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.