The Club produces a regular English translation of the Chamonix conditions report from La Chamoniarde to help climbers without an understanding of French to access up-to-date information on conditions in the valley. An archive of these reports can be seen below: 

 

Report: 25 November 2022

La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 25 November 2022

There hasn’t been much activity in the past week, so our conditions report is going to be short! 

 

Uplift

The only two uplifts that are in operation in this shoulder season are the Montenvers train and the Skyway.


Skiing

Since our last report, there have been two snowy spells, and there is now a base of around 50/60 cm of snow at 2,000m and 80cm to 1m at 2,500 m. Below 2,000m the snow cover is thin and has crusted over after the rain snow limit went up on Wednesday night into Thursday. In the last two days, there has been a thaw and the possibility of skiing from the valley floor is rapidly disappearing. 

Amongst the places you can dust off the skis are: around the col de Balme, Mont Joly, Flaine, Grandes Platières ....

 

Walking

As far as walking goes, we are certainly between seasons. You’ll need good boots and poles to use the footpaths up to 1,600/1,800 m: the petits balcons paths and the buvettes  (Floria, Chapeau, Cerro, Dard, Chalets de Chailloux). Above that it’s still a bit early to get out on snowshoes. 

 

We don’t have any more information on trips into the high mountains than in our previous report

 

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.

 

 

 

Report: 18 November 2022

La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 18 November 2022

 

Hi everyone, we’re back again!

Not that we were away on holiday (well, a little bit) or that we had a thousand and one other things to do (yes, a little bit too) but between the lack of activity, the lack of information available (think about giving us some!), the parade of disruptions...etc In short, we didn't have the time!

 

Overview

It looks like winter is on the way, let's just hope it's not just a false alarm. November was quite unsettled and it snowed well in the high mountains! Lower down, the water tables and rivers have been restored to health!

Last night saw 25-30cm deposited at 1,900m and more than 40cm above 2,200m. To get off to a good start, there was a fair amount of wind with snow drifts of 80 cm at 2,100m. The ground is white up to 1,400m.

As a result, we will have to get back to good habits: consider the risk of avalanche in the preparation of outings and take rescue equipment (and consider training!)

Webcams are a good idea to give you an overview of the conditions: https://www.chamoniarde.com/montagne/meteo-avalanches-webcams


In the Valley

It's the off season in the valley until the start of the winter season.

The Flégère gondola is open until the evening of Sunday 20 November. The Montenvers train will then take over.

In Italy, the Skyway is open for the season.

All the refuges are currently closed.

 

Higher Up

Regarding conditions in the high mountains, we have very little information because potential windows have been infrequent and brief and activity has been sparse. 

We've probably never finished telling you this, but you'll have to be wary of crevasses even more than usual at the beginning of the season. As you all know, the glaciers were very open this summer. The snow bridges will/are gradually forming again (snowfall, wind) but there is work to do, especially to make them strong enough. Some bad glaciers should be avoided until conditions improve. Elsewhere, it is recommended to be wary and systematically rope up on the way up. Some of the rimayes are likely to be nasty! 

Skis or snowshoes are now necessary if you are up high. 

A few gullies were climbed before the Aiguille du Midi closed (Chéré, Gabarrou-Albinoni). It remains to be seen how things have evolved since then and until the reopening. As a reminder, the North side of the Aiguille du Midi (Mallory/Frendo) is closed by municipal decree until Sunday 20 November.

Around the Punta Helbronner, a bit of activity on the Marbrées or Tour Ronde traverse (report on our “cahier de course” by the way, many thanks for the feedback!). No information about the mixed routes of the Grand Flambeau or the gullies of the Combe Maudite.

Some exploration on the Chardonnet but the approach by the glacier is very complex.

 

Skiing, Hiking & Snowshoeing

Lower down, we cant get skis on yet. If you are chomping at the bit, you can get a few turns below the Index by hiking up from Flégère but you'll need to be gentle as there is no base. 

