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Report 23rd August 2017

Latest update on conditions. :


Last week it rained up to 4000m and then with the lower temperatures, the snow became very hard/icy. First class cramponning skills are needed.
Otherwise, the dryness continues with the snow bridges on the glaciers becoming ever weaker.  


- Albert 1er : The Petite Fourche, the Aig du Tour, both by the Table Ridge and the normal route, remain popular.  Crossing the Col Supérieur du Tour is very technical and it is better to use the Col du Tour, which itself is more awkward than usual. The bergschrund crossing has collapsed, though it is still possible to get across on the right.


- Argentière : The Petite Aiguille Verte is now bare ice and not feasible.  The bergschrund at the Col des Grands Montets is awkward but passable, (fixed rope.). The Belvédère (East) ridge is dry and popular. The conditions for rock climbing behind the Argentière hut remain excellent.  Parties are also doing the Col du Tour Noir, there and back.


- Charpoua : The storm last Friday resulted in a lot of stone fall in the gullies in this sector and some areas are unstable, notably near Ciao Marco (to be avoided). The Dru traverse is still being done but crossing the glacier is becoming difficult.   


- Couvercle : Do not start the Nonne-Evêque by the gully but  go instead on the left, (looking up.)   A large stride is needed to cross the Moine bergschrund but the normal route and S ridge are still being climbed. On the Verte, there have been some parties on the Grand Montets and the Moine ridges, (time taken very variable between parties.)


- Leschaux : Still a little bit of snow on the Grand Jorasses N face but parties have tried the Walker spur, some successfully, others chosing to turn back.  Be aware of stone fall in this area!
Anouk and Contamine on the Petites Jorasses have been done recently.  The hut can only be contacted by telephone, (internet not working.)


- Envers des Aiguilles : Very little has changed since the last update.  The bergschrund for the République has become more awkward but it is still passable.


- Requin : The hut approach is OK and the rock routes in this sector continue to be climbed. There is some ice on the approach the Aiguille du Requin, but not a problem.  For the Pierre Alain, it is better to return by the normal route, because some of the streams (torrents) are difficult to cross in the afternoon. Virtually nobody going up the Vallee Blanche anymore.


- Torino : No major changes in the access to the Tacul satelittes.  The Aiguilles d'Entrèves traverse is best done in reverse, (i.e. NE to SW,) so that the ice slope is done in ascent.   Ice present on the Rochefort Arete, some parties retreating, others reaching the Canzio bivouac and then the Jorasses traverse. The belays below the Canzio have been damaged, 2 x 50m ropes advisable.


- Cosmiques : The snow is still very hard on the 3 Monts traverse;  good cramponning  technique essential!  There is a fixed rope at Mont Maudit, but also ice.  No information for the Pointes Lachenal. The Laurence and Cosmiques ridges remain in condition.  The snow bridges on the Vallee Blanche crossing are becoming ever more suspect.  


- Goûter : Conditions are becoming increasingly awkward as the end of season approaches ; proper alpine equipment and experience  essential.  You are reminded that due to work on the Tramway, it is forbidden to walk up the track. To reach the Tête Rousse or the Nid d'Aigle it is necessary to go either via the Chalets de l'Are or the Rognes route.


- Conscrits / Durier : The Tré la Tête glacier is very dry but the Central Dôme de Miage and the East Dôme are still being done (there and back)   The traverse to the Durier and  Mont Tondu from the Conscrits hut are also being done.
Conditions are OK for the Bionnassay traverse, though it is more difficult than usual.  


- Monzino : The Brouillard glacier is no longer passable it is now necessary to go via the Pointe Innominata to reach the Eccles bivouac, (an additional 4 hours.)  Some parties on the Peuterey Integral, Freney Pillar, Brouillard Ridge integral and the Pillar Dérobé. Conditions are very dry and some sections can be challenging.  It is also difficult to find snow to melt for drinking/cooking.


Report 17th August 2017

The snow that fell recently was not enough to make any lasting difference to the conditions for the snow and mixed routes, which continue to become even drier


Albert 1er Sector : It is becoming difficult to cross both the Cols du Tour and Superior du Tour.  Some parties have managed but others have turned back.  The normal route on the Tête Blanche is now awkward though still possible.  The Aiguille du Tour bergschrund is very wide but possible to get around on the right, with a sufficient level of technical ability.  The normal way up the Petite Fourche remains the only route feasible for novices.


Argentière Sector : The activity here is concentrated on the rock routes near the hut.

Charpoua Sector : The routes are dry and the Dru traverse was done recently, the Charpoua glacier still being OK.  

Couvercle Sector :  Everyday there are parties on the Moine and Nonne-Evêque.  Some parties went for the Moine Ridge on the Verte, (no further information yet.)  No known activity on the Grands Montets ridge.

Leschaux Sector :  The rock behind the hut is dry. The glacier approach to the Petites Jorasses is becoming complicated. The Périades, there and back, remains possible but good cramponning and route finding skills needed.

