The Alpine Club, the world’s first mountaineering club, was founded in 1857.  For over 150 years, members have been at the leading edge of worldwide mountaineering development and exploration. 

With membership, experienced and aspiring alpinists benefit from a varied meets programme, regional lectures with notable guest speakers, reduced rates at many alpine huts, opportunity to apply for grants to support expeditions, significant discounts at many UK retailers, extensive networking contacts, access to the AC Library and maps - and more! 

Becoming a Member
 


The Club produces a regular English translation of the Chamonix conditions report from La Chamoniarde to help climbers without an understanding of French to access up-to-date information on conditions in the valley. An archive of these reports can be seen below: 

 

Report: 23 September 2021

It’s certainly inter-season now in the Chamonix Valley.

As far as the lifts go: the Midi cable car (exceptional closure 4-15 October), the Montenvers train and the Tramway du Mont Blanc are still open.

Dates of closure of some of the huts are as follows:

- refuge des Cosmiques: 28/09
- refuge du Goûter: 28/09
- refuge de Tête Rousse: 27/09
- rifugio Torino: 03/11
- refuge plan de l'Aiguille: 01/11
- refuge de Tré la Tête: 15/10
- refuge de Moede d'Anterne: 30/09
- refuge du lac Blanc: 26/09
- refuge du col de Balme: 30/09
- refuge de Loriaz: 26/09


It snowed up high last weekend with the rain/snow limit down to 2300m. Take great care on glaciers as snow bridges across crevasses will be weak. Also be careful about your choice of rock route (snow,verglas).

Activity has been concentrated around the Aiguille du Midi. Cosmiques arete, traverse of the Pointes Lachenal. You can climb on the south faces of the Aiguille du Midi and the Lachenal. No news about the Midi-Plan but why not?! The Chéré couloir is in reasonable condition as are the classics from the Helbronner.

There has been a great finish to the season on the normal route on Mont Blanc (lots of happy “parapentistes” and others). The train and the huts are closed after this weekend.

The Trois Monts route was re-tracked on Thursday 23/9. Watch out for a snow bridge under the shoulder of the Tacul. It can be turned on the right but it’s steep (technical on the descent).

The rimaye at the Col du Mont Maudit is still crossable well to the left with a long traverse to get back to the col.

There is now a bit of snow on the ledges of the south face of the Moine. The normal routes on the Courtes and the Droites look ok.

A new abseil line has been put in place this week to descend from the Grand Dru towards the Charpoua leading back to the start of the traverse. 16 abseils (chain belays, 45-50m). Topo to come.

You can think about climbing on sunny granite near the Orny, hut, in the Argentière basin, at the Envers des Aiguilles, and from the Dalmazzi and the Monzino etc. On the shady faces it’s not quite so nice but there have been a few teams on the pilier Rouge de Blaitière, the Papillons arete and the normal route on the Peigne.

At medium altitude (“moyenne montagne”) there are beautiful autumn colours.

The light sprinkling of snow last weekend doesn’t pose any particular problems. Poles and good boots are sensible as there may be heavy dews and slippery paths.

Its also the time of year when path maintenance takes place. Path closure page (in French) is available here.

 

 

Report: 8th September 2021

Some brief summary information.

In general terms conditions in the high mountains haven’t changed much recently. Mixed routes are gradually becoming less snowy. Rock routes are generally staying in condition but it’s better to be in the sun because it’s becoming cold in the shade.

Take care with thunderstorms or showers at this time of year as new snowfall often doesn’t melt depending on the altitude and aspect. Rock routes can become much more difficult with snow or verglas.

Huts are gradually closing. Staying open at the moment are: Albert 1er; Envers des Aiguilles, Cosmiques, Torino, Nid d'Aigle, Tête Rousse, Goûter, Durier, Conscrits and Monzino.

You can find provisional dates of hut closure here.

Ditto for the lifts with the closure of Planpraz/Brévent this weekend and Flégère the weekend of the 19th.