It's not possible to hike at altitude (lakes etc). You can nevertheless go for a few steps in the snow to enjoy the scenery at an altitude of no more than 1,600-1,800m: chalets at Chailloux, the petits balcons paths, the Floria/Cerro/Chapeau buvettes. Remember to be properly equipped: good shoes, poles, warm clothes.

And it's still a bit early for snowshoes!

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Report: 19 October 2022

La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 19 October 2022


This Indian summer is pretty good, it is even very hot in the afternoons, but beware of the weather forecast for this weekend.

It's freezing at night at the moment but the glaciers are still very open, and the snow bridges are fragile - be careful!


However, some routes are being done:

On the Aiguille du Midi, the arete is fine. The Cosmiques and Laurence arêtes are still possible. The traverse of the Pointes Lachenal is also possible: it is better to access the 1st point on the left because there is ice straight under the rocks, as well as on the traverse (protection possible on rock), the chimney is in good nick.

There is some activity on the Tacul, but the rimaye on Mont Maudit is not crossable.

Gully activity is starting up: Contamine Mazeaud, the Chéré, the Allemands, and Vent du Dragon, but it’s still thin and not always easy to protect.

From the Helbronner, the Aiguilles Marbrées and the Aiguilles d'Entrèves are being done, despite very crevassed access for the latter. It’s looking white below the Dent du Géant.

The normal route on Mont Blanc, the arête de la Table on the aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche and Petite Fourche are being done.

For rock climbing, it is quite cold at altitude. “Toussaint (late October holiday) is coming up – get ready for cold hands.

 

The Planpraz and Flégère cable cars open this weekend for the All Saints' (Toussaint) holiday. The Aiguille du Midi cable car and the Skyway are still open until November 6 inclusive.


There has been a rockfall at Barberine. No information yet on the fixed gear (bolts etc).


The Conscrits footbridge is no longer in place since yesterday!


For hiking, everything is still possible, there is snow from around 2,400m on northerly aspects and from around 2,900m on southerly aspects, but it is not a problem. Tours are still possible for the most motivated (some refuges are still open, and some are equipped with a winter room).


The refuges of Loriaz (from Thursday to Sunday), Lac Blanc, Plan de l'Aiguille, les Prés and Torino still welcome you.

We remind you that the Mont-Blanc tunnel is closed until Monday 7 November.

Have fun! 

 

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.

 

 

 

Report: 29 September 2022

La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 29 September 2022

Climbing

If you were beginning to wonder: Yes, it’s certainly autumn!

The mountains are starting to change, let's give them some time!

It snowed a decent amount above 2,200m, especially in the centre of the massif. The ground is white from this altitude. Above this altitude, there was 50cm at the Couvercle hut, 60cm at the Torino hut and about 1m at the Aiguille du Midi, but as usual, it was windy.

As a consequence, it has put a stop to rock climbing, except on low-level crags (vive le sud :) ).

Although we have had snow it's a bit early to think about mixed routes. Once the snow has settled, the shorter routes near the Aiguille du Midi or the Punta Helbronner (Cosmiques arête, Lachenal, traverse of the Marbrées or the Aiguilles d'Entrêves ???) will be worth considering. Be careful on glaciers as snow bridges will be weak.

Classic routes (Mont Blanc by the normal route, Tête Blanche/Petite Fourche...) could become possible again with a long period of good weather.

 

Hiking

Things are also getting more complicated for hiking at altitude (above 2,200m) with some routes not really practicable in these conditions (Buet, Albert 1er, Jonction etc).

The same goes for multi-day treks with snowy cols (not to mention that huts are closed) on the Mont Blanc tour (col du Bonhomme, col de la Seigne, Grand Col Ferret) or the Tour des Aiguilles Rouges.

If we get the good weather expected at the beginning of next week this may change!

 

Huts and Lifts

As far as practicalities go, all the high mountain huts are closed except the Torino hut (open until 01 November). A lot of lower level huts are also closed, but the Plan de l’aiguille, Lac Blanc and Loriaz are still open at the moment.

