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! 

Join Us
 

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.

Report 25 may

Snow fell down to 1100m last weekend with larger quantities settling at higher altitudes.

In certain areas the snow has been seriously affected by the wind causing large deposits and a risk of wind slab.

The different huts have reported the following snow levels:
- Cosmiques: about 70cm, wind affected with some deep accumulations.  Some parties had to retreat on 23 May from the Cosmiques ridge due to large cornices.  
- Grands Mulets: 70cm at the level of the hut without too much wind.  N ridge of the Dome tracked up until the Col du Dome.  Stronger SW winds at altitude.
- Les Conscrits: 60 to 70cm of fresh snow combined with strong winds during the night of 23-24th May. Dômes de Miage and Aiguille de la Bérangère done at the weekend.
- Le Couvercle: about 45cm, affected by the wind, (accumulations).  This snow is going rapidly.
- Plan de l’Aiguille: about 50cm of fresh snow at the weekend which is going quickly.  Hard snow early morning which rapidly softens so you sink in up to your knees.  The footpaths in this area remain impractical.
- A lot of snow also at the level of the Tré la Tête hut and on the Tour du Mont Blanc route. It would appear that crossing the cols (including already La Balme) would require good mountain boots and crampons.  One should wait several weeks before attempting the TMB with “lightweight” equipment.

In the Chamonix valley the snow levels remain significant above 1900m.  It is necessary to equip yourself accordingly or make other plans.  Either way, check the conditions before setting out!

Report 21 May

Though the snow is slowly disappearing at mid altitudes, hiking above 2000m still remains unadvisable.  Good boots and hiking poles are essential for outing around or slightly above this 2000m level. Some passages might require crampons.


At higher altitudes, the periods of snow, wind and good weather which have followed each other these last few days have led to variable ski conditions, but mainly OK. Snow slips are being observed in the heat of the day, respect the timing!

Here is the information from last week, (which saw some heavy snow falls at altitude):

 
- Argentière Sector: parties on Petit Viking, Col d’Argentière, NNE of the Courtes, Aiguille qui Remue, Voie des Suisses and the Aiguille d’Argentière by the Glacier du Milieu and the Y Couloir. Skis or snow shoes essential for the approach.

- Couvercle:  the Whymper was done in good conditions (approach on skis but descent by abseilling) on the morning of 21/05, to be avoided later in the day.  The best approach to the Couvercle hut still remains by the central couloir, rather than by the ladders, (risk of avalanche from the snows above.)

- Torino and Aiguille du Midi Sectors:  Aiguilles d’Entrèves, Aiguilles Marbrées and the Tour Ronde by the normal route are in good condition.  The Gervasutti couloir and the Tour Ronde N Face were climbed on 21/05 in good conditions. Tracks seen leading to the Diable Couloir, the Gabarrou-Albinoni, the Jager Couloir and the Chéré Gully. The Cosmiques Arete and the Pointes Lachenal are tracked, as well as the route up Mont Blanc via the 3 Monts.  

- Plan de l’Aiguille: No news from this area, except for extreme ski descents.


- Mont Blanc by the Grands Mulets in good condition via the N ridge of the Dôme.

- Conscrits Sector:  It is better to do the Dômes de Miages there and back, rather than to descend via the Bérangère. The Armancette side is not in very good condition.  Some activity on the ridge of the Aiguille Carrée, though the slopes are heavily loaded.


Some additional information: 

The Val Vény road is still closed. The Val Ferret road is open up to Lavachey.
The Curalla via ferrata at Plateau d’Assy is open.
The Via Corda Alpina and the Voie Câline at the Rochers des Mottets are dry and amenable.

Climbing is happening at all the valley crags, including Barberine, but not the Chéserys slabs yet.

Ski touring is still popular from the Emosson dam as well as Mt Buet via the Berard Valley.

Report 13th May

Snow continues to fall at altitude and skis or snow shoes are essential for the approaches. There has been little activity these last few days due to the bad weather, though some people are still ski touring, mainly in the Buet and Emosson areas.
Concerning the Mont Blanc massive, a lot of snow has fallen recently and this is likely to be affected by the strong winds forecast for this weekend, take care!

