Some information for the coming weekend which promises to be warm and sunny. In the high mountain, be aware that the freezing level is going to rise significantly. The conditions may change from one day to the next. Some extra info in the route book
There have been a number, (too many!) of accidents due to slipping on firm snow : make sure you have the right information and equipment for your proposed route.
- Hut approach : by the moraine for hikers or from Charamillon, (do not take the Autannes lift,) for alpinists (still some snowfield, be aware of falling snow blocks).
- Col Supérieur du Tour and col du Midi des Grands OK, col du Tour dry (fixed rope in place to reach the glacier but take care of stonefall, epecially if other ropes are around.)
- Aiguille du Tour : summit ridge dry, normal route and Table ridge OK.
- Tête Blanche : Normal route OK, the bergschrund on the N face is very open but can be crossed on the left.
- Petite Fourche OK
- Chardonnet : Normal route and descent OK. Some ice on the Bosse to reach the Forbes Arete, but one ice axe is enough; the ridge is dry but OK. The bergschrund at the start of the Migot Spur is crossed on the right. The ice starts at the exit onto the summit slope but conditions generally good.
It is finished here for the skiers, (though still possible in the Monte Rosa area.)
- Hut approach : The snow starts at Point de Vue, ladders and access to the glacier OK, (steep névé). From the summit of the Grands Montets, descend in line with the Rognon then bear right to take advantage of the snow. Do not follow the track traversing under the Aig Verte, (crevasses, exposed to serac fall.)
- Tournier Spur is still being done. The Courtier, however, is not in condition, (bergschrund very open and a lot of ice in the couloir). This will also be true for the Couloir du Y on the Aig d’Argentiere in a few days.
- Col du Tour Noir and Col d'Argentière OK. The approach to the Col Supérieur du Tour Noir and traverse of the Aiguille du Tour Noir are OK.
- Arête du Jardin and Flèche Rousse OK, Glacier du Milieu is hard snow with a good trail/footsteps, (only for experienced alpinists, as it is currently harder than the PD+ grade)
- The approach to many of the rock routes is made easier with the snow, (the approaches to the Aiguilles du Génépy and Refuge are dry). Great conditions for climbing in the sun!
No snow on the new path to the hut.
The rock is dry! The Contamine routes on the Grand Dru and the Évêque are popular.
The traverse of the Drus (normal route) is being done, (still some snow, the glacier is OK)
- The Whymper is becoming technically harder, several parties have turned back at the bergschrund. (fixed rope still in place?) The secondary couloir is very dry. Still OK for abseilling down, if you respect the time of day.
- Grands-Montets ridge is being done regularly, the Point Cigogne is still under snow and so is bypassed.
- Nobody has done the Moine Ridge yet, though it looks feasible.
- Col Armand Charlet, bergschrund OK, 2 pitches of 15m to climb the lower runnel, couloir OK. The left-hand exit is dry, the right-hand one goes on thin ice. The traverse between the Aiguille du Jardin and the Grande Rocheuse is good, neither to dry or too much snow.
- Arête du Jardin, in good condition, bergschrund and couloir OK for the moment, some rock is showing through but not causing problems. The rock section is mainly dry with just a little bit of verglace.
- The Couloir en Oblique on the Droites normal route no longer goes. It is, therefore, necessary to take the lower route. The mixed section is in good condition and the abseils OK.
- The Courtes: “there and back “or the traverse in good condition, just have to avoid descending too late.
- Pointe Isabella remains popular, nothing to note other than the bergschrund and crevasses are increasing in size, the mixed section has lots of snow and the summit ridge is snow.
- The Moine : normal route, S ridge integral and Contamine, (E face) are all OK.
- Nonne-Évêque, good conditions, some snow in places but not causing any problems. The bergschrunds are OK.
L'Envers des Aiguilles
There is a problem with the water supply, so the hut is not taking any reservations for the moment. The problem may be resolved this weekend
Still 2 snowfields to cross to reach the hut, crampons very useful! For the climbing, conditions are good.
Grépon-Mer de Glace : approach by the lower ramp and then the bergschrund is OK. The descent by the Nantillons glacier is OK for the moment but the snow quality is likely to rapidly deteriorate with the heat.
Plan de l'Aiguille
The 1st section of the Aiguille du Midi lift opens on Saturday 30th June. Grand Balcon Nord in good condition, (1 snowfield remains but a good track has been made with a pick).
- Frendo Spur done on 28/06 in good conditions.
- Charmoz-Grépon Traverse : still a little bit of snow on the ledges but it is good. Descent by the Nantillons glacier in good condition, no ice, a small crevasse to jump, though larger ones are beginning to appear.
- the hut approach, either up the Valley Blanche or traversing from Punta Helbronner, is OK.
