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The Club produces a regular English translation of the Chamonix conditions report to help climbers without an understanding of French to access up-to-date information on conditions in the valley. An archive of these reports can be seen below: 

 

Report: 20th August 2021

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!

 

Tour basin

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.

 

Argentière Basin

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.

 

Charpoua

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).

 

Leschaux

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.

 

Helbronner sector

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.

 

Gonella sector

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).

 

Monzino sector

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.

 

Report: 12th August 2021

The return (or arrival!) of summer.

After the snowfalls of the last few weeks (or months), the mountains need to dry up, settle down, and stabilise. The wind does not help the process, nor the sometimes random refreezing (and the risk of thunderstorms).

With a good freeze, conditions on the classic snow / mixed routes are generally good for mid-August. With the return of temperatures worthy of an August in the 21st century, we must now accept a night in a hut (few routes are accessible off the first lift).

The rock remains a safe bet!

To sum up, if there is a good freeze, good weather, and it’s the right grade for you, all should go well!

 

Le Tour

The classics (arête de la table, aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche, Petite Fourche) of the sector are still OK.

There were teams today on the Forbes arete which should be in good condition with a good freeze (there was too much snow at the start of the week, one party was "scared off"). No news from the Migot spur (a team scheduled this morning branched off on the Forbes arete without further information).

The rock is dry (except the passage on the N side to bypass the Aiguilles Penchées) on the Aiguilles Dorées traverse.

 

Argentière sector

A small ice pitch on the upper slope of the Milieu Glacier: this route is now reserved for seasoned climbers.

Arête du Jardin, arête de Flèche Rousse, arête Charlet Straton, col du Tour Noir OK.

The rock routes are dry (Versant Satanique re-equipped by M. Piola).

 

Charpoua sector

Some ropes have done the Drus traverse and the Contamine on the south face.

The American direct has been done but it’s starting to be late in the season.

Rock: all dry.

 

Talèfre basin

No recent information but conditions probably similar to other sectors: classic snow routes possible with a good freeze, rock routes OK.

 

Leschaux sector

Walking is possible (balcons of the Mer de Glace) and rock climbing (west face of the Petites Jorasses, Eperon des Cristalliers; maybe still a little too much snow for the Aiguille de Leschaux). A party retreated at the end of the third pitch of "Boule à facette" (Aiguille de Leschaux) following a rockfall.

No one on the Periades side which remains possible (visually) with a good freeze.

 

Envers des Aiguilles

We have climbing! The rimaye of the République/Grepon Mer de Glace is still passable (on the right; step over the gap to gain a foothold on the slab).

 

Helbronneur sector

A lot of people on the classics (Rochefort arete, Dent du Géant, Marbrées, Entrêves, SE ridge Tour Ronde).

Kuffner arete (lots of trail breaking yesterday) and the traverse of the Aiguilles du Diable (snow, more technical than usual) also tracked.

A few parties on the traverse of the Jorasses which is however very snowy and therefore technically much harder.

There is climbing on the Tacul satellites.

 

Aiguille du Midi sector

Here too, the classics of the sector are popular (Pointes Lachenal, Cosmiques arete).

The Midi-Plan is in excellent condition for the season (if there is a freeze). One (or more) parties are engaged on the crossing of the Chamonix Aiguilles without further information for the moment (ok visually).

Triangle du Tacul: good general conditions. Teams on the Chéré couloir and the Contamine-Mazeaud.

The Trois Monts route was retracked yesterday.

Nothing to report as far as rock climbing goes.

 

Plan de l'Aiguille

Frendo not tracked. Should be OK with a good freeze (but difficult to know in advance about the freeze!!!).

Parties on the Peigne-Pélerins- Deux Aigles traverse, that should be OK.

Charmoz-Grepon: nicely dry except for the Z-crack which is still a bit wet. A bit of snow in the Charmoz_Grepon couloir.

The Nantillons glacier is in good condition.

 

Mont Blanc via the Aiguille du Goûter

The snow is gradually melting in the section between Tête Rousse and the Goûter. Good conditions above.

It is our turn to insist on the fact that this is a mountaineering route, to be considered only with the appropriate skills, good weather, and not alone.

 

Conscrits Dômes de Miage / Bionnassay

Access to the Conscrits refuge via the glacier is now not recommended.

Excellent conditions on the crossing of the Dômes de Miage (the glacier is beginning to open up a bit, the slope above the Col de la Bérangère is still snow, there is snow down to within 100 m of the refuge on the descent of the Bérangère).

