La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 30 June 2023
Fine weather is favouring activity in the high mountains, but it's all drying out fairly quickly (little rainfall, hot weather).
The glaciers and rimayes are still going well overall. On the other hand, there has been a marked increase in rockfall over the last few days (Goûter couloir, Aiguille du Midi S face, Marbrées W face, Petit Flambeau, Grand Pilier d'Angle, Whymper couloir, Chardonnet N face, Purtscheller). You're going to have to start thinking carefully when choosing your routes and, above all, keep to schedule.
The window of opportunity is closing for the major routes, but today's snow could extend the deadline.
Not much has changed around here. As far as the access path is concerned, there are still one or two névés coming from Charamillon and then the snow slope below the refuge.
Above the refuge, you run into snow fairly quickly. The Col Supérieur du Tour is still easy.
Two rockslides on the S face of the Aiguille du Purtscheller cut off the normal route to the Aiguille du Tour (a route around the area has since been redone). These rockslides do not affect the Purtscheller S ridge.
Still a lot of people on the classics (Aiguille du Tour via the Table ridge and the normal route, Tête Blanche and Petite Fourche).
The Forbes arête is still being climbed. The Migot spur is drying out more and more (rock falls in the lower section). The descent couloir is still covered in snow. The abseils start above the col Adams Reilly. The glacier below is still passable.
The Plan Joran gondola will be opening continuously every day on Saturday 1 July.
Access to the refuge is still via the left bank and then by crossing to the right bank before the refuge. It is also possible to climb the ladders, but there is still snow.
The Whymper route and Glacier du Milieu (Aiguille d'Argentière) are still passable as is the Col du Tour Noir.
The Flèche Rousse ridge has dried out nicely, especially the access slope to the ridge (beware of rock falls, so arrive early). It's almost the end.
Arête du Jardin in very good condition (some snow for water supply).
Co du Tour Noir OK.
The Col des Cristaux is still snow-covered and possible (watch out for rock falls).
Tournier spur on the Droites in generally good condition. The key pitch after the Château is dry but can be bypassed by two pitches of IV+/V. Tricky route finding in the mixed ground at the top.
As announced last week, it's over for the Couturier. Apparently no-ones done the Grands Montets ridge (probably still snow on the northerly aspects).
The rock routes are all dry - tip top!
Opening of the new Charpoua refuge on Saturday 1 July!
The bivouac sites around the Charpoua are still deep in snow and water. There is currently only one dry spot.
Access path: a few névés, including 2 steep ones under the west couloir of the Moine.
The Glacier de la Charpoua is currently well filled in. There are still some névés on the Drus, and there’s water streaming down the various routes on the south face. A team failed on the Trident route on the south face of the Grand Dru. There's still quite a bit of snow on the way to the Flammes de Pierre col (Drus traverse).
Several teams have returned from the American Direct, which is said to be in good condition at the moment.
Aiguille du Moine: 1 team up Sale Athée and 1 on the Druide route.
There’s climbing on the Flammes de Pierre. Access by the fixed ropes not good, to be avoided.
No snow on the access path.
The normal route on the Moine has dried out nicely, with a few small névés left (but take your crampons with you all the way to the top).
The E face of Le Moine will be fine: rimaye OK, lower pitches dry, maybe a few névés that can be avoided.
Traversée Nonne-Evêque: OK, rasoir and descent dry, an abseil to pass the rimaye on the way down.
Conditions are deteriorating on the Whymper - Col Armand Charlet - and the Arête du Jardin start couloir. The rimaye is more and more open. A good refreeze is imperative, as is a good level of mountaineering.
The secondary Whymper couloir is dry: technical and rocky (be careful even on the descent). The rest of the route is well covered in snow.
Two pitches of gully after the rimaye on the Col Armand Charlet.
Arête du Jardin: tricky rimaye, snowy couloir, tricky descent!
Arête du Moine: dry at the bottom, very snowy at the top, no one there yet.