Allow at least 30 mins of walking before you can put on the skis to gain the Argentière basin.

 

The hut wardens have reported the following levels of new snow:
- Couvercle: 30 to 40cm of wet snow.
- Plan de l’Aiguille: 30cm of heavy snow.
- Cosmiques: 80cm during the last 2 days.  
- Torino: 1m of fresh, windblown snow since Monday.
- Grands Mulets: 50cm during the last 2 days.
- Conscrits: about 50cm of fresh snow, rapidly become wet.

 

Not much has changed since the report last week for the hikers. The lakes and paths at altitude remain snowed over and dangerous in places. It is recommended that walkers this weekend restrict their activities to below 2000m.
A lot of trail runners want to reconnoitre future races but for the moment the routes at altitude have far too much snow.  A list of currently “open” trails is available on the site www.valleedutrail.com .

There has been a landslip at the level of Nant Favre making the Sentier des Gardes impassable in this area and there is a potential risk on the Petit Balcon du Sud below.  More information will follow once the weather improves, but for the moment please avoid this sector

Report 6th May

The snow falls and high winds the weekend before and the early part of last week curtailed activities at altitude for a few days.


The Albert 1 and Argentière huts are now closed until the summer season, as well as all the lifts at Grand Montees.  Some routes are still in good condition in the Argentiere basin, leading to some overcrowding of the winter room.
No news about the Couturier but there has been activity on the Austrian route and the NNE of the Courtes. The Swiss route also appears to be OK.  The wind at the start of last week has made conditions difficult, (iced,) in the upper parts of the routes.  
Couvercle sector: the Pointe Isabelle is tracked with hard, windblown snow in the upper part.
Col des Droites also tracked. The Whymper has been climbed, (some ice pitches.)  The approach to the hut is still best done by the “central couloir”, but it is starting to get thin.  The N face of the Grandes Jorasses looks very dry.


Cosmiques sector:  the Pointes Lachenal traverse and the Cosmiques Arete are tracked. The 3 Monts route up Mont Blanc has been tracked since Thursday on hard, windblown snow with patches of ice at the Col du Mont Maudit and towards the Brenva col.
The Chéré, Modica-Noury, Gabarrou-Albinoni, Pinocchio and Valéria, have been climbed.  Conditions are dry but OK.

Several parties have climbed the Tour Ronde N face, no further information. The Normal route, (skis off for 20m in the middle,) and the Gervasutti couloir are also tracked.

The SW couloir of the Aiguilles du Diable has been done.

Vent du Dragon (Aig du Midi) was climbed in very dry conditions.

Grands Mulets: Mont Blanc tracked by the Plateaus and the N ridge of the Dôme.

Plan Glacier: Mettrier ridge “intégrale” was climbed in OK conditions, though the upper part was “dry”. The N face of the Dômes de Miage looks like bare ice.

Conscrits:  Dômes de Miage traverse is generally in good condition.  Descent by the Armancette is tracked but the snow is unpleasant to ski.  Skis off about 15 mins above the lake.  Better conditions for a “there and back” trip on the Tré la Tête glacier. Parties have climbed the Aiguille de Tré la Tête, to the Col des Glaciers and Mont Tondu.
Lex Blanche was done in OK conditions by the summer route. Descent barely skiable on very variable snow.

Mont Buet tracked all the way on good snow.  Skis on/off 10 mins above the Cascade de Bérard. up and down following the true right bank.  The road up to Emosson is open and people have been ski touring there, (Bel Oiseau and Cheval Blanc.)

Concerning hiking, things have not changed much with snow causing problems above 1800m.  It will still be a long time before the classic summer trails, (Grand Balcons, Lac Blanc etc.) are practicable. The footpaths at the valley floor are fine, as well as walks like the Floria, Le Chapeau or the Mottets, where the tea shack was open this weekend. If you want to visit a lake then the Lac Vert, with its beautiful views, is to be recommended, (above Servoz). The Merlet footbridge is now open so it can be approached from Montquarts.

More Articles ...

  1. Report 22nd February