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Report 11 July 2016

For the most part, the snow routes were in good condition last week, thanks to good freezing at night.  However, the hot weather this last weekend means alpinists are now preferring either the rock routes or snow routes above 3600m.  

- Albert 1er: Generally good conditions. Most of the routes are being done. if it freezes hard enough at night.

- Argentière : The Aiguille d’Argentière is being climbed by the Glacier du Milieu, the Flèche Rousse and the Y couloir ; only average conditons for the “Y”, (sugary snow.)  The normal route on the Petite Verte is popular.  There is a large bergschrund on the Chevalier, (can be passed on the left;) conditions are deteriorating for this route.

- Charpoua / Couvercle: Good climbing on the Flammes de Pierre. The S Pillar of the Grand Dru is feasible.  Sans Nom Ridge on the Verte was climbed on 9/07, The approach up the glacier is OK, but one needs to work out the best line.  The climb up to the Brèche sans Nom is on snow, (but likely to deteriorate rapidly,) then good conditions on the ridge to the summit.  The traverse of the Drus looks feasible.  Descent by the Whymper: conditions are worsening and the central gully is dry.
There has been another serac fall from the Charpuoa glacier:  Take care if in this area as it is unstable. The hut approach by the new route is recommended.  The rock routes near the Couvercle are mainly in condition and the Normal route on the Moine has got a lot better.  It is better to wait until night time freezing improves for the snow routes in this area, (the Courtes Traverse – Pointe Isabelle – Whymper are deteriorating.) 

- Leschaux: No problems to get to the hut from the Leschaux glacier. There is still some steep snow on the balcon footpath, (crampons necessary.)  No problems for climbing on the Aiguille de Pierre à Joseph just above the hut, or on the W face of the Petites Jorasses, (glacier approach OK). The Aiguille de l’Eboulement is still possible if it freezes correctly.   The Periades: the glacier goes OK for the moment.  Concerning the Grandes Jorasses, the mixed routes are clearly not in condition.  The Walker is in the process of “drying out”, situation to be followed! 

- Requin:  The Envers glacier is tracked   The Vallée Blanche is being done, the route is becoming more complicated at the Salle a Manger and it is recommended to pass by the hut and then the ladders to regain the Mer de Glace. The Dent du Requin is in condition. 

- Envers des Aiguilles: The season has started, climbers on the Tour Verte – Tour Rouge – Pointe des Nantillons – République – Grépon Mer de Glace – E Ridge of the Crocodile – Bec d’Oiseau.


- Conscrits: The summer path is open, the ropes are back in place and the footbridge is as new. Some snow patches remain, which require crampons early in the morning, though these are disappearing rapidily with the heat.  Condition generally are good in this sector: Dômes de Miage –Bionnassay traverse – Bérangère – Tondu. 
For the return by the Tré la Tête glacier do not descend until the “Mauvais Pas” but after the “Tré la Grande”, keep to the centre of the glacier, (covered in stones), and at the level of the glacier snout go onto the true right bank, cairns
- Diable Ridge traverse: the bergschrund is OK. The gully has snow all the way.  The aiguilles are dry, (except for a little snow between the Carmen and the Isolée.)
- Kuffner Ridge: Stonefall has been reported after the Fourche bivouac, at the level of the first gendarme, (tower). 

  At lower altitudes, with the recent hot weather, the snow is rapidly melting.  However, there are still many awkward snow patches in the Aiguilles Rouges: (col Cornu - Index - col de la Glière - Brévent by the col du Brévent – Buet –  Emosson sector)

 

The next update will be after the stormy period, which has been forecasted for the next few days.

Report 30th June

At the beginning of last week the high pressure weather system together with good freezing conditions, (if you start early,) encouraged a lot of alpine activity.  This report is concerns the period 27 to 29 June.

Couvercle Sector: Quite a few parties on the Whymper, Courtes traverse and the Ponte Isabelle. The E spur of the Droites was done in good conditions, though with a lot of snow, (only one pitch of actual rock climbing.)  Concerning rock routes, the Moine has been climbed but the normal route still has a lot of snow. The Mer de Glace Balcon approach to the hut is passable, (with a few patches of neve below the hut.)

Leschaux Sector: The Mer de Glace Balcon route from the Couvercle is being done but some sections require crampons.  The rock routes behind the hut are dry as is the Petite Jorasses which looks to be in condition.


