Report 21 November 2019

MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS 21/11/2019

Little has changed since last week’s update apart from a partial opening of the Grands-Montets ski area this weekend, (more information ici).

The snow remains insufficient for off-piste skiing.

The open lifts will give ski tourers access to the top of the Grand Montets and so into the Argentière sector.  However, the season is just starting and from the information received so far, the glaciers, (Rognon, Argentière) are very treacherous, (numerous crevasses and fragile snow bridges.)

For the moment, skinning up at the Balme /Tour sector is feasible, (could change given a forecast for foehn, warm winds).  The descent below Charamillon is stony and involves walking.

The conditions for ski touring are more favourable in the Aosta valley.

There is little information concerning the mixed routes and “high mountain”. There is quite a lot of new snow but there is little cohesion and probably not much ice.  It is unlikely there will be much activity this weekend, given the forecasted foehn weather.

There is no change in the conditions for hiking.  It is recommended to stick to the valley trails, (below 1800m) and to be properly equipped, (good footwear, poles etc.)  The Montenvers train remains open.   

It is still too early in the season for ice climbing and snow shoeing.

 

Report 6th Nov 2019

As this brief report is being written, the first snowflakes are falling in Chamonix.  Winter is on its way.  

 

The succession of weather fronts has resulted in a gradual build-up of the snowpack, with 50cms at 2500m and 15cms at 2000m having been reported. There is snow cover down to 1500m.  This depth will increase today and a further 15cm above 1500m is forecast for tonight, (Thursday.)  

 

While waiting for the winter BERA reports to restart, think about consulting the Information Neige et Avalanche on the Météo France site.: http://www.meteofrance.com/previsions-meteo-montagne/bulletin-avalanches/mont-blanc/OPP03.

 

Though the weather has been bad for the alpinists, it is good news for the mountain conditions which are now improving after a particularly dry summer.

 

There is still not enough snow yet for skiing, except at ski resorts with glaciers above 3000m.  (Les Diablerets, Verbier and Cervina will be partially open this weekend.)

 

Hiking is best restricted to the good paths below 1500m, (Petits Balcons, Floria and Chapeau cafes etc). However, experienced, well equipped hikers can enjoy the first winter snows; for example, the Chailloux chalets, the Loriaz chalets and Montenvers.

 

Concerning the lifts, the Aiguille du Midi, Planpraz and the Skyway (Courmayeur) are now closed until the start of the ski season. The Montenvers train is the only thing open, (the ice cave and lift is closed until 13th December.)

 

Report 6th November 2019

As this brief report is being written, the first snowflakes are falling in Chamonix.  Winter is on its way.  

 

The succession of weather fronts has resulted in a gradual build-up of the snowpack, with 50cms at 2500m and 15cms at 2000m having been reported. There is snow cover down to 1500m.  This depth will increase today and a further 15cm above 1500m is forecast for tonight, (Thursday.)  

 

While waiting for the winter BERA reports to restart, think about consulting the Information Neige et Avalanche on the Météo France site.: http://www.meteofrance.com/previsions-meteo-montagne/bulletin-avalanches/mont-blanc/OPP03.

 

Though the weather has been bad for the alpinists, it is good news for the mountain conditions which are now improving after a particularly dry summer.

 

There is still not enough snow yet for skiing, except at ski resorts with glaciers above 3000m.  (Les Diablerets, Verbier and Cervina will be partially open this weekend.)

 

Hiking is best restricted to the good paths below 1500m, (Petits Balcons, Floria and Chapeau cafes etc). However, experienced, well equipped hikers can enjoy the first winter snows; for example, the Chailloux chalets, the Loriaz chalets and Montenvers.

 

Concerning the lifts, the Aiguille du Midi, Planpraz and the Skyway (Courmayeur) are now closed until the start of the ski season. The Montenvers train is the only thing open, (the ice cave and lift is closed until 13th December.)

 

Report 25th October 2019

Another week of bad, at times tempestuous, weather with snow and strong winds in the mountains.  Therefore, it is difficult to estimate the depth of new snow.  Looking at the various webcams in the massive will give some idea of the conditions.

The forecast is for better, warmer weather this the weekend, especially in the mountains

This could be a last chance for hikers, climbers and alpinists to profit from this year’s pleasant, autumnal days.

In the high mountain the conditions are already wintery.  There has been virtually no activity for some time, and the OHM has not received any information concerning the mixed routes.

Hopefully this will change as the activity restarts and people (please!) report back.

