A few pointers on this sunny weekend!
In general, the weather (sun, lack of wind, good re-freezing, isotherm not too high) and the conditions (glaciers and rimayes still relatively well filled in, faces / couloirs in reasonable condition) are finally favourable to (long) mixed routes. Despite everything, the mountains have dried well (the last precipitation was 10 days ago). But after all, it is the end of August!
Nothing to report as far as rock routes go!
Good conditions on the classics (normal route Aiguille du Tour - tête Blanche - Petite Fourche, arête de la Table).
Lots of traffic (especially at the start of the week) on the Forbes arête which is now more technical (ice on the Bosse and above the col on the descent: 2 axes needed).
The Migot spur is finished.
It's over for the Milieu glacier (ice + rockfall) except for very experienced parties who will want to descend down the arête du Jardin. This also means the end of the game for the Flèche Rousse.
The refuge will close on the 29th August.
It's still ok for the traverse of the Drus (but we say it every year, it's a long and technical route, be careful that you have both the ability and good experience in route finding otherwise you will take a long time).
Everything is dry except the Grandes Jorasses.
Envers des Aiguilles
The rimaye of the République / Grépon - Mer de Glace is still passable by the slab on the left bank (IV, blue pole in place). To join the start of the route there is a well marked traverse and an overhanging (but not wide) roture (gap between the snow and the rock).
However, the other route equipped by JS Knoertzer and Co to reach the new Tour Rouge hut is not recommended for everyone. It's steep, you have to know how to go up on fixed ropes (jumar recommended), check the condition of the equipment (ropes, knots) and there is some difficult climbing.
Always a lot of people on the classics. In these conditions, a 50 m rope (abseils of 25 m max) is enough for traversing the Marbrées and the Aiguille d'Entrêves.
Many teams on the Dent du Géant, fewer on the Rochefort arête (some icy sections are starting to appear).
Several teams on the Jorasses traverse. The rock section above the Canzio (Point Young) is dry. On the other hand, there is still a lot of snow further on which makes the route a little more difficult technically. Descent by the normal route OK. The Boccalate refuge is closed but the winter room (12 places, mattresses and blankets but no gas) remains accessible.
Conditions are still fine on the Kuffner (Frontier) ridge.
Traverse of the Aiguilles Diable: rimaye ok, the traverse to reach the couloir is on gravel but it's OK. The couloir itself is also getting dry (a few rocky bits, 2 axes are needed depending on your skill level).
All the Pointes are dry, you put crampons back on for the final mixed bit.
Aiguille du Midi sector
It's over for the Frendo for now (dry exit: ice and rockfall).
Conditions are still fine on the Midi-Plan even if here too, some bits have dried up (gravel / sand).
Cosmiques ridge:nothing to report except that we must not forget that despite its proximity and a certain degree of “banalisation”, this is a technical route and not easy. Normally it’s quite short (a half day), but several teams have been benighted ... Carefully question your grade and your mountaineering experience before doing it.
Traverse of the Pointes Lachenal: the descent from the last Pointe is exposed to the serac of the NE face of Tacul. You must keep well right. There is a bit of ice on the first Pointe (access to the traverse and the descent for the rock routes on the S face).
Mont Blanc via the Trois Monts: Tacul ok, do not follow a trail that goes to the left (going uphill) marked by a red flag which was left during a rescue in bad weather and which finishes up against a serac. There is some ice below the col du Mont Maudit (2 axes useful).
Pillar Gervasutti (from the PGHM): they have been pulling off more and more teams over the years. Conditions are getting looser and looser at the top. The terrain has changed a lot and even some local guides (who have done the route before) do not recognize it and some have had to seek help. Route therefore not recommended.
Mont Blanc via the Grands Mulets
A bit of activity lately even with the refuge closed. Access is easier from the gite à Balmat even if you have to find your way around by making a curve to the right before returning to the refuge. Those who came up by the Gare des Glaciers took almost 4 hours to cross the Jonction.
Mont Blanc via the Goûter
Normal conditions for the time of year. The climb up to the Goûter is dry and you have to be there at the right time.
Dômes de Miage / Bionnassay sector
Still generally good conditions on the traverse of the Dômes. The NE ridge of the Bionnassay is narrow (but no ice) but you need to be good on your feet.
No more water at the refuge which is closing its doors today. The winter room (12 places, mattresses and blankets but no gas) remains accessible.
The route to reach the Piton des Italiens is still in good condition (even if the glacier is "scary" when it is not frozen).
Several teams on the Innominata, the snow has transformed well.
After a number of rescues last weekend (wind, a lot of snow), there is a track on the Brouillard ridge.
Blanche de Peuterey by the Schneider ledges OK. The col Eccles is still fine.
Peuterey arête is in good snow conditions. Some teams also on the Integral. Borelli open with mattress and blankets.
You can also climb the Red pillar which is gradually drying. No news from the Freney.
Still no one at Ratti-Vitale (Aiguille Noire de Peuterey) even if the Freney glacier is OK and the route is dry (visually). Lots of people on the S ridge (crampons not needed). The descent by the E ridge has been re-marked (yellow dots) and the belays refurbished.