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Report 15th November 2018

A quick update before the weekend:

The snow continues to recede on the lower slopes. There should be no problem when hiking below 2500m on the south side and 2000m on the north side.  The paths under the cables of the Plan Joran lift are closed by local council order from 20th to 30th November.  The paths under the cables of the

Plan de l'Aiguille lift are also closed, (the only access is via Blaitière)

It remains feasible to climb in the Aiguilles Rouges, though it is getting significantly colder.  The approach is on foot because all the lifts in the valley are closed, except for the Montenvers train.

No recent information received for the high mountain, though it seems there has been some activity around the Aiguille du Tour. No information for the mixed routes.  

There is partial opening in nearby ski resorts in Switzerland, (Verbier, Zermatt, Saas Fee) and Italy (Cervinia, Monterosa Ski). Ski touring is also possible in some of the valleys (e.g. Valgrisenche, Valtournenche...). Here in Chamonix one needs to wait a bit more before getting out the skis.

Report 28 October 2018

Some brief information for this (French) holiday week.

The forecast is for bad weather for most of the week, (rain/snow, strong winds and poor visibility.) Already yesterday 30cms of snow fell above 2000m.  

Unlike at the beginning of this autumn, conditions for hiking are no longer ideal. The paths are greasy and with snow above 1800m, the way is often hidden. Therefore, the higher paths are reserved for experienced hikers, (with good boots and sticks.) Treks over several days are no longer really feasible.

The paths beneath the lift cables up to the Plan de l'Aiguille are provisionally closed by council order until 31 December.

Both the weather and conditions do not favour high mountain activity, (mixed routes very dry and the rock climbs plastered.)

Report 15th October 2018

Despite numerous phone calls and agreeable weather there has been very little information received concerning conditions.

It would appear there has been regular activity around the Aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche and Petite Fourche. The Chardonnet is still a long way from being feasible.

At the other end of the range, there have been some parties on the Aiguille de la Bérangère and the Col des Dômes, where the glacier is heavily crevassed at the end of this season.


Mont Blanc by the Gouter, (normal route), is still being done; conditions are good.


Also, there is activity in the Torino sector, e.g. Aiguilles Marbrées and Entrèves.
There has been a strong foehn wind these last few days and the rocks are likely to be plastered in some places along the France/Italy border. No information about the Rochefort ridge other than the cornice has collapsed recently.


The beautiful autumnal weather has encouraged a lot of hikers.


It should be possible to climb on the Envers des Aiguilles and the north side of the Aiguilles de Chamonix, despite a bit of snow in places. The footpaths up to Montenvers are closed, except from Plan de l'Aiguille or the de Blaitière chalets, (there and back).


For those who like the sun, the Aiguilles Rouges are accessible either from the Flégère lift or a bit of walking.  The Brévent  council order closure is still in force.


Please send Chamoniarde reports on your outings.  All information is most appreciated at this quiet time of the year.

 

Report 5th October 2018

Autumn is well established, giving big variations in temperature between night and day.  The bad weather at the start of the week resulted in about 10 cms of fresh, windblown snow at 3500m.  There was some snow down to 2000m and the N facing rocks were plastered, though this soon melted on the S facing slopes. Some snow/ice is beginning to reappear on the mixed routes.  However, in general, conditions remain very dry.

 

The vast majority of the huts, (both mid and high mountain,) are now closed. The Torino, Plan de l'Aiguille, Tré la Tête and Loriaz remain open.

The only lifts open are la Flégère, 1st stage of the Aiguille du Midi (to Plan de l'Aiguille) and the Skyway Monte Bianco (Italy).

 

There is not a lot activity in the high mountain, (please do not hold back in reporting your experiences to Chamoniarde!)

The Tour sector is popular, especially the normal route on the Aig du Tour. Many people are using the winter room at the Albert 1er, which was full last weekend.  Consider arriving early or take bivouac gear with you.  

From the Punta Helbronner, the Dent du Géant and the traverses of the Marbrées and the Aiguilles d'Entrèves are being done regularly.  The rocks are dry on the Tacul satellites.  

Mont Blanc by the Goûter: avoid going up by the Rognes (bad snow conditions). Otherwise the route is virtually dry as far as the Gouter hut, with a good track above.

The rock climbing continues in the Aig Rouges, (especially near the Index), Foresee good footwear, as there can be some snow on the approaches/descents.  

For hikers:  the paths from Flegere to Lac Blanc are open. Work on the Montenvers railway is resulting in numerous rock falls and the paths nearby have been officially closed by council order. The only way to reach the Mer de Glace is by the Grand Balcon Nord from either Plan de l'Aiguille or Chamonix via the alpage de Blaitière.

A thin cover of snow can be present on the paths above 2200 / 2300m but it does not present a problem.

Report 26th August 2018

Autumnal weather for the last Sunday in August.  With the lower temperatures there was snow down to 2500m.   The Chamonix Aiguilles were plastered with snow but the Aiguilles Rouges escaped. The rocks, though initially humid, were quick to dry with the return of the sun.

