John Monks

We are saddened to learn of the death of our member John Monks who died on 9th August. His funeral will take place at the catholic church in Nyon, Switzerland on 18th August.

Members would be welcome to send their tributes to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so that they can be posted on the website


Report 11 August 2017

A quick update of the mountain conditions.


The bad weather these last few days has virtually halted all activity in the mountains.

Snow fell to 2200m this morning.  There has been about 10 cms of new snow at the Cosmiques hut, 20cms at the Goûter hut and 30-40cms at the Dome du Goûter. 

The new snow is not enough to significantly improve the existing very dry conditions of the snow/mixed routes but does mean it will be some time before the rock routes at altitude are feasible again.  

Special care is needed on the glaciers, because some of the snow bridges, already weak from the previous dry and hot conditions, are now camouflaged by the new snow. 

The rain and snow showers are due to continue this afternoon but the weather should then start to improve on Saturday, with the temperatures low for time of year.


Patience, patience…

AC Pembroke Meet 22-26 June 2017

Despite a few last minute cancellations, there was still a great turnout for the AC North Pembroke Meet based at Porthclais Farm, with 15 attendees either camping or campervan-ing at this spacious campsite, a three-minute sprint from the nearest climbing.


Gasherbrum IV East Face

For a brief report of a determined Alpine Club attempt on Gasherbrum IV East Face shut down by unprotectable rock band.


BMC Survey

Dear Member

Most of you will be aware that the BMC are undertaking a complete review of their governance and operations.  The Review will informed by the findings of a Member Survey.  This is now available to complete on the link below.  All 85,000+ members of the BMC are being asked to complete this survey. 

 As one of the Founding Clubs of the BMC, and the only Club in the UK fully dedicated to Alpinism and the ethics and ethos of mountaineering, your views are important.  I would encourage all members to take this opportunity to take part and make your views on the future role and governance of the BMC known:

Kind regards 


John Porter


Report 3rd August 2017

The heat wave has returned at altitude and the routes, which temporarily came back into condition due to the recent snow falls, are now again very dry.

The temperatures are expected to rise over the next few days, which will mean virtually no re-freezing at altitude and an increase in stone fall.


- Albert 1er : The snow bridges are getting weaker in this sector.  The way over the bergschrund on the Aiguille du Tour normal route has collapsed.   There is a way across but this demands a higher technical level than usual.


- La Charpoua : The traverse of the Drus remains feasible and the glacier is OK for the moment. There have also been parties on the Flammes de Pierre.   N.B. the route “La Reprise” has been re-bolted and the glue has not yet set.  Do not climb before the 5th August.


- Le Couvercle : The Brèche Nonne-Evêque gully is dry, the approach to the Contamine-Labrunie on the  Moine is difficult but goes still. No problems for the other routes on the Moine.  No information about the Moine ridge on the Verte.


- Leschaux : The routes in this sector are generally in good condition but there is still some snow near the top of the Grandes Jorasses.  The Walker Spur looks feasible.


- Envers des Aiguilles : Still a lot of activity in this sector, though some of the bergschrunds are becoming awkward and others no longer passable, (Subtilité Dulférienne and  l’Homme du Rio Grande). The bergschrund for la République is still OK.


- Le Requin : The Dent du Requin and Congo Star have been climbed, no particular problems.  The route up to the Cosmiques is still being done, good glacier rope technique needed.   


- Torino : 2 parties traversed the Rochefort Arete towards the Canzio bivouac. The normal route on the Grandes Jorasses looks to be tracked.  Parties on the Kuffner Ridge and the Aiguilles du Diable; the approaches are very dry, the rock sections are generally free of snow but the snow sections are awkward, (the snow is wet/soft.)   The Dent du Géant and the traverses of the Entrèves and Marbrées are in condition. The Tour Ronde does not look inviting.  

The Tacul satellites remain OK, though some of the bergschrunds are now awkward.


-  Cosmiques : The normal route up the Tacul is being climbed, (some ice just before the summit.)  The 3 Monts route was done on 3rd August, in difficult conditions due to wind, fog and lack of freezing.  The Pointes Lachenal has been traversed, but it is more technical than usual.  Nobody on the Triangle du Tacul, (very dry).


- Les Grands Mulets : Contact the warden directly for information on this sector.


- Le Goûter : The return of the hot weather means  the stone fall has increased in the Grand couloir, including the morning!


- Durier : Parties have done the Aiguille de Bionnassay, (there and back,) and also the traverse to the Goûter, (no further information.)  


- Les Conscrits : The Dôme central, there and back, by the Tré-la-Tête glacier remains possible but the Dômes de Miage traverse is no longer being done, (ice).


- Monzino : A lot of stone fall in this sector and parties going for the Innominata turned back from the way up to the Eccles bivouac.


- Gonella : The hut has been shut since 30th July and the normal Italian route up Mont Blanc is in bad condition.


- Grand Paradis : The normal route from the Victor Emmanuel hut has sections of ice, (+ stone fall). These zones can be bypassed by going towards the Chabod hut, then up the moraine until the Schiena d’Asino, to reach the glacier above the difficult sections.  

Report 28th July 2017

A brief update on the conditions for this weekend :

The recent snowfalls have not been enough to significantly improve the situation for the snow/mixed routes but enough to cause problems on the rock routes in some of the higher altitude areas.  These, however, should dry quickly as the warm weather returns.  

In general, there are a lot of open crevasses on the glaciers and the recent snow has only served to camouflage some of the weak snow bridges.  Good glacier ropework needed !


- Albert 1er : Conditions not too bad in this sector and Aiguille du Tour is being climbed by the Table ridge and the normal route.  The Tête Blanche and Petite Fourche are also being done but the Chardonnet remains out of condition despite the new snow.