Envers des Aiguilles Sector: The hut will open on July 2nd.  No information yet from this sector.  People are already doing routes on the Nantillons, Tour Verte and Tour Rouge. Awaiting news concerning the longer routes.

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Requin Sector: No problems concerning the approach to the hut for the moment.  No tracks yet on the Envers glacier.

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Albert 1er Sector: good conditions on the Aiguille du Tour, (normal route and the Table couloir), Tête Blanche (normal route and N face), Petite Fourche.  The Purtscheller is also being climbed. Parties have reported good conditions on the Chardonnet, (Forbes Ridge, Migot Spur and the normal descent route.)  The approach to the hut from the La Tour lifts still has some awkward snow patches and is unadvisable for novices, families etc.

 
Argentière Sector: good conditions on the Aiguille d’Argentière normal route, the col du Tour Noir and the col Supérieur du Tour Noir (there and back). The Flèche Rousse ridge is tracked.  The Jardin ridge has also been done but there is still a lot of snow.  The N faces have not been climbed, many snow slides.


Torino Sector: traverses of the Aiguilles Marbrées, Aiguilles d’Entrêves and the Aig Toule are been done regularly.   Good conditions on the N face and Gervasutti on the Tour Ronde and also for the Kuffner ridge; the direct approach for this from the Torino giving no problems, including the bergschrund.  A party starting from the Fourche Bivouac reported signs of a recent rockfall after the Gendarme (without consequences for the moment.) The parties bypassed the Androsace (pitched) before regaining the ridge.  A party was seen on the Brenva.  The Rochefort Arete is tracked, though has several delicate passages.  


Aiguille du Midi Sector: Frendo Spur was done in good conditions, (after a night in the Plan de l’Aiguille). Good neve on the approach, the rock sections had plenty of snow, (crampons worn throughout).  The ridge is OK.
Triangle du Tacul:  Contamine Grisolle – Contamine Mazeaud – Contamine Négri – goulotte Chéré have been done.  The 3 Monts traverse is tracked and in good condition, (steep ice for several metres on the Mont Maudit, 2 axes recommended, though it might be possible to bypass.)


Durier Sector: One needs to do the approach from the Plan Glacier very early in order to have good conditions.  The route from the Piton des Italiens, traversing the Bionnassay, has been done for the first time this season. The ridge is OK, (no cornices or ice but very narrow.)  


Conscrits Sector:  Dômes de Miage traverse, Bérangère and Tondu all in good condition.  The hut approach is still been done via the glacier.  The work on the foot bridge might be finished by 1st July


Monzino Sector: parties have done the Inominatta ridge, Brouillard Pillar Rouge (Bonatti route and Anneaux Magiques) and the Hyper couloir on the Brouillard. At the beginning of this season the approach to the Eccles bivouac is comparatively easy.  Nobody has attempted the Peuterey Intergrale yet, (lots of snow.)  
Gonella Sector: Conditions generally in good condition for the Mont Blanc.  The Dome glacier is OK.  There is a good track from the Piton des Italiens to the summit.


Mont-Blanc – the normal route is very popular. If you chose the correct time of day, crossing the Grand couloir is OK. The bergschrund on the ridge is either bypassed on the right, (fixed rope,) or on the left, (nothing in place.)


In conclusion: If the night time freezing levels remain good, then it is time to do the snow routes.  If it is rock routes that you want, then it is only the S facing ones that are in condition.  (Do not forget that the approaches to the routes in the Aiguilles Rouges have a lot of snow, be equipped accordingly).

Finally, for the hikers: the snow is slowly melting but still remains in many sectors above 2200m , making some passages difficult.  The mountain lakes are starting to reappear from their snow cover, the approach to some remains awkward.  We cannot give a list of the conditions of all the hikes, so if in doubt do not hesitate to contact the Office de Haute Montagne.

Enjoy the mountains and stay safe.

Report 25 June 2016

 

The weather has changed this week from winter to summer in just a few days. There has been a lot of snow combined with strong winds at altitude last week and the heat these last few days has made conditions difficult for alpinists.  Activity in the mountains is happening again but with caution, given the freezing levels.

