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                                                                MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS 16/08/20

A general update on conditions based on recent information received by Chamoniarde from various sources.

Italian Side of Mont Blanc

Climbing continues in the Monzino sector, e.g. Vitale Ratti on the Noire and on the Aiguille Croux. The best approach to the Eccles is still by the glacier. The Freney is still being done. The approach to the Pilier Rouge has become more complicated, it is necessary to go via the Eccles.

There is no recent information for the normal Italian route up Mont Blanc.

In the Helbronner sector the bergschrunds are OK for the climbs on the satellites, with the exception of the Pyramide du Tacul, which is delicate. There are no particular problems for the traverses of the Aiguilles d'Entrêves and Marbrées. The approach to the Salle à Manger, (Dent de Geant) is dry. It is important to keep to the track and be wary of stone fall from other parties, (or your own.)  The Rochefort ridge remains OK.  The traverse of the Jorasses is being done regularly. The normal route on the Jorasses is also still being done but it is at the limit. There is ice higher up, (2 ice axes recommended, ice screws), the glaciers are passable but have some large crevasses/holes.

Conscrits Sector

Dômes de Miage traverse: The Tré la Tête glacier is still in good condition.  The ridge is all on snow but the descent to the col de la Bérangère is awkward with sections of ice, (good crampon skills needed). Doing the traverse west to east is easier.  
It is over for the traverse of the Aiguilles de Tré la Tête as the North Aiguille summit ridge and the Col des Glaciers are completely ice. For the Pain de Sucre and Mont Tondu there are some good snow slopes which allow most of the ice to be avoided on the way to the summit.
Snow patches help on the descent from the Aiguille de la Bérangère.

Durier Sector

Conditions for the Bionnassay ridge are good, all on snow and with a good track.  The descent is awkward, foresee a night in the Gouter  to allow an early morning descent,

Aiguilles de Chamonix Sector

- Peigne : since the landslip in the Papillons couloir, parties have been seen on the ridge and the normal route.  The couloir is pockmarked from impacts but this does not seem to have affected progression.

- Charmoz-Grépon : the bergschrund at the base is very wide.  It was still passable on the 8th and 9th August by climbing down into it, (this could change).   The Nantillons Glacier has some sections of ice; no information concerning the rockfall risk.

- Pilier Rouge de Blaitière : there is a ramp of snow for the approach.

- Aiguille de l'M : no comments


Cosmiques Sector

The Tacul is still climbable but the snow bridges are weakening, notably in the middle section.  There has been no feedback for the crossing of Mont Maudit.  It was re-tracked on 15th August, (30 cms of fresh snow.)

The Cosmiques Ridge remains very dry. There have been reports of some unstable blocks and water seepage at the exit chimney, ( to be kept an eye on)

Activity on the Pointes Lachenal traverse has been limited.  There is a large bergschrund and also ice, which was covered by thin layer of snow on the 13th August.  Many parties have turned back before the abseil, (large blocks standing on unstable sand/gravel.)  The last Point is to be avoided, as the descent is exposed to seracs

The bergschrunds for the rock routes in this sector remain passable, for the moment.

Envers des Aiguilles Sector

The bergschrunds for Marchand de Sable - Pedro Polar have become awkward. It would appear the bridge across the Grépon-République bergschund has collapsed, (awaiting conformation). Stone fall was reported yesterday in the Bec d'Oiseau gully (do not hang about below the faces).  Crampons are needed to reach the foot of the routes. The other bergschrunds in the sector are OK.

Charpoua Sector

The glacier is becoming more chaotic, but still passable by the lower track.  The Drus traverse therefore, remains feasible. The Moine is being climbed on regularly (Voie du Druide - Sale Athée), and also the Flammes de Pierre. Crampons are needed for the approach to the Contamine on the Évêque.
The hut closes on the 27th August.

Couvercle Sector

The glacier is still OK for the S ridge and normal routes on the Moine. For the E face, there are no problems with the bergschrund, (the snow is remains reasonably high up to the face).   The Nonne-Évêque traverse is still being done.  The bergschrund for the Moine Ridge on the Verte is challenging and should be checked out first, (awaiting further information.)

Leschaux Sector

The rock routes on the Aiguille de Pierre à Joseph, Leschaux and Petites Jorasses are in condition.

Numerous parties did the Walker Spur, (Cassin) last week, (with stone fall linked to its popularity).  Conditions are likely to change with for rain/snow forecasted.  Contact the hut for more information.



Argentière Sector:

Here rock climbing is the name of the game!

Tour Sector

The normal routes on the Aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche, Petite Fourche and the S Ridge of the Purtcheller are still being done.

Emosson Sector

The dam will be closed for the entire day on the 18th August.  There will be no access the Loriaz path,  Vieux Emosson, Vieux hut or the dinosaur prints area.