, Aiguille Croux).
Helbronner / Boccalatte Sector
The rock climbs on the Satellites are in condition. No problems with the bergschrunds for the moment. The abseil descent from the Ottoz route (Pyramide du Tacul) has been re-bolted at 30m stages. There is also a bolt to protect crossing the bergschrund.
The Kuffner Ridge is very dry. Likewise, for the approaches to the Diable Ridge and the Salle à Manger on the Dent du Géant, (good conditions afterwards.)
The Tour Ronde remains popular by the SE ridge integral, with descent by the Col Freshfield. However, it is not really to be recommended.
The Aiguilles d'Entrêves traverse is being done frequently (information on the descent from 05/07 ici).
The Grandes Jorasses traverse is in good condition, well tracked up to the abseils from the Canzio, after this the rocks are mostly dry.) It is popular.
The normal route on the Jorasses is still feasible. Pay attention to snow and re- freezing conditions. A bivvy on the summit with a dawn descent is perhaps a solution if the temperatures rise as foreseen.