Good conditions also for the traverse of the aiguilles de Tré-la-Tête apart from the descent from the Col des Glaciers (you would need to continue on the Lanchettes arete).

Mont Tondu is still ok (the ledges on the lower part are not very pleasant: gravel).

Access to the Durier refuge still ok via Plan Glacier or from the Dômes de Miage.

Several parties today on the Bionnassay traverse.

 

Monzino Sector

Lots of wind and snow!

Those who tried the Peuterey integral turned around at the Noire. The Aiguille Blanche via the Schneider ledges will be possible once the mountain has finished "settling".

Complicated conditions on the pilier Rouge du Brouillard (snow on the ledges, ice in the cracks). Ditto on the Freney pillar which is in "winter" conditions. To be continued.

One party on the Innominata. One party on the Brouillard arete but rescued at the col Emile Rey on Tuesday 10th (wind, too much snow?).

 

Report: 4th August 2021

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.

 
Aiguilles Rouges
 
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
 
 
Le Tour
 
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).
 
 
Argentière Sector
 
(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!
 
 
Charpoua Sector

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.
 
 
Helbronner sector
 
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.
 
 
Plan de l'Aiguille
 
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).
 
 
Gonella sector
 
Always good conditions (when it's nice)!
 
 
Monzino Sector
 
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.
 
 
 

Report 1 august 2021

1st of August ….  already  autumn ??

 

15-20 cm of new snow at the  Cosmiques hut (3600m)  with the snow/rain limit around 3000m. There is probably  a lot more snow higher up. Those breaking trail risk having to plough through deep snow.  

Care needed on certain routes such as the Trois Monts, (and, therefore, the descent from the Kuffner and  Aiguilles du Diable).

The rocks are either snow plastered or wet.  They should start drying out with the return of the sun on Tuesday.

On Wednesday there will be a more detailed  bulletin.  Until then, Chamoniarde is looking  forward to receiving  information of your experiences.  

 

(Translator’s note: after six years of providing English  translations of the mountain condition, a life change means this is my last one.  So it is goodbye from me and thank you for all the fish.)

 

Report 23rd July 2021

 MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS 23/07/2021

 

A quick update following a week of good weather.

A thank you to all those who sent in their reports to the OHM.  It is much appreciated and do not hesitate  to continue sending them either directly by telephone, (the same number as that used for asking for info, 04 50 53 22 08 ), by email or directly in to the route book.

It has taken some time for all the snow that fell the previous week to settle and stabilise. The freezing has not always been ideal but better these last few days, (need wait and see what happens over the next days.) 

These conditions have generally allowed for numerous mixed routes to be done, which is not bad for the second half of July !   Also the rock routes are being climbed, (the bergschrunds are holding up well)  and even some major routes (Grand Courses), though for some others it is still too early, (or too late!)

Tour Sector

Some snow remains below the hut but not a problem for hikers.

There is a  good track for the Aiguille du Tour (via the Col du Tour or Col Supérieur du Tour),  the Tête Blanche and the Petite Fourche. The Table Ridge continues to be popular.  

The Forbes Ridge and the Migot Spur were tracked at the start of the week, after the snow settled.  The descent is OK.

Argentière Sector

There have been a lot of parties on the Aiguille d'Argentière  either by the Glacier du Milieu (starting to soften in the narrows, belays with slings possible,) the  Flèche Rousse ridge or the Jardin ridge.

Also, a lot of rock climbing in this sector.

It is over, (never really started,) for Tournier Spur on the Droites and probably for the Charlet-Straton.

A party (courageous, given the approach without the cable car) did the Grands Montets Ridge in good conditions, despite the recent snow, (it took more than 1h to get around the Pointe Ségogne). They bivvied before the snow dome and descended by the Moine ridge, (lots of snow.)

Charpoua Sector

A lot of activity on the Drus: the N face (Pierre-Alain), the W face (American Direct), the S face (Bastien - Contamine, still wet) and on the traverse (approach and descent low down on the glacier, which is in perfect condition.  Crampons used on the triangular snowfield and on the traverse between the Petit and Grand Dru, some ice.)

Feels like "canyoning" on the abseil descent, “dry treated” ropes recommended.

Rock climbing on the Flammes de Pierre, (count on two days after the rain for it to be dry and on the other side, (Evêque – Moine buttresses etc).

Couvercle Sector

The Moine is popular (normal route - S ridge- Contamine).

It is over for the Whymper. There is still a lot of snow on the Moine ridge but remains feasible for good alpinists.  The Jardin ridge is  just OK but probably not for