As for the ski lifts, the Montenvers, the Aiguille du Midi and the Skyway are open!

 

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.

 

 

 

Report: 16 September 2022

La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 16 September 2022

Autumn is here!

The weather is getting colder, and there is snow on the highest summits. A lot of wind but only about ten centimetres of snow at the Cosmiques hut. The risk of avalanche will have to be considered.  

The Albert 1er hut will close this Sunday. No other changes in this area.

 

The Couvercle hut is hanging on until the end as the last hut open in the Mer de Glace basin (the Envers closed on 15/09). No other changes in the area. A rockfall has damaged the aids on the path which crosses the river below the Moine. This bit is not easy and requires care (not recommended for hikers).

 

The Torino and Cosmiques huts also remain open as do the lifts. No major changes in this area either. The rock and the cracks can be plastered with snow or icy. The Tacul can be considered once the snowpack has stabilised. Concerning the Trois Monts, we are repeating this well phrased message from the Cosmiques hut (no apologies for repeating it):

"Tuesday September 13th, at 12pm...We have had two rescues on the Trois Monts traverse since this morning. It's windy at altitude, and the clouds are at the top of Mt Blanc. In the evening at the refuge, we keep repeating the same thing lately:

  • No, the Trois Monts are not in good condition!
  • Yes it's more technical than usual on the Maudit...do you have two ice axes? A sufficient length of rope?
  • Turn back before the Maudit rimaye, if you don't have sufficient expertise, because then the retreat will be another matter...

Repeat, repeat...and yet!

The mountain rescue teams are picking up the pieces today in poor conditions.

So YES to “liberté en montagne"! But let's stop this irresponsible stubbornness for the glory of a summit, which puts the lives of the rescuers in danger. Better conditions will eventually return, patience. Thank you!"

 

Over on the Aiguille du Goûter, the huts are still open.

The conditions are becoming rather good again on the route.
Good news, the Tramway du Mont Blanc will remain open one more week until September 25th inclusive with two departures from Le Fayet at 7:00 am and 3:25 pm and two returns from Le Nid d'Aigle at 8:15 am and 4:40 pm. Access for mountaineers (with a reservation in a refuge) and hikers. Service offered free of charge depending on the number of places available. Reservations for the ascent on the website. Reservations for the descent at the Fayet ticket office.

The Conscrits refuge will remain open until 24 September, Monzino will close on Sunday 18 September.

 

Last days of opening for the lifts (TC de Planpraz and de la Flégère) which will close this Sunday (18). The refuges are also gradually closing (info here). Some hikes are therefore less accessible and less frequented.

We are no longer in summer, it is very cool in the morning and it can also be cold during the day depending on the weather (wind etc). The paths can be slippery. Remember to be properly equipped.

 

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.

 

 

 

Report: 07 September 2022

La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 07 September 2022

The summer season is gradually coming to an end. Huts are beginning to close. Most of the lifts are still open.

The nights are now longer and cooler and the refreeze is good. Recent storms have deposited some snow at altitude without significantly improving overall conditions.

Rock climbing remains a safe bet.

 

Le Tour

The hut is open until September 18th. The Vallorcine cable car will close on the 11th.

From the hut, you now need to go down to the glacier and then climb back up (on ice) because the route by the Signal Reilly is unstable and even dangerous (slope with blocks on the ice).

Still a lot of people on the Tête Blanche and Petite Fourche.

Little or no activity on the Aiguille du Tour, the rimaye is still very delicate. You need to cross via the Col du Tour. One team has climbed the arête de la Table intégrale. On the descent, a 40m abseil is necessary to pass the rimaye safely.

The Chardonnet is still not an option.

 

Argentière

The Plan Joran gondola and the refuge have been closed since 4 September. The winter room of the refuge remains accessible.

Climbers and crystal hunters can now share things!

