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! 

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News

BMC Launches New Crag & Upland Restoration Fund

BMC Launches New Crag & Upland Restoration Fund

The BMC have announced the creation of a new £10,000 per year fund, to be distributed in small amounts of £250 - £1,000. The fund has been set up to enable individuals, clubs and groups to undertake practical work on crags and upland areas that improves access, promotes nature conservation and/or enhances the overall environment.

Full details can be found via the BMC website.

 

 

 

Report: 25 May 2022

A bit of info before a long weekend (for the lucky ones amongst you).

 

The recent bad weather has deposited a little snow in the high mountains: there is a total of 15 cm at the Cosmiques refuge (probably more above 4,000m). The base below the fresh snow did not refreeze and at the moment you are sometimes sinking up to mid-thigh: skis or snowshoes can be very useful depending on where you go! The rock is already dry!

No big changes since our last update. The snow and mixed routes were being done when the refreezing conditions were not too bad.

 

Skiing activity is now concentrated on Mont Blanc. Going to the Grands Mulets, it’s skis off and on a lot from Plan de l’Aiguille but that is quite normal. Beware of the snow bridges on the Bossons glacier. The Jonction is still OK (wands in place). No changes after that (one ice axe is enough for the N ridge of the Dôme). You can also ski from the Cosmiques hut via the Trois Monts route.

 

Some odds and ends:

- Some wood and crockery but no gas in the Albert 1er winter refuge.

- No blankets or crockery in the Argentière hut's winter room.

- Forecast opening of the Couvercle hut: mid-June but to be announced.

- A team climbed the Brouillard intégrale in 3 days last weekend: Val Veny road open. Lots of snow from the col du Brouillard: they kept their crampons on. Delicate passages in the couloir above the col Emile Rey.

- The team that did the Aiguilles du Diable traverse blew the schedule: big effort (no track, bad refreeze) + quite a lot of snow on the rock in the sections on the N side.

- A few teams on the voie normale on the Moine (crampons and ice axes were useful). Note that the Contamine should also be possible.

- A serac fall from the left side of the Triangle du Tacul that reached the descent track of the Pointe Lachenal traverse.

- As a reminder, following a big avalanche this winter, the path between the lac d'Armancette and the Tré la Tête refuge is blocked (trees in the way etc). So you have to go back down to La Frasse from the chalets du Truc then back up to Tré la Tête.

- The Filia path is closed due to wood cutting.

- Climb up to the Plan de l'Aiguille by the Pré du Rocher: there is still a snow slope below the refuge, ok for good hikers who are properly equipped.

- Still some névé (so some exposure) on the Grand Balcon du Nord: only for experienced and well-equipped hikers (poles and good shoes).

 

Report translated from La Chamoniarde.

 

 

 

John Burrows

We are sad to inform members of the death of John (Nick) Burrows on 13thMay 2022. He had been a member of the AC since 1952.

John (Nick) Burrows was a member of the AC for 70 years having been elected at the age of 21, which was the youngest that the rules permitted at that time. He was a kind and true gentleman and a dear friend to many climbers.

His funeral will take place at 12:00hrs on Thursday 16 June at the St John's Chapel of Oxford Crematorium, OX3 9RZ.

For further information contact either his cousin Avril Collins (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Mike Esten (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

 

NB - We are currently experiencing issues with our website comments. Please submit any obituary tributes to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. in the meantime. We apologise for the inconvenience.

Mathéo Jacquemoud & Benjamin Védrines Complete Sub-24 Hour Crossing of the Mont Blanc Massif

Mathéo Jacquemoud & Benjamin Védrines Complete Sub-24 Hour Crossing of the Mont Blanc Massif

Alpine Mag report that between the 17 and 18 May 2022, French ski-mountaineer Mathéo Jacquemoud and alpinist Benjamin Védrines completed a traverse of the Mont Blanc Massif from Les Contamines-Montjoie to the Col Supérieur du Tour.

This is the first time that such a traverse has been completed in a single, continuous push and the pair covered 70km, with 7,300m of height gain, in a little over 20 hours.

The pair had practiced sections of the route in advance as the below post from Benjamin's Facebook Page shows:

 

 

 

 

Deadline for 2022 UIAA Mountain Protection Award Approaches

Deadline for 2022 UIAA Mountain Protection Award Approaches

Submissions for this year's Mountain Protection Award will close on the 31st of May. 

A snow-capped mountain range with trees in the foreground.

Launched in 2013, the Mountain Protection Award provides funding to projects (new and existing) that undertake work relating to "adapting to climate change, protecting biodiversity, preserving local cultures of mountainous communities and promoting responsible practices". Past recipients include Community Action Nepal and Mountain Wilderness.