- Albert 1er: The approach to the hut from the lifts is not yet recommended for hikers. The normal route on the Aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche, Petite Fourche, Copt Couloir and Aiguille Putscheller were done this week. The Forbes Ridge on the Chardonnet, descending   by the normal route was also done but involved ploughing through deep, soft snow.

- Argentière: The lifts only opened today (Saturday) so there is no information yet.  However, there is a lot of snow in this sector.

 

- Charpoua: The snow has largely melted in this area and parties have climbed to the Flammes de Pierre by Elan Vertical and La Reprise. With the high temperatures these last few days   the « Y »is unlikely to be in condition.  However, the Naïa and the Sans Nom should be Ok if the freezing level drops.

- Le Couvercle: The « balcon » route by the new path is being used.  However, there is still a lot of snow below the Tête du Couvercle. Some alpinists have also traversed across to the Leschaux, but there is still a lot of snow, making crampons and ice axe essential.  The S ridge and the Contamines on the Moine have been climbed, but the descent by the normal route is awkward. Some parties retreated from the Courtes and the Whymper due to lack of freezing.  Some others climbed the Verte the following day, in better conditions.

- Envers des Aiguilles: Still a lot of snow in this sector.  The hut is due to open this weekend.

 
- Leschaux: The rock is drying rapidly and the Petites Jorasses should soon be in condition.


- Requin: The Pierre-Allain is dry but has not been climbed for the moment. The Valley Blanche on foot is in good condition but no longer practical with skis.

 
- Torino: Lots of routes are being down from the hut.  Aiguilles Marbrées, the Entrêves and the Toule are in good condition as well as the normal route and the Geant Branche on Dent du Géant. For the Tour Ronde, it is best to go up the SE ridge. The N face and the Gervasutti couloir have been climbed but it is probably best to wait for lower freezing levels.  There is a track to the Fourche but not yet on the Kuffner ridge.
Some rock routes have also been climbed;  O Sole Moi, Voie des Suisses on the Grand Capucin, Bettembourg and  Salluard on the Pointe Adolphe Rey.

- Cosmiques: Chéré, Contamine Mazeaud and Négri on the  Triangle du Tacul are in good condition.  A party has abseilled down the Négri.  The Mont Blanc was climbed on 24/06, apparently without a problem.  The Goulotte Pellissier on the Pointes Lachenal has little ice but climbable, (dry tooling.)  The traverses of the Pointes Lachenal and the Cosmiques Ridge are in good condition.  The S face of the Aig du Midi and the Eperon des Cosmiques are being climbed.  There is a lot of snow on the Midi Plan traverse, (as far as the Rognon.)


- Grands Mulets: Mont Blanc on foot by the N ridge of the Dome is in excellent condition.  It is still possible with skis but avoid skiing down the N face too early, (Unskiable and dangerous at 08.30 on 24/06!)
- Boccalatte hut on the Normal route up the Grandes Jorasses is due to open with a warden on the 1st July.  .

- Refuge Monzino: Innominata tracked the 23/06, Ottoz and Bertone/Zapelli routes are dry and in condition, abseil descent down Euroteam recommended.

- Plan Glacier / Durier / Conscrits: The Mettrier Ridge followed by the traverse of the Domes de Miage and down to the Conscrits was done in OK conditions on 24/06.  The approach to the Durier hut is still being done via the Conscrits hut or via the Mettrier.  The approach to the Conscrits hut is still via the Tré la Tête glacier.

For the hikers:  last week’s heat has greatly improved conditions.  However, there is still a lot of snow above 2100/2200m and numerous paths remain awkward. The Chéserys lakes and Lac Blanc are just beginning to lose their snow cover.

The Tour des Aiguilles Rouges and the Mont Buet are not practical unless properly equipped with ice axe and crampons etc..
The Brévent col, the Cornu col and lake, the Lacs Noirs, the Glière col, the Emosson area and the Albert 1er hut are not accessible for “normal” hikers yet.
The Tour du Mont Blanc still has a lot of snow on the cols and both care and good equipment are essential. The Col des Fours the Fenêtre d’Arpette are not recommended for the moment.
People are beginning to climb in the Aiguilles Rouges but some approaches are awkward or even dangerous due to the amount of snow remaining.
The weather forecast for next week is reasonable and the OHM is waiting for the reports of your outings to help with the next mountain conditions bulletin.