Envers des Aiguilles Sector : is popular but with the dry conditions, certain bergschrunds are very open. It is no longer possible to get onto Subtilité Dulférienne, Tout va Mal and California Dream.
Following the retreat of the glacier, 7 bolts have been added at the foot of Marchand de Sable with a new belay some 6m up.  Likewise, a new first pitch has been added to Rivière d'Argent at Tré-la-porte.

Requin Sector : the approach to the hut and to the routes still present no major difficulties.  Parties continue going up and down the "Vallée Blanche".

Torino Sector : The classics of this area remain feasible, though special care is needed, as conditions are very dry. The Rochefort Arete is OK and was done recently as far as the Canzio bivouac.   The Pyramide du Tacul bergschrund is very open and technical. A large stride is needed to cross the bergschrund on the Trident du Tacul. The Aiguilles du Diable traverse is in condition.


Cosmiques Sector :  Pointes Lachenal traverse, Laurence Arete and Cosmiques ridge are popular.  The traverse of the 3 Monts was tracked today (17/08).  The Midi-Plan traverse was done shortly after the snow fall but is now no longer in condition.  Nobody seen on the Triangle du Tacul, (too dry). Fragile snow bridges have been reported on the traverse of the Vallée Blanche.  

Conscrits Sector :  The Central Dôme, there and back, via the Col des Dômes and the East Dome E remain possible.  The traverse from the Bérangère is bare ice and subject to stone fall.  Some parties went towards the Durier. The traverse of the Bionnassay is in good condition generally .


Report 13th August 2017

The new snow at altitude earlier in the week has for the most part disappeared.  The rock is now generally dry except for some areas high up, where there is still snow on the ledges.


Albert 1er  Sector :  The Col du Tour would appear to present less of a problem than the Col Supérieur but is still awkward.


Mer de Glace Sector : There were parties on the Moine S Ridge and normal route and also the Nonne-Eveque.   Still a little snow on the summit of the Petites Jorasses but the West face is feasible, as are the routes above the Leschaux hut. There are parties planning to go for the Périades on 14/08.
At the Envers des Aiguilles, some snow remains higher up but the routes on the Pointes des Nantillons, Tour Rouge and Tour Verte are feasible.


Torino Sector ; Activity reported on the classic routes in this sector, though be careful of stone fall and weak snow bridges.  The Tacul satellites, Dent du Géant and the Arete du Diable are mainly dry.  The Rochefort Ridge is tracked as far as the Canzio bivouac, with some difficult sections.  2 parties left for the Kuffner this morning, (13th), no further information.

Cosmiques Sector : Climbing on the Midi S face and the Eperon.  No activity on the Triangle du Tacul.  The traverse of the Pointes Lachenal was done in OK conditions.  The Normal route on the Tacul is tracked. It seems that Mont Maudit was climbed this morning.


The normal route up Mont Blanc is tracked.

Dômes de Miage traverse was done this morning but the route is still technical, requiring ice screws. The « there and back » to Dôme Central by the Col des Dômes remains the better option. Parties have traversed towards the Durier hut then traversed the Bionnassay, (no further information.)


Please do not hesitate to inform the Office de Haute Montagne of your outings, either directly at the office or through the online route book.


Report 11 August 2017

A quick update of the mountain conditions.


The bad weather these last few days has virtually halted all activity in the mountains.

Snow fell to 2200m this morning.  There has been about 10 cms of new snow at the Cosmiques hut, 20cms at the Goûter hut and 30-40cms at the Dome du Goûter. 

The new snow is not enough to significantly improve the existing very dry conditions of the snow/mixed routes but does mean it will be some time before the rock routes at altitude are feasible again.  

Special care is needed on the glaciers, because some of the snow bridges, already weak from the previous dry and hot conditions, are now camouflaged by the new snow. 

The rain and snow showers are due to continue this afternoon but the weather should then start to improve on Saturday, with the temperatures low for time of year.


Patience, patience…

Report 3rd August 2017

The heat wave has returned at altitude and the routes, which temporarily came back into condition due to the recent snow falls, are now again very dry.

The temperatures are expected to rise over the next few days, which will mean virtually no re-freezing at altitude and an increase in stone fall.


- Albert 1er : The snow bridges are getting weaker in this sector.  The way over the bergschrund on the Aiguille du Tour normal route has collapsed.   There is a way across but this demands a higher technical level than usual.


- La Charpoua : The traverse of the Drus remains feasible and the glacier is OK for the moment. There have also been parties on the Flammes de Pierre.   N.B. the route “La Reprise” has been re-bolted and the glue has not yet set.  Do not climb before the 5th August.


- Le Couvercle : The Brèche Nonne-Evêque gully is dry, the approach to the Contamine-Labrunie on the  Moine is difficult but goes still. No problems for the other routes on the Moine.  No information about the Moine ridge on the Verte.


- Leschaux : The routes in this sector are generally in good condition but there is still some snow near the top of the Grandes Jorasses.  The Walker Spur looks feasible.


- Envers des Aiguilles : Still a lot of activity in this sector, though some of the bergschrunds are becoming awkward and others no longer passable, (Subtilité Dulférienne and  l’Homme du Rio Grande). The bergschrund for la République is still OK.