The initiative has been active since 2013 and, via its current partnership with Bally Peak Outdoor Foundation, €15,000 of funding is available to 2022 applicants. You can find out more about the MPA and submit your proposals here.

 

 

 

Report: 19 May 2022

Suddenly it’s summer. As you have probably noticed, it's getting hot. As is often the case at this time of year (well, normally in June), conditions are unpredictable in the high mountains for snow routes: a lot of snow has yet to settle, high temperatures during the day, and poor refreezing. The rock is already a sure bet at the end of May.

The 2022 spring ski season will not live long in the memory. You can still skin a bit around Emosson but you will have to hurry up ("y'a le feu au lac" as they say in French).

Aiguille du Tour on skis is still possible (skis on not far from the refuge but they save time on the descent) or an Aiguille d'Argentière (skis on below Lognan).

More activity on Mont Blanc by the Trois Monts (see report from Guitariste on the cahier de course).

A similar situation around the Grands Mulets. There is a long portage from the tunnel entrance (skis on 200m below the gare des Glaciers). A better way is the lower route from the Plan de l'Aiguille (skis on/off a few times). The same goes for the return trip to avoid crossing under the N face of the Aiguille du Midi, it's hot. The Jonction is best crossed low down. The N ridge of the Dôme is still in good condition (icy but 1 ice axe is enough if you feel comfortable). The crevasse on the Bosses arete can be avoided either by crossing the entire N face of Mont Blanc to reach the Rochers Rouge or turn it on the left and get back to the ridge. Otherwise there is the option of going via the “plateaus” and the Corridor route. On the descent, the N face has become technical (sastrugi at the top, bumps and then an icy section following a serac fall). Descending by the Corridor route is better (a few meters of hard snow at the level of the Mur de la Côte). Then a long boardercross between the crevasses to the Jonction!

 

The mountaineering and rock climbing season is upon us. Generally speaking, the mountains are quite dry and the refreeze often mediocre. This has a big effect on snow & mixed routes with several rescues last weekend for teams stuck on slopes/couloirs with soft snow on top of ice or because of rock falls/collapses. Trail breaking may also be hard on approaches and on ridges. Trails are gradually being made. At the moment, the feasibility of snow & mixed routes depends almost exclusively on the quality of the refreeze (and of course on your technical and physical level).

Le Tour area: It’s almost snow free up the crest of the moraine to the refuge (snow 100m below the refuge).

Aiguille du Tour (VN, Table ridge), Tête Blanche, Petite Fourche, Purtscheller S ridge OK.

The Forbes arete was climbed last weekend (difficult as there is still a lot of snow). Teams also on the Migot spur (for info one team baled this morning because of a bad freeze, watch this space for the teams planned for tomorrow!): the glacier is well filled in to access the foot of the face without going up high but beware of snow bridges with a poor freeze. Rimaye OK. First ramp all snow. Mixed section in good condition. Black ice on the summit slope. Like last year, a wrong track leads too much to the right on the descent and leads to poor abseils and a dead end. The route is not easy to follow between the (big) crevasses below the col Adam Reilly.

 

Argentière basin: No recent information. Skis are certainly still very useful for the approaches. Some teams have climbed the Couturier. Be careful with time keeping and descend the Whymper as early as possible. No information about the Flèche Rousse. Many rock routes are waiting for you.

 

Charpoua/Couvercle: No need for skis here.

One team baled on La Naïa last weekend. At the same time, a few teams on the ‘couloir en Y’ but it already feels like the end. The Whymper is being done when Miss Meteo allows (and she's a bit moody at the moment). No info on the Arête du Jardin, the VN des Droites or the Courtes traverse.

 

Envers des Aiguilles/Requin: No info but climbing on the lower sectors should be possible soon. Don't forget crampons and ice axe for the approaches.

 

Helbronner sector: The Skyway and the hut are closed until May 28th. No information yet about the Rochefort arete. The Dent du Géant, the Marbrées and the Aiguilles d'Entrêves traverse should be possible.

On the Tour Ronde, the N face, Gervasutti couloir are still possible. Descent is now by the Freshfield couloir (2 abseils possible). Rebuffat couloir done but no more information.

 

The Kuffner has been tracked. The section between the La Fourche bivi and the Gendarme is "scrappy" and doesn't go. It is therefore necessary to do the direct start using the couloir.

The ridge is quite dry (very mixed up to the demi-lune) but mostly on rotten snow/sugar which doesn't make progress easy. Variable snow on black ice on the descent from the shoulder. It is better to go around by the summit and the col du Mont Maudit or by a traverse (exposed) that joins the track via the N face of the Maudit.

No information about the arête du Diable (a team is planned tomorrow). You can climb on the side of the satellites: Grand Capucin, Roi de Siam, Pointe Adolphe Rey, E ridge of the Pyramide du Tacul (rimaye ok but exposed approach).

