MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS 17/06/2019
Finally, some weather that could be called “summer”.
The snow is rapidly melting from the mid mountain and the trails are becoming more and more popular for properly equipped hikers. Note: some paths remain unadvisable to non-alpinist hikers. For example, the north side of the Aiguilles Rouges (Aiguillette des Houches from the Brévent, Col du Brévent, Lac Cornu and Lacs Noirs, Col de la Glière, Col de Salenton / Buet), Nid d'Aigle, Jonction, Grand Balcon Nord, Albert Premier, Col de la Terrasse.
With a return of good weather, there is a need for prudence. The rescue organizations fear there could be an increase in the number of accidents as a result of people slipping on hard snows. This could be particularly bad because the snow is now in patches, meaning a slide could end up into rocks. Also, there is a risk of snow bridges collapsing when crossing mountain streams.
Ice axe and crampons are still necessary to reach some climbing areas in the Aiguilles (The approaches to the Chéserys and Mont Oreb are dry).
In the high mountain, the conditions are now more typical for this time of year. The snow is firmer, with the recent snowfall stabilizing quickly. It is, however, soft in the afternoon. Snowshoes are no longer essential. Generally, the classic snow and mixed routes are in good condition, (assuming a good night-time freeze). The rock routes on the S faces are Ok but it is still early for the long ridge routes and the N facing rock climbs.
It is still recommended to approach the hut by the moraine. The traverse approach from Charamillon and the Autannes chairlift has sections of snow, where a slip would have serious consequences: hikers are advised not to use this option.
Aiguille du Tour and Table Ridge are OK. There is still some deep snow in the Table Couloir. The normal route is in good condition.
-Tête Blanche and Petite Fourche are OK.
-Parties went today, Monday, for the Dorées traverse and the S ridge of the Purtscheller, no further information.
-The Chardonnet is not yet tracked. The snow looks to be stable on the upper slopes of the Migot.
The Plan Joran lift and the Argentière hut are open. Generally, conditions are good. The hut approach is by the winter route and by the ladders, tracked by skis and foot. With skis, the approach is also possible by the Col des Rachasses and the Rognon glacier.
Good ski conditions for the Col du Tour Noir.
The Couturier was done in OK condition, (some ice), the bergschrund goes on the right.
It is too early for the Tournier (too much snow)). The N faces (Droites, Courtes) are still dry.
The Courtes NE and the Col des Cristaux have purged and look to be feasible (on foot).
Aiguille d'Argentière: this Monday there were parties on the Y couloir and the Flèche Rousse Ridge, (should be in good condition). The Glacier du Milieu looks OK (on foot).
The rock climbs in this sector are drying rapidly.
The hut is open, (new tel. No. +33667250866). There is still a lot of snow on the hut approach, not recommended for hikers.
The Y Couloir is still feasible but maybe not for long. The same is true for the Cardinal and the Sans Nom.
The Flammes de Pierre are very dry. The Drus traverse is not yet in condition.
Good conditions in this sector. Snowshoes are no longer essential, though the snow does become soft in the afternoon.
The Whymper Couloir, Col Armand Charlet and the normal route on the Droites are all popular.
The normal routes on the Courtes and Pointe Isabelle are not yet tracked but look to be OK.
The Courtes traverse and the Aiguille du Moine look feasible, (S Ridge and E Face are dry but still snow patches on the normal route, care needed, especially when descending.
The hut is open. There is snow on the Leschaux glacier; the ladders are OK. The balcon path still has a lot of snow. It is tracked but wearing crampons and carrying an ice axe is essential.
The snow routes are in very good condition, (SE couloir of the Éboulement and Périades are tracked). The rock routes behind the hut are dry
It is still too early Petites Jorasses. The N face of the Grandes Jorasses is very dry, though still plastered low down. (It is too early for the Walker.)
Envers des Aiguilles / Requin
The Requin hut is open and the Envers hut opens on the 25/06.
There is nothing special to note about the approach from Montenvers; still plenty of snow. It remains possible to get to the Requin on skis from the Aiguille du Midi.