Normal route on the Droites: this is the end for the oblique couloir (gaping rimaye that can be bypassed by the rocks on the left IV, dry passages in the couloir). You must therefore take the original route via the slopes coming out of the Col des Droites. Climb to the eastern summit OK, good track. Lots of snow on the ridge + cornices. The abseil from the brèche is clear but there is a lot of sand (which damages the descenders).
It's drying out on the Courtes normal route and especially on the traverse (photo above). Be particularly careful on the descent into the couloir below the Aiguille Croulante, which continues to crumble.
Pointe Isabelle: OK, no ice, the large crevasse is still crossable on the left (1m step).
"The snow has taken a serious beating! Dry rock: Pierre à Joseph, Petites Jorasses, Aiguille de Leschaux...
The Grandes Jorasses is slowly drying out, but we'll have to be patient for the Walker spur, otherwise there's no activity.
The Mont Mallet glacier has been tracked as far as the Brèche des Périades: nothing to report.
The balcony path to the Couvercle is quite well traversed, with good tracks over the névés, but crampons and ice axes are useful in the morning.
Petites Jorasses, Anouk route: third pitch has partly collapsed but it's not too much of a problem. Still wet in places.
Contamine route in great conditions, all dry.
Envers des Aiguilles
There’s climbing everywhere!
Grepon-Mer de Glace: The rimaye goes well to the right as does the passage to get back onto the rock. Sometimes there's a bit of snow on the ledges, but it doesn't get in the way. Watch out for the snow banks when crossing to the left at the Tour Rouge: "On Wednesday, one broke off above us at around 6am". Descent via the Nantillons glacier: a bit of ice at the top, but the glacier runs smoothly. The rocks are starting to fall (descend early).
A few teams on the normal route of the Aiguille de la République. More gas at the Tour Rouge hut! Warning: 10m missing from the bottom of the fixed ropes leading to the hut.
The arête Ryan has been climbed (two ice axes required). The approach from the Requin is fine with a good freeze. More snow in the couloir then dry rock. Descent from Aiguille du Plan to Requin in good condition.
Dry rock and ascent of the VB still OK!
Few changes in the area. Still a lot of people on the classics.
Dent du Géant / Rochefort arête: the climb to the Salle à Manger is drying out, so be careful not to be too late and be careful in the dry sections. A bit of ice on the Rochefort ridge but fixed rope in place.
Still no one on the Jorasses traverse. Teams on the Hirondelles arête with a descent via the normal route, but no further information.
Marbrées and Aiguilles d'Entrêves traverse: lots of people and lots of activity in the sector! "Marbrées, full traverse, small rockfall (3m x 2m?) below the South summit at the foot of the cracks, just below the bolt and ring. It's still Ok but earthy... At the foot of the classic abseils, a tower is also moving near the rimaye right bank".
There was also a rockfall on the Petit Flambeau, but this did not affect the routes.
Tour Ronde: the end of the Gervasutti couloir. No news from the N face except that there's more ice. Full SE ridge and Freshfield col still OK. The winter “normal route" is no longer recommended (boulder falls)!
Kuffner arête: the rimaye is deteriorating (1.5-2 m very steep) and is not expected to last very long. It has dried a lot below the Androsace, but conditions are better above. Be careful, the track passed right over the cornice in several places a few days ago.
Crossing the Arêtes du Diable: Good conditions but lots of (too many?) people.
Climbing on the satellites is fine.
The traverse of the Vallée Blanche is still OK.
Aiguille du Midi
Still lots of people on the Trois Monts (read a review here). However, frequent serac falls on Thursday afternoon at the top of the Tacul (photo below) cut the route.
Lots of people on the Cosmiques arête. Pointes Lachenal: it's better to go around the final chimney to the right.
The goulottes du Triangle (Negri, Grisolle, Chéré) are still possible, with ice here and there.
The Midi-Plan ridge is in good condition but it is better to start from the refuge. If you use the first lift, it's very (too) soft on the way back (small slides). The descent to the Requin via the Envers du Plan glacier is still going well.
We get a tan on the S faces (Lachenal, Eperon des Cosmiques, Aiguille du Midi). Lots of rock fall on the south face couloirs.
