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Report 17th October 2017

The weather is due to deteriorate for the weekend and will restrict activity at altitude.  Nonetheless, here is the latest reported information:

 

The 3 Monts route was done at the end of last week, with some steep sections and apparently bare ice in places.  The normal (Gouter) route up Mont Blanc was also being climbed

 

Near the Torino hut (still open), the conditions remain generally good for the Dent du Geant, the Rochefort Ridge, (good track and firm snow,) the Entrèves and the Marbrées.
Activity also on the Tour Ronde normal route, (stonefall reported,) and the N face, (no further info.)
Some parties climbed the Küffner Ridge, using the direct start as there is a rockfall zone near the Col de la Fourche.  The Lafaille and Valéria gullies would appear to be climbable, but still thin and the bergshrunds could be problematical.

 

Near the Aiguille du Midi, the S face and the Cosmiques Spur are in condition.  Some activity on the Midi-Plan, with most parties turning back before the abseils at the Rognon, in order not to miss the last lift back down. Some parties on Fil à Plomb but the other mixed routes on the N face of the Midi are not in good condition.

 

A party on the Desmaison route, Grandes Jorasses; the route being very difficult due to alternating dry (rock)/ice and inconsistent snow.  A party topped out on the Shroud.  The descent was awkward but passable.  The Colton-McIntyre looks to have very little ice.  

 

Despite the sections of bare ice and crevasses, the Dômes de Miage ridge was traversed last weekend.  The Tré la Tête glacier is heavily crevassed.

 

No particular problems for hikers, other than some paths being closed “for work”.

Report 12 October 2017

Latest update for this weekend:

The recent good weather has favoured activity in the high mountains but, as reported frequently, the conditions are very dry for the season.  Most of the gullies and mixed routes are not yet in condition; more snow is needed!

 

The Torino is the only high altitude hut still open.  At mid altitudes, only the

Plan de l'Aiguille and the Loriaz huts are open.

 

Tour Glacier sector: the normal routes on Tête Blanche, Petite Fourche and the Aiguille du Tour are being done.  (N.B. the Col Supérieur du Tour is still awkward to cross.) No information about the Chardonnet.

 

Argentière sector: Good conditions reported for the Bettembourg-Thivierge gully, no information for the other routes in this sector.  

 

Cosmiques/Torino sector: Aiguilles Marbrées and Entrèves and the Dent du Géant remain popular.  Parties turned back on the Rochefort Ridge, (too much snow.)  The Kuffner Ridge is being done again, in OK conditions (see cahier de course).
Rock routes are being climbed on the Aiguille du Midi S face, Pointes Lachenal and the Tacul satelittes.
The Fil à Plomb was done recently.  It is necessary to bypass the bergshrund using the rocks to the left; afterwards the conditions are more or less OK.
No information about the 3 Monts traverse, but the normal route on the Tacul is being done regularly.

 

The Gouter route on Mont Blanc remains popular. It is still forbidden to walk along by the Tramway du Mont Blanc rail track, only the Rognes or the Chalets de l'Are paths are allowed.  

 

The Tricot ridge and the traverse of the Bionnassay are also being done, conditions are more technical than usual, with the Bionnassay ridge being very thin. There are some ice sections on the north side and powder snow on the Italian side.  

 

A party turned back on the Dômes de Miage traverse due to awkward conditions, (the ridge very narrow, crevasses etc.) 

 

Many hikers are enjoying the valley paths during these beautiful autumnal days.  Do not forget to check for closed paths ( chemins fermés pour travaux ) before setting out. Some of the signposts are being removed prior to the winter; take a map!

 

The Curalla Via Ferrata at Plateau d'Assy will close on 13th November and the cables on the Dérochoir will be removed on the same date.  The Tricot footbridge will be taken down for the winter between 16 and 20th October.

 

Report 6th October 2017

All the high mountain huts are now closed, with the exceptions of the Cosmiques, (closes 7/10) and the Torino, (closes 2/11).  All the lifts are also closed except for the Aig du Midi and Skyway which will remain open until the beginning of November.

At lower altitudes, only the Loriaz and Plan de l’Aiguille are still open.

 

Despite the mixed weather in September and the cool, windy weather at the start of October, the mixed routes and the gullies are still not in condition.  

 

Some routes, such as the Contamine-Grisolle or the Chéré on the Triangle du Tacul, remain feasible.
The normal route on the Tacul and the Midi Plan traverse, (as far as the Rognon,) have been done recently in OK conditions.

The 3 Monts traverse has not been done now for a fortnight.  Following the recent passages of bad weather, the rock routes often have ice in the cracks and snow on the ledges.

 

A large part of the Tournier Spur on the Aiguille du Midi N face has collapsed leaving the area unstable.

 

No recent news from the Torino sector, though the traverses of the Marbrées and Entrèves remain feasible. Take care on the glaciers, as the snow bridges are still weak.

In the Mer de Glace sector, (Montenvers train closed,) some of the in-situ material at the Egralets and the Couvercle-Leschaux traverse has been dismantled for the winter. The way is still possible but demands good technical ability. A party has climbed the Shroud, though in delicate conditions. The Colton McIntyre would appear to be out of condition for the moment.

 

The Aiguille de Bionnassay was climbed at the beginning of October, there and back from the Durier, in generally good conditions

 

In the Albert 1er sector, the routes on the Chardonnet have not come into condition yet.  In general, it has been far too dry this year and patience is needed before the routes will be feasible again.   