 

Aiguille du Midi Sector: Lift and Cosmiques refuge open. As a reminder, the abri Simond is closed. Bivouacs are tolerated for one night from sunset to sunrise.

You can climb on the S faces: Aiguille du Midi, éperon Cosmiques, Lachenal.

It’s curtains for the gullies except on the Triangle: Contamine-Negri OK, Contamine-Grisolle (see cahier de course), Chéré OK, goulotte des Allemands fine, rock protection. One team on the Bodin-Afannassieff (quite dry at the bottom but good ice conditions afterwards).

Midi-Plan good after a good freeze (one team left for the Chamonix aiguilles traverse but no further info). The Cosmiques arete is dry as far as the abseils, then go around the N side. Pointes Lachenal OK.

Mont Blanc du Tacul is being done by skiers and walkers. The Trois Monts route can be considered on foot there and back (plan an abseil on an Abalakov to cross the second Mont Maudit rimaye), two axes needed depending on your ability.

 

Plan de l'Aiguille Sector:

The Mallory has been done but no refreeze and the exit is ice. It's still a bit early for the Frendo spur (snow in the rocky sections), the exit is also not great by eye (very black ice) from the end of the snow arete.

Papillons arete is dry, bring ice axe and crampons for the descent. It seems a bit early for the summit of the Peigne, the routes on the slabs and the gendarme 3009.

The Red Pillar of Blaitière is dry by eye (crampons and ice axe needed for the approach) as well as the Frêtes des Charmoz and the NE ridge of the M.

 

Mont Blanc by the Aiguille du Goûter: No activity yet but it wont be long. The refuges are about to open. The conditions are similar to those of the end of June. There is snow above the alpage de l’Are.

 

Sector Bionnassay/Dômes de Miage

Skiing is pretty much all over in this sector (2h30 of portage on the Armancette glacier descent). Mettrier arete in good condition. The SE ridge of Bionnassay is also in good condition (nice track).

The bridge on the Conscrits path won't be in place before mid-June (until then it won't be passable). It will be necessary to go via the Mauvais Pas. The Dômes should be possible on foot.

Do the Gonella refuge and the Pape route still exist?  We haven't heard anything about them all spring!

 

Hiking

The snow is receding more and more, but not everything is practicable.

Here is a short but not exhaustive list of accessible hikes (including those that were not accessible at the time of our last updates):

Prarion, Aiguillette des Houches, Refuge de Bellachat, Planpraz, Charlanon, Flégère, Grand Balcon Sud (attention Planpraz and Flégère lifts closed until June 11th), Lacs des Chéserys, Refuge de la Pierre à Bérard, Refuge de Loriaz, Aiguillette des Posettes, Peclerey, Tête de Prapator, Montenvers via Caillet (buvette open every day for drinks and then for lunch and dinner from June 1st) or Les Mottets (reminder: the moraine path is closed, you have to go by the “viaduct” path), Blaitière Alpage and then Signal Forbes (access from Montenvers closed until June 11th, access possible from the the start of the Grand Balcon Nord), Plan de l'aiguille by Grand Bois, Chalet des Pyramides. ..

 

You will still have to wait for :

Lac de Pormenaz, Lac du Brévent, Lacs Cornus, Lacs Noirs, Lac Blanc, Buet, Col de la Terrasse, Refuge Albert 1er, Argentière Glacier point de vue, Grand Balcon Nord, Jonction...as well as treks of several days (Tour des Fiz, Tour des aiguilles Rouges, Tour du Mont Blanc).

 

For our snowshoeing friends, go and watch the tennis on TV (Rolland Garros has started)!

 

Report translated from La Chamoniarde.

 

 

 

Report: 13 May 2022

Summer has arrived quicker than we expected!

It is now the turn of the high mountains to be between two seasons, the skiing season and the summer mountaineering season. In general, skis (or snowshoes) are still essential for getting around in the high mountains, even if you have to carry them for a fair bit lower down. The possibilities for skiing are diminishing but it is a bit early to think about the big ridge routes (large amounts of snow not yet completely transformed and/or not freezing well).

 

There has been little change around Le Tour. You can ski from around 2,100 m. You can easily get up on foot if you stay on the crest of the moraine (snowshoes seem to be very useful to go beyond the refuge). The Aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche, Petite & Grande Fourche are all fine. Teams on the Migot spur but no more information. Teams are also expected on the Forbes arete, to be continued...

 

Around the Argentière glacier, you will need to carry skis for 400m vertical on the way up. Skis seem to be more suitable than snowshoes in this area. The good news is, the Argentière refuge winter room is open, while waiting (we hope) for the refuge itself to open soon.