Report 17th June 2016

There is a possibility of some better weather this weekend which should allow for some activity in the mountains.
Here is some information collected from last week:

 
- Albert 1er: 15 cm of new snow.   Several parties went for the normal route on the Aiguille du Tour this morning (Friday), no other activities reported for the moment.  The approach to the hut should only be attempted by experienced hikers/alpinists, as the way from the lifts remains very tricky and requires the proper equipment


- Leschaux: 12cm, calm for the moment.  Please do not hesitate to contact the hut warden for more information.

 
- Requin: 15 cm, the approach via the ladders is in good condition. When the weather permitted, there have been people going up towards the Torino or the Cosmiques.


- Torino: 40 to 50 cm of new snow. The tracks are covered in parts and snow shoes are advisable for this weekend.  There were parties this morning (Friday) on the Aiguilles Marbrées and also going towards the Col des Flambeaux.

- Cosmiques:  50 to 60 cm has accumulated over the last 2 days, with a strong wind from the SW yesterday.  The Cosmiques Ridge and the traverse of the Pointes Lachenal were done this morning (Friday).

- Plan de l’Aiguille: Very little activity apart from some hikers coming up via the Grand Bois. The Grand Balcon path to Montenvers is not recommended due to too much snow.

- Grands Mulets: About 50 to 60 cm, good conditions for ski touring


- Plan Glacier: 20 cm of snow, no activity at the moment, but if the weather picks up the Mettrier ridge should be in good condition.  Access to the hut is preferable from the Chalets de Miage and then the moraine.


- Conscrits: 20cm, no activity for several days.  The way up to the hut is still via the glacier. More information after the weekend.


- Tête Rousse: 40 cm of snow.  Some people went up to the Gouter today, but the conditions remain difficult.  Some avalanches (purges) in the Gouter (Grand) couloir.  Above the Nid d’Aigle, the approach to the hut is for alpinists only at the moment, crampons and ice axe essential.
The tramway up to the Nid d'Aigle opens on the 18th June (Saturday).

Concerning hiking, the situation remains awkward in numerous sectors and good equipment is essential for the higher paths, (proper mountain boots, a pair of hiking poles and maybe crampons).  Check the conditions before setting out.

Concerning the Tour du Mont Blanc, all the cols are snowed over and can be dangerous if one is badly equipped or in bad weather. The Tricot and Bionnassay footbridges are in place. For the Col du Bonhomme, there is snow from Plan Jovet onwards.

The variants are not recommended for the moment, even if they have been tracked by experienced (and well equipped) hikers. The Tour des Aiguilles Rouges also has a lot of snow and it is better to wait until conditions improve in order to do it safely.

Concerning the runners, (trailers), the route of the Marathon du Mont Blanc is possible if careful but not the du 80 km route. The way up to the Lac Blanc is not recommended for lightly equipped walkers, according to the staff of the hut there.
Please do not hesitate to share information from your activities in the mountains by reporting them on the Chamoniarde website.
http://www.chamoniarde.com/?page_id=415

Report 9th June 2016

Slightly better the weather these last few days has allowed people to be out and about in the mountains again.

Here is latest information that has been gathered:

 

- Albert 1er: Aiguille du Tour normal route and the Tête Blanche are tracked, as well the ascent of the Eperon Migot.  The normal route of the Chardonnet is not tracked because the rope on the Migot skied down.  The best approach to the hut is still by the moraine path and not via Charamillon. Depending upon the time of day, snow shoes could be useful.

 
- Argentière: Nothing reported but there will have been activity in this area.


- Couvercle: Only the Whymper has been done recently. The freezing level has been too high and snow shoes or skis are useful, especially for the return.

 
- Charpoua: A party is attempting the Y couloir this Friday, 10 June.


- Requin: The Vallée Blanche is being done up and down, either with skis or on foot.  However, be vigilant in the area below the hut.

 

- Torino: Generally good conditions in this area, the Dent du Geant has been climbed.

- Cosmiques: The Triangle du Tacul is in good condition except for the Goulotte des Allemands, (not enough snow/ice).  Pointes Lachenal, Laurence Ridge and the Cosmiques Ridge are being traversed regularly. The Tacul has been ascended both on foot and ski.  Rock routes on the Midi S face and the Pointes Lachenal, e,g the Contamine, are being climbed.  The Midi Plan ridge is tracked as far as the Rognon.
No news yet concerning the 3 Monts, though a party set out to do it on Thursday, 9 June.