- Argentière : The descent from the Grands Montets lift remains OK and the rocks near the hut are dry,  None of the snow routes are in condition, with the exception of Col du Tour Noir, (there and back).

The Belvédère, (East) ridge on the Aiguille des Grands Montets has been done recently but the Petite Verte still has a lot of bare ice and so is far harder than usual.


- Charpoua : The snow is disappearing quickly from the rocks in this sector. The Evêque looks dry and parties were climbing on the Flammes de Pierre today (Friday).  The Drus should soon be in condition.  


- Le Couvercle : The Moine has been climbed by the normal route, the S ridge and the Contamine.  The snow/mixed routes are not in condition and there appears to be too much snow on the Verte Moine Ridge for the moment.


- Leschaux : the Grandes Jorasses N face is holding a lot of snow but the W face of the Petites Jorasses is drying quickly.  The rock routes behind the hut are dry.


- Envers des Aiguilles : Still snow at altitude and with the cloud cover this is taking time to melt away. Climbing is possible near the hut, e.g Pilier des Contes, Tours Rouge and Verte and the 1ère Pointe des Nantillons.


- Le Requin : Still some snow at altitude but the Pierre-Alain is dry. The way up the Vallee Blanche towards the Cosmiques and the Torino requires good experience at route finding and care with the snow bridges.


- Torino : No tracks on the Rochefort Arete but the Dent du Géant was climbed on 27/07. Some parties had to turnback on 28.07 due to strong winds. The traverses of the Aiguilles Marbrées and the Entrèves remain feasible, though care needed on the approaches, (snow bridges…).  No news about the Kuffner or the Tacul satellites


- Cosmiques : The Tacul normal route is tracked, (no further information).  Some climbing on the Pointes Lachenal but the Tacul triangle remains desperately dry.  The Cosmiques ridge is tracked.  The traverse of the Vallee Blanche is tracked but has a lot of crevasses.


- Grands Mulets : No particular problems for the approach to the hut and the North Ridge of the Dôme was climbed on 28/07, no further information.


- Conscrits : The Dômes de Miage traverse was done on 28/07 but the snow cover over the ice was thin and conditions are likely to deteriorate quickly.  The route to the central Dôme by the Tré la Tête glacier, (there and back) remains feasible, though the glacier is heavily crevassed.  Except for the Bérangère, the other routes are no longer in condition.


- Monzino : Conditions OK for the Pointe de l’Innominata  and parties went up to the Eccles to attempt the ridge on 29/07.   The approach to the bivouac is heavily crevassed.  The Brouillard glacier is OK for the moment.  Parties were seen on the S ridge of the Noire de Peuterey.

Report 25th July 2017

Some information about the recent snowfalls, which have reached as low as 2500m:

40 cm at the Goûter hut.

About 30/40 cm of windblown snow at the Col Flambeau, near the Torino hut.

40 cm at the Cosmiques hut.

All the Chamonix Aiguilles are plastered, (including next to the Envers des Aiguilles hut.)

20 cm at the top of the Grands-Montets.

There has been a lot of wind which will affect these estimations.  There will almost certainly be some deep snow drifts.  The strong winds are due to continue for a few more days at altitude.  It is necessary to wait until the snow cover stabilises and the rocks dry.  In the meantime, one needs to remain patient, choosing alternative, lower altitude routes.

Report 19th July 2017

Conditions at altitude continue to deteriorate and the stone fall risk is increasing in numerous areas.  Take care with your route choice and respect the time of day.


- Albert 1er : the conditions remain OK for the normal routes on the Aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche and Petite Fourche. The Table ridge, Aiguille Purtscheller and Aiguilles Dorées traverse are still popular.  Some of the snow bridges in the area are now suspect.


- Argentière : Rock climbing is the main activity in this sector.  The Aiguille d’Argentière is no longer recommended, especially the Glacier du Milieu. The glacier walk up to the Col du Tour Noir and back is popular. The descent from the Grands Montets is still OK and the return from the Rognan to Lognan has recently been re-equipped. There is bare ice on the Petite Aiguille Verte.   The Grands Montets Ridge is in condition, though a crevasse blocks the exit and requires some “initiative”. Descent via the Moine ridge with a 30m abseil at the bergschrund.


-  La Charpoua : The Dru traverse is popular  and the glacier remains OK.  The rock routes near the hut are also in condition.


- Le Couvercle : The rock routes remain accessible, the bergschrunds  generally not posing a problem, though the one for the Contamine on the Moine is awkward  Parties have climbed the Moine Ridge on the Verte, there and back, the bergshrund going on the left.


- Leschaux : Good conditions for the rock routes near the hut. Some parties have done the Petites Jorasses W face and the Aiguille de Leschaux. Likewise, there have been parties on the Walker Spur; some ice at the level of the “cheminées rouges”, (red chimneys). There are new way markers on the glacier approach to the hut. Continue up the Mer de Glace, past the drum, to find the orange cairns.


- Envers des Aiguilles : for some of the routes with a glacier approach, the  bergshrunds are awkward.  It is is still possible to pass the bergschrund for the Republique by climbing a slab to the right then traversing back left to start the route.


- Le Requin :  No problems reaching the foot of the routes and parties are still going up the Valley Blanche.