- Midi-Plan has been done both upwards and down to the Requin hut,
- Triangle du Tacul : Chéré, Grisolle, Négri have been done, (no further info.)
- Traverse by the 3Monts , (does not appear to be skiable anymore): ladder in place at the Tacul bergschrund, the ice starts at the Col du Mont Maudit and on the Mur de la Côte : 2 ice axes useful for the leader.
Grands Mulets hut
Finished for the skiers, (too much carrying and bad snow.)
- Hut approaches either from the tunnel, (the traverse of the Jonction is no longer waymarked but without problems) or via the Gite à Balmat are OK.
- N Ridge of the Dôme du Goûter in good condition, feasible in descent with the right skill level.
Mont-Blanc normal route :
- Tête Rousse approach for alpinists only. The tramway stops at the Col du Mont Lachat, it is forbidden to go up the rail track. the route by the Dérochoir is steep, technical, with lots of snow and dangerous for the inexperienced, (crampons and ice axe essential.) The path between the Chalets de l'Are and the Nid d'Aigle is in a very poor state, (landslip) and is signposted closed.
- Grand Couloir: The traverse of the couloir is still snow/ice and the cable is in place. Respect the time of day and do not try and cross it after midday.
- Dôme du Goûter and Bosses ridge are in good condition.
Plan Glacier / Durier / Conscrits
- The summer path to the Conscrits is open, (footbridge in place.)
- Still some snow on the path between the Col de Tricot and Plan Glacier.
- The Miage glacier is still filled in and the ridge below the Durier hut is almost dry.
- Mettrier Ridge intégral is feasible, dry up to 3300 m, exit slopes still with snow.
- Good conditions for the traverses of the Dômes de Miage and Bionnassay and are popular.
- Approach to the Eccles Bivouac by the Brouillard glacier is OK but plan to arrive before midday, (snow bridges become dangerous.)
- Innominata and Brouillard ridges in good condition.
- Grand Pilier d'Angle and the Peuterey ridge from the Col Eccles in mediocre condition, (lots of ice in the upper sections.)
- Access to the Pilier Rouge by Brouillard glacier is OK
- Punta Innominata OK
- Aiguille Noire : crossing the Freney glacier is OK, the lower pitches on the Ratti-Vitali look to be dry now. Equipes des Bras Cassés and Brendel are OK.
- Aiguille Croux : still snow on the approach, (crampons and ice axe needed), Ottoz, Bertone-Zappelli and Cheney OK.
- Brenva Spur is being climbed regularly in good conditions: access to the glacier from the Fourche bivouac is OK. Ascent by the Gussfeld variant OK, hard ice beneath 40cm of inconsistent snow for the last 20 metres below the ridge. The spur OK, 2 axes useful. The best exit goes rightwards to the Brenva Col and takes some finding but is good.
- Both the Kuffner Ridge (the ridge between the Fourche bivouac and the start is unstable and difficult to protect, best to start directly by the couloir,) and the Aiguilles du Diable traverse are popular and in good condition.
- Rochefort Ridge and Dent du Géant in top condition. Likewise, for the Aiguille d'Entrêve, the Marbrées (rock dry, climbing without crampons) and the Aiguille de Toule traverses.
- Tour Ronde : the Gervasutti is still feasible, (take the bergschrund on the left, no ice) The N face is becoming more difficult, (delicate ice in the central gully.) SE Ridge intégral and descent from the Freshfield Col are OK.
- Rochefort - Jorasses traverse has been done in good conditions on 24/06 (still some snow at the level of Pointes Young and Margherite), The descent has been done by the normal route (abseil the Reposoir.) Because of a rockfall, one or more of the belays on the lower part of the abseil line down from the Canzio bivouac to the to the Planpincieux glacier are missing. Foresee a double rope to bypass the missing abseil points.
Some miscellaneous information :
- There is still a large patch of hard snow between Flégère and Lac Blanc and a lot, (too much,) snow between the Chéserys lakes and Lac Blanc.
- The path between the Col du Brévent and the Brévent summit is dangerous. From Planpraz, follow the ski piste to the Brèche du Brévent and so to the summit. Descents via the Bellachat hut and the Aiguillette des Houches are OK, despite some remaining snow patches.
- Ice axe and crampons necessary for the Tour des Aiguilles Rouges and to reach most of the rock routes, (this includes the Crochues traverse.)
- Still 3 snowfields on the way to the Jonction, poles and good boots suffice.
- Crampons useful for the Perrons routes, (Badabing, Squatteurs de Lune. etc.) Perrons traverse popular, still quite a lot of snow on the descent.
- Bodinausore on the Brévent : many bolts are missing, friends/nuts could be useful .
- Cocher-cochon : ice axe and good boots useful for the approach, descent dry .
- Via ferrata and via corda des Evettes are OK without crampons.