Some classic routes, such as the Aiguille du Tour, Mont Blanc by the Goûter or the Grand Paradiso are feasible for experienced alpinists willing to accept the long approaches, (lifts and huts closed,) and trail breaking.  Snowshoes could prove useful.

For those wanting day trips, (near the Aig du Midi or the Punta Helbonner; cable cars still open), the Cosmiques Ridge and the traverses of Pointes Lachenal, Aig des Entrèves or Marbrées are feasible, (in mixed conditions).

Rock climbers need to forget the granite in the massive and go for the routes in the Aiguilles Rouges.

(Planpraz lift open) or the valley crags. Good weather has also been promised for the neighbouring valleys and ranges, (Aravis, Chablais, Aosta Valley, Lower Valais etc.)

Lastly, the hiking trails in the valley are without problems.  Make sure you are properly equipped, (good mountain footwear and walking poles,) as the shaded forest trails can be slippery.

"100 Finest Routes Mont Blanc Massive"

The table below is based on an article from Montagnes Magazine 469, October 2019 on the affects of climate change on the 100 routes in Rebuffat’s “Mont Blanc Massif 100 finest routes,” first published in 1973.

“0” means not affected,

“1” indicates only slightly affected and still popular in summer,

“2” indicates routes which have been moderately affected and might not be in condition in the Summer and can be better in Spring or Autumn,

“3” indicates routes that have been seriously affected and not usually feasible in Summer.

“4” indicates routes no longer there!

 

1  Clocher and Clochetons de Planpraz, Traverse                                                           0

2  Glacier des Bossons, école de glace                                                                          4

3  Aiguille de L’Index, SE Ridge                                                                                    0

4  Chapelle de la Gliere,                                                                                              0

5  Aiguille de la Persévérance, NE Ridge                                                                        0

6  Aiguille de la Pouce, Voie des Dalles                                                                         0

7  Amone Slab                                                                                                           0

8  Sarre Roof                                                                                                             ?