The rock climbing areas below the Envers hut are virtually dry. The longer routes higher up are not yet in condition.
Near the Requin, the Aiguille de Pierre-Alain and the Chapeau à Corne Ridge (Dent du Requin) are dry. The Renaudie still has a couple of snow patches.
The Vallée Blanche has been ascended on skis though not yet on foot.
Aiguille du Midi
As stated in last week’s bulletin, conditions are awkward on the Cosmiques Ridge near the rockfall zone. It is now recommended to reach the gap by making an 8m abseil on the NW side and then bypass a pinnacle, still on the NW side, after the gap.
Conditions are OK for the Triangle du Tacul, (need now to overnight at the hut.) The normal route on the Tacul is tracked both by foot and ski
The Pointes Lachenal traverse is in good condition.
Midi-Plan Ridge is tracked as far as the Rognon with a descent to the Requin hut.
The S faces are being rock climbed, though some snow remains on the ledges.
Plan de l'Aiguille
The Eugster Diagonal and the Mallory have been climbed. (It is necessary to either sleep at the hut or bivouac at the foot of the route.) There was a party on the Frendo Spur, even though it is not dry yet. The Papillons Ridge and the other rock routes in the area are also not dry yet.
It is now necessary to carry the skis for 20 to 30 minutes from the Plan de l'Aiguille.
Crossing the Jonction is still OK. The conditions on the N ridge of the Dôme du Goûter have deteriorated due to strong winds, (15 m of ice, requires steel crampons and perhaps two ice axes.)
The N face was skied on the true left, in good conditions. The Corridor route was also skied, no further info. (Verglas on the Mur de la Côte)
Mont Blanc by the Aiguille du Goûter
There is still no date for the opening of the final stage of the TMB up to the Nid d'Aigle.
The Nid d'Aigle hut will open on the 19th June. There is still plenty of snow above this, so it is better to via the true right bank of the Bionnassay glacier than via the Barraque des Rognes.
The cable for crossing the Grand Couloir is in place. The snow is hard on the Bosses Ridge.
Plan Glacier / Durier
The approach is by the Moraine de l'Ours with the snow starting around 2630 m. The Contrebandiers footpath, (which traverses in from the Col de Tricot,) is not yet being used; it still has snow patches.
- The Mettrier Ridge has been done in good conditions, (snow all the way).
- The classic approach to the Durier hut is not tracked but should be OK. (Up to now, the parties have come to it either by the Mettrier or the Dômes de Miage).
- A party did a “there and back” and another the traverse of the Aiguille de Bionnassay on Monday; no further information.
Trè la Tête Sector
The approach remains by the Mauvais Pas and the glacier.
Mont Tondu is tracked.
Conditions are good for the Dômes de Miage traverse and the Bérangère. The snow on the Armancette glacier is very hard in the morning, one needs to be confident with crampons.
There has been nobody recently either on the Lée Blanche (though a party is foreseen to do it on Tuesday) or the Aiguille de Trè-la-Tête.
The glacier is in good condition. The ridge after Piton des Italiens is broad and without ice.
The hut is open. There is still a small snow field to cross to reach the hut. Only the Ottoz on the Croux has been done recently. The Innominata should be feasible, (needs a “hero” to break trail!)
The Tour Ronde (N Face, Gervasutti Couloir, Col Freshfield), Aiguilles d'Entrèves, Aiguille de Toule, Dent du Géant (some verglas on Monday morning) are all in good condition and are being done regularly.
A party turned back on the Rochefort Ridge due to too much snow.
A party is foreseen for the Kuffner on Tuesday.
People are starting to rock climb on the Satellites, even though they is still a bit damp
The hut opens on the 22nd June. There is a lot of snow above 2800/3000 m. The SE Ridge of the Aiguille de Savoie, (Preuss route,) is in mixed conditions.
Mont Dolent was done 16/06 in good conditions on skis from the Italian Val Ferret, (put the skis on at about 2100m).