- Torino : No bad reports concerning the bergschrunds in this sector.  On the other hand the glaciers are becoming problematical with numerous fragile snow bridges.  Conditions for the Rochefort Arete have deteriorated, many parties having turned back. No major problems for the approach to the Dent du Géant, though take care of other parties in the approach gully.  The traverse of the Jorasses is feasible but technically more demanding than usual.  Parties still doing the Kuffner, (dry, approach directly,) and the Aiguilles du Diables (the approach gully is mixed with unstable rock.) It has been reported the Tour Ronde is very unstable, including the SSE Ridge, (2-3 pitches to reach the col then keeping to the Brenva side, rather than following the crest.) The approach to the Pilier d’Angle and Aiguille Blanche de Peuterey is no longer in condition, (chaotic glacier and stone fall/ land slips.)


- Cosmiques : When there has been a good freeze, some of  the Triangle du Tacul routes have been done. Petit Frounet and Chéré, their first two pitches are dry but protectable.  Contamine Negri and Grisolle have some sections of bare ice.  It is very important to start these routes early! 

The 3 Monts is still popular, though the route requires a good technical ability, (bare ice in several sections.)   Parties on the Gervasutti Pillar have reported generally good conditions.  The bergschrund at the foot of the Rébuffat-Baquet route, (Aig du Midi, S face) is opening up and requires “jump start”.


- Plan de l’Aiguille :  The Frendo is no longer feasible, too dry and lots of stone fall!   The Nantillons glacier is in very bad condition.  


- Monzino : All the routes in the area are being done, though as the conditions are dry, they are technically harder than usual.


- Gonella : The normal Italian route up Mont Blancis still in condition.


- Boccalate :  Parties are still doing the normal route on the Grand Jorasses, the route remaining OK.


- Robert Blanc : conditions still very good for the Dôme des Glaciers and the Lanchettes ridge, though some snow bridges are becoming fragile in the upper of the route.


- Conscrits : A lot of bare ice on the  Dômes de Miage traverse and it is now rarely being done. There and back to the central Dôme Central via the Col des Dôme, as well as the East Dôme, remains feasible.  Except for the Bérangère, the other routes are no longer in condition.


- Durier : The Bionnassay Ridge is still very narrow (knife edge), but feasible given a good technical level. The ice is just below the surface at thePiton des Italiens.


- Goûter/Tête Rousse : The Mont Blanc normal route remains very popular, despite frequent stone fall.  Take care and respect the time of day.  


- Grands Mulets : There is little snow left on the Bossons and Jonction glaciers,(dry), and the track follows more or less that shown on the IGN map.  About 60 to 70m of bare ice on the Dôme N Ridge.





Report 13 July 2017

Conditions at altitude are becoming even drier, meaning even fewer snow and mixed routes are now feasible.  Likewise, the approaches to, especially the bergschrunds, some rock routes are becoming more complicated.

The weather is due to improve over the next few days and with the rise in temperatures, one needs to be particularly vigilant!


- Albert 1er : There has been no activity on the Chardonnet for 10 days. The normal routes on the Aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche and Petite Fourche are still OK, though the snow bridges on the glacier are becoming more fragile.   The Table ridge is feasible if started directly by the ridge, (initially bad rock.)  Good conditions also for classic rock routes (Purtscheller S Ridge, Dorées Traverse).


- Argentière : No recent news, though the rock routes above the hut are in condition. (some stonefall danger).  The return path from Rognan to Lognan has been re-equipped and now feels less exposed.


- Charpoua : The Dru traverse is in good condition, no problems for the glacier, up and down, (done on 13/07).  Rock routes are also OK (Contamine, Sale Athé…)

A lot of parties on the Dru N Face, even though this area is subject to stonefall and summer is not the ideal time.   


- Couvercle : Only the rock routes are to be recommended and the approach/return for some of these  are becoming more awkward. Most of the snow and mixed routes are not currently feasible, though conditions change rapidly and it is best to consult the hut warden.


- Leschaux : The routes near the hut are dry and the approach to the Petites Jorasses remains OK. The approach to the Périades is also OK, if there is a good night time freeze. The upper part of the Walker Spur still has plenty of snow but with the rise in temperatures one would expect it to be climbed by the start of next week.  Feel free to ask the warden for more information.


- Envers des Aiguilles : In general, the bergschrunds are technically difficult in this area. The Mer de Glace face of the Grepon is not being done because of difficulties in descent, (bad state of the Nantillons glacier and abseilling down “Le soleil à rdv avec la lune” is long and complicated.)  No problems for the routes without glacier approach (Tour Verte, Pointes des Nantillons, Pilier des Contes, Dalles de l’Envers).


- Le Requin : The approaches to the hut and routes are still in good condition and the rock is free of snow.  The way up the Valley Blanche remains OK, (with care.)


- Torino : The Rochefort Arete is being done, the bit of snow that fell in a recent storm has improved conditions.  Good conditions for the traverse of the Grand Jorasses and the normal route, (2 short sections of ice).  The Kuffner and Aiguilles du Diable traverse were done yesterday, some verglas but basically OK.


- Les Cosmiques : Mont Blanc by the Trois Monts was done on 13/07 and is popular : the Tacul is OK, (care needed at the 2nd bergschrund), the lefthand track on the Maudit avoids exposure to the seracs , (especially on ascent) but has 2 sections of ice, (use of ice screws possible.) Ice just below the surface on the traverse to the Brenva Col and the Mur de la Côte, but should not slow one down.

Conditions difficult for the Pointes Lachenal, bare ice on the 1st and 3rd summits both on ascent and descent.  The abseil area has loose blocks, expect to make a 30m abseil.

Triangle du Tacul very (too) dry.


- Plan de l’Aiguille : The latest information is that conditions on the Frendo have got a lot worse.  Crampons are still needed for the approach to the Peigne N Face.


- Les Grands Mulets : The warden is going back up to the hut on the 14th July, so we expect an update of conditions for this route up Mont Blanc on the 16th.