- Le Requin : The Dent du Requin and Congo Star have been climbed, no particular problems.  The route up to the Cosmiques is still being done, good glacier rope technique needed.   


- Torino : 2 parties traversed the Rochefort Arete towards the Canzio bivouac. The normal route on the Grandes Jorasses looks to be tracked.  Parties on the Kuffner Ridge and the Aiguilles du Diable; the approaches are very dry, the rock sections are generally free of snow but the snow sections are awkward, (the snow is wet/soft.)   The Dent du Géant and the traverses of the Entrèves and Marbrées are in condition. The Tour Ronde does not look inviting.  

The Tacul satellites remain OK, though some of the bergschrunds are now awkward.


-  Cosmiques : The normal route up the Tacul is being climbed, (some ice just before the summit.)  The 3 Monts route was done on 3rd August, in difficult conditions due to wind, fog and lack of freezing.  The Pointes Lachenal has been traversed, but it is more technical than usual.  Nobody on the Triangle du Tacul, (very dry).


- Les Grands Mulets : Contact the warden directly for information on this sector.


- Le Goûter : The return of the hot weather means  the stone fall has increased in the Grand couloir, including the morning!


- Durier : Parties have done the Aiguille de Bionnassay, (there and back,) and also the traverse to the Goûter, (no further information.)  


- Les Conscrits : The Dôme central, there and back, by the Tré-la-Tête glacier remains possible but the Dômes de Miage traverse is no longer being done, (ice).


- Monzino : A lot of stone fall in this sector and parties going for the Innominata turned back from the way up to the Eccles bivouac.


- Gonella : The hut has been shut since 30th July and the normal Italian route up Mont Blanc is in bad condition.


- Grand Paradis : The normal route from the Victor Emmanuel hut has sections of ice, (+ stone fall). These zones can be bypassed by going towards the Chabod hut, then up the moraine until the Schiena d’Asino, to reach the glacier above the difficult sections.  

Report 28th July 2017

A brief update on the conditions for this weekend :

The recent snowfalls have not been enough to significantly improve the situation for the snow/mixed routes but enough to cause problems on the rock routes in some of the higher altitude areas.  These, however, should dry quickly as the warm weather returns.  

In general, there are a lot of open crevasses on the glaciers and the recent snow has only served to camouflage some of the weak snow bridges.  Good glacier ropework needed !


- Albert 1er : Conditions not too bad in this sector and Aiguille du Tour is being climbed by the Table ridge and the normal route.  The Tête Blanche and Petite Fourche are also being done but the Chardonnet remains out of condition despite the new snow.


- Argentière : The descent from the Grands Montets lift remains OK and the rocks near the hut are dry,  None of the snow routes are in condition, with the exception of Col du Tour Noir, (there and back).

The Belvédère, (East) ridge on the Aiguille des Grands Montets has been done recently but the Petite Verte still has a lot of bare ice and so is far harder than usual.


- Charpoua : The snow is disappearing quickly from the rocks in this sector. The Evêque looks dry and parties were climbing on the Flammes de Pierre today (Friday).  The Drus should soon be in condition.  


- Le Couvercle : The Moine has been climbed by the normal route, the S ridge and the Contamine.  The snow/mixed routes are not in condition and there appears to be too much snow on the Verte Moine Ridge for the moment.


- Leschaux : the Grandes Jorasses N face is holding a lot of snow but the W face of the Petites Jorasses is drying quickly.  The rock routes behind the hut are dry.


- Envers des Aiguilles : Still snow at altitude and with the cloud cover this is taking time to melt away. Climbing is possible near the hut, e.g Pilier des Contes, Tours Rouge and Verte and the 1ère Pointe des Nantillons.


- Le Requin : Still some snow at altitude but the Pierre-Alain is dry. The way up the Vallee Blanche towards the Cosmiques and the Torino requires good experience at route finding and care with the snow bridges.


- Torino : No tracks on the Rochefort Arete but the Dent du Géant was climbed on 27/07. Some parties had to turnback on 28.07 due to strong winds. The traverses of the Aiguilles Marbrées and the Entrèves remain feasible, though care needed on the approaches, (snow bridges…).  No news about the Kuffner or the Tacul satellites


- Cosmiques : The Tacul normal route is tracked, (no further information).  Some climbing on the Pointes Lachenal but the Tacul triangle remains desperately dry.  The Cosmiques ridge is tracked.  The traverse of the Vallee Blanche is tracked but has a lot of crevasses.


- Grands Mulets : No particular problems for the approach to the hut and the North Ridge of the Dôme was climbed on 28/07, no further information.


- Conscrits : The Dômes de Miage traverse was done on 28/07 but the snow cover over the ice was thin and conditions are likely to deteriorate quickly.  The route to the central Dôme by the Tré la Tête glacier, (there and back) remains feasible, though the glacier is heavily crevassed.  Except for the Bérangère, the other routes are no longer in condition.


- Monzino : Conditions OK for the Pointe de l’Innominata  and parties went up to the Eccles to attempt the ridge on 29/07.   The approach to the bivouac is heavily crevassed.  The Brouillard glacier is OK for the moment.  Parties were seen on the S ridge of the Noire de Peuterey.