MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS 23/07/2021
A quick update following a week of good weather.
A thank you to all those who sent in their reports to the OHM. It is much appreciated and do not hesitate to continue sending them either directly by telephone, (the same number as that used for asking for info, 04 50 53 22 08 ), by email or directly in to the route book.
It has taken some time for all the snow that fell the previous week to settle and stabilise. The freezing has not always been ideal but better these last few days, (need wait and see what happens over the next days.)
These conditions have generally allowed for numerous mixed routes to be done, which is not bad for the second half of July ! Also the rock routes are being climbed, (the bergschrunds are holding up well) and even some major routes (Grand Courses), though for some others it is still too early, (or too late!)
Some snow remains below the hut but not a problem for hikers.
There is a good track for the Aiguille du Tour (via the Col du Tour or Col Supérieur du Tour), the Tête Blanche and the Petite Fourche. The Table Ridge continues to be popular.
The Forbes Ridge and the Migot Spur were tracked at the start of the week, after the snow settled. The descent is OK.
There have been a lot of parties on the Aiguille d'Argentière either by the Glacier du Milieu (starting to soften in the narrows, belays with slings possible,) the Flèche Rousse ridge or the Jardin ridge.
Also, a lot of rock climbing in this sector.
It is over, (never really started,) for Tournier Spur on the Droites and probably for the Charlet-Straton.
A party (courageous, given the approach without the cable car) did the Grands Montets Ridge in good conditions, despite the recent snow, (it took more than 1h to get around the Pointe Ségogne). They bivvied before the snow dome and descended by the Moine ridge, (lots of snow.)
A lot of activity on the Drus: the N face (Pierre-Alain), the W face (American Direct), the S face (Bastien - Contamine, still wet) and on the traverse (approach and descent low down on the glacier, which is in perfect condition. Crampons used on the triangular snowfield and on the traverse between the Petit and Grand Dru, some ice.)
Feels like "canyoning" on the abseil descent, “dry treated” ropes recommended.
Rock climbing on the Flammes de Pierre, (count on two days after the rain for it to be dry and on the other side, (Evêque – Moine buttresses etc).
The Moine is popular (normal route - S ridge- Contamine).
It is over for the Whymper. There is still a lot of snow on the Moine ridge but remains feasible for good alpinists. The Jardin ridge is just OK but probably not for long.
The normal routes on the Droites and Courtes are OK, if there is a good freeze.
The Mer de Glace balcon paths are OK.
The rock climbs behind the hut are in condition. The W face of the Petites Jorasses and the Aiguille de Leschaux are dry. It is still too early for the Walker Spur, (snow).
The Périades Glacier is OK, if there is a good freeze. Need to be good at reading the terrain.
Envers des Aiguilles Sector
The Tour Rouge bivouac hut is in place, (info click here). A new way to reach it, (and other routes) has been equipped (see photo).
The Grepon-Mer de Glace and the République normal route are being climbed. The snow bridge at the bergschrund is holding up but awkward if there is not a freeze
There has been nobody recently on the Ryan.
Otherwise, nothing special to report; the bergschrunds and crevasses are not causing problems for access to the rock routes.
The lower part of the ladders has been re-equipped. There is still a lot of snow on the glaciers.
As was already talked about last year, it is now possible to reach the Envers hut from the Requin high up, by going past the Pierre-Alain (snow band) then up the Envers de Blaitère glacier before descending to the Envers hut. Only for alpinists.
The way up the Valley Blanche is tracked. The descent from the Aiguille du Plan is by the Envers du Plan glacier.
Rock climbing on the Dent du Requin (Chapeau à Corne ridge, Renaudie, Paraudie) and on the Pierre Alain (Congo Star).
The Rochefort Ridge and the Dent du Géant are in good condition. There is a good track in the approach gully and the spur is dry to reach the Salle à Manger.
A few days ago, a party traversed the Jorasses but it is better to wait a bit. The rocks on the Pointe Young above the Canzio bivouac are still verglaced. (Yesterday another party escaped by abseilling towards the Planpincieux glacier.) Also, there is still a lot of snow on the rest of the ridge (Pointe Walker etc). The descent by the normal route is OK.
It is OK for the SE ridge of the Tour Ronde, the traverses of Marbrées and Aiguille d'Entrèves (take care, the last part on the E side is unstable).
Quite a few parties on the Kuffner and the Aiguilles du Diable traverse with good conditions, if it freezes. The Brenva Spur looks to be OK but not tracked.
The bergschrunds for the satellites are not causing problems.
Aiguille du Midi Sector
Midi -Plan ridge is OK, given a good freeze. The Col du Plan bergschrund is opening up. Even starting from the first lift, parties have turned back at the Rognon du Plan (the slopes on the Valley Blanche side heat up quickly.)
Traverse of the Valley Blanche, Pointe Lachenal and Cosmiques ridge are popular.
Good conditions, (if frozen,) for the Triangle du Tacul (notably the Chéré and Contamine-Grisolle). The bergschrunds are appearing but not yet a problem, the descent from the end of the routes to the normal route of the Tacul is OK, (no ice.)
The Trois Monts is in good conditions overall. The track goes very close to the serac on the lower part of the N face of Mont Maudit, though not exceptional, have made several parties nervous. There are a few metres of ice below the Col du Mont Maudit.
There are no problems to report for the rock climbs, the bergschrunds remain OK. There have been several rescues, (technically too difficult or losing the way) over recent years from the upper part of the Gervasutti Pillar, (which has changed a lot recently). Heve a good reserve in technical ability and timing.
Plan de l'Aiguille Sector
The Frendo is OK if it freezes but maybe not for long, as the upper part is deteriorating.
Rock climbing on the Peigne : Papillons Ridge, Minettes Spur, Normal route, SW ridge and the Lepiney crack, (crampons not necessary, ice axe for confidence on the lower snowfield), on the Gendarme Rouge (crampons or ice axe useful for the snow field,) and the Peigne slabs (crampons or ice axe useful).
Grutter Ridge and the Peigne-Pélerins-Deux Aigles traverse with return by the Midi-Plan or the Envers du Plan glacier are popular. Note, there has been a landslip in the area near the abseil to reach the amphitheatre of the Deux Aigles. It is necessary to descend from higher up the ridge: 2 abseils (10+25m) and 25m of down climbing.
Rock climbing also at the Blaitière (Pillar Rouge, NW ridge), the Aiguille de l'M (normal route, NE ridge, Couzy, Ménégaux) and the Petits Charmoz (traverse, crampons needed).
The Charmoz-Grépon is in good condition, (no info for the Cordier Pillar). The Nantillons glacier is still relatively OK.
Virtually nobody in this sector despite the conditions being not bad for the time of year. The hut warden has returned to the valley. He will go back up if requested, until the official closing on 31st July.
Mont Blanc by the Aiguille du Goûter
The section between the Tête Rousse and the Goûter hut is becoming dry. A falling rock has ripped out the cable in the Grand couloir. Good conditions above
The lower part of Mont Tondu is also becoming dry.
Good conditions for the Dômes de Miage traverse. There is still a lot of snow here and this makes the descent, (or ascent,) of the Aiguille de la Bérangère easier.
Some ice is appearing on the climb up to the Aiguille de Trè-la-Tète, when doing the traverse.
The Mettrier ridge integral was tracked on 18/07 in good conditions.
Parties have been doing the Tricot ridge. The traverse of the Aiguille de Bionnassay is in excellent condition.
Mont Blanc via the Gonella
Ancora tutto bene! (Still good)
For the moment conditions are good for the Tournette Spur, (info click here).
The approach to the Eccles is OK.
Parties on the Brouillard and Innominata ridges (if frozen).
Climbing on the Pillar Rouge (Bonatti- Anneaux Magiques) and the Freney Pillar (approach: 40m of down climbing then a 50m abseil.)
Some parties on the Aiguille Blanche by the Schneider ledges and on the Peuterey integral, (good conditions, no further information.)
As for rock climbing, all are in condition, except for the Ratti-Vitale (Aiguille Noire) which is still wet.