La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 31 May 2024.

Last update for this month of May-vember!
After our short spell of fine weather on Tuesday, it's been yet another wet week!
No major changes in conditions. It's still snowing up there and in the "moyenne montagnes", everything is melting very slowly but the snow cover is still substantial for hiking above 2000m.
When we woke up this morning, the ground was white up to 2000m.
More than 50cm of light snow has fallen at the Goûter and Cosmiques huts, and 30cm of wind-blown at the Helbronner! Watch out for the risk of avalanches/purges over the next few days!
So there are no major changes in the high mountains. The transition between skiing and alpinism is proving difficult! Please refer to the previous update or call La Chamoniarde if the information you are looking for is not below!
The Conscrits refuge is still open. ‘The Conscrits summer footpath will be “open” on 18 June (work on the footbridge is scheduled for 17 and 18 June). In the meantime, you have to access the refuge via the glacier, a route that has become very wet. As in previous years, you now have to climb up the LEFT BANK and avoid the gorge on the right bank (the former Tré la Grande ice slope) where a fall could be fatal. You need to cross the torrent on the flat bit (there's a snow bridge that you can still cross) at the point where, if you go into the water, you will only get wet (and not drown). The rocky bar on the left bank is equipped and goes smoothly. Very soon, the passage through the bar will be reinforced with a rope and a small temporary footbridge will be installed to cross the torrent (see photo below). Up above, probably no changes.
The Plan Glacier refuge has been open since yesterday. It's dry up to 2300m above the Chalets de Miage. On the way down, you can ski to 1900m. Above, travel is only possible on skis for the time being. The Mettrier arête was done in excellent conditions last weekend, and the N face of Les Dômes has also been skied (last weekend).
The Durier refuge will open on 15/06. Quite a few skiers on the N face of Bionnassay in recent weeks (access via the Nid d'Aigle/Tête Rousse: don't forget the portage, skis on at the Nid d'Aigle).
The Nid d'Aigle refuge will open on 3/06. The Tête Rousse and Goûter huts are open. As a reminder, the TMB and cable car are closed (the Bellevue lift will open on 8/06) = you have to walk! Snow clearing and work in progress on the railway line + a ban on walking introduced by the APHN = access via the Crozat and the Chalets de l'Are for most people, no information on the Rognes. There is a good footpath from the Nid d'Aigle, so snowshoes are not essential. On the other hand, you shouldn't try to open up a variant because as soon as you leave it, you will be wading around.
The cable has been reinstalled in the Goûter couloir and is accessible, as are those in the upper part of the face below the refuge. Before the snow, there was a good track that will soon be remade. Beyond that, snowshoes were not necessary, but they could prove useful for retracking the route between the Goûter refuge and Vallot (this section is in very good condition). The Bosses ridge remains technical at the ‘mauvais arete’: it is narrow, there is ice on the Italian side and the passage on the N side is not necessarily ideal. There's an abalakov in place (to be confirmed!!!) and it's a 30m pitch: ‘Mont Blanc is still a climbers mountain’!
If there is a weather window, Mont Blanc on skis via the Grands Mulets refuge is still in good condition. Some bits of skis on/off between Plan de l'Aiguille and the glacier. The Jonction higher path is changing and opening up, but it's still OK for the moment. The Jonction lower path was retracked on 30/05.
The North ridge of the Dôme is snowy, with only a short section of ice on the last step. For the Bosses ridge, see above.
The most popular route is: plateaus, Corridor and the Mur de la côte (which is skiable). The ascent via the plateaus remains very exposed to serac falls.
The descent via the north face of Mont Blanc was made again this week in fresh snow.
Aiguille du Midi and the Cosmiques refuge area:
The Panoramic opened last weekend.
For the Trois Monts, we have to solve the equation weather + snowpack stability = not easy lately. But very good conditions when it does!
Otherwise no changes (activity on the Lachenal, Triangle, Cosmiques arête)! The approaches (including the crossing of the Vallée Blanche) are being done on foot (they will have to be tracked).
There was a big fall of seracs below the Col du Diable in the usual place (between the Pyramide du Tacul and the Pointe Adolphe Rey), so best to keep your distance there.
The rock has a hard time drying out between the snow falls, but the S faces will dry out quickly when the high pressure returns.
The Skyway and the Torino refuge are open. Still lots of skiers in the area. Lots of teams traversing the Marbrées and the Aiguilles d'Entrêves. The Tour Ronde is in good condition: the ‘normal route’ is all snow; the N face was climbed on 28/05 in good conditions (rimaye ok, some black ice on the surface in the gully, beware of the risk of avalanche on the upper slope) as was the Gervasutti couloir (rimaye blocked, all snow). The approaches are tracked on foot.
The Montenvers train will reopen tomorrow, Saturday 1 June, as will the gondola to the Mer de Glace and all the access paths = back to normal!
The Couvercle guardian will be back with the first bookings (perhaps tomorrow or Sunday), until then the winter refuge is accessible. Access is not easy at this time of year: the winter access routes (central couloir, Pierre à Béranger) are no longer passable and it's a bit early to take the path from the top of the ladders (snowy couloirs, exposed to avalanches/purges). The best option is to check with the guardian. Above the refuge, it's as white as everywhere else!
The Requin will open on 15/06, Leschaux on 11/06, l'Envers on 14/06, date to be announced for the Charpoua!
No news (= good news) from the Argentière glacier area (refuge opening on 20/06, there will be mountaineering mechanical uplift this summer).
Access to the Albert 1er refuge (open) is still via the moraine path. The summer path from the top of the ski lifts is still too snowy and dangerous (there was an accident last weekend, see photo below).
The classic routes are being done on foot (which can be quite tricky) and on skis: Aiguille du Tour normal route, Couloir de la Table (currently very snowy), Tête Blanche normal route. There's been no recent activity on the Chardonnet (‘very good snow cover, and good conditions to come once the snowpack has settled’).
For hiking, don't go above 2000m if you want to be safe! Don't forget to call La Chamoniarde to check out the feasibility of your project!
Hiking on the Tour du Mont Blanc is off to a very slow start (refuges are opening and the first hikers are warming up). The cols and high altitude sections are very snowy. These are not névés but long stretches of snow, which means:
- Paths and markings not visible = risk of getting lost
- Walking for a long time in the snow = more physical or even exhausting stages if you have to (re)track, have good hiking boots + gaiters (snow gets wet!)
- Risk of slipping/falling: carry and know how to use crampons or even a small ice axe (snow is slippery!)
- Take care when crossing streams and torrents so as not to fall through and get swept away.
In these conditions, it is only for very experienced, trained and adequately equipped hikers. Most hikers who set off at the moment turn back (remember to do so before it's too late!).
Finally, here's some other news:
- The opening of the Bossons chairlift has been be postponed (repair work)
- Emosson dam road has been open since Thursday
- A static rope has been installed to access the Vipère etc routes (Barberine), as the existing rope was damaged.

Translated with kind permission from an original report by La Chamoniarde.

Readers are reminded that conditions in mountain environments are prone to (sometimes rapid) change and that they should use their own best judgement when visiting them.