MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS 14/07/2021
Some activity in the high mountain was possible in the brief weather window last weekend. The conditions in this report are, therefore, from that weekend. The Chamoniarde will make a small update on Friday about the new snow, (10 cm at the Argentière hut Wednesday morning, 30 cm at the Cosmiques. knowing that it rained before turning to snow). In exchange. please send information on conditions from your activities this coming weekend to Chamoniarde =)
Despite the snowfall, the rock dries quickly, especially on those routes facing the sun and the mixed routes have received a slight covering in snow.
The forecast for the week is for more bad weather with snowfall in the high mountains. The sun should return at the weekend and during the week following, (hopefully an anticyclone.) This will mean again a risk of avalanches and snow slides in the first few days. (This avalanche on the Tacul normal route should act as a warning.)
The risk of storms in the range is high this year and needs to be taken into account when choosing a route..
A few days of good weather, (clear nights, good freezing, not too much wind, limited storm risk) should finally get the season for doing the big routes started.
The bergschrund on the Aiguille du Tour normal route is opening up, but not yet a problem. The Col Supérieur du Tour still has plenty of snow. The bergshrund to reach the Table ridge is easy to cross.
No comments for the normal routes on the Tête Blanche and Petite Fourche.
Some activity on the Chardonnet (Forbes Ridge, Migot Spur,) thanks to a better freezing on Saturday and Sunday. A little reminder following several rescue operations by the PGHM from this summit :
-The Forbes ridge, though graded AD, can seem (too) long for a party at just that level and not moving together, (short roping).
- On the descent : a first party took the wrong way in bad weather and went too far right, (looking down) and ended up descending the lower part of the Bettembourg Gully. (They made it down, but it was far from ideal.). With the track in place other parties then followed this way. The normal descent is well to the left.
The approach to the hut is reasonably OK. Care is needed on a traverse of the slabs at the foot of the ladders, (between two fixed ropes,) and on a snow patch to re-join the glacier, (also a rope in place.)
The Aiguille d'Argentière has been climbed: Whymper, Glacier du Milieu, Flèche Rousse Ridge, (best to wait a few days after the snowfall so that there is not too much in the upper part.)
Col du Tour Noir is OK.
There is too much snow for the moment on the Jardin Ridge.
Once it dries , the rock is good, crampons needed for the approaches.
Mer de Glace Right Bank : Charpoua / Couvercle/ Leschaux Sectors
As a reminder and even though it is still indicated on the IGN maps, the old approach path, (ladders removed) under the Flammes de Pierres and the part along the Mer de Glace balcon below the Charpoua glacier no longer exists. Also, the Egralets ladders are no longer maintained and some of the fixings are missing at the level of the ledges, which can cause problems, especially for hikers. (The moraine is not too bad, though it requires concentration.) Therefore, it is better to use the new ladders directly below the Aiguille du Moine to reach this sector. There are still some snow patches on the traverse to the Leschaux hut.
There is no longer any snow on the approach to Charpoua hut. The recent snowfall means patience needed before the Drus traverse will be in condition. The rock on the Flammes de Pierre dries quickly, slightly slower for the Evêque, (Contamine & Ciao Marco).
The Aiguille du Moine is being climbed, (Contamine, S ridge, normal route.)
Still problems with the Whymper Couloir, (bergschrund), which is only feasible in descent and early in the day. Parties also turned back on the S Couloir of the Armand Charlet col (the upper part very dry). No news for the Moine ridge, (likely to have a lot of snow,) or for the Jardin ridge.
Given a good freeze, the normal route on the Droites should be OK, (the latest news is that the bergschrund on the access couloir still passable.) Likewise, for the Courtes, (including the traverse.) The Pointe Isabelle looks to be complicated.
In the Leschaux sector, the N face of the Jorasses remains plastered, (begging the questions if there will be a window for the Walker or what the mixed route conditions will be in autumn.) In the meantime, climbing is possible on the routes above the hut. Patience needed for the Aiguille de Leschaux and the Petites Jorasses. The Périades and Aiguille de l'Eboulement should be OK, if it freezes.
Mer de Glace Left bank : Envers des Aiguilles Requin Sector
There is still snow on the approach to the hut, (a rope is useful on the glacier before the ladders leading to the Requin).
Once the rock dries, climbing will be possible on the lower Envers sectors, ( Rouge/Verte towers, Pointe des Nantillons).
The République/ Grepon-Mer de Glace bergschrund goes either by a snow bridge in the middle or on the slabs to the right, (move of IV.) There is some snow in places on the ledges. The descent by the Nantillons glacier is in good condition for the moment.
The Dent du Requin is being climbed : Chapeau à Corne ridge, Renaudie, (bergschrund OK, a section higher up is harder than given in the guidebook due to a rockfall).
