MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS 02/07/20
An update for the end of the week.
The recent rainstorms deposited a small amount of snow above 3600m.
The lift system here opens for the season this weekend. There are still snow patches on the traverse from the top of the Autannes chairlift, (Charamillon lake sector).
Generally good conditions : Aiguille du Tour (Table Ridge and normal route), Tête Blanche, (normal route, the bergshrund on the N face looks to be OK,) Aiguille du Chardonnet (Forbes Ridge, Migot Spur) are all popular. The Purtcheller S Ridge is also feasible.
The Plan Joran lift is open at the weekends. During the week, alpinists with a reservation at the Argentière hut can use the lift. (It should be possible from 3rd July to buy a ticket online at the CMB website (https://www.montblancnaturalresort.com/en /). However, it will not be possible descend with the lift. For more information contact the hut directly.
Glacier du Milieu, Jardin Ridge (early start!) - Charlet-Straton - Flèche Rousse are in good condition. It is probably over for the Y Couloir. For the N faces and notably the Couturier (the couloir looks to be in good condition,) the slow re-freezing at this time makes the approaches difficult, (soft snow on the glacier) and all the parties have turned back lately.
No problems for the rock routes!
From this weekend the Montenvers train will run daily.
A party has done the Dru traverse. The glacier is chaotic but passable. Still some snow on the “ Z” passage and the upper part, (not a problem.)
It is over for the Y Couloir, the Cardinal and the Sans Nom (too hot).
The rock is snow free on the Evèque , (Contamine has been done) and on the Flammes de Pierre.
No new information since the last update. It is possible that the snow routes will still be feasible if there is a good freeze.
The Moine ridge will certainly still have snow, giving mixed conditions.
The rock routes on the Moine should be feasible (normal route, S Ridge, Contamine).
There is still a lot of snow on the balcon path, crampons very useful.
It is over for the SW gully of the Eboulement. The Périades may be possible given a good freeze, (glacier OK).
The rock routes above the hut , on the Aiguille de Leschaux and the Petites Jorasses, (glacier approach OK,) are snow free .
Envers des Aiguilles Sector
The hut opened on the 30th June.
On the approach, care is needed on the moraines. There are still three snow patches on the traverse to the hut.
Not much activity other than a party on the Republique normal route and the Grépon-Mer de Glace face. The bergshrund is technical to cross, currently best on the right. Be aware there is some snow waiting to come down from the gully overhanging the shared part of the two routes. The latest information is that the Nantillons glacier is in reasonable condition. .
The rock routes on the Pointes des Nantillons are being done, (e.g. L'homme du Rio Grande).
Plan de l'Aiguille Sector
The Frendo Spur is being done regularly, (exit on the right). The Mallory looks to be dry in the lower part.
The routes are being climbed on the Peigne (Papillons Arete, Contamine Vaucher, SW ridge), the Pilier Rouge de Blaitière, the Lames Fontaines, NE ridge of the M (crampons not needed; the N face routes e,g. the Couzy, are likely to be wet after the storms). The approach to the slabs on the Peigne is exposed to a landslip zone. Crampons are useful for the traverse of the Petits Charmoz.
There is no recent information for the Cordier Pillar or the Charmoz-Grepon, (snow possible on the ledges,) which look to be feasible.
Aiguille du Midi Sector
There was rain, snow and hail at the hut the other night !
The Tacul was re-tracked, (fairly hard work,) on Thursday in good conditions. A party also left for the Trois Monts. The Mont Maudit is still ascended via a little gully on the left, (2 axes recommended) or at the exit to the Kuffner, (some bare ice on the slope to reach the ridge, the descent is not obvious from the summit to re-join the track towards the Col de la Brenva).
No recent news for the Midi-Plan. Snow mushrooms and cornices have turned back parties on the narrow section after the Rognon. .
No comments for the Cosmiques Ridge, Pointes Lachenal, Lolo ( Laurence ) traverses.
The Valley Blanche traverse is well tracked, (not too crevassed.) No track on the climb up from the Requin hut.
The S faces (Aiguille du Midi, Pointes Lachenal) and the Tacul satellites (Pyramide du Tacul, Pointe Adolphe Rey, Grand Capucin etc) are being climbed. On the other hand, it is still too early for the Gervasutti Pillar.
Helbronneur / Grandes Jorasses Sector
Parties are frequently seen on the Rochefort Arete , Dent du Géant (avoid descending too late in the day from the Salle à Manger), Marbrées and Aiguilles d'Entrèves traverses, N Face and Gervasutti couloir (Tour Ronde), Kuffner Ridge and Aiguilles du Diable traverse.
No information yet for the traverse of the Grandes Jorasses (snow/verglas above the Canzio?).
The normal route on the Grandes Jorasses was done last week. Still a lot of snow and the parties went to the right of the Rochers du Reposoir. Since then, the rocks may have dried.
Mont Blanc Italian (Monzino/ Gonella) Sector
The Aiguille Croux, Punta Innominata, and Innominata ridge are popular, (good freeze needed to go up to the Eccles).
The Peuterey integral and the Brouillard Ridge, (feasible by the Col Emile Rey with a good freeze,) have not been done yet.
Climbs on the Brouillard Red Pillars are being done.
The Voie du Pape (Italian normal route for the Mont Blanc) is being done if the freezing conditions allow, (snow on the Col des Aiguilles Grises). The window for the Tournette Spur is going to be very short, (the slope above the Quintino still has snow but not for long, after the Spur is mostly dry.)
Dômes de Miage / Bionnassay Sector
It rained up to the summit of the Dômes de Miage. Conditions are good for the traverse, ( the ridge is reasonably broad with no ice but crevasses are beginning to appear on the glacier.) No comments for the Aiguille de la Bérangère. Still plenty of snow on Mont Tondu, (snow sluffs below the Lanchettes).
Due to poor re-freezing there has been no recent activity on the Tré la Tête, Lée Blanche etc.
Arête Mettrier : This was done a few days ago in mixed conditions. The route taken was basically the Integral : the first part was very dry, the second part was on snow and the final ridge gave mixed climbing.
Tricot Ridge : the Brèche Chapelland has dried out terribly, (stonefall danger.)
For the Plan Glacier hut approach there are still some snow patches on the traverse from the Col de Tricot, (experienced hikers only). From Miage, there is hardly any snow left on the path but the footbridge at the level of the Ours moraine is not yet in place, (wet feet crossing the torrent!)
There is still plenty of snow on the way up to the Durier hut. Remember that the way up to this hut is an alpine route and not to be underestimated. An early start is needed to minimise stonefall risk.
The Aiguille de Bionnassay traverse is in good condition, (no ice).
Goûter/Grands Mulets Sector
The Mont Blanc normal route remains in good condition.
It is just about over for skiers. It is perhaps possible by N ridge of Dôme du Goûter, (which is almost completely with snow and the Jonction is still OK,) with a descent by the normal route
Most of the hiking trails are now free of snow, exceptions being the Cornu and Noir lakes, the Buet, Albert 1er hut from the Autannes chairlift and the Col de la Terrasse.