 

The Forbes arête is only for the most experienced: the start and the descent are very technical.

According to the latest news the Charpoua glacier is still passable. On the other hand there may be snow/verglas on the Dru traverse.

The Nantillons glacier has taken quite a hit. The rimaye du Rognon is open but you can go down into it to get onto the rock. The rimaye at the start of the Cordier pillar has been crossed but there is no further information. The Charmoz rimaye is complicated but an S shaped snow bridge (first to the left and then to the right) allows you to cross. A route on the right bank lets you avoid the upper part of the glacier (steep and icy).

Otherwise take the abseils from the C.P terrace (named after Charlet and Payot who marked their initials here).

Stone fall in the afternoon from the left bank of the glacier can reach the track under the rognon.

 

Midi-Plan: things are deteriorating here as well especially just after the Col du Plan (alternating patches of ice and rubble). The traverse after the Rognon du Plan abseil is exposed.

 

The Cosmiques arête is very dry (little snow).

 

Mont Blanc via the Trois Monts: still very technical especially at the Tacul rimaye and at the col du Mont Maudit (vertical 4m step at the rimaye, then an exposed horizontal traverse for 100 m). It is also icy towards the Rochers Rouges.

 

The Rochefort arête, the Dent du Géant, the Kuffner arête and the Aiguilles du Diable traverse are still busy but becoming more and more snow free. Beware of snow and verglas on the Jorasses traverse (especially with the forecast weather). The descent by the voie normale is still OK.

 

Generally good conditions on the S side of Mont Blanc (Innominata, Pillar Rouge du Brouillard) but crowded in the Eccles bivouac hut.

 

Dômes de Miage: glacier and ridge in good general condition. A bit of ice on the way up to the Eastern summit (point 3,673m). It’s also beginning to be icy on the descent to the Col de la Bérangère.

 

With the gradual closure of huts, information is becoming more scarce.

 

 

Report: 30th August 2021

Cooler mornings, shorter days, summer is coming to an end and autumn is coming!

At altitude, a predominantly north / northeast / northwest wind has persisted for several days which has made things feel very cold.

The mountains continue to steadily dry out but there are few noticeable changes from our previous update.


Tour basin

The classics (normal routes Aiguille du Tour - Tete Blanche - Petite Fourche - Arête de la Table) remain popular and doable. The Forbes arête on the Chardonnet: the descent is very technical and exposed (black ice).

 

Argentière Basin

The refuge closes on September 5th. The season finishes with rock routes and possibly the Col du Tour Noir.

 

Charpoua sector

The gardienne has finished her season and the refuge is now operating in winter mode.

The Charpoua glacier is still in OK condition for the end of August in both ascent and descent.

The Drus traverse (a route not to be underestimated) is still in good condition.

 

Couvercle Sector

Moine ridge on the Verte: The rimaye is still OK. Be conscious of the time of day because there is still a lot of snow and a little ice (crampons essential).

 

Leschaux sector

The climbing routes above the refuge are snow free. You can still climb on the Petits Jorasses. The belays on the voie Anouk have been refurbished.

The balcony path is still being used.

Access to the Talèfre glacier from the Couvercle has been re-equipped (addition of a rope and steps)

 

Requin Sector

The refuge closes on September 4th. Rock climbing is the focus at the moment. Access to the Dent du Requin is in good nick.

 

Helbronner Sector

Little change. Conditions are still good on the Marbrées traverse and the Aiguille d'Entrèves.

The Petit Flambeau is snow free.

Generally good conditions on the Jorasses traverse (the ridge is OK- well marked descent) but few teams due to the wind.

Arêtes de Rochefort: Getting up to the salle a manger is snow free. Pretty good conditions on the traverse despite a bit of ice and some rather thin bits.

Kuffner arête: The direct start is gradually becoming snow free (ice and mixed sections). The rimaye is crossable on the right hand side. The Androsace snow arete is very lean.

Traverse of the Aiguilles du Diable: The access couloir is becoming snow free: be careful if there are several teams in the couloir.