- Grands Mulets: N Ridge of the Dôme and the route by the Plateaus are tracked, mostly good conditions. Skis can be put on at the Plan de l’Aiguille and the Jonction does not present any problems.

- Goûter: Good conditions and a good track for the Mont Blanc. Snow shoes are not necessary, but gaiters are advisable.   The cable is in place in the Gouter Couloir, (Grand Couloir). The Mont Blanc tramway is not expected to start running up to the Nid d’Aigle before the 18th June.

- Durier: A party retreated from the approach to the hut due to bad conditions, lack of freezing and wet snow avalanches, (Tuesday and Wednesday). Possible to approach via the Dômes de Miage, Mettrier Ridge or the Tricot Ridge, after a night either in the Plan Glacier or the Conscrits huts. Do not hesitate to contact the hut wardens for more information


- Conscrits: The approach to the hut via the glacier is in good condition.  The Bérangère and the Dômes traverse are being done on foot and by ski.  Snow shoes useful for the return if the freezing level remains high. The new path by the footbridge remains closed for the moment due to damage during the winter. The Lex Blanche has been skied, no problems with ice.  The North Aiguille de Tré la Tête looks to be in good condition.

Concerning hiking, the snow is slowly receding but remains significant above 2100/2200m. Many of the trails remain risky for the moment and the mountain lakes are still covered. The Tour du Mont Blanc is, nonetheless, being done regularly, but all the cols are under snow. Good quality hiking boots, gaiters, hiking poles as well as crampons (10 points) are recommended for certain sections.  Some of the variations are not being done yet.

 

In the Chamonix valley the higher footpaths are difficult or, in some cases, even dangerous. The traverse of the Grand Balcon Nord is not safe.  This is also true for many of the paths in the Aiguilles Rouges on the opposite side of the valley.  Check on conditions before starting out.
The “trails” routes at altitude present certain dangers for lightly equipped runners and the reconnoitring the route “A” of 80km is currently not practical.
As recommended above for the hikers, check the conditions before setting out, especially as very unstable weather has been forecasted for the next few days.

Report 3rd June 2016

The weather has been woeful this last week, which has seriously limited activity in the high mountains.
30 cms of wet snow has fallen in the last two days between 2800 et 3600m.

There has, however, been some activity during the brief clear spells.


-Albert 1er sector: a party went towards the Aiguille du Genepy. Ploughing through deep snow to reach the hut and snow shoes essential above it.


- No activity reported from the Charpoua, the Argentière and the Couvercle huts.
ATTENTION: there has been major stone fall for several days near the Montenvers ladders, some of which have been damaged.  It is preferable to use the path via the ice caves


- Torino hut: the Aiguilles Marbrées, the Aiguille de Toule, the Col d’Entrèves and the Tour Ronde (Normal route and N face) have been frequently attempted.

- Cosmiques hut: activity limited to near the hut including attempts on the Cosmiques ridge, traverse of the Pointes Lachenal, Chéré Couloir, M6 Solar and the Pellissier.

- Access to the Requin hut is possible from below via the ladders and with crampons and ice axe. The Brèche Puiseux should be feasible once the weather improves.  
- Due to the amount of snow, the opening of the Envers des Aiguilles hut has been delayed until 18th June.

- Several attempts of the Gouter Route on the Mont Blanc have been reported. The approach to the Tête Rousse is best done by the Tramway track then the normal way from the Nid d’Aigle.  Access by ski from the Bionnassay glacier is also possible.  The cable in the Gouter gully should be installed soon.  
- Base level avalanches have been reported in the Conscrits and Aiguille du Midi sectors: remain vigilante whether in mid or at high altitudes.

 
Concerning hiking, the situation is only improving very slowly and many footpaths remain either difficult or impractical.  Even though the lifts in the Aiguilles Rouges will soon be open, most of the paths will not be in a safe condition by next weekend.  Crampons may be necessary, as well as good mountain footwear and hiking poles.  The lakes at altitude remain, for the moment, under snow.

The Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB), is starting to be done, but the passes and certain traverses remain awkward.