- Tête Rousse/ Goûter :  For the moment the condition of the approach to the Gouter is “normal” but the stonefall frequency could increase with a rise in temperatures.  It is important to reduce the risk by crossing the Grand couloir as early as possible, (before the afternoon). The recent storms have cleared the soft snow off the Tete Rousse glacier and crampons are needed to cross it.


- Plan Glacier : There has been some storm damage to the footpaths, but no major problems for the approach.  Some awkward sections on the approach to the Durier, though nothing too « dramatic ».


- Les Conscrits : The Mont Tondu is very dry and not to be recommended at moment.  The Dômes de Miage are feasible, preferably there and back to the central summit.  Concerning the traverse, the descent to Bérangère is bare ice and requires excellent cramponning technique. Nobody has been on the Aiguilles de Tré-la-Tête and the Lex Blanche for some time now.


- Robert Blanc : The Lanchettes Ridge and the Col des Glaciers on the Dôme des Glaciers are in condition. There have been parties on the Petite Aiguille des Glaciers and Mont Tondu. The Glaciers des Glaciers is OK for the moment.


- Monzino : Some parties on the Innominata, feasible but more technical than usual.  The rock routes in this area are very popular.


- Gonella : The normal Italian route up Mont Blanc is well frequented and with no particular problems, (the route goes over a snow bridge which is solid for the moment).


- Hiking : Good conditions for the Buet, (good boots and poles suffice). The paths below Flégère are open again, except for the 4x4 track under the cable car which will open on 28th July.  


Report 8th July 2017

Some miscellaneous information following the recent good weather.


Nearly all the snow that fell at the end of June has now melted away. The mixed routes, which temporarily came back into condition, are now dry again.  Despite the high temperatures in the valleys, the situation at altitude is OK, though night time freezing is variable. Concerning the rock routes, the bergschunds are causing difficulties in some sectors.


No major changes in the Albert 1er sector, except that the Chardonnet descent is becoming more awkward, (lots of ice).  The Forbes Ridge is just about feasible but the numerous sections of ice require good technical ability. The Migot Spur is no longer practicable.


The Petite Verte is bare ice again.  Stone fall experienced on the approach to the Minaret (05/07).


Stone fall also reported on the Grutter, Aiguille des Pèlerins.  The Frendo has been climbed, with a lot of ice in the upper part and stone fall risk from the summit buttress, (respect the time of day.)


For hikers and climbers, the first train to Montenvers is at 8h00 and the last train down at 18h30.


Good conditions reported for the Drus traverse.  Some snow still at the summit of the Petit Dru, not enough to cause any problems but enough for drinking water if bivovuacing.  (N.B. The Charpoua hut is open!)   Too much snow on the Grand Dru summit for a bivouac.   The descent of the Charpoua glacier is OK, keeping more or less directly below the Y couloir on the Verte.


Leschaux sector:  The rock is dry, with the exception of the Walker which still has some snow.


Envers sector: The bergschrunds are staring to cause problems. Contact the hut warden for details of the route(s) you want to do. The descent of Nantillons glacier is awkward  It is better to descend from the Grepon by abseilling down "Le soleil a rdv avec la lune".


Mont-Blanc: The Trois Monts route remains OK.  No problems with the first bergschrund on the Tacul for the moment. However, the bergschrund in the middle has widened considerably and the large snow bridge there is weakening.  Do not forget that this route traverses under the Tacul and Mont Maudit seracs.   A fixed rope with knots and metal link has been placed at the Col du Mont Maudit, (a lot of bare ice).  The traverse to Brenva Col is in good condition, as long as you keep below the bergschrund.

The Grand Couloir and approach to the Gouter hut are in “summer” conditions, i.e. dry.  Take heed of the safety advice.


On the Italian side, the Aiguilles Grises route has been done but the glacier du Dôme is becoming a maze of crevasses.


Reasonable conditions for the Tricot integral, the Bionnassay traverse, the Kuffner Ridge and the Aiguilles du Diable traverse, though they are more technically demanding than usual.


Walt Unsworth

It is with sadness that we have learnt that Walt Unsworth died on the 7th of June. He was born in 1928 and elected a Member in 1968. He also founded Cicerone Press. A full obituary will follow.

Members would be welcome to send their tributes to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so that they can be posted on the website.

Report 5th July 2017

Here is the latest information, following the recent, mixed weather.


It snowed down to about 2500m at the end of last week but, with the exception of a few shaded areas high up, the rock is now dry again.


The recent snowfall has temporarily improved conditions for some of the snow and mixed routes but with very warm weather, the bare ice is reappearing again.  This process will be accelerated over the next few days: early starts and extra care are needed!


- Albert 1er : No problems for the Aiguille du Tour with the exception of the Table Couloir, which has been out of condition for some  time now. Conditions OK at the moment for the Cols du Pissoir and Midi des Grands The normal routes on the Tête Blanche and Petite Fourche are also OK but be aware the snow bridges on the approach are now weak.

Concerning the Chardonnet, only the Forbes Ridge has been done and not in good conditions, (recent serac fall at the start and ice on the route).  2 x 60m ropes are useful for the descent of the normal route and there is a wide crevasse blocking the way, (though possible to get around for the moment.)


- Argentière : The normal route on the Petite Verte was done in good condition on 04/07.  Cols du Tour Noir and Argentière are tracked.   Good, mixed conditions for the Flèche Rousse Ridge.  There is a lot of ice on the Glacier du Milieu, (a good cramponning technique needed.)  The bergschrund goes on the true left bank, (right looking upwards,) then traverse to the true right side, (thin snow bridge.)    The rock routes near the hut are in good condition.