Not much news in the area except that the Couturier couloir is being done (no more info). The conditions for skiing must have deteriorated on the N faces. The Y couloir should still be possible to climb. Col du Tour Noir, d'Argentière, Aiguille d'Argentière should be OK on skis. The time will come for the Flèche Rousse soon. The rock should also be dry!

 

Montenvers info: as a reminder, there is work going on all summer for the construction of the new lift. Some of the paths and ladders are closed (all the info here). Below is a press release from the Compagnie du Mont Blanc for the attention of mountaineers only:

"We would like to inform you that from 16 May to 3 June, except for occasional modifications, which may be linked to technical and safety issues, and in particular on days still to be defined for the annual technical visits, we will operate the gondola exclusively for mountaineers under the following conditions:
- 30 minutes of operation of the TC MDG in the morning from 9am to 9.30am
- 30 minutes of operation at the end of the day from 16:00 to 16:30
This will allow us to respond to the need expressed by climbers to descend to the glacier in good conditions and to climb back up. However, we would like to draw your attention to the fact that the gondola will only operate in these time slots."

 

Access to the Talèfre basin is still possible on skis from the Aiguille du Midi (central couloir still possible even if the lower part is quite dry and the moraine is still a moraine...). The option on foot from the Montenvers seems more and more logical (it’s dry as far as the Couvercle via the Egralets ladders, which will soon be dismantled) taking the snowshoes for the approaches after the refuge. Access by the new Charpoua route is not feasible (snow).

If there is a good freeze, conditions should be good for the Whymper (beware of overcrowding). Teams are planned for Naya (a gully on the Verte) and the Y couloir; to be continued but the window of opportunity may be short.

Still a few skiers around the Brèche Puiseux (night in a hut the day before) but it feels like the end.

There is not much interest in the Vallée Blanche (which still goes but you should allow an hour's walk to reach the grotto) except for accessing or returning from the routes. There has already been rock climbing around the Dent du Requin! It seems a bit early for the Envers (snow).

 

As a reminder, the Skyway is closed until May 26th incl. Activity around the Tour Ronde (with ski access from the Aiguille du Midi): Gervasutti couloir in good conditions on the way up (rimaye passable in the middle, snow couloir, a bit of mixed at the top); N face possible by sleeping at the hut (rimaye crossable straight up but it might not last long). The "normal winter route" was still doable at the beginning of the week but given the warmth, it will quickly change (you'll have to go via the Freshfield couloir, which is filled in).

No information yet about the Rochefort arete or the Kuffner (snow is still settling and can probably be done when it refreezes). The Midi-Plan was done at the beginning of the week with a lot of snow. Conditions should improve as the days go by.

 

The warmth rang the death knell for the goulottes in the Combe Maudite and Tacul E face. We can retreat to the Triangle du Tacul (Chéré, Contamine-Grisolle, Contamine-Negri), the exit to the summit of the Tacul is tracked.

The Cosmiques arete and the traverse of the Pointe Lachenal are fine.

You can rock climb on the S faces: Aiguille du Midi, Pointes Lachenal. You can certainly consider climbing the steep faces of the satellites (Grand Capucin, Pointe Adolphe Rey).
Lots of activity on skis (but also on foot) on the normal route of the Mont Blanc du Tacul.

The Trois Monts has a green light! Mont Maudit took a long time to be tracked because it was loaded. Needless to say, the seracs are still there (as they are on the Tacul!). There are three rimayes to cross: skis off at the first one and then a bit of ice (25-30 m at 40°, the 2nd one is easy to ski, the 3rd one is a bit tricky but the last slope under the col du Mont Maudit is on snow! Be careful on the traverse to the col de la Brenva (icy, crevasses). Then all good up to the summit.

Around the Plan de l'Aiguille, the Mallory was tracked in ascent last Sunday. It is still possible to sleep in the refuge (winter room)! One team in the Carli-Chassagne, Thursday 12 May, without more information. It's still too early for the Frendo as well as for the rock in the area.

 

Still a lot of activity on Mont Blanc on skis via the Grands Mulets (beer bottling at the refuge in progress). The snow is receding above the Para (skis on at about 2,000m). No change from the Plan de l'Aiguille with the recommended approach being the lower one. On the way back, you can cross "high" under the N face of the Aiguille du Midi.
The Jonction needs to be crossed low down. Then, two options:
- N ridge of the Dôme (in good conditions, no ice) then the Bosses ridge (technical because you have to go around the crevasse) or
- via the Plateaus then the Corridor route.
A serac fall at the bottom of the N face complicates the passage a bit (ice blocks). With the warmth, the quality of the snow is changing but the conditions remain good overall!