Crossing the Vallée Blanche: The glacier is opening up: beware of dangerous snow bridges on the main track on the Helbronner side

 

Aiguille du Midi sector

Mont-Blanc traverse: This route is becoming very technical. The rimaye on the Tacul is becoming more complicated. The rimaye at the top is still crossable but on a bridge above a big hole: a snow anchor (“corps mort”/dead man) is in place above (do not hesitate to use it). 2 technical ice axes are recommended for the section over the Maudit (bullet hard snow).

Triangle du Tacul: You can still think about the Contamine Grisolle. The Chéré couloir looks a bit sad.

Traverse of the Lachenal: There are frequent serac falls - you must keep well to the right on the descent and not dawdle (or even don't go).

 

Monzino sector

Inominata and Brouillard arêtes are being climbed.

Peuterey ridge: Busy.

Eccles couloir: Still snow.

Ratti Vitali, Red pillar, Freney pillar: Some snow on the ledges.

 

 

Report: 20th August 2021

A few pointers on this sunny weekend!

In general, the weather (sun, lack of wind, good re-freezing, isotherm not too high) and the conditions (glaciers and rimayes still relatively well filled in, faces / couloirs in reasonable condition) are finally favourable to (long) mixed routes. Despite everything, the mountains have dried well (the last precipitation was 10 days ago). But after all, it is the end of August!

Nothing to report as far as rock routes go!

 

Tour basin

Good conditions on the classics (normal route Aiguille du Tour - tête Blanche - Petite Fourche, arête de la Table).
Lots of traffic (especially at the start of the week) on the Forbes arête which is now more technical (ice on the Bosse and above the col on the descent: 2 axes needed).
The Migot spur is finished.

 

Argentière Basin

It's over for the Milieu glacier (ice + rockfall) except for very experienced parties who will want to descend down the arête du Jardin. This also means the end of the game for the Flèche Rousse.

 

Charpoua

The refuge will close on the 29th August.

It's still ok for the traverse of the Drus (but we say it every year, it's a long and technical route, be careful that you have both the ability and good experience in route finding otherwise you will take a long time).

 

Leschaux

Everything is dry except the Grandes Jorasses.

 

Envers des Aiguilles

The rimaye of the République / Grépon - Mer de Glace is still passable by the slab on the left bank (IV, blue pole in place). To join the start of the route there is a well marked traverse and an overhanging (but not wide) roture (gap between the snow and the rock).

However, the other route equipped by JS Knoertzer and Co to reach the new Tour Rouge hut is not recommended for everyone. It's steep, you have to know how to go up on fixed ropes (jumar recommended), check the condition of the equipment (ropes, knots) and there is some difficult climbing.

 

Helbronner sector

Always a lot of people on the classics. In these conditions, a 50 m rope (abseils of 25 m max) is enough for traversing the Marbrées and the Aiguille d'Entrêves.

Many teams on the Dent du Géant, fewer on the Rochefort arête (some icy sections are starting to appear).

Several teams on the Jorasses traverse. The rock section above the Canzio (Point Young) is dry. On the other hand, there is still a lot of snow further on which makes the route a little more difficult technically. Descent by the normal route OK. The Boccalate refuge is closed but the winter room (12 places, mattresses and blankets but no gas) remains accessible.

Conditions are still fine on the Kuffner (Frontier) ridge.

Traverse of the Aiguilles Diable: rimaye ok, the traverse to reach the couloir is on gravel but it's OK. The couloir itself is also getting dry (a few rocky bits, 2 axes are needed depending on your skill level).

All the Pointes are dry, you put crampons back on for the final mixed bit.

 

Aiguille du Midi sector

It's over for the Frendo for now (dry exit: ice and rockfall).

Conditions are still fine on the Midi-Plan even if here too, some bits have dried up (gravel / sand).