- La Charpoua :  The rock has dried quickly and parties left today (05/07) for “Sale Athée” and the  “Contamine”  on the Evèque.  There is still some snow left high up but not enough to cause problems and the traverse of the Drus looks feasible.


- Le Couvercle : The rocks near the hut are dry but the Moine Ridge on the Verte still has too much snow.  The Whymper Couloir is not at all feasible but the traverse of the Courtes, (there and back) should be possible, (good ability and early start essential).  The Point Isabelle is very awkward and with a wide bergschrund.


- Leschaux : The rocks near the hut are dry but the Grandes Jorasses still has too much snow.


- Envers des Aiguilles : Parties climbing everywhere on dry rock.  The bergschrund for the “Subtilité Dulférienne” is no longer possible and that for the “Soleil a rendez-vous avec la Lune” is awkward.


- Requin : Good conditions for rock climbing near the hut. Continuing up the Valley Blanche still possible, though care needed with weak snow bridges.   


- Torino : The Dent du Géant is in good condition but the Rochefort Arete is narrow and pointed and the approach is becoming dry.  Parties on the traverses of the Aiguilles d’Entrèves and Marbrées, the Kuffner and the Aiguilles du Diable, no further information.  With the hot weather, there is a stone fall danger, especially around the Tour Ronde.  Rock climbing virtually everywhere in the Cirque Maudit and on the Tacul satellites. 


- Cosmiques : Rock climbs in condition.  Also, the Contamine Negri and Mazeaud have been done, no further information.  The Pointes Lachenal traverse is back in condition.  The Tacul and Maudit are tracked, no further information.  The Midi-Plan Arete, (to the Aig du Plan, there and back,) was done today, (05/07) in generally good conditions, though ice is beginning to reappear in some places.


- Grands Mulets : The traverse of  the Pèlerins  glacier from the Plan de l’Aiguille  is done at the level of the buvette, (way markers) and not by following the path marked on the IGN map. After the traverse, the moraine goes OK at the level of the “point jaune”, (yellow marker?). Glacier des Bossons and Jonction are OK, (way markers). Take care below the hut as the snow bridges are becoming weaker.   Good conditions at the moment for the Nord du Dôme ridge.


- Goûter : The Mont Blanc normal route is basically in good condition but care needed crossing the Grand Couloir.  It is essential to move quickly and to cross as early as possible, (both on the up and the down.)


- Durier : The Bionnassay Ridge is in good condition.


- Conscrits : The  Dômes de Miage traverse is still feasible despite  a very narrow and pointed section and ice appearing  some areas.  No problems for the Bérangère.


- Gonella : The normal Italian route up Mont Blanc is in good condition. The latest information for the Tournette Spur is that it is not in condition.


- Monzino :  Parties left today (05/07) for the Peuterey, Innominata Integrals and the Brouillard Ridge, no further information.  No special problems for the approaches to the Eccles bivouac and the Pilier Rouge du Brouillard.


Hiking :


A reminder that all the paths between the Floria and Flégère are closed until 28th July because of works, (copy of the legal decision available on the Chamoniarde site.)  

There has been a land slip below the Aiguille Pourrie which crossed the South Grand Balcon path.  This area remains unstable, so do not linger here.   Crampons are no longer needed for the normal way up Mont Buet but there are still snow patches so good hiking boots and walking poles are essential.


Report 30th June 2017

A quick update following the bad weather this week.


Snow has settled down to 2300/2500m but this will quickly disappear below 3000m with the sun.


Above this, there is 15cms of fresh snow at the Torino hut and 20cms at the Cosmiques hut, (40cms of windblown snow throughout the week), 30cms of windblown snow at the Gouter hut and 20cm at the Envers hut. (see photo).


Since the beginning of the week, at lot more snow has probably fallen above 3800m and the snow cover will have been affected by the strong winds.  This will have created an avalanche risk, notably on the 3 Monts route, for which it would be wise to wait a bit.


After the bad weather, the mixed routes look white again but the conditions are unlikely to have improved.  However, the temperatures have dropped and, if this continues there should be a, temporary, improvement in the general conditions at altitude.


Concerning the rock routes, it is necessary to wait a bit for the rocks to dry.


“An Invitation to Seek Blessings from His Holiness The Dalai Lama”

Not the kind of invitation you receive every day. And one AC vice-president Stephen Goodwin was more than happy to accept.

The invitation came from the Himalayan Club. As part of its 90th anniversary celebrations, the HC had been fortunate enough to secure an audience with the Dalai Lama at Dharamsala, the Tibetan ‘capital in exile’ in Himachal Pradesh, India.


Young Alpinist Event, North Wales

The Alpine Club is working with the BMC to look at ways of helping young, talented British climbers to improve their skills and knowledge about expedition climbing.

As part of this process an evening meeting will be held at The Beacon Climbing Centre in North Wales on Saturday 15 July and all keen, young British alpinists are invited.

If you are an experienced, keen British alpinist under 35 years old and wish to attend then book a place on the event by emailing Nick Colton: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This is not an introductory programme for alpine climbing, but targeted at those who already have significant experience in Scottish winter climbing, summer and winter alpinism and perhaps expeditions. You don't need to be jogging up North Faces or climbing Scottish grade VIII to come along, just to be actively climbing in the mountains and be excited about expedition alpine climbing. If this sounds like you then please come along!

CLICK HERE for more details

Report 23June 2017

An update of the report from 20th June following the rapid change in conditions due to the hot weather.

It continues to be very hot and stone fall is causing concern is some areas.  Generally, it is best to stick to climbs on stable rock, even though some snow/mixed routes remain feasible, (given a good freeze and an early start.)