From the Trè la Tête, skis need to be carried as far as the Mauvais Pas (bad step). Crossing of the Dômes : nothing to report. On the way down, skis off at 1,800 m above the lac d’Armancette.
Good conditions on the Mettrier arete (skis on a little above 2000m) with a track that’s improving with use (no ice).
The NW face of the Lex Blanche was skied (mostly on the right bank, ice on the left bank of the serac).

No information yet from the back of Mont Blanc...to be continued!

 

Some ski touring is possible from the Emosson dam (Pointe de la Terrasse, Cheval Blanc) but it won't last very long this year!

 

Concerning the hiking, please refer to our last update. Not much change, don't go too high!

 

Report translated from La Chamoniarde.

 

 

 

Ramsden and Miller Make First Ascent of Unnamed 6,563m Peak

Ramsden and Miller Make First Ascent of Unnamed 6,563m Peak

Paul Ramsden descending from the newly climbed 'Jugal Spire'

AC member Tim Miller has recently returned from Nepal where, alongside fellow AC member Paul Ramsden, he made the first ascent of a previously unclimbed and unnamed peak via a 1,200m route the pair have dubbed 'The Phantom Line'.

In a post on his professional Facebook page, Tim explained that the route follows a single diagonal line of ice across an otherwise featureless face at what he describes as "an amenable grade".

The expedition was supported by both the Alpine Club and the Mount Everest Foundation. Members are reminded that they are entitled to apply for funding from the AC Climbing Fund for their expeditions.




The ascent took the pair five days and they have kindly shared a topo of the route with us which you can see below:

A topo showing Ramsden and Miller's line following a clear line of ice from bottom right to top left across the face

 

 

 

Boardman and Tasker's 1976 West Wall Route Receives First Repeat

Boardman and Tasker's 1976 West Wall Route Receives First Repeat

The New Zealand Alpine Team have announced that after 46 years, a team of climbers has successfully repeated Pete Boardman and Joe Tasker's 1976 route on the West Wall of Changabang (6,880m). 

Further details have not been released at time of publication, but the summit party has been confirmed as Matthew Scholes, Kim Ladiges & Daniel Joll.

 

 

 

 

Report: 06 May 2022

A quick update on the eve of the weekend. 

 

Yesterday (05/05) at the end of the day, there was about 25cm of snow at the Grands Mulets refuge and 35-40 cm at the Cosmiques refuge. 

It’ s certainly "inter-season” now in the valley. Most of the lifts are closed (including the Skyway on the Italian side, closed until 27/05). 

The Midi and the Montenvers train are still running. 

As far as huts go: the Grands Mulets and the Cosmiques are open. The others are in winter mode except for the Argentière refuge which is completely closed including the winter room. 

With the lifts closed, ski touring from the valley is a challeng. You can skin from 100 m below the Bérard refuge for those who want to go up Mont Buet. 

The opening date of the road up to the Emosson dam hasnt been announced yet (perhaps Friday 13/05, to be confirmed). 

In the high mountains, skis are essential to get around except just near the Aiguille du Midi. 

 

In the Le Tour basin, the walk up to the refuge is by the moraine path. You can put skis on at the water intake at around 1,900m. The classic Aiguille du Tour routes (VN, couloir de la Table or even the arête de la Table once it has transformed), the Tête Blanche and Petite Fourche are possible. No information yet about the Chardonnet and in particular the Migot spur, so that may have to wait for a while. 

 

In the Argentière basin there is about 30 minutes of ski carrying on the Pierre à Ric piste. Sacs will be heavy because the winter room of the Argentière hut is closed, so bivouac kit is needed (except by the speed merchants who do everything in a day!). All the classics are doable: Col du Chardonnet, Aiguille d'Argentière (glacier du Milieu, couloir en Y, couloir Barbey), Col du Tour Noir and Argentière. There has been recent activity on the Col des Cristaux and on the NE face of the Courtes on skis. The Couturier has also been done on the ascent at the end of last week without more information. 

 

In the Talèfre basin, we are uncertain about the access to the refuge, which is probably still done by the central couloir (if you have information let us know!). You may need to bring a sleeping bag or even a tent for the weekend (the refuge is expected to be very busy). Once the snow has stabilised and transformed, the Whymper couloir should be in good condition, as should other southerly slopes. 

 

From the Leschaux refuge, the SW couloir of the Eboulement could be in good nick. 

 

Around the Aiguille du Midi, the traverse of the Pointes Lachenal and the Cosmiques arête remain good bets. The same goes for the Chéré couloir on the Triangle du Tacul. Once the snow has settled, perhaps the Contamine Grisolle could be considered (to be continued!). 

We'll have to wait (until mid-week?) for the ridge routes like Midi-Plan, Rochefort, and even more for the Kuffner. 

