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Report 21 December 2018

Some information for the start of the winter season.

 

The Chamonix Ski Domain:

The Aiguille du Midi cable car, the Montenvers train and all of the Tour-Vallorcine  ski area are open from Saturday onwards.  There is plenty of snow above 1300m and conditions for skiing and snow shoeing are good. 

 

The Grands Montets cable car will be closed for the season, making the top of the Bochard lift the upper limit of the secured ski area.  The “Point de Vue” and “Pylones” pistes will not be opened, this season, making this a high mountain area.  This area will not be signposted, checked for hazards or have safety patrols. Despite rumours to the contrary, there will not be a secured ski touring track put in place giving access to this area.

 

Though the Midi lift is open, it is still too early to ski the Vallee Blanche (weak snow bridges).

 

The Loriaz hut opens this weekend, the Lognan hut is foreseen to open on Christmas day.

 

The forecast for the next few days is for warm, damp weather with the snow/rain limit around 2000m. Above this be aware of accumulated snow with the associated avalanche risk.

 

Ski touring is feasible above 1500m, for example, the Col de Cicle, Col des Dards, Bel Oiseau, Col du Passon, and Col du Tour Noir.  No precise information for the Berard valley but it is possible to ski back to the road.

 

No news for the alpinists, conditions appear to be still desperately dry, (Argentière sector, Chardonnet etc.).

Some of the icefalls are formed at Cogne.  (N.B. the Money sector is closed because of a nesting bearded vulture,) and Valsavarenche.

 

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.