9  Petits Charmoz, Traverse                                                                                        2

10  Petite Aiguille Verte, Normal Route                                                                         3

11 Tour Ronde Vallee Blanche, SE Ridge                                                                      3

12 Aig Croux, S Face   Point de L’Innominata, S Ridge                                                   2

13 Domes de Miage, Traverse                                                                                     3

14 Tour Noir, Traverse                                                                                               1

15 Aiguille du Tour, Table Ridge                                                                                 2

16 Aig du Moine, S Ridge                                                                                          1                             

17 Mont Blanc du Tacul, Normal route   Cosmiques Ridge, Traverse                             2,3

18 Aiguille de l’M, NNE Ridge                                                                                    1

19 Aiguille d’Argentiere, Normal Route                                                                      1

20 Pyramide du Tacul, E Ridge                                                                                 1

21 Midi Plan, Traverse                                                                                             2

22 Dent du Requin, SE Ridge                                                                                   2

23 Grandes Jorasses, Normal route                                                                          1

24 Mont Blanc, by the Gouter                                                                                  3

25 Aiguille des Pelerins, Gruter Ridge                                                                      1

26 Aiguilles Dorees, Traverse                                                                                  2

27 Les Escandies, Traverse                                                                                     1

28 Aiguille du Chardonnet, Forbes Ridge                                                                   3

29 Les Courtes, NE face                                                                                          3

30 Mont Blanc, by the Aiguilles Grises                                                                      1

31 Aig du Peigne, Normal Route   Aig des Pelerins, Carmichael Route                         1,1

32 Grands Charmoz – Grepon, Traverse                                                                   3

33 Rochefort Ridge, Traverse   Dent du Geant, Normal route                                     3

34 Aig de Blaitiere – Les Ciseaux – Aig du Fou, Traverse                                           2                             

35 Tour Ronde, N face                                                                                          3

36 Aiguilles de Trelatete, Traverse                                                                          2             

37 Trident du Tacul, Lepiney route                                                                         4

38 Le Courtes -Aig Ravanel – Mummery, Traverse                                                     3

39 Petites Jorasses, S Ridge                                                                                   2

40 Petit Dru – Grand Dru, Traverse                                                                         2

41 Aiguille Verte, Whymper Couloir                                                                         3

42 Aiguille Croux, SE Face                                                                                     1

43 Aiguille Chardonnet, N Spur                                                                              2

44 Dent du Requin, E Face                                                                                   2

45 Mont Dolent, N Ridge                                                                                      3

46 Aiguille de l’M, Menegaux and Couzy                                                                1

47 Aiguille du Plan, Ryan- Lochmatter Ridge                                                          2

48 Pain du Sucre de Envers du Plan, N Face                                                          3

49 Aig du Bionnassay, NW Face   Mont Blanc, Traverse                                          2

50 Mont Maudit, Kuffner Ridge                                                                            3

51 Aiguille du Moine, E face                                                                                2

52 Aiguille du Peigne, Papillons ; W Face ; NW Pillar NW Face ; N Ridge                 0

53 Point Lachenal, SSE Face   Aig du Midi,  Cosmiques Spur                                  1

54 Aig du Diable – Mont Blanc du Tacul, Traverse                                                1

55 Aiguille du Midi, S Face                                                                                 1

56 Mont Blanc, Brenva Spur                                                                               2

57 Dent du Geant, S Face                                                                                   1

58 Pic Adolphe Rey, Salluard Route                                                                      2

59 Mont Blanc du Tacul, Gervasutti Couloir                                                           3

60 Le Minaret, SE Spur ; S Face direct                                                                  1

61 Aiguille du Peigne, Vaucher Route                                                                    1

62 Aiguille du Midi, Frendo Spur                                                                           3

63 Petit Clocher du Portalet, E Face and SE Ridge                                                  0

64 Pic du Roc – Grepon, Traverse                                                                         1

65 Aiguille d’Argentiere, N Face                                                                             3

66 Grandes Jorasses, Hirondelles Ridge                                                                  1

67 Aiguille de la Brenva, E Face                                                                             1

68 Dent du Crocodile, E Face                                                                                 2

69 Aiguille du Plan, N Face                                                                                     2

70 Mont Maudit, Cretier Route                                                                                1

71 Aig du Blatiere, N Face                                                                                      2

72 Mont Blanc du Tacul, Boccalatte Pillar                                                                  1

73 Rochefort Ridges – Grandes Jorasses                                                                  2

74 Aiguille Verte, Grands Montets Ridge                                                                   2

75 Aig Noire du Peuterey, S Ridge                                                                            1

76 Les Courtes, Central NNE Spur                                                                             3

77 Aguille Verte, Sans Nom Ridge                                                                             3

78 Dent du Requin, N Face                                                                                       3

79 Aiguille Verte, Courtier Couloir                                                                             2

80 Petit Dru, N Face                                                                                                2

81 Mont Blanc, Innominata Ridge                                                                             1

82 Les Droites, N Spur                                                                                             2

83 Aig Noire du Peuterey, W Face                                                                             2

84 Chamonix Aiguilles, Midi - Grepon Traverse                                                           3

85 Petites Jorasses, W Face                                                                                     2

86 Mont Blanc du Tacul, Gervasutti Pillar                                                                  2

87 Pointe Gugliermina, SE Face                                                                               1

88 Aiguille du Triolet, N Face                                                                                   3

89 Grand Capucin, E Face                                                                                       1

90 Mont Blanc, Route Major                                                                                    2

91 Aiguille Verte, Nant Blanc Face                                                                            3

92 Petit Dru, Bonatti Pillar                                                                                       4

93 Aiguille du Fou, S Face                                                                                       3

94 Les Courtes, N Face                                                                                           3

95 Mont Blanc, Peuterey Ridge                                                                                 2

96 Grandes Jorasses, Point Croz Central Spur                                                            1

97 Grandes Jorasses, Walker Spur                                                                            2

98 Petit Dru, W face American Direct                                                                        2

99 Les Droites, N Face                                                                                            2

100 Mont Blanc, Central Pillar of Freney                                                                   2

 

 

 

 

Report 18th October 2019

Conditions are very much evolving in this period between seasons.

The successive weather fronts have deposited a lot of windblown snow at altitude. The exact amount is difficult to ascertain but was about 40cms above 3500m at the start of the week.   The conditions of the mixed climbs are slowly improving, following the exceptionally warm and dry conditions this summer.  There is virtually no alpine activity for the moment, given the unstable weather, (some activity on the Cosmiques ridge, Pointes Lachenal traverse and the Entrèves.

Concerning the rock routes, the Chamonix Aiguilles are plastered with snow.  If the weather allows, it is possible to climb in the Aiguilles Rouges or on the valley crags.  

The hiking trails, resplendent in their autumn colours, are without snow and are feasible.

The Aiguille du Midi and Skyway Monte Bianco cable cars are running until the 3rd November.

The Montenvers train re-opens on the 19th October, (ice cave and cable car remain closed.)

The Planpraz lift will be open from 19th October to 3rd November.

All the mountain huts are closed except for the Plan de l’Aiguille and the Torino, (which both close on the 3rd November.)   The CAF mountain huts have winter rooms available.