Concerning the E-face goulottes (Modica-Noury, Gabarrou-Albinoni...), they can be considered but strictly according to a schedule (and not using a morning lift). The same goes for the combe Maudite where the Baxter-Jones is still the most popular. 

Once the snow has stabilised, the N face of the Tour Ronde should be in good condition, as should the Gervasutti couloir. According to the latest information, the "normal winter route" has finally filled in and is doable. 

You can still do a few turns down the Italian side and ski the Vallée Noire (allow 30-40 min walk to reach the grotto). The Brèche Puiseux can be thought about but it seems wiser to sleep in a hut beforehand. 

Regarding the normal route of the Tacul, it has, as expected, improved with the recent snow falls. The face is still quite steep and technical but it was done last Sunday and again on Wednesday. The exit around the shoulder remains the most tricky bit and no "obvious" passage has yet appeared. 

Concerning the Trois Monts, we quote from the Facebook post of our friends at the Cosmiques hut who always give good advice: "the Maudit remains unexplored. There will probably be attempts this weekend. Be careful, it's only the "beginning of the season" for the Trois Monts, and it's quite wild! Two ice axes, at least for the leader, plenty of experience, and something to retreat on (dead man, snow stake...)". The last news (and by eye), was that the traverse between the col du Mont Maudit and the col de la Brenva was on pure ice. The Mur de la Côte is hard snow with about 40m of ice. Then it's skis on your feet or on your back up to the summit. 

 

Mont Blanc by the Grands Mulets: you can put skis on a little above the old lift station. From the Plan de l'Aiguille, it is better to follow the beginning of the new summer path (and therefore to go down a little from the Plan) and to go around the moraines by the bottom and then to go up to the right of the moraine on the left bank of the Pélerins glacier rather than to go up to pass under the N face of the Aiguille du Midi (exposure to slides and serac fall, unstable moraine).

At the Jonction, always follow the lower route. 

There have been some changes on the route across the “plateaus", you go via the Pic Wilson (or Pitschner) on the way up. Then there's a few minutes under seracs and lots of crevasses (but hey nothing new, it's the high mountains!). 

The Bosses ridge is still technical (yes, Mont Blanc is still mountaineering!!!) and it’s skis off and on the sack before the slope under the Vallot (alternating snow and ice) then you have to go around the now famous crevasses of the Bosses ridge by a detour on the N face (steep, 2 axes for comfort). 

The Corridor route seems to be preferable. You can join the Trois Monts route at the Col de la Brenva (see above). 

The N face can be skied by first aiming for the Rochers Rouges and then diving left into the ramp. 

A phone call to the guardian will give you a more precise explanation! 

 

Around the Conscrits, lots of ski carrying is to be expected but above that generally good conditions await you !!!! 

 

 

Hiking 

We are slowly moving towards summer but the snow cover is only slowly disappearing. We are repeating ourselves but most of the classic hikes (high altitude lakes, the grands balcons, multi-day treks, the 90 km route between Bellachat and the Col des Montets) are still not practicable. 

You can still enjoy the view from the chalets de Chailloux (still some snow to get to the top of the Aiguillette des Houches?), from Plan Lachat, from the lower Blaitière alpage, from La Flégère, from the Aiguillette d'Argentière, from Loriaz... 

There is still some snow (proper equipment and mountaineers feet required) to reach the Bérard refuge, the Aiguillette des Posettes or Montenvers (access only via Les Mottets then the viaduct path). 

The “buvettes" are all accessible except for the chalet des Pyramides. 

 

Report translated from La Chamoniarde.

 

 

 

Free Sustainable Climbing Guide to Tyrol Set for Release

Free Sustainable Climbing Guide to Tyrol Set for Release

Lena Müller and Deniz Scheerer have announced that their new guidebook 'Klimafreundlich Klettern' will be released in mid-May 2022. The guidebook is pitched as a sustainable climbing guide to the Tyrol, offering advice on accessing climbing areas by bus, train, bike and foot. 

As well as physical copies available for sale, the guide will also be accessible for free online at this link. Müller is a PhD student specialising in climate change and has made accessibility to the guide a key priority of the project.

The 21 crags covered by the guide are: 

Nassereith, Götterwandl, Karres, Haiminger Klettergarten, Simmering, Klettergarten Mötz, Locherboden, Rammelstein, Oetz, Armelen, Engelswand, Mauerbogen, Chinesische Mauer, Flämendwandl, Sonnenplatte, Ehnbachklamm, Martinswand, Höttinger Steinbruch, Grauwand, Morsbach, Geisterschmiedwand

 

 

 

Richardson and Robson make First Ascent of Ulvetanna North Ridge on Senja

Richardson and Robson make First Ascent of Ulvetanna North Ridge on Senja

Alpine Club member Simon Richardson and Mark Robson have made the first ascent of the north ridge of Ulvetanna on the Norwegian island of Senja. In a Facebook post, Simon reports that this may only be the second ascent of the mountain, a satellite peak of Stormoa, to date. 