Albert 1er sector: The descent gully from the Aiguille du Chardonnet is bare ice, it is necessary to carry abseil ropes. There are still sections of bare ice on the Forbes Ridge, (see 20/06 report.)  Good conditions on the Table Ridge and the normal routes on the Aiguille du Tour, Petite Fourche and Tête Blanche.


Argentière sector: The Grand Montets lifts open on Saturday 24/06.  The Petite Verte looks to be in bad condition, (bare ice).   The OHM is waiting for more condition reports (Petite Verte, Grands Montets Ridge to the Aiguille Verte…). 


Charpoua sector: The Contamine on the Grand Dru was climbed on 22/06 in good conditions. The glacier was OK, though maybe not for long.


Couvercle sector:  The bergschrund for the Moine Ridge is awkward and the upper part still has a lot (too much?) snow.

Envers des Aiguilles sector: The missing ladders and steps on the hut approach have been replaced.  The unstable zone above the start of the ladders has been purged but the area is still to be avoided after rain.  The granite climbs are in excellent condition, the bergschrunds still being OK.  The Ryan Ridge looks feasible. However, the start is complicated with 3 bergschrunds, keep to the rocks to the left, technical.  It is not recommended to descend the Nantillons glacier because of crevasses and stonefall.  Descent from the Grepon is possible by abseilling down the Piola route "Le soleil a rendez-vous avec la lune" on the Envers side, from Point Balfour.


Cosmique / Aiguille du Midi sector:   The 3 Monts remains popular, the Tacul is OK (use the righthand track,) some ice at the Col du Mont Maudit (2 axes useful for the leader, no fixed rope in place.)  Take the lower track towards the Col de la Brenva, (which goes along below the bergschrund, the higher track is exposed and icy).  The Contamines-Mazeaud and Grisolle on the Tacul Pyramide are feasible, given a good freeze and an early start.  The Gervasutti Pilla r is in good condition.


Torino / Helbronner sector: The Dent du Géant approach is dry but OK.  The Rochefort ridge is awkward, (very narrow and with ice sections) Different opinions, (depending technical ability?) reported for the Kuffner.  The bergschrund in the approach couloir is fragile. The Aiguilles du Diable traverse is still feasible.


Goûter: The dry, hot weather has increased the stonefall risk in the Grand Couloir, including the morning.   Conditions are not good and it is best to postpone plans for an ascent.


Monzino: The Eccles bivouac is accessible.  The Innominata ridge was done 22/06 in bad conditions.  Rocks/blocks were streaming down the gully between the two ridges. Therefore, it is not recommended until better freezing conditions prevail.   The Brouillard Ridge (integral) is also not recommended, due to unstable boulders. The Bonatti on the Brouillard Red Pillar has been climbed recently.  The belays and bolts on the Gabarrou-Long ont have been renewed. The pillar is dry, it was approached  by abseiling from the Eccles.


Stay safe !

The Chamoniarde ( ), looks forward to your reports to help with future updates….



Report 20th June 2017

Starting with some information for hikers:

With the opening of some of the lifts, the hiking season is now well underway.

Most of the trails are without problems, despite the continued presence of some snow patches, (especially on north facing slopes in the Aiguille Rouges).  If there has been a clear, cold night, crampons may be essential for Mont Buet or for the descent from Col de Salenton towards Bérard.
No problems with the Col du Brévent and the path from the Index to Lac Blanc.  
Also, no problems to get to the Albert 1er hut from the La Tour lifts.

The few snow patches between Platé and the Dérochoir, (above Plaine Joux,) do not cause any difficulties.  

Conditions for the Tour du Mont Blanc have improved and the Col des Fours and the Fenêtre d’Arpette are now feasible; some snow patches remain but these should soon disappear.  


For the alpinists:

With the current heatwave, many of the snow and mixed routes are rapidly going out of condition.    The approaches to some of the rock routes (bergschrunds and gullies) are also deteriorating and it is advised to consult the Office de Haute Montagne, the hut wardens or the guides etc, for the latest information.


- Albert 1er: The Copt and Table couloirs are now out of condition for the season.  The Migot Spur is not to be recommended. The Forbes Arete remains feasible, despite some ice, (2 ice axes and some ice screws recommended).  The descent from the Chardonnet is OK for the moment.  The normal routes on the Tête Blanche, Petite Fourche and Aiguille du Tour are OK but take care on the glacier and while crossing the bergschrunds.

- Argentière: The rock routes are free of snow.  Awaiting information on other routes, though they look to be very dry.

- Charpoua : The hut is open and the climbing conditions are good in this sector. A party has done the Petit Dru, (there and back) and the traverse looks feasible.  The glacier goes OK for the moment.  The approach to the hut is via the new ladders situated just before the Egralets.  Those opposite Montenvers were removed last year. Access to the Flammes de Pierre involves several pitches of climbing, abseiling on return, (the line is a bit to the right of the « old » way directly opposite Montenvers; topo available from the OHM. From Montenvers, please use the ladders and do not go via the ice caves.

- Couvercle: The Whymper Couloir is no longer feasible.  Rock climbing is the main activity for this sector, though the Courtes traverse is OK, if there is a good freeze and that one starts very early.  The moraine on the approach to Egralets is in bad condition and appears to be dangerous.  Use the new approach to be found a little earlier on the Mer de Glace.

The Jardin Ridge goes well for the moment as does the Grands Montets ridge, with some ice on the N side, (cable car shut.) The descent by the Moine ridge is still about 80% snow and technical. Also, the bergschrund is very wide.

- Leschaux: The rock near the hut is in condition including the Petites Jorasses (Anouk).  There is still snow on the top third of the N face of the. Grandes Jorasses but it is melting rapidly.
- Requin: Climbing above the hut, with the approaches being good.  Some parties have gone up the Valley Blanche.  Nobody on the Midi-Plan

- Envers des Aiguilles: Lots of activity in this sector.  Access and route conditions OK.

