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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.

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.