MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS 13/07/20
This summer has not had any periods of excessive heat, meaning conditions in the mountain are mostly OK. Be aware that there is a bad weather forecast for this Wednesday.
For a change, this update starts with information for hikers. Most of the paths are now snow free and there are a lot of walkers everywhere.
The sector between the Col Cornu and the Col de la Glière, and including the part above the Index chairlift, remain problematical because of patches of hard snow. The have been several accidents and for those without the necessary experience and equipment it is better to choose from one of the many other options.
There is still a large snow patch, (exposed but with a good track) on the path from Charamillon/Autannes to the Albert 1er hut.
Likewise, there are snow patches on the Tour des Aiguilles Rouges, (Col du Brévent, Col de Salenton), du Buet and in the Emosson sector.)
On the Tour du Mont Blanc, the Fours and Arpette variations are now feasible for correctly equipped hikers, (good boots and poles.)
For rock climbers, crampons are no longer necessary in the Planpraz/Brévent sector. They remain a good idea for the area between Chapelle de la Glière and the Aiguille de la Persévérance (Index/Lac Blanc/Crochues sector).
For the Plan de l'Aiguille, crampons are no longer necessary for the Aiguille de l'M, Papillons Arete and the normal route on the Peigne.
In the high mountain, for once, the conditions are not deteriorating too quickly. There has not been a lot of change since the last update. In general, the classic snow and mixed routes are slowly becoming drier but mostly still OK,(though the approach might be more awkward for some routes.) Examples of routes in condition are: the Aiguille du Tour (Table ridge & normal route), Purtscheller S ridge, Tête Blanche & Petite Fourche, Aiguille du Chardonnet (Forbes Ridge and Migot spur; (take care at a snow bridge below the Col Adam Reilly on the descent), Aiguille d'Argentière (Flèche Rousse ridge & Glacier du Milieu), Frendo Spur (ice on the exit), Midi-Plan (traverses on the N side already a bit dry), Cosmiques Ridge & Pointes Lachenal, Triangle du Tacul (Chéré and Contamine Grisolle), Mont Blanc by the Trois Monts (crossing the Maudit remains technical, to be avoided in descent) ,Kuffner Ridge, (best approached by the direct gully, be aware thatthe rocks below the Androsace are unstable), Dent du Géant & Rochefort Ridge, Aiguilles d'Entrèves traverse (very popular), Tour Ronde (Gervasutti couloir, N face, SE ridge), Innominata Ridge, Voie du Pape and the Aiguilles Grises on Mont Blanc, Aiguille des Glaciers & Kuffner ridge, Dômes de Miage traverse, Mettrier Ridge intégrale, traverse of the Aiguille de Bionnassay, Mont Blanc par le Goûter.
The weather window last week favoured a lot of activity on the “grandes courses” . with for example the Peigne-Pélerins-Deux Aigles-Plan traverse, Charmoz-Grepon, Grepon Mer de glace, Ryan Ridge, traverse of the Chamonix Aiguilles, Drus traverse, Moine and Jardin ridges on the Verte, Jardin ridge on the Aiguille d'Argentière, the Cassin, (Walker Spur), on the Grandes Jorasses N face (still quite a bit of snow), Traverse of the Grandes-Jorasses, Gervasutt Pillar, traverse of the Aiguilles du Diable, Peuterey Intregal, Brouillard ridge being done.
On the other hand, it is over for the N faces in the Argentière sector (Couturier, the others have never really come into condition !), the Y couloir, the col and Aiguille du Tour Noir, the descent by the Envers du Plan glacier,Mallory & Eugster.
Rock climbing is popular just about everywhere e.g. Aiguilles Rouges, Argentière sector, Charpoua / Talèfre /Leschaux, Requin/Envers des Aiguilles, Plan de l'Aiguille, Valley Blanche sector/ Tacul satellites, Monzino/Envers du Mont Blanc.
The mountains are proving to be very popular. With climate change, the period when some routes are in condition at the start of the season is becoming shorter and shorter, requiring a change in habits. The bivouac sites can be busy (though bivving could be a good idea at the moment!) Also, the routes can be crowded, (delays, stone fall etc.) .
- Stonefall on the Tournier Spur (Droites) on 09/07
- Landslip from the Tricot ridge on 8/07