Cosmiques ridge:nothing to report except that we must not forget that despite its proximity and a certain degree of “banalisation”, this is a technical route and not easy. Normally it’s quite short (a half day), but several teams have been benighted ... Carefully question your grade and your mountaineering experience before doing it.

Traverse of the Pointes Lachenal: the descent from the last Pointe is exposed to the serac of the NE face of Tacul. You must keep well right. There is a bit of ice on the first Pointe (access to the traverse and the descent for the rock routes on the S face).

Mont Blanc via the Trois Monts: Tacul ok, do not follow a trail that goes to the left (going uphill) marked by a red flag which was left during a rescue in bad weather and which finishes up against a serac. There is some ice below the col du Mont Maudit (2 axes useful).

Pillar Gervasutti (from the PGHM): they have been pulling off more and more teams over the years. Conditions are getting looser and looser at the top. The terrain has changed a lot and even some local guides (who have done the route before) do not recognize it and some have had to seek help. Route therefore not recommended.

 

Mont Blanc via the Grands Mulets

A bit of activity lately even with the refuge closed. Access is easier from the gite à Balmat even if you have to find your way around by making a curve to the right before returning to the refuge. Those who came up by the Gare des Glaciers took almost 4 hours to cross the Jonction.

 

Mont Blanc via the Goûter

Normal conditions for the time of year. The climb up to the Goûter is dry and you have to be there at the right time.

 

Dômes de Miage / Bionnassay sector

Still generally good conditions on the traverse of the Dômes. The NE ridge of the Bionnassay is narrow (but no ice) but you need to be good on your feet.

 

Gonella sector

No more water at the refuge which is closing its doors today. The winter room (12 places, mattresses and blankets but no gas) remains accessible.

The route to reach the Piton des Italiens is still in good condition (even if the glacier is "scary" when it is not frozen).

 

Monzino sector

Several teams on the Innominata, the snow has transformed well.

After a number of rescues last weekend (wind, a lot of snow), there is a track on the Brouillard ridge.

Blanche de Peuterey by the Schneider ledges OK. The col Eccles is still fine.

Peuterey arête is in good snow conditions. Some teams also on the Integral. Borelli open with mattress and blankets.

You can also climb the Red pillar which is gradually drying. No news from the Freney.

Still no one at Ratti-Vitale (Aiguille Noire de Peuterey) even if the Freney glacier is OK and the route is dry (visually). Lots of people on the S ridge (crampons not needed). The descent by the E ridge has been re-marked (yellow dots) and the belays refurbished.

 

Report: 12th August 2021

The return (or arrival!) of summer.

After the snowfalls of the last few weeks (or months), the mountains need to dry up, settle down, and stabilise. The wind does not help the process, nor the sometimes random refreezing (and the risk of thunderstorms).

With a good freeze, conditions on the classic snow / mixed routes are generally good for mid-August. With the return of temperatures worthy of an August in the 21st century, we must now accept a night in a hut (few routes are accessible off the first lift).

The rock remains a safe bet!

To sum up, if there is a good freeze, good weather, and it’s the right grade for you, all should go well!

 

Le Tour

The classics (arête de la table, aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche, Petite Fourche) of the sector are still OK.

There were teams today on the Forbes arete which should be in good condition with a good freeze (there was too much snow at the start of the week, one party was "scared off"). No news from the Migot spur (a team scheduled this morning branched off on the Forbes arete without further information).

The rock is dry (except the passage on the N side to bypass the Aiguilles Penchées) on the Aiguilles Dorées traverse.

 

Argentière sector

A small ice pitch on the upper slope of the Milieu Glacier: this route is now reserved for seasoned climbers.

Arête du Jardin, arête de Flèche Rousse, arête Charlet Straton, col du Tour Noir OK.

The rock routes are dry (Versant Satanique re-equipped by M. Piola).

 

Charpoua sector

Some ropes have done the Drus traverse and the Contamine on the south face.

The American direct has been done but it’s starting to be late in the season.

Rock: all dry.

 

Talèfre basin

No recent information but conditions probably similar to other sectors: classic snow routes possible with a good freeze, rock routes OK.

