Changeable weather, unreliable refreezing, rain up to 3600m, Aig du Midi lift closed….. Despite all this, things are still getting done in the mountains. Lower down, the snows are slowly receding, though there is still a significant amount in the cwms and below the cols.
The Aiguille du Midi and Plan de l’Aiguille cable cars will be closed until 7th July. The Planpraz cable car opened today (12th). Montenvers is open and most of the other lifts will open this coming weekend (16th). More info at Compagnie du Mont Blanc.
However, just because the lifts are open does not mean that all the footpaths above are possible. There is still a lot of snow in places, together with the associated dangers.
Albert 1er :
It is still best to get to the hut by the moraine path, (crampons not necessary as far as the hut.) Be aware of stonefall danger when crossing the gully after the Combe de la Vormaine.
No major changes since the last update. When the weather permits, the classics are being done, despite often a lack of refreezing: Aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche, Petite Fourche, Aiguille du Chardonnet (Forbes Arête, Migot Spur, descent OK). The S ridge of the Aiguille Purtscheller is dry.
The narrows in the Table Gully on the Aig du Tour are dry.
Mer de Glace Hut approaches :
The prepared paths (new Charpoua route, Egralets, Leschaux) were damaged this winter and are slowly being put back in order. The approach to the Envers hut is not recommended because a ladder is detached and many of the metal footsteps are deformed. There is avalanche debris covering the route to the Requin hut. The moraine at the foot of the Montenvers ladders does not present problems.
Despite the lack of refreezing these last 10 days, snow shoes are no longer necessary, the snow being firm enough. The bergschrunds are opening up and though often awkward, are still passable.
The wake-up calls are earlier than usual because early starts are essential.
The Contamine and Miss Tiques (Moine) are dry, (risk of resurgences after rain/storms.)
Whymper: a fixed rope is in place to cross the bergschrund. Soft snow in the secondary couloir and on the traverse back into the main couloir, where conditions are good. More info in the Chamoniarde Route Book).
Col Armand Charlet: The bergschrund here is better than the others. The couloir in good condition. Still a lot of snow on the summit ridges.
Still too early for the Jardin Ridge, one needs to find the right window, (i.e bergschrund still OK but the rock dry), which is likely to be small.
The normal route on the Droites in good by the diagonal gully (bergschrund goes on the true left), mixed section in good condition.
There and back by the normal route on the Courtes OK. The traverse looks feasible but the descent from the Col des Cristaux could be problematical depending on the time of day and the freezing level, only for fast parties!
Pointe Isabelle, on foot, in good condition.
For experienced hikers, there are still some snowfields on the approach by the Egralets and on the new path to Charpoua hut. Crampons and ice axe necessary for the traverse to the Leschaux hut, which is in reasonable condition, (access to the glacier is made easier with the snow, but some steep snow to traverse, notably in the gorge just before the hut.)
The amount of refreezing varies from night to night, (never below -1°C.) It rained at 3500m!
Dent du Géant : crevasses on the glacier filled in, the approach to the Salle à Manger in good condition,. Still some snow and ice in some of the cracks but not bad.
Rochefort Arete in very good condition, but it is too early for the traverse of the Jorasses, (normal route in good condition.)
Tour Ronde: the bergschrund on the Gervasutti is open but passable. SE ridge and the Col Freshfield OK.
Küffner has been done but not recommended unless there is a good freeze.
Rock climbing on the satellites, (including the Grand Capucin).
The approach is from the Punta Helbronner (Skyway open). The ascent up the Valley Blanche is awkward, especially as the Requin hut is shut, (due to open 15th June). Rain and wet snow at the beginning of the week. The track on the Tacul, however, was recovered by snow.
Some parties attempted the 3 Monts at the weekend but were turned back by the weather, (strong winds at altitude.) The Tacul is in good condition but the Maudit is awkward, (a breaking crust over 40cms of granular snow). The parties escaped by the Corridor route. The Cosmiques Ridge, Pointe Lachenal traverse and Chéré gully are in condition. The routes on the N face of the Aiguille du Midi are awkward due to the lack of freezing. Crampons necessary on the rock sections of the Frendo.
The normal route up Mont Blanc in good condition. As elsewhere, the problem is with the unstable weather. There is no snow as far as the Nid d’Aigle (approach by the Chalets de l’Are or the rail track.) The snow is receding on the way up to the Gouter but crampons are still necessary. The cables are beginning to reappear, making things more agreeable
The Bellevue cable car and the Mont Blanc Tramway, (only as far as the Col du Mont Lachat,) open on 16th June.
The Plan de l’Aiguille cable car is shut for work, (re-opening foreseen for 7th July). The approach to the hut is by the Para path. The snow starts just below the Gare des Glaciers (count on carrying the skis for 1h30-2h from the tunnel). The hut warden has remarked the way at the Jonction with poles, one only needs to remove the skis for about 40m.
The N ridge of the Dôme du Goûter is in good condition, with virtually no ice. The way is tracked both on foot and by ski and in descent.
The N face was skied on 10/06 in the mist. Despite the lack of refreezing, the ski conditions are OK, (hard snow) down to the Jonction.
There is no longer snow at the hut. The approach is tracked on foot is by the glacier, (the summer path still not passable.)
The Dômes de Miage traverse is in good condition, the ridge is well tracked and broad.
The Aiguille de Tré-la-Tête, (there and back,) has been done. There is still a lot of snow, a bit of “ploughing” but basically in good condition, with no ice.
The Bérangère cwm is also in good condition.
Some ski alpinists traversed the Bionnassay ridge to the Dôme du Goûter. Good conditions but a long approach.
The warden thinks that if the current weather continues, the N face of the Lée Blanche will be in excellent condition for skiing.
The Gonella and Monzino are due to open the 15th June.
Plan de l’Aiguille
NNE Ridge of the Aiguille du M, traverse and SW pillar of the Petits Charmoz, Papillons Ridge, Minettes Spur, and the normal route on the Peigne have been done, (no further info.) The cable car is shut but the Plan de l’Aiguille hut remains open. The paths beneath the lift cables are closed. The approach is by Blaitière and the Pré du Rocher.