The Gervasutti pillar has been climbed, with good conditions in the upper mixed section for the time being, but watch out when the going gets tough (every year many teams are rescued!).
Plan de l'Aiguille
This time it's all over for the Mallory.
Frendo still ok. Right and left exits possible.
Aiguille du Peigne: crampons and ice axe still needed for the approach. Arête des Papillons and Lépidoptères dry. Normal route: 60m of snow in the couloir below the brèche.
Normal route on the Aiguille des Pélerins: dry rock, some névés not a problem, crampons and ice axe necessary for the approach.
Pilier Rouge de Blaitière: still névé for access, crampons useful in the morning.
Charmoz-Grepon has been done. Good conditions, a little snow in places. Glacier des Nantillons: a bit of outcropping ice at the top, otherwise the glacier goes well. The stones are starting to fall (descend early).
Aiguille de l'M: crampons still necessary. The Couzy route is a little damp.
Mont Blanc via the Grands Mulets
There are still a few motivated skiers but its ski carrying from the Plan de l'Aiguille to almost the Jonction (follow the summer path). Go early. It's also possible on foot and the refuge is much less crowded than those of the VN or the Cosmiques).
The junction is still OK at the bottom but the route changes quickly, with several unwelcoming snow bridges.
Arête N: two passages in ice, a fairly long one at the bottom and a shorter one at the top.
Mont Blanc via the Aiguille du Goûter
Remember, don't walk through the tunnels, take the path.
The path up to Tête Rousse is well cleared of snow. Conditions in the couloir have deteriorated: large gully + rock falls. You need to get there early (also on the way back). The cable is in place. Be careful, a large boulder hangs from the end of a cable (photo below). Good conditions thereafter.
Miage / Bionnassay
Ascent to Durier ok, leave early.
It feels like the end for the Mettrier ridge via the variant (rimaye). Full ascent still possible (gravel at the bottom, top still fairly well covered with snow).
Very good conditions on the traverse of the Aiguille de Bionnassay!
"The Refuge des Conscrits is in summer mode! Access via the summer path is almost dry, there are only a few snowdrifts left in the combes (be careful in the morning if there is a good refreeze), and the flowers and marmots are out in force! For mountaineers, conditions are very good on the routes in the sector."
Access to the refuge: the fixed ropes and anchors are badly damaged.
The track on the right bank under the Aiguille Grises calotte is very exposed to falling seracs (in fact the track passes through the debris). For the time being, we can go over to the left bank but we have to cross large snow bridges.
The access couloir to the Quintino Sella was still in good condition on 26/06.
Climbing on the Croux and the Punta Innominata! A team climbed Ratti-Vitale without any further information, but looks like lots of snow.
Above, it's very hot. Get there early to climb to the Eccles (it's already soft at 10AM). Glacier OK, but watch out for the rimaye below the bivouac.
Some teams climbed the Innominata in good conditions: good track, stone fall risk at the bottom so leave very early.
Freney pillar and the red pillar of the Brouillard pillar (downclimb from the bivouac, glacier OK).
Bonatti-Oggioni: The 6a+ first pitch is dry. The original start is wet. There's some ice in the 5c crack of pitch 8, but it doesn't hinder the climbing and you can place ice screws. Lots of snow (soft because you can't get there early) on the exit ridge: prefer days with low altitude isotherm.
Brouillard ridge looks untracked. Aiguille Blanche, Grand Pilier d'Angle and Arête de Peuterey tracked from the Eccles with a bivouac at the col de Peuterey (here too it is essential to get to the summit early). Peuterey integral has apparently been done (no further information).
Crampons and ice axes are often necessary for the approaches to the Aiguilles Rouges.
It's all dry for climbing on the Brévent or the Aiguille de Mesure.
As a reminder, due to work in the landslide zone beneath the Brévent, the area is off-limits (read the decree). For your own safety and that of the workers (falling rocks), please do not climb in the area!
No crampons are required to cross the Perrons.
For hiking information, see our latest update here!
Translated with permission from an original report by La Chamoniarde.
Readers are reminded that conditions in mountain environments are prone to (sometimes rapid) change and that they should use their own best judgement when visiting them.