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MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS 16/06/2021

Summer is here !

Despite the clear nights with a reasonable amount of freezing, the days rapidly become hot and « sweaty . However, this morning (16th) there was no re-freezing and a lot of the parties turned back.  With the high temperatures and a tendance for foehn winds the next few days, conditions are unlikely to be good.  There have been many (snow) avalanches between the 2800 et 4000m altitudes, (N face Aiguille Argentière, N face Aiguille du Midi, Dolent), indicating an unstable snow cover, ( a cocktail of weak layers, little re-freezing, and high daytime temperatures. )

The snow routes are generally in good condition if there is a night-time freeze. It is probably over for the technical mixed routes, and for skiing, (apart from Mont Blanc.) The rock routes are becoming feasible just about everywhere. 

 

Tour Sector

Generally good conditions in this sector.  The normal routes on the Aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche, Petite Fourche and the Aiguille du Chardonnet (Forbes Arete + Migot Spur; descend early), are popular.

The Table ridge is becoming more popular than the Table Couloir.  

The rock on the Dorées S Face is being climbed, (the traverse still has quite a bit of snow.)

 

Argentière Sector

The hut opens this weekend. Snowshoes are still useful in this sector until the tracks become more established.  The Couturier couloir, Y couloir (conditions will quickly change) and the glacier du Milieu are popular.

The rock here is waiting to be climbed  :)

 

Mer de Glace Sector

It is advised not to visit the Moulins and the Bédière because a glacier lake has formed on the Mer de Glace below the Envers des Aiguilles.   

The Leschaux and Requin huts are due to open this weekend.

A lot of people on the Whymper and by the Jardin ridge, (bergschrund OK but for how long?).  An early start is imperative, to be able to descend in the morning.

No news for the Pointe Isabelle, the normal route on the Droites or the Aiguille du Moine (still snow on the normal route?)

The rock is slowly drying in all this sector, (crampons and ice axe for the approach.)  However, it is perhaps too early for the long routes and ridges, (Moine ridge on the Verte, Walker, Grepon-Mer de Glace etc). Maybe the Ryan ridge will be possible if it freezes enough to overcome the bergschrund.

 

Helbronner / Monzino Sector

It did not freeze this morning, (16th), most of the parties returned early to the hut!

Otherwise, conditions are generally good with plenty of people for the Dent du Geant, (the approach to the Salle à Manger still has a good snow cover,)  the Marbrées traverse, the Aiguille d'Entrêves traverse, the N face Tour Ronde (the “normal route” is no longer being done , it is necessary to pass by the col Freshfield and it is for the  Gervasutti couloir); the Brenva Spur; the Kuffne Ridger and the Aiguilles du Diable traverse.

The Rochefort Arete was done yesterday (15th) there and back.  It is a bit too early to attempt the traverse of the Jorasses; (the Boccalatte hut is closed all summer.) 

On the approach to the Monzino hut, the via ferrata has cleared but there is still snow below the hut.  The Pointe. Innominata and the Aiguille Croux (normal route, Ottoz, SE ridge; snow on the abseils but not a problem), are being climbed. 

Nobody has gone up to the Eccles and there is still a lot of snow, The Pilier Rouge du Brouillard looks to be dry.  It needs a good freeze and someone well-motivated to break the trail!  

 

Aiguille du Midi Sector

As a reminder, the top station of the Aig du Midi is not a refuge and overnighting there is forbidden.

The Cosmiques ridge remains in good condition, (but crowded !). The Pointes Lachenal traverse is being done (though the passage near the abseil remains unstable.) The Contamine-Grisolle and Contamine Negri are also being climbed. The traverse from the summit of the Triangle to the Tacul  normal route is OK.

Generally good conditions for the Trois Monts, (fragile ice below the Col du Mont Maudit, no ice on the traverse towards the Brenva col and improved conditions on the Mur de la Côte due to the snowfall during the storms last week. There is a good foot track. It is more awkward on ski, (better to carry them, which avoids spending time to take on and off skis or crampons while below the seracs.)  Remember this is a route exposed to serac fall, and is technical, especially in descent,  (snow stake for possible abseil in place at the Col du Mont Maudit.)  To get the best ski conditions, one should think of doing the Mont Blanc in three days, with a night at the Grands Mulets on the descent.

The Midi-Plan ridge is tracked, there are still some large cornices and snow mushrooms.  It is necessary to leave from the hut to be early enough on the route.

The S face of the Aiguille du Midi, the Cosmiques Spur and the S face of the Lachenal are being climbed.

 

Plan de l'Aiguille / Grands Mulets Sector

The infamous sérac between the Frendo Spur and the Mallory has become unstable and threatens the base of the N face.  It is advised not to climb the Mallory, (the end of the ramp would be exposed if the collapse was bigger than foreseen.)  Use the lower track to access the Grand Mulets.  The Frendo Spur is feasible as long as one keeps well to the left on the approach.

To get to the Grands Mulets, it is necessary to go along under the N face of Aiguille du Midi  and keep low to pass the moraines where it is vegetated. Then go up via a flat area below the attack gully for the Mallory. After this, there are still two options to cross the Jonction (high or low.) 

Conditions for skiing remain generally good. The N ridge of the Dôme is being done and stable for the moment, (no ice, one axe suffices, but two more comfortable.)  The snow on the  N face remains “cold”,  the snow at the plateaux has transformed, or hard if one descends early to cross the Jonction at a good time.

Climbing on the Aiguille de l'M and Pilier Rouge de Blaitière should be feasible. No info for the Papillons Ridge. Crampons and maybe an ice axe are useful for the approaches.

 

Mont Blanc by the Aiguille du Goûter

Fairly good conditions , though the stone fall has started in the Grand Couloir. Think to cross it as early as possible, both in ascent and descent.

 

Miage / Bionnassay Sector

If the works go well, the footbridge on the approach to the Conscrits hut should be in place by the beginning of July.

The traverse of the Dômes de Miage is in good condition.  The ridge up to the Aiguille de la Bérangère is thin.  

Mont Tondu is being done but take care on the slopes underneath the Pointe des Lanchettes.

The N face of the Aiguille de Tré la Tête is in good condition.  The traverse has not yet been tracked, (two large avalanches on the decent from the Col des Glaciers).

Gonella Sector

A recent report in the OHM route book:

https://www.chamoniarde.com/montagne/cahier-de-courses#

There are parties planning to do the Tournette Spur, waiting for their info!

 

Aiguilles Rouges

Crampons and ice axe necessary for the approaches to the rock routes .

 

Hiking and the Tour du Mont Blanc

Find the latest updates ici !