Despite the unstable weather, the classics in this area remain feasible : Marbrées and Aiguilles d'Entrêves traverses, SE ridge of the Tour Ronde.
Though the Dent du Geant is still being done, be careful not to be caught out by the bad weather and the winter conditions, (verglas, snow.) There is lots of snow on the approach to the Salle à Manger.
There have been several parties doing the Rochefort Arete, said to be in good condition. Like the other “Grandes Courses”, patience is needed for the Jorasses traverse.
Last weekend the Kuffner ridge was popular using the direct approach, (bergschrund OK, conditions good on the ridge.) The same was true for the Aiguilles du Diable traverse (lots of snow on the rocks, frequent use of crampons.) Think about the snow conditions on the descent, (Mont Maudit + Tacul).
In general, the bergschrunds for the rock climbs are OK. The Grand Capucin, Pyramide du Tacul and Pointe Adolphe Rey were being climbed.
Aiguille du Midi Sector
It is OK for the traverse of the Valley Blanche, Cosmiques ridge and Pointes Lachenal traverse (30m abseil, keep well to the right, looking down, when descending from the last point to keep away from the seracs.)
The Midi-Plan ridge has been done, (no further info but looks OK).
Good conditions on the Triangle du Tacul thanks to the recent snowfall, especially for the Contamine Negri and the Contamine Grisolle (here again take care of the snow conditions for the descent!) The Chéré gully is also finally feasible again!
Condition good on the Trois Monts, if the snow is OK.
The S faces are popular: (Aiguille du Midi, Cosmiques Spur, Pointes Lachenal). A party turned back from the Gervasutti Pillar, (no further info, bergschrund?)
Plan de l'Aiguille Sector
Frendo Spur retracked. It looks like there is some snow on the rocks and good conditions for the exit.
The Papillons ridge, the Peigne (crampons no longer necessary for the normal route,) and the Grutter (crampons,) are popular.
There is still a good snowfield to reach the Blaitière Red Pillar.
Charmoz-Grepon: glacier and bergschrund OK. A little bit of snow & verglas to reach Grand Charmoz summit, notably on the ledges. Snow in the Charmoz-Grepon couloir, abseils. There is still snow and verglas on some sections to the N summit of the Grepon, (goes with aid), dry after that. Descent by the col des Nantillons.
The Cordier Pillar has also been done.
Crampons remain useful for the Aiguille de l'M and the Petits Charmoz traverse.
Mont Blanc by the Grands Mulets
Tracks were again seen last weekend on the plateaux, looked not too bad! On the other hand, there is a lot of carrying, (walking on the glacier.) The N ridge of the Dôme is OK. This route is a good option for those wanting a “wilder” way to climb Mont Blanc on foot !
Mont Blanc by the Aiguille du Goûter
Dômes de Miage / Bionnassay sector
The Conscrits hut is now approached by the summer path and footbridge.
Ideal conditions for the Dômes traverse, (be aware of the avalanche risk at the Col de la Bérangère) and the Aiguille de Bionnassay (the rock section can be done with crampons).
Mont Blanc par Gonella
Buone condizioni !!! (In condition)
The rock routes on the Aiguille Croux remain popular.
Likewise for Punta Innominata (abseils and return by the glacier OK).
A party turned back after 2 pitches on the Ratti-Vitali (Aiguille Noire de Peuterey) : the rock was still wet due to melting snow.
Aiguille Blanche and Grand Pilier d'Angle are tracked (via Col de l'Innominata - Schneider ledges- Blanche - Col de Peuterey) but without exiting by the Peuterey ridge (return by the Col Eccles).
There are no particular problems on the way up the glacier to the Eccles bivouac. From the Monzino hut it is possible to reach the Red Pillar of Brouillard, (dries quickly) directly, without going to the Eccles.
The Innominata ridge was done about two weeks ago in good conditions. No info for the Brouillard ridge. At least 2 days of good weather is needed for the snow to settle and freeze for this sector to come into condition.
The snow continues to melt but is still there in places.
Crampons remain useful for :
- The TMB variants (Col des Fours and d'Arpette)
- Sector lacs Noirs / Col de la Glière
- Index traverse - lac Blanc (still two dangerous snowfields)
- The Tour des Aiguilles Rouges (the Bérard side of the Col de Salenton is well tracked and marked with poles.
- Mont Buet
- Col de la Terrasse
The Tricot footbridge (TMB variant) is closed until further notice - council order
It is now forbidden to bivouac on the Chailloux mountain (South side of the Aiguillette des Posettes). As a reminder, it is also forbidden to bivouac near the lac Blanc and at the Blaitière alpage.