You can read a more detailed report of Mark and Simon's trip on Planet Mountain.

 

 

 

 

Report: 26 April 2022

Here is a small update just to give the snow information:
 
In the Albert 1er area, 30 cm of snow has fallen with wind. It is not cold and it was still snowing a bit this morning.
The Passon was well tracked yesterday. 50 to 60 cm fell on the col supérieur du Tour.  Some people have come through from the Trient.
The moraine just below the refuge is starting to dry out. The refuge closes on Sunday evening, prematurely because of bad weather.
 
At the Cosmiques, a total of 90 cm fell, with a fohn wind, and then a N wind which strengthened...it made for some decent accumulations! The S faces are well plastered. The triangle is not filled in, it's all black. The conditions are more wintry than in February! At the Torino, 60 cm fell.
 
At the Grands Mulets, it's beautiful :) 80cm of powder snow and no wind. On the other hand it's blowing higher up, especially on Mont Blanc! With the sun starting to come out, it will soon settle down.
 
At the Conscrits, there were no big accumulations, 50cm at the refuge (2 falls of 25cm). The sun had already come out  yesterday and the snow pack had transformed. The refuge is closing on Sunday evening because of the bad weather.
 
Report translated from La Chamoniarde.
 
 
 

Yamada & Tani Summit Kangchung Nup from North Side

Yamada & Tani Summit Kangchung Nup from North Side

On 24 April Japanese climbers Toshiyuki Yamada and Takeshi Tani successfully summitted Kangchung Nup (6,089m) via a new route on the mountain's North-West face. This marks not only the first ascent of the face, but also the first time that the mountain has been climbed from its northern side.

The new line follows a similar route to that of a 2014 Czech expedition that was forced to retreat from ~5,900m due to dangerous conditions. The direct line on the north face was also attempted unsuccessfully in 2019 by Paul Ramsden and Jim Hall.

 

 

 

 

Eurostar Clarifies Position on Mountaineering Equipment

Eurostar Clarifies Position on Mountaineering Equipment

After enquiries from a number of UK-based climbing and mountaineering clubs, Eurostar have happily clarified that their luggage policy with regard to mountaineering equipment has not changed and that equipment of this type, including ice axes, can be carried on their services.

A climber stands on a snowy alpine ridge, leaning on the head of his ice axe as he smiles at the camera.

Climbing equipment had been listed under the "Dangerous Sports Equipment" category of the Eurostar website, indicating that passengers could not travel with mountaineering equipment in their luggage, but this has now been updated. Instead, Eurostar request that "any passenger carrying this kind of equipment makes themselves known to a member of the Eurostar team in the station on arrival so that they can ensure the smooth passage through the security/baggage check".

This will doubtless come as a relief to the many mountaineers who aim to reduce the impact of their trips to the Alps by travelling via train and who may have been put off using Eurostar's service for fear of being turned away.

 

 

 

 

Report: 14 April 2022

Well, the end of the winter is coming.

The last snowfall has temporarily improved the snow cover especially on the glaciers. Unfortunately, the recent hot spell associated with poor refreezing has caused conditions to deteriorate.  

Let's see what this weekend brings! Strict time keeping will be essential. 

The gullies are gradually drying out. Here too it is necessary to start early to benefit from a good refreeze (crossing rimayes, rock falls...) and manage the timing. 

The classic ski touring routes are still in play. 

 

The various parts of the Aiguilles Rouges are still practicable (glacier de la Floria, Pointe Alphonse Favre, Cols Crochues - Bérard, Buet, etc...). The descent of the Bérard valley has become quite "spicy" due to avalanche debris. It is better to take the left bank. Skis off at the buvette. The Loriaz refuge is closed for the season. 

 

The conditions in the Albert 1er sector are those of the beginning of summer. There is not much snow on the cols, but the col supérieur du Tour and the col du midi des Grands remain ok. Aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche and Petite Fourche are being done. The Aiguille du Chardonnet is much too dry to be considered (ice on the way up and down, huge rimayes, very open glacier). 

 

In the Argentière basin, the "classic" cols are still practicable. Col du Passon: the ascent of the couloir and the descent go reasonably well, in spite of the numerous avalanches. It is increasingly dry at the col du Chardonnet and the cols of the Tour Noir/D'Argentière are still in good condition. The Aiguille d'Argentière has been done by the milieu glacier, icy below the summit. 

