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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.

Report 3rd October 2019

We are now well into Autumn and it feels cool in the valley. The last weather front brought snow down to 2200m, with10 to 25cms at altitude in some sectors.

 

The high rocks are snow covered and patience is needed before the rock routes come back into condition.  Concerning the mixed routes, the new snow serves only to hide the dry conditions underneath, so here also patience is needed for conditions to improve.

 

With the doubtful weather and poor conditions, all the lifts have closed, except for the Aig du Midi and the Skyway Monte Bianco. The huts, (except for of the Torino), are also closed and very little alpinisme is happening for the moment.

However, some routes remain feasible: e.g. the traverse of the Pointes Lachenal, Cosmiques Ridge (retracked this morning, no further info,) Aiguilles d'Entrêves traverse, Dent du Géant, Aiguille du Tour and Grand Paradiso.

At lower altitude, the Petit Charmoz, Ecandies traverse and Perrons traverse are also feasible.

 

There are no special problems for hiking and rock climbing at mid altitudes, though there is a risk of snow and verglas above 2400m, especially if north facing. The forest paths, particularly those in the shade, can be slippery at this time of the year.

Report 18 September 2019

MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS 18/09/2019

 

Some information for this September, which has had good weather for mid and high mountain activities.

 

Lift closures:

    Charamillon and Autannes lifts (La Tour) open until 22/09

    Montenvers train running until 29/09

    Aiguille du Midi lift open until 03/11

    Bellevue lift and Mont Blanc Tramway open until 22/09

    Monte Bianco Skyway (Italy) open until 03/11



Alpine Huts closures:

    Cosmiques hut open until 28/09

    Plan de l'Aiguille hut open until 03/09

    Nid d'Aigle and Tête Rousse huts open until 22/09

    Goûter hut open until 29/09

    Conscrit hut open until 22/09

 

Vallée d'Aoste and Valais Hut closures:

    Cabane d'Orny open until 29/09

    Rifugio Torino open until 03/11

    Rifugio Chabod (Grand Paradis) open until 28/09

    Rifugio Guide del Cervino

    Rifugio Gnifetti (Monte Rosa) open until 06/10

 

Mid Mountain Hut closures:

    Loriaz hut open until 06/10

    Pierre à Bérard hut open until 25/09

    Lac Blanc hut open until 31/10

    Moëde Anterne hut open until 01/10

    Col de Balme hut open until 15/09

    Miage hut open until 30/09

    Varan hut open until 30/09

    Tré la Tête hut open until 20/10

    Nant Borrant hut open until 25/09

    Robert Blanc hut open until 21/09

 

Alpine Conditions:

Rock routes remain the main activity, with routes being climbed in the Argentière sector, the Leschaux sector (Aiguille de Leschaux, Petites Jorasses), the Envers des Aiguilles, the Aiguilles de Chamonix and the Géant sector (S faces of the Aiguille du Midi, Pointes Lachenal, Satellites du Tacul).

The winter room at the Albert 1er is now accessible.  The Aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche and Petite Fourche remain feasible by their normal routes, as is the S ridge of the Purtscheller.

A party turned back while trying to cross the Charpoua glacier, (for the Drus traverse,) despite a full moon and checking out the way the evening before.  There are plenty of possibilities to find water near the hut.

In the Talèfre sector, the S ridge and normal route on the Moine are still being done.  The bergschrund for the Contamine, (E face) is well opened.  

The Moine Ridge on the Aiguille Verte was climbed in good conditions on 13/09, (an abseil needed to cross the bergschrund in descent.)

The Valley Blanche traverse can be done but the way is complicated, (end of season conditions!)

The traverses of the Pointes Lachenal, Aiguilles d'Entrèves, the Marbrées (abseil points re-equipped; 3x20m) and the Dent du Géant are being done.  No recent information for the Rochefort Arete, which does not look to be in condition. The Cosmiques Ridge is being climbed again, (potentially unstable, as are other sectors.)

A ramp, to the right of the fixed rope, allows the bergschrund on the Mont Blanc du Tacul normal route to be crossed easily. After this there is good track with steps up to the summit.  Take care; a portion of the serac overshadowing the track looks ready to collapse. Remember that falling seracs are an objective danger on this route, (as they are also on the Mont Maudit, for example.)

Experienced, well equipped alpinists, (2 ice axes, ice screws etc,) could attempt the 3 Monts route.  The Col du Mont Maudit is bare ice but there are no special problems for the traverse to the col de la Brenva or on the Mur de la Côte.

Conditions are also OK for the Mont Blanc normal route, (by the Goûter.) However, it is necessary to be aware of the crevasses between the hut and the Dôme du Goûter (especially while descending when there is a temptation to take “short cuts”,) and on the  Bosses ridge.

A few parties are still doing the Bionnassay traverse. It is more technically difficult than usual, (the initial rock buttress is very dry, there is ice below the summit and the ridge is very thin with ice showing through in places. However, there is no cornice.)

The Dômes de Miage are not in condition, parties are generally stopping at the col.

For the Grand Paradiso (via Chabod), the Laveciau glacier is chaotic, with numerous crevasses.  There are 2 ladders in place and there are some ”jumps” to make.

Conditions are good for the Matterhorn by the Lion Ridge, (the hut is closed on the Swiss side).

 

Report 09 September 2019

MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS  09/09/19

 

A quick update after the weekend of rain and snow

For the hikers: There is snow starting at 2000m.  The paths have a light covering which will gently disappear.  The hunting season has started.  There is no hunting allowed on Wednesdays and Fridays, (except bank holidays.)

For the climbers: The Aiguilles de Chamonix are plastered and feeling very cold. Patience is needed for the rock to dry.  Likewise, for the Aiguilles Rouges, though the climbs here should come back into condition more quickly.

For the alpinists:
This morning, Monday the following was reported : 10 cm with a little bit of wind at the  Albert 1er hut (the telephone is working again),), 20 cm at the Envers des Aiguilles hut, 30 cm at the Cosmiques hut with a W wind and -10°C this morning, 15/20 cm at the Goûter hut, the snow is down to the Tête Rousse, 15 cm  at the Conscrits hut with not much wind.  

The following closing dates have been announced:
The lifts at Le Tour close on 22/09, the Leschaux hut closes on 15/09, the Requin hut closes on 12/09, the Envers des Aiguilles hut closes on 14/09, the Conscrits hut closes on 22/09 and the Cosmiques hut closes on 28/09. The Mottets cafe closes on 28/09.