 

The normal route up Mont Blanc by the Goûter remains popular, (huts and lifts closed,) despite unfavourable conditions for the Aiguille de Gouter. One needs to be well experienced and have the right material. 

 

In the mid mountain, Autumn is the time for a lot of maintenance work and many of the paths are closed.  Check the arrêtés en cours  site before venturing out.

 

Autumn is also a time when it is difficult to gather good information, (huts and lifts closed, not much activity etc,) so the Chamoniarde relies on your feedback to create the updates.  Please do not hesitate to write up your outings in the cahier de courses  or give them a phone call. Whether the conditions were good or bad, the information is always useful and most welcome. 

 

Report 24 September 2017

The rise in temperatures has melted a lot of the recent snow at mid-altitudes.   However, some of the shaded paths may still be awkward from about 2300m upwards.
During this Autumn period, many of the paths are closed for repair.  For example, the path linking Col des Montets and Lac Blanc will be closed from 25 to 29/09 as far as the Tête aux Vents cairn.
Consult the list at Chamoniarde site.

 

The Tour du Mont Blanc is still feasible but you need to be self-sufficient, as many of the huts are closed.

 

Most of the high mountain huts are now closed; exceptions are the Goûter, Cosmiques and Torino huts.


The recent snow has temporarily improved conditions for some of the Tacul Triangle routes, but overall the conditions are dry.  Summer 2017 was the driest ever recorded and Autumn, with its snowfalls, has only just started, patience is required!

The Chéré, Allemands, Contamine-Grisolle, Contamine-Mazeaud and Contamine-Negri are being climbed in variable conditions.  

The normal route on the Tacul is tracked but the not the traverse of the 3 Monts. The Mont Maudit looks to be avalanche prone.
The Pointes Lachenal traverse is tracked but there is already some bare ice.  The Laurence and Cosmiques ridges are also being done.
The S faces are being climbed, despite some snow still on the ledges.

 

Near the Torino the conditions are Ok for the Aiguilles d'Entrèves and Marbrées (best done N-S), traverses. Good conditions for the Dent du Géant. The Rochefort ridge was done on 22/09.
Careful on the glacier (weak snow bridges.)

 

All the lifts are shut, except for the Aiguille du Midi, Montenvers train and the Skyway (Italy).

 

Good conditions reported for the Grand Paradis via Chabod hut.

 

We are entering a period where less information is available. La Chamoniarde is counting on you to report your experiences to them, to help with their next report.

 

Report 19th September 2017

Between seasons !

 

The Planpraz/Brévent – Flégère/Index –Tour/col de Balme – Valllorcine – Lognan/ Grands Montets – Prarion lifts are closed.  The following are still open :  Montenvers train–Aiguille du Midi cable car –Bellevue cable car (until 24th September) –  Monte Bianco Skyway, (Italy). 

 

Many of the huts are now closed; more information on the Chamoniarde site.

 

There is snow down to 1800m, and at 2000m there is 10 to 20cms in some places.  The Loriaz and Moëde Anterne huts have 15cm of snow, 10/15 cm at the Albert 1er, 20 cm at the Leschaux , 30 cm at the Goûter, Torino and Conscrits  and 50 cm of new snow at the Cosmiques. 

 

It is cold for the time of year. At mid-altitudes in the morning the ground is frozen, (use mountain boots and hiking poles), and snow covered in some areas. This creates difficulties on some paths.  At higher altitudes, the temperatures are low (-10° at 3300/3500m), with almost winter conditions.  There were strong winds during some of the snow falls, creating both snow drifts and patches of bare ice.  Take care on the glaciers, the snow and wind have helped form snow bridges which can be extremely fragile. The rocks are plastered with snow but the gullies are not yet in condition!

 

 There has not been a lot of activity in the high mountain recently. 

Aiguille du Midi sector : some parties on the Chéré couloir, (abseil descent, be careful of other parties). The Triangle du Tacul looks snow covered but appearances can be deceiving.  Parties turned back on the Pointes Lachenal traverse, (windslab.) 

Torino sector, the Marbrées and Entrèves traverses were done in winter conditions. Parties turned back on the Rocherfort Ridge, (bare ice.)

Albert 1er sector : the Petite Fourche has been done.

Chamonix Aiguilles sector : everything is plastered.

Conscrits sector: no activity for the moment.

Report 12th September 2017

With the series of weather fronts since the start of September, it has been difficult to find a good weather window for the high mountains.


In the last two days about 30cms of snow has fallen at 3500m, with some drifting due to the strong winds. The rocks are plastered, but routes like Cosmiques Ridge or the Aiguilles Marbrées traverse remain feasible.
There is fresh snow down to 2100m and some paths are affected, notably on the multi-day tours, (Aiguilles Rouges, Tour du Mont Blanc...). To remain safe, mountain boots and hiking poles are essential.

The bad conditions, plus the fact that most of the lifts will soon be closed, means some of the huts might bring forward their closure dates.  Check with the hut before leaving the valley.   On a separate topic, be aware that there are unstable blocks on the routes at the “Le Spa”,(Fayet)  dry tooling site.

Several paths in the Chamonix valley are closed for works, details available on the Chamoniarde site.
The Mont Blanc Tramway is closed and you are reminded that it is forbidden to follow the tracks when accessing  the huts on the normal route up Mont Blanc.

There are plenty of options for climbing on the valley crags during the dry spells.