- Torino: Rock climbs in good condition but the approaches to some of the routes on the Tacul satelittes are becoming more awkward.   Traverse of the Aiguilles Marbrées and the Entrêves are being done. On the Tour Ronde, the SE ridge intergral is in condition.  Good conditions for the Dent du Géant but the Rochefort Ridge is awkward.  The traverse of the Valley Blanche towards the Aig du Midi is OK but care needed as some of the snow bridges are becoming weak.  Parties on the Kuffner by the direct approach but conditions are not great and it is still corniced in places.

- Cosmiques: With the heat, activity is mainly centered on the rock climbs.  The first pitch of the Chéré couloir is totally dry.  The Contamines Mazeaud and Grisolle look to be feasible, (given good freezing,) but the bergschrunds are big.  One party on the Pilier des 3 Pointes, supposedly in good condition.  Nobody on the Gervasutti Pillar, but looks like it should go.  The 3 Monts is popular.   The traverse of the Pointes Lachenal has been abandoned in favour of the Laurence and Cosmiques Aretes.

- Plan de l’Aiguille: The rocks in this sector are dry and in condition, though crampons may be necessary for some snow patches. Charmoz-Grépon in good condition but the Nantillons glacier will soon no longer be feasible.  Parties on the Frendo Spur, no further information other than the left exit being favoured.

- Grands Mulets:  No longer feasible with skis but conditions remain OK on foot. The Jonction goes well, (follow the higher line of indicators). The snow bridges in the bowl below the hut need care. The N ridge of the Dôme is in condition despite some ice, (no need yet to pitch it).

- Goûter: With the hot weather, the danger of stonefall has increased and it is very important to cross the Great couloir before the afternoon.  Work is being carried out on the rail track between Mont Lachat and the Nid Aigle and it is forbidden to walk on/near the track before 1/12/2017,  (by municipal order.). 

- Plan Glacier / Durier : Lancherons Ridge is dry and the glacier OK for the approach to the Durier hut.  Mettrier ridge is very dry. Bionnassay traverse in generally good condition, despite several cornices.  

- Conscrits: It is best to approach the hut by the suspension bridge footpath, rather than by the glacier.  Central peak of Dôme via the col des Dômes, (there and back) in good condition but the traverse is more awkward. There is a 20m section of bare ice that is very narrow and needs to be passed “a cheval”. Descent to the Bérangère has some ice, which can be by-passed for the moment.   Mont Tondu is in condition, with some ice, easily avoided. Traverse of the Aiguilles de Tré la Tête is condition but with an ice pitch at the summit of the N peak.

- Monzino: conditions perfect for the rock routes.  Parties on the Innominata, no further information. The Brouillard Ridge intergral was done on 16/17 June.  Some snow after the Col Rey then inconsistent snow on the exit from the S face and in the exit gully.


Without doubt the conditions will change over the coming days as result of the heatwave. Take care!

 The Chamoniarde ( ), looks forward to your reports to help with future updates….




Report 13th June 2017

Some news of mountain conditions during this period of heat and sun, with night time re-freezing either very weak or non-existent.  It is important to respect the time of day and chose routes not affected by the warm conditions.  With the heat, the paths at mid altitude are becoming free from snow. At mid altitudes, the heat is clearing the snow from the footpaths.

Though the snow is rapidly disappearing, some paths, namely those N facing, remain awkward.  No problems with the Plan d’Aiguille to Montenvers traverse.  The Planpraz lift is open but the Flegere lift only opens on the 17th June.  No problems going to the Col Cornu and back but there is still snow on the path to the Col de la Glière and the lakes in this area remained covered. The Chésery Lakes are accessible and reappearing from under the snow.  However, there is still a lot of snow towards Lac Blanc, which remains iced over.

Because of work being carried out, it is forbidden to use the approach to Flégère by the main track, (Lanchers piste,) including all the paths that cross it, until 28th July, (Council decision)..  This also means there is no access via the Floria Cafe

Some snow remains on the last part up to the Jonction, take care!

Condition are much improved for the Tour du Mont Blanc, though some sections still demand care and good equipment.


- Albert 1er:  Until the lifts open this coming weekend, the approach to the hut is either by the moraine or by Charmillon.  On the Chardonnet, the Forbes Ridge and the Migot Spur have been climbed; some ice not in good condition but basically OK.  No particular problems experienced on the descent by the normal route.  The normal routes on the Aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche and Petite Fourche are in good condition.  The first third of the Table Couloir is dry, making the Table Ridge a better choice.   The Copt couloir was climbed on 10/06; there is an ice section in the middle, though conditions OK for the moment by keeping to the left.  

- Argentière: No information for the moment.

- Couvercle: climbing has started on the Moine, (normal route and S ridge,) the Nonne and the Evêque. The Whymper Coulir is still being climbed but conditions are deteriorating, the final ridge has become narrow and with soft snow.  A party completed the Couturier, where the conditions seem to remain OK for the moment.  The normal route on the Droites is tracked, as is part of the Courtes traverse.  The Pointe Isabelle remains feasible, though several of the snow bridges are becoming delicate.  Nobody has attempted Jardin Ridge yet and it does not look like crossing the bergschrund will be feasible for much longer.  


- Leschaux:  The hut is open; approach by the new ladders, taking care on the moraine.  The traverse from the Couvercle is OK, even though several snow patches remain. No problems for the approach to the Périades.  The Petites Jorasses looks to be in good condition.  There is still too much snow on the Walker Spur, (Grande Jorasses.)