 

Charpoua/Couvercle/Leschaux

The Montenvers train is open until 2 October.

The Charpoua refuge has been closed since 25 August. Building work has started and there will be no refuge or winter accommodation until next summer.

The Couvercle refuge is open until the end of the month if all goes well (water, weather).

No big changes in the sector.

All good on the Moine (Normal Route, S Ridge, Contamine, Miss Tique).

It's a bit less good on the Nonne-Evêque traverse (complicated rimaye, very dry descent couloir).

The Moine Arête on the Verte ridge is still not recommended: Not very inviting.

The Leschaux refuge closed on 5 September.

 

Envers des Aiguilles/Requin

The Envers hut is normally open until 15 September. The rimaye for the République is no longer crossable and you will have to use the fixed ropes installed last year (technical and physical, bring a jumar).

The Requin refuge closed 26 August.

 

Helbronner

The hut is normally open until 1 November.

There is still some activity on the Marbrées and the Aiguilles d'Entrêves. A few teams on the Dent du Géant. The access to the Salle à Manger is still very dry. The Courmayeur guide company will soon re-evaluate the conditions to see if they are acceptable to bring clients there.

The starts of the routes on the Clocher du Tacul have been cleaned and belays added following the drop in height of the glacier. The rimaye of the Grand Capucin is still in use, as is the rimaye of the Gervasutti route on the Pointe Salluard.

 

Aiguille du Midi

The hut is open until 25 September if the weather permits.

Small snowfalls have covered the ice on the Pointes Lachenal. The latter is once again being done especially the first summit. Rockfalls have affected the chimney on the 3rd summit (blocks at the foot) but not recently.

The arête Laurence (“Lolo”) is still being climbed. For the Cosmiques arete, you have probably seen the pictures of the rockfall. The main collapse (500m3) took place below the traverse under the Digital Crack gendarme. It's still very dry and not very inviting. (See photo below).

A diagram laying out where the fall on the Cosmiques took place, showing the space left by the rockfall near to 'Digital Crack'

Mont Blanc du Tacul remains in fairly good condition. The slope before the rimaye is becoming steeper. The rimaye is crossed by a turn to the left. Of course, you need to be comfortable with cramponing to be able to do this route. Beware of the risk of avalanche after snowfall.

There has been no activity on the Trois Monts for a long time. A team made an attempt last weekend but stopped at the rimaye of the col du Mont Maudit after a lot of trail breaking (40cm of new snow). Concerning this rimaye, it is possible to cross it but a steep wall of snow/ice (80°) is waiting for you on the other side: you need two technical ice axes per person, you can use ice screws but the quality of the ice is not good.

There is still climbing on the S side of the Aiguille du Midi. Not much activity on the S side of the Lachenal because you have to abseil.

 

Plan de l'aiguille

No changes, the refuge is open until 31 October.

 

Mont Blanc by the Aiguille du Goûter

The Bellevue cable car and the Mont Blanc Tramway are open until 18 September.

The refuges remain open until the beginning of October.

The couloir remains dry but the cool nights guarantee a good refreeze. Crossing the couloir at the right time will reduce rockfall risk.

The glacial parts are in reasonable condition (beware of snow bridges). 

 

Dômes de Miage/Bionnassay

The Durier refuge closed on 31 August. The Aiguille de Bionnassay and back is not too bad. The E ridge is very narrow, sometimes “a cheval".

The Plan Glacier hut closes on Saturday 10 September.

The Conscrits hut is open until 24 September.

No one on the Dômes de Miage but still some activity on the Aiguille de la Bérangère and back.

 

Italian side of Mont Blanc

The Monzino refuge closes on 18 September. From Monday 12, access may be disrupted due to work on the Freney bridge and it may be necessary to leave from the Peuterey campsite.

A major landslide/ice fall makes access to the Boccalate hut complicated. (See photo below).

A photo-diagram showing the ice fall and how it has made access to the Boccalate hut more difficult.

 

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.