Generally, the conditions for hikers are good but today, Sunday, there was a serious rockfall on the path between the Col des Montetts, (Nature Park Chalet) and the Lac Blanc.  This area is very unstable and is closed by order of the council  see here  .

The Chéserys Lakes and Lac Blanc remain accessible from Flégère, Argentière or the path from Trélechamp which passes by the Aiguillette d'Argentière, (ladders). 

 

The lifts

The Company du Mont Blanc has closed the top section of the Aiguille du Midi : more here  

 

Cosmiques 

With the top part of the Midi lift being closed, access to the Cosmiques hut is from the Pointe Helbronner, (Skyway) and traversing the Valley Blanche.  Care needed, with the dry conditions the way is awkward.

Cosmiques Ridge : after the large rockfalls in the middle of last week the route is no longer being done.

Mont-Blanc : The snow bridge over the “Maudit bergschrund” has collapsed.  A party left this morning, (Sunday) to see what is possible, waiting for more info.

 

Valley Blanche

Rochefort Ridge remains in condition.

Dent du Géant : OK but the approach to the Salle à Manger needs care. 

There are more and more open crevasses on the way up to the Col d’Entrèves.

Grand Capucin : some parties were stopped by the bergschrund. 

Satellites : none of the bergschrunds have been reported as uncrossable for the moment. 

Aiguilles du Diable traverse and the Kuffner Ridge : no news for several days, the approaches are dry and certainly pose a problem.

 

Couvercle

A few cms of snow this morning (Sunday) and cold.

No problems for climbing the Moine, (normal route and the S Ridge classic). The Moine Ridge on the Verte is still feasible, (the bergschrund goes on the true left bank).  The upper part has snow for the moment.

 

Envers des Aiguilles

The upper third are plastered with several cms of snow, in the process of drying out.

 

Leschaux

The rock routes near the hut are popular.

The rock routes on the Petites Jorasses are accessible but currently snow covered.

Grandes Jorasses : The Walker Spur was done at the beginning of last week but there is already  ice after the exit from the black slabs. The face was plastered this morning, (Sunday) and does not get much sun.  The normal descent route is becoming unpleasant, (crevasses, weak snow bridges, stonefall)

 

Albert 1er

 The classics of the area, Tête Blanche – Petite Fourche – Aiguille du Tour remain popular by their normal routes. The Cols du Tour and Col Supérieur du Tour do not have much snow but are feasible, (be aware of stonefall, especially if other parties are about.)  The Table Ridge remains possible but the start is awkward.

 

Argentière

 Regular stonefall has been observed at the Grands Montets Col bergschrund, (access to the Rognon glacier.)  At the hut the main activity is on the nearby rock routes.

 

Conscrits

 1 cm of snow this morning (Sunday) and cold. Mont Tondu is still being done occasionally, (very dry conditions).

The glacier under the Col des Dômes is very crevassed, take care.

The Dômes de Miage traverse is no longer in condition but it is still possible to do the Central Dôme or the East Dôme, (there and back).  

The Aiguille de Bérangère is still being done (there and back).

 

Monzino

Eccles Approach is still OK by the glacier.

Some parties left for the Freney Pillar, awaiting news.

Aiguille Croux and Pointe Innominata are being done regularly.  

As a reminder : the Ratti Vitali is no longer accessible.

 

Aiguilles Rouges

For the route “Au bord du Gouffre” on the Cathédrale de la Glière large boulders, not normally there, have been reported in the gully, (stonefall ?)

 

The Chéserys Cliffs : A large block at the belay for the second pitch on “Aubade” is very loose.

 

Latest Information ( 27/08) :Chapelle de la Glière – south ridge : there is no longer a belay at the top of the Chapelle.  The last pitch is to be avoided.  

Report 16th August 2018

An update following the recent unsettled weather. The lower temperatures have resulted in better re-freezing and so reduced the risk of stonefall.  However, take care, the mountains remain dry and it is still warm during the day.   

Tour Sector

- Col du Midi des Grands is dry but still no bergschrund.

- Table Ridge (integral) OK but the approach is complicated, (crevasses)

- Normal route on the Aiguille du Tour: a good track, but more crevasses appearing and increasingly icy at Col Supérieur du Tour, bergschrund OK.

- Tête Blanche: normal route OK, NE ridge still feasible.  

- Petite Fourche:  a lot of ice at the summit slope but still feasible.

- S ridge of the Purtscheller : OK

Argentière Sector

- Petite Verte is still very dry, not for beginners.

- Care needed at the Col des Grands Montets bergschrund, (stonefall risk on the left-hand side, 25m vertical abseil on the right).

- Care needed with the crevasses on the Rognon glacier

Charpoua

Weak network reception at the hut, reserve by SMS on 06.31.17.74.03. The water supply has nearly dried out, (there is some bottled water.) Bring your own if possible.  The hut closes on the 31st August.

- The Drus traverse is being done regularly, in good condition, take a high line on the glacier and make a 50m abseil to reach the starting ledges, Glacier OK on the descent, (as for the approach to the Contamine on the Grand Dru)

- No remarks for the rock routes.