- Le Requin: Good climbing in this sector, (Renaudie, Congo Star, Pierre Alain normal route, Chapeau à Cornes). Crevasses are appearing on the way back up the Valley Blanche, take care with snow bridges weakened by the heat.


- Envers des Aiguilles: The hut should open on the 16th June.  There are still a few snow patches between the ladders and the hut.  Some routes have been climbed recently in this sector but no further information.  The rock looks to be free of snow. 

- Torino:  A lot of activity in this sector; with the Marbrées and Entrêves traverses, Dent du Géant, Rochefort Arete (very narrow in places,) and the SE Ridge, N face and Gervasutti Couloir on the Tour Ronde in condition for the moment.  Parties are rock climbing on the Tacul satelittes.  The Kuffner ridge has been done but there are large cornices after the Androsace.and the warden recommends waiting still for better conditions.
The Brenva Spur has also been done, the bergschrund could prove awkward.  Theoretically, there should be no problems for the Aiguilles du Diable.

- Cosmiques:  Traverse of the Valley Blanche and the 3 Monts in condition.  There has been activity on the Contamine routes and the Chere couloir, (Tacul Triangle).  The bergschrund on the Grisolle is awkward.  Lots of parties on the Cosmiques Ridge and the traverse of the Pointes Lachenal. A party turned back on the Midi-Plan because of poor re-freezing.
Good rock climbing conditions in this sector.

- Plan de l’Aiguille:  Parties climbing on the Aig d’M and the Peigne, crampons useful for the snow patches.  The Frendo Spur and the Mallory-Porter have been done, no further information.

- Grands Mulets: Though it is still just possible to do Mont Blanc with skis, it is now better on foot.  The traverse of the Jonction requires care but is still OK for the moment; (though becareful not to return too late in the day.)  Very good conditions for the N Ridge of the Dôme with only 2 x 15m sections of ice. The N face of Mont Blanc is in bad condition.

- Goûter:  Very popular, with good conditions for the Mont Blanc normal route. Be aware of the time of day and the risk of stonefall in the Grand Couloir.  The cable is now in place in the couloir.

- Plan Glacier: The Mettrier Ridge intégrale is mostly dry, crampons needed for the last 400 metres.  There are some snow patches on the hut approach from the Col de Tricot, but none that cause a problem.

- Conscrits: The summer approach path is nearly completely free of snow and OK for properly equipped hikers.  There is a very good track on the Dômes de Miage, which has a narrow and airy section on the traverse. Mont Tondu and the traverse of the Aiguilles de Tré la Tête have been done in OK conditions. 
No information for the Bionnassay ridge, though it will certainly have been done.  Attention, however, with the poor re-freezing conditions.  

- Robert Blanc:  Good conditions for the alpinists, though snow remains on some of the footpaths.  Crampons and experience needed for crossing the Col du Bonhomme.

Report 7th June 2017

After the last few days of stormy weather, the forecast is now better. Since last weekend there has been about 30cm of new snow at 4000m and about 10cm at 2700m. At altitude, the snow is very windblown and the tracks have disappeared, for example on the Tacul.  The rock routes have a dusting of snow and will need a few days before they are dry again.

Activity in the high mountain is gradually starting again.

- Albert 1er Sector:  The approach to the hut remains by the moraine.  The normal routes on the Aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche, Petite Fourche and the Table Ridge (Tour) should be feasible. The Forbes Ridge looks to be in condition.

- Argentière Sector:  No information.

- Couvercle Sector: This morning (7th June) there was 10cm of wet snow at the hut.  Skis or Snow shoes are no longer necessary so long as one is away and back early enough.  The lower part of the Whymper is dry with danger of stonefall.  It is too early in the season for rock routes in this sector.

- Torino: 20cm of new snow with a wind predominantly from the North.  Parties left this morning for the Dent du Geant and the Aiguilles d’Entrêves.  The “Panoramic” bubbles are due to start running on Thursday (8th June).

- Cosmiques: about 20cm of new snow with strong winds this morning, mainly from the west.  The Laurence Ridge, the Cosmiques Ridge, the Pointes Lachenal traverse and the Chéré Couloir are all feasible.  Take care, there is a lot of unstable snow on the slopes of the Tacul.  

- Grands Mulets: about 15cm of fresh, melting snow. The traverses from the Plan de l’Aiguille and the Bossons glacier remain OK but it is necessary to carry the skis in several places and some sections on the glacier require care.

- Goûter: several parties left for the summit this morning.  The Bellevue cable car is due to open on Saturday (10th June), which will make the approach to the normal route up Mont Blanc easier.   The cable has not yet been re-installed for the traverse of the Grand Couloir.

- Les Conscrits: conditions are looking good.  Parties left for the Bérangère this morning.  The summer approach to the hut, (via the suspension bridge) is open but crampons and ice axe are essential. The approach by the glacier remains feasible but it is necessary to go to the very end of the “Mauvais Pas” to cross the torrent.


Conditions on the hiking trails have not changed much with problems starting above 2200/2300m. Good equipment is needed, especially for the Tour of Mont Blanc (TMB), i.e. good mountain boots, hiking poles, gaiters and possibly crampons.  The Col du Bonhomme, the Arp Vieille traverse towards Chécrouit and the Grand Col Ferret are the crux sections.

Above the Chamonix valley, the lakes at altitude are still under snow.  Nearer to Servoz, the Pormenaz lake can be approached via La Chorde but there is still a lot of snow on the route from Pormenaz chalets.
Some snow patches remain on the Grand Balcon Nord traverse but these should not be a problem for the well equipped walker.

The Planpraz lift is due to open this weekend.  There is still a lot of snow in this sector, especially if north facing.  Avoid travelling too “light”.