A brief overview of the situation and conditions in the mountains at the beginning of August (even if it feels more like November ...!). As our Italian cousins say, "non puo piovere per sempre (it can't rain forever)"!
The Chamonix Aiguilles were well plastered with snow from 3,300m when I woke up this morning. The last few days have been rather cool and the weather windows very short. This weather is good for the high mountains and for the classic snow and mixed routes which are "just like 30 years ago": fairly good conditions when the freeze is good. Generally speaking, conditions have changed little.
Fiz sector (hiking access to climbing routes)
The snow cover is receding well but a few snowfields are holding on (just like 30 years ago!). There are no significant problems for good, well-equipped hikers (poles + good boots) on the marked routes (Col de la Glière, Col de Salenton, Buet, Col de la Terrasse etc): no need for crampons. The Dinosaur tracks (vieil Emosson sector) are now clear and geologists are on site until 19/08
The tour des Fiz is snow free Crampons (but good boots yes) are no longer necessary for the Crochues traverse or to access the climbing routes (Brévent - clocher de Planpraz - chapelle de la Glière - Index - Aiguilles Crochues - tour des Crochues - Aiguille du Belvédère etc)! However, they are still very useful for going to the Pouce
Lots of parties on the Aiguille du Tour (voie normale, arête de la table), Tête Blanche or the Petite Fourche. Still good conditions on the Chardonnet (Forbes arête + Migot spur).
(Remember the Plan Joran gondola is open continuously at weekends + ascent at 8 a.m. & descent at 4 p.m. on weekdays)
Glacier du Milieu (there is a small gully forming in the Narrows but belays are possible on rock for abseils or lowers), the Flèche Rousse arête and the arête du Jardin are still possible. Ditto for the Col du Tour Noir.
We can rock climb when the rock dries!
Not many people up here. Climbing is possible on the Flammes de Pierre (a few ropes on the passage des guides from the Mer de Glace have been replaced).
The glacier for the Drus traverse is still fine, but there hasn’t been a good weather window.
Talèfre / Leschaux Sector
No big changes here either. The Moine ridge on the Verte must be well covered with snow. The Walker, is probably finished for this summer.
Envers des Aiguilles / Requin
A few rimayes/bergschrunds and rotures (gap between the rock and the snow) that can get complicated here and there (Amazonia for example) but everything still goes at the Envers.
The Requin refuge access is snow free.
No streams or other problems for access to the routes!
The climb up the Vallée Blanche still goes. No news of the descent of the Envers du Plan glacier which should still be possible with a good refreeze.
Depending on the weather and the freeze, all the classics in the sector can still be considered (Rochefort arete, Dent du Géant, Marbrées, Entrêves, SE ridge of the Tour Ronde). Ditto for the Kuffner (direct start) and the crossing of the Aiguilles du Diable (sometimes quite a bit of snow which requires climbing with crampons) but be careful of the snow conditions on the descent.
On the other hand this has been a complicated season for the Jorasses traverse (lots of snow, weather windows too short).
Aiguille du Midi Sector
Most of the snow and mixed routes are still possible: Midi-Plan, traverse of Pointes Lachenal, Cosmiques arete, Contamine-Grisolle, Chéré couloir.
Due to the weather and the quantities of fresh snow at altitude (risk of avalanche and laborious wading), activity limited on the Trois Monts side recently even if things are still going well (the rimaye/bergschrund on the col du Mont Maudit seems to be complicated).
On the rock side, the rimayes/bergschrunds are still fine.
Despite the small snow falls that temporarily improve the exit, it seems over for the Frendo. Otherwise no major changes, the Nantillons glacier is still possible.
Mont Blanc via the Aiguille du Goûter
Very good conditions for the season.
Miage / Bionnassay Sector
Good conditions on the ridges: Dômes de Miage and Bionnassay (which needs regular retracking).
Always good conditions (when it's nice)!
With the return of good weather next week, all the grandes courses should be possible (provided it doesn't get too hot all of a sudden): Innominata, Brouillard ridge, Rouge and Freney pillars.
Nothing to report as far as the rock climbing goes.