Couvercle 

- Normal route, S Ridge and E face rock routes on the Moine: snow approach and bergschrund OK.

- Nonne-Évêque traverse OK

- the Moine Ridge on the Aiguille Verte is still being done

- it is over this summer for the Droites normal route

- Normal route on the Courtes is feasible, though very dry, bergschrund OK. Still some snow in the upper part.  The traverse is possible but the descent from the Col des Cristaux is totally dry, (delicate).

Leschaux

- Petites Jorasses : Still snow on the approach glacier, best to take the true left side as there is a dodgy snow bridge on the (true) right.

- Aiguille de Leschaux and the other rock routes are OK.

- Today there were parties on the Walker, (Cassin route).

 

Envers des Aiguilles/ Requin

- no change with République bergschrund and the Nantillons glacier descent, (awkward but possible, though for how long?)

- Requin hut approach: follow the green and yellow marks on the moraine.

- rock routes on the Pierre à Alain and Dent du Requin in very good condition, (snow approach.) 

- Parties are still going up the Valley Blanche.  There are a lot of crevasses to circumvent.

Secteur Aiguille du Midi

3cms of snow fell at the Cosmiques hut on Monday/Tuesday, 30cms at Mont Maudit.

- Midi descent ridge is still in a reasonable state.  Take care with the bergschrund and crevasses.  

- Midi-Plan ridge is re-tracked but still very dry, for good mountaineers only, (e.g. those doing the complete Aiguilles traverse.)

- Valley Blanche traverse tortuous but nonetheless popular.  Care needed.

- Gervasutti Pillar bergschrund still passable. Frequent stonefall reported.

- Pointes Lachenal traverse is in dry condition, (risk of stone fall at the abseil and in the chimney.)

- Cosmiques Arete is popular every day.

- The way across the bergschrund for the Contamine on the S face of the Midi has collapsed.  Possible to approach from the start of the Rébuffat.

- Some parties on the Triangle, no further info. An early start is essential to minimize the stonefall risk.  

- Generally good conditions for the 3 Monts, still a bit of ice at the Col du Mont Maudit (2 axes recommended.) and on the traverse to Col de la Brenva (take the lower track, beneath the bergschrund.)

Grands Mulets

No longer a warden at the hut.) The Jonction goes both high up and low down.  Some fresh snow on the N Ridge of the Dôme du Goûter but the ice is not far away!

Mont Blanc by the Goûter

The conditions have returned to “normal”.  The bye law restricting access now remains in force until 17th September.  See here.

Dômes de Miage / Aiguille de Bionnassay

- More and more crevasses appearing on the Tré-la-Tête glacier, check soundness of the snow bridges.  

- Dômes de Miage traverse is no longer really feasible, (too dry.)

- There and back to the Central and East Dômes OK, passage of mixed between the col and the Central Dôme.  

- Aiguille de la Bérangère there and back : OK.  It is best to keep to the rock ridge on the left when descending. 

- Aiguille de Bionnassay traverse remains popular, ice on the summit slope and before the Piton des Italiens

Mont Blanc by the Aiguilles Grises

The route is still in condition, good track on the glacier, (care needed as there are a lot of snow bridges to cross.)  The recent snow has improved (albeit temporarily) conditions for the ridge after the Col des Aiguilles Grises.

Monzino

- The glacier approach to the Eccles is still OK.

- Still some parties going for the Innominata ridge, even though it is very dry.  The end is near! 

Freney Pillar is still being done despite the very dry approach, (be aware of stonefall when descending from the Eccles col.)

- The traverse of the Freney glacier from the Col de l'Innominata is becoming more awkward but remains possible: The Ratti-Vitale (Aiguille Noire de Peuterey) and the Picco Gugliermina are no longer really feasible, (mainly because the return route is very complicated.)  The Aiguille Blanche by the Schneider ledges, finishing up Mont Blanc by Peuterey Ridge, remains feasible. 

- Parties on the Peuterey Intergral : no further info.   

Helbronner Sector

- Still some parties doing the Küffner even the approach is very difficult; the bergschrund is getting bigger and the wall above steeper.  The snow in the gully ends with 60m of broken, loose terrain below the ridge.  The ridge is generally dry, the traverse under the Androsace OK, the slope under the Maudit is on snow.   The descent direct to the Maudit col is OK.

- same as above for the Aiguilles du Diable traverse.  

- Approaches to the satellites generally OK but be aware of the crevasses.

- For the way up to the Salle à Manger, the glacier and bergschrund are OK. It is still possible to climb up the small gully, (but for how long?). It is better to descend by the rocks on the true right.  The rest is dry.

- Dent du Géant : OK but very crowded.

- Rochefort Arete: good track, ridge mostly on snow, though some ice beginning to appear.

- Jorasses traverse and descent by the normal route still OK, (some ice descending the Whymper and below the spur which comes down from the Walker.)

- Hirondelles ridge done on 11/08, no further info.

 

Aiguilles Rouges

- the Col de la Glière is free of snow but there is a snowfield to cross towards the Cornu col, perhaps hard in the morning.

- Crampons no longer needed to reach the rock routes, (Pouce included).