The Couvercle is still accessed via the central couloir even though it's becoming dry. The Whymper was done at the beginning of the week when there was a good freeze (lots of snow in the couloir, ridge ok, they left the skis at the rimaye). Be careful with time keeping and the crowds expected this weekend! 

 

In the Aiguille du Midi sector, the Cosmiques arête and the arête Laurence (approach on foot) are being done, but it’s hard work. The classic traverse of the Pointes Lachenal could be considered if you have good crampon technique (initial slope is shiny ice). 

The Chéré couloir is being done regularly, you should avoid putting your stuff down at the base of the route because a small serac has collapsed above, and some blocks still need to purge. Prefer an abseil descent but beware of the crowds. 

A team were seen in going in the direction of the Directissime but without more information. 

Vent du dragon, Burnier-Vogler, Pellissier, Gabarrou and Modica gullies are very dry but can be climbed with care and can be protected; beware of rock falls on hot days. 

The south face of the Aiguille du Midi seems dry, the ledges are still well covered with snow but the cracks do not seem to be plastered. 

For the Trois Monts, you will still have to be a little patient. The faces are loaded and there is a risk of avalanche especially above the initial rimaye (which is crossable). This route is technical (those who have tried it have gone halfway). 

The Vallée blanche is in spring condition, you will need a good knowledge of the route, and to time it right: not too early for good skiing and not too late for the salle à manger and its dicy snow bridges. 

 

In the Torino sector, the north face of the tour Ronde is in good condition but it's a bit of a slog. The Gervasutti is being done, be careful with the rimaye. Still a bit of activity in the gullies of the Combe Maudite (beware of refreezing/timing). The Aiguilles Marbrées and Entrèves are in good condition (approaches on foot). The Aiguille de Rochefort and the Dent du Géant can be considered but it is probably still a bit early to find really good conditions. 

 

At the Grands Mulets, you must take the lower track to cross the Jonction. Above, the track via the dôme Pitschner is best. The Grandes Montées are a mess and best climbed on the left as you go up. There is ice beneath the Vallot then very airy on the Bosses ridge. The north ridge of the Dôme is icy and not appealing (by eye). In short, it's all very technical (photos). 

 

At the Conscrits, the Dômes de Miage are still in good condition: cross the "mauvais pas” as early as possible, but otherwise the ascent is fine, cold snow on the Armancette until 3,000m then crust until the traverse. Note: it is tricky to get to the Cugnon car park, because the path has been damaged by avalanches. It is easier to park at the Frasse car park. 

The north faces of Tête Blanche, Lée Blanche are not good by eye, lots of ice. 

 

On the Mont Tondu glacier, a huge slab went down to the sand layer, with a 1m50 crown wall, reserved for good skiers. 

 

The Haute-Route is still being done without any more info than in the last report.

 

The ski areas of La Balme, Brévent, Flégère close on Monday evening. 

 

As far as hiking is concerned, nothing new since our last update. You should stay close to the valley floor and be patient for the high altitude routes such as the lakes and the high balcon paths. 

 

For information, you should avoid 4 routes on the "falaise de Bionnassay"(Antibiotic, Homme aux gènes, Newton pousse Archimède, Etat de siège), because of the presence of a peregrine falcon nest in the area. 

 

Report translated from La Chamoniarde.

 

 

 

AC Everest Film to Receive European Premiere

AC Everest Film to Receive European Premiere

The Alpine Club film 'Everest: by Those Who Were There', based around our 2021 exhibition of the same name, has been selected for inclusion in the 2022 Trento Film Festival. This will be the film's European premiere and attendees can catch it on two occasions; at 16:45 on the 1 May and at 16:30 on the 6 May. The film will also be available to rent via the festival website from the 23 April. Full details here.

100 years on from the first expeditions to the world's highest mountain, 'Everest: by Those Who Were There' uses a variety of archival material, original footage and the expertise of numerous Everest luminaries to examine how our relationship with Everest has changed over the last century and to profile the characters like George Mallory who made up those early forays towards 'the roof of the world'. 

A selection of six note card boxes with labels indicating that they refer to the Everest expeditions of 1921, 1922 and 1924

 

 

 

Video: Tom Livingstone and Matt Glenn on The North-East Pillar of Tengkangpoche

Video: Tom Livingstone and Matt Glenn on The North-East Pillar of Tengkangpoche

In October 2021, AC members Matt Glenn and Tom Livingstone made the first ascent of the North-East pillar of Tengkangpoche (6,487m) in the Solukhumbu region of Nepal. Mountain Equipment have now released a video of the ascent complete with an interview in which Tom explains the details of the line.

 

 

 

 

John Brailsford

The Club is saddened to learn of the death on 1 April of John Brailsford, a member for sixty years. He joined as a member of the ACG in 1962 and became ACG secretary in 1967.