 

Leschaux sector

Walking is possible (balcons of the Mer de Glace) and rock climbing (west face of the Petites Jorasses, Eperon des Cristalliers; maybe still a little too much snow for the Aiguille de Leschaux). A party retreated at the end of the third pitch of "Boule à facette" (Aiguille de Leschaux) following a rockfall.

No one on the Periades side which remains possible (visually) with a good freeze.

 

Envers des Aiguilles

We have climbing! The rimaye of the République/Grepon Mer de Glace is still passable (on the right; step over the gap to gain a foothold on the slab).

 

Helbronneur sector

A lot of people on the classics (Rochefort arete, Dent du Géant, Marbrées, Entrêves, SE ridge Tour Ronde).

Kuffner arete (lots of trail breaking yesterday) and the traverse of the Aiguilles du Diable (snow, more technical than usual) also tracked.

A few parties on the traverse of the Jorasses which is however very snowy and therefore technically much harder.

There is climbing on the Tacul satellites.

 

Aiguille du Midi sector

Here too, the classics of the sector are popular (Pointes Lachenal, Cosmiques arete).

The Midi-Plan is in excellent condition for the season (if there is a freeze). One (or more) parties are engaged on the crossing of the Chamonix Aiguilles without further information for the moment (ok visually).

Triangle du Tacul: good general conditions. Teams on the Chéré couloir and the Contamine-Mazeaud.

The Trois Monts route was retracked yesterday.

Nothing to report as far as rock climbing goes.

 

Plan de l'Aiguille

Frendo not tracked. Should be OK with a good freeze (but difficult to know in advance about the freeze!!!).

Parties on the Peigne-Pélerins- Deux Aigles traverse, that should be OK.

Charmoz-Grepon: nicely dry except for the Z-crack which is still a bit wet. A bit of snow in the Charmoz_Grepon couloir.

The Nantillons glacier is in good condition.

 

Mont Blanc via the Aiguille du Goûter

The snow is gradually melting in the section between Tête Rousse and the Goûter. Good conditions above.

It is our turn to insist on the fact that this is a mountaineering route, to be considered only with the appropriate skills, good weather, and not alone.

 

Conscrits Dômes de Miage / Bionnassay

Access to the Conscrits refuge via the glacier is now not recommended.

Excellent conditions on the crossing of the Dômes de Miage (the glacier is beginning to open up a bit, the slope above the Col de la Bérangère is still snow, there is snow down to within 100 m of the refuge on the descent of the Bérangère).

Good conditions also for the traverse of the aiguilles de Tré-la-Tête apart from the descent from the Col des Glaciers (you would need to continue on the Lanchettes arete).

Mont Tondu is still ok (the ledges on the lower part are not very pleasant: gravel).

Access to the Durier refuge still ok via Plan Glacier or from the Dômes de Miage.

Several parties today on the Bionnassay traverse.

 

Monzino Sector

Lots of wind and snow!

Those who tried the Peuterey integral turned around at the Noire. The Aiguille Blanche via the Schneider ledges will be possible once the mountain has finished "settling".

Complicated conditions on the pilier Rouge du Brouillard (snow on the ledges, ice in the cracks). Ditto on the Freney pillar which is in "winter" conditions. To be continued.

One party on the Innominata. One party on the Brouillard arete but rescued at the col Emile Rey on Tuesday 10th (wind, too much snow?).

 

Report: 4th August 2021

A brief overview of the situation and conditions in the mountains at the beginning of August (even if it feels more like November ...!). As our Italian cousins say, "non puo piovere per sempre (it can't rain forever)"!

The Chamonix Aiguilles were well plastered with snow from 3,300m when I woke up this morning. The last few days have been rather cool and the weather windows very short. This weather is good for the high mountains and for the classic snow and mixed routes which are "just like 30 years ago": fairly good conditions when the freeze is good. Generally speaking, conditions have changed little.

 
Aiguilles Rouges
 
Fiz sector (hiking access to climbing routes)
The snow cover is receding well but a few snowfields are holding on (just like 30 years ago!). There are no significant problems for good, well-equipped hikers (poles + good boots) on the marked routes (Col de la Glière, Col de Salenton, Buet, Col de la Terrasse etc): no need for crampons. The Dinosaur tracks (vieil Emosson sector) are now clear and geologists are on site until 19/08
 
The tour des Fiz is snow free Crampons (but good boots yes) are no longer necessary for the Crochues traverse or to access the climbing routes (Brévent - clocher de Planpraz - chapelle de la Glière - Index - Aiguilles Crochues - tour des Crochues - Aiguille du Belvédère etc)! However, they are still very useful for going to the Pouce
 
 
Le Tour
 
Lots of parties on the Aiguille du Tour (voie normale, arête de la table), Tête Blanche or the Petite Fourche. Still good conditions on the Chardonnet (Forbes arête + Migot spur).
 
 
Argentière Sector
 
(Remember the Plan Joran gondola is open continuously at weekends + ascent at 8 a.m. & descent at 4 p.m. on weekdays)
 
Glacier du Milieu (there is a small gully forming in the Narrows but belays are possible on rock for abseils or lowers), the Flèche Rousse arête and the arête du Jardin are still possible. Ditto for the Col du Tour Noir.
 
We can rock climb when the rock dries!
 
 
Charpoua Sector

Not many people up here. Climbing is possible on the Flammes de Pierre (a few ropes on the passage des guides from the Mer de Glace have been replaced).
The glacier for the Drus traverse is still fine, but there hasn’t been a good weather window.
 
 
Talèfre / Leschaux Sector
 
No big changes here either. The Moine ridge on the Verte must be well covered with snow. The Walker, is probably finished for this summer.
 
 
Envers des Aiguilles / Requin

A few rimayes/bergschrunds and rotures (gap between the rock and the snow) that can get complicated here and there (Amazonia for example) but everything still goes at the Envers.
 
The Requin refuge access is snow free.
 
No streams or other problems for access to the routes!
 
The climb up the Vallée Blanche still goes. No news of the descent of the Envers du Plan glacier which should still be possible with a good refreeze.
 
 
Helbronner sector
 
Depending on the weather and the freeze, all the classics in the sector can still be considered (Rochefort arete, Dent du Géant, Marbrées, Entrêves, SE ridge of the Tour Ronde). Ditto for the Kuffner (direct start) and the crossing of the Aiguilles du Diable (sometimes quite a bit of snow which requires climbing with crampons) but be careful of the snow conditions on the descent.
 
On the other hand this has been a complicated season for the Jorasses traverse (lots of snow, weather windows too short).
 
 
Aiguille du Midi Sector

Most of the snow and mixed routes are still possible: Midi-Plan, traverse of Pointes Lachenal, Cosmiques arete, Contamine-Grisolle, Chéré couloir.

Due to the weather and the quantities of fresh snow at altitude (risk of avalanche and laborious wading), activity limited on the Trois Monts side recently even if things are still going well (the rimaye/bergschrund on the col du Mont Maudit seems to be complicated).

On the rock side, the rimayes/bergschrunds are still fine.
 
 
Plan de l'Aiguille
 
Despite the small snow falls that temporarily improve the exit, it seems over for the Frendo. Otherwise no major changes, the Nantillons glacier is still possible.
 
 
Mont Blanc via the Aiguille du Goûter
 
Very good conditions for the season.
 
 
Miage / Bionnassay Sector
 
Good conditions on the ridges: Dômes de Miage and Bionnassay (which needs regular retracking).
 
 
Gonella sector
 
Always good conditions (when it's nice)!
 
 
Monzino Sector
 
With the return of good weather next week, all the grandes courses should be possible (provided it doesn't get too hot all of a sudden): Innominata, Brouillard ridge, Rouge and Freney pillars.
Nothing to report as far as the rock climbing goes.