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Report 18th October 2019

Conditions are very much evolving in this period between seasons.

The successive weather fronts have deposited a lot of windblown snow at altitude. The exact amount is difficult to ascertain but was about 40cms above 3500m at the start of the week.   The conditions of the mixed climbs are slowly improving, following the exceptionally warm and dry conditions this summer.  There is virtually no alpine activity for the moment, given the unstable weather, (some activity on the Cosmiques ridge, Pointes Lachenal traverse and the Entrèves.

Concerning the rock routes, the Chamonix Aiguilles are plastered with snow.  If the weather allows, it is possible to climb in the Aiguilles Rouges or on the valley crags.  

The hiking trails, resplendent in their autumn colours, are without snow and are feasible.

The Aiguille du Midi and Skyway Monte Bianco cable cars are running until the 3rd November.

The Montenvers train re-opens on the 19th October, (ice cave and cable car remain closed.)

The Planpraz lift will be open from 19th October to 3rd November.

All the mountain huts are closed except for the Plan de l’Aiguille and the Torino, (which both close on the 3rd November.)   The CAF mountain huts have winter rooms available.

Report 3rd October 2019

We are now well into Autumn and it feels cool in the valley. The last weather front brought snow down to 2200m, with10 to 25cms at altitude in some sectors.

 

The high rocks are snow covered and patience is needed before the rock routes come back into condition.  Concerning the mixed routes, the new snow serves only to hide the dry conditions underneath, so here also patience is needed for conditions to improve.

 

With the doubtful weather and poor conditions, all the lifts have closed, except for the Aig du Midi and the Skyway Monte Bianco. The huts, (except for of the Torino), are also closed and very little alpinisme is happening for the moment.

However, some routes remain feasible: e.g. the traverse of the Pointes Lachenal, Cosmiques Ridge (retracked this morning, no further info,) Aiguilles d'Entrêves traverse, Dent du Géant, Aiguille du Tour and Grand Paradiso.

At lower altitude, the Petit Charmoz, Ecandies traverse and Perrons traverse are also feasible.

 

There are no special problems for hiking and rock climbing at mid altitudes, though there is a risk of snow and verglas above 2400m, especially if north facing. The forest paths, particularly those in the shade, can be slippery at this time of the year.

Report 18 September 2019

MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS 18/09/2019

 

Some information for this September, which has had good weather for mid and high mountain activities.

 

Lift closures:

    Charamillon and Autannes lifts (La Tour) open until 22/09

    Montenvers train running until 29/09

    Aiguille du Midi lift open until 03/11

    Bellevue lift and Mont Blanc Tramway open until 22/09

    Monte Bianco Skyway (Italy) open until 03/11



Alpine Huts closures:

    Cosmiques hut open until 28/09

    Plan de l'Aiguille hut open until 03/09

    Nid d'Aigle and Tête Rousse huts open until 22/09

    Goûter hut open until 29/09

    Conscrit hut open until 22/09

 

Vallée d'Aoste and Valais Hut closures:

    Cabane d'Orny open until 29/09

    Rifugio Torino open until 03/11

    Rifugio Chabod (Grand Paradis) open until 28/09

    Rifugio Guide del Cervino

    Rifugio Gnifetti (Monte Rosa) open until 06/10

 

Mid Mountain Hut closures:

    Loriaz hut open until 06/10

    Pierre à Bérard hut open until 25/09

    Lac Blanc hut open until 31/10

    Moëde Anterne hut open until 01/10

    Col de Balme hut open until 15/09

    Miage hut open until 30/09

    Varan hut open until 30/09

    Tré la Tête hut open until 20/10

    Nant Borrant hut open until 25/09

    Robert Blanc hut open until 21/09

 

Alpine Conditions:

Rock routes remain the main activity, with routes being climbed in the Argentière sector, the Leschaux sector (Aiguille de Leschaux, Petites Jorasses), the Envers des Aiguilles, the Aiguilles de Chamonix and the Géant sector (S faces of the Aiguille du Midi, Pointes Lachenal, Satellites du Tacul).

The winter room at the Albert 1er is now accessible.  The Aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche and Petite Fourche remain feasible by their normal routes, as is the S ridge of the Purtscheller.

A party turned back while trying to cross the Charpoua glacier, (for the Drus traverse,) despite a full moon and checking out the way the evening before.  There are plenty of possibilities to find water near the hut.

In the Talèfre sector, the S ridge and normal route on the Moine are still being done.  The bergschrund for the Contamine, (E face) is well opened.  

The Moine Ridge on the Aiguille Verte was climbed in good conditions on 13/09, (an abseil needed to cross the bergschrund in descent.)

The Valley Blanche traverse can be done but the way is complicated, (end of season conditions!)

The traverses of the Pointes Lachenal, Aiguilles d'Entrèves, the Marbrées (abseil points re-equipped; 3x20m) and the Dent du Géant are being done.  No recent information for the Rochefort Arete, which does not look to be in condition. The Cosmiques Ridge is being climbed again, (potentially unstable, as are other sectors.)

A ramp, to the right of the fixed rope, allows the bergschrund on the Mont Blanc du Tacul normal route to be crossed easily. After this there is good track with steps up to the summit.  Take care; a portion of the serac overshadowing the track looks ready to collapse. Remember that falling seracs are an objective danger on this route, (as they are also on the Mont Maudit, for example.)

Experienced, well equipped alpinists, (2 ice axes, ice screws etc,) could attempt the 3 Monts route.  The Col du Mont Maudit is bare ice but there are no special problems for the traverse to the col de la Brenva or on the Mur de la Côte.

Conditions are also OK for the Mont Blanc normal route, (by the Goûter.) However, it is necessary to be aware of the crevasses between the hut and the Dôme du Goûter (especially while descending when there is a temptation to take “short cuts”,) and on the  Bosses ridge.

A few parties are still doing the Bionnassay traverse. It is more technically difficult than usual, (the initial rock buttress is very dry, there is ice below the summit and the ridge is very thin with ice showing through in places. However, there is no cornice.)

The Dômes de Miage are not in condition, parties are generally stopping at the col.

For the Grand Paradiso (via Chabod), the Laveciau glacier is chaotic, with numerous crevasses.  There are 2 ladders in place and there are some ”jumps” to make.

Conditions are good for the Matterhorn by the Lion Ridge, (the hut is closed on the Swiss side).

 

Report 09 September 2019

MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS  09/09/19

 

A quick update after the weekend of rain and snow

For the hikers: There is snow starting at 2000m.  The paths have a light covering which will gently disappear.  The hunting season has started.  There is no hunting allowed on Wednesdays and Fridays, (except bank holidays.)

For the climbers: The Aiguilles de Chamonix are plastered and feeling very cold. Patience is needed for the rock to dry.  Likewise, for the Aiguilles Rouges, though the climbs here should come back into condition more quickly.

For the alpinists:
This morning, Monday the following was reported : 10 cm with a little bit of wind at the  Albert 1er hut (the telephone is working again),), 20 cm at the Envers des Aiguilles hut, 30 cm at the Cosmiques hut with a W wind and -10°C this morning, 15/20 cm at the Goûter hut, the snow is down to the Tête Rousse, 15 cm  at the Conscrits hut with not much wind.  

The following closing dates have been announced:
The lifts at Le Tour close on 22/09, the Leschaux hut closes on 15/09, the Requin hut closes on 12/09, the Envers des Aiguilles hut closes on 14/09, the Conscrits hut closes on 22/09 and the Cosmiques hut closes on 28/09. The Mottets cafe closes on 28/09.

 

Report 29th August 2019

MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS 29/08/2019


The update for the end of August. 

The conditions have not changed much recently.

 

Tour Sector

The Aiguille du Tour is still being done but the conditions are very dry and not suitable for beginners.  The Col Supérieur du Tour is not recommended, the Col du Tour being the preferred option. The normal routes on the Tête Blanche and the Petite Fourche remain feasible.

Argentière Sector

The Argentière hut and the Plan Joran lift close on the 31st August.  This means a long approach to the beautiful granite climbs in this sector.

Charpoua Sector

The hut here also closes on the 31st August, (the warden has left some gas.)  The glacier (for the Drus traverse, Contamine route) is becoming more and more complicated. In descent, the parties do not pass back behind the Gros Rognon to join the ascent track.

Talèfre Sector

All the bergschrunds here are starting to open up and are becoming more awkward.   Some ingenuity is needed, especially for the Contamine route on the Moine. 
For the Moine Ridge on the Verte, the bergschrund goes on the true left.  

Leschaux Sector

Latest information here: ici 

Envers des Aiguilles Sector

No major problems for the approaches to the Tour Rouge, Tour Verte, Nantillons and Aiguille de Roc.
For the normal route on the République, please see the previous updates.

Subtilités Dulfériennes has become more awkward, one needs to descend into the bergschrund to reach the ramp.

Aiguille du Midi Sector

The Three Monts route remains possible for experienced alpinists.

Pointes Lachenal traverse: the snow last week has stuck to the ice, making conditions temporarily better.

The traverse of the Valléé Blanche is still being done but route finding through the crevasses is difficult.

It is still possible to cross the bergschrunds below the climbs in this sector: (Aiguille du Midi - Pointe Lachenal - Satellites).

Mont Blanc by the Gouter

The conditions are normal and OK.  The Grand Couloir and the way up to the hut are dry but the stonefall is no worse than usual. There is no ice on the ridge.

Miage - Bionnassay Sector 

The conditions remain technically difficult, (ice, crevasses,) for the Domes de Miage, there and back, from the Col des Dômes.

The Aiguille de la Bérangère, there and back from the hut, is completely dry.  

The traverse across to the Durier hut is very dry, with holds coming away in your hand.  It is best to reach the hut via the Plan Glacier.  The glacier is still OK in the upper part, (pass below the red marker,) providing that it is early in the day.

The traverse of the Bionnassay remains feasible. The passage before the buttress is awkward, (very dry). There is some ice just below the summit, (which is bypassed on the left,) and at the start of the NE ridge, (good crampon technique needed).

Helbronner Sector

The main activity here is the traverse of the Aiguilles d'Entrèves.

The approach to the Salle Manger, (Dent du Geant) remains very dry.  Take care to stick to the route and be aware of other parties.

Traverse and normal route on the Grandes Jorasses

It is end of season conditions for the Rochefort Arete (ice, gravel). The traverse of the Grandes Jorasses is feasible, (given that the Pointe Young is done in the afternoon.)

It is over for the normal route this summer.  The conditions have got a lot worse.

 

Report 22 August 2019

MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS 22/08/2019


30cms of snow fell at the Aig du Midi during the bad weather on Tuesday, with fresh snow down to 3500m.

The snow fall, together with the strong winds, has formed some weak snow bridges making certain crevasses treacherous.

Concerning the snow or mixed routes, the new snow has concealed some of the problems caused by the ice or rock exposed by the dry conditions.  However, it has improved the situation for some passages, albeit only temporarily.

Concerning the rock routes at altitude, the rock may be snow plastered, (with snow/ice in the cracks,) or verglaced. The foreseen rise in temperatures will rapidly dry the routes, depending upon orientation.  The south facing routes are already being done

The 2 routes up Mont Blanc, via the Gouter and the 3 Monts, have been re-tracked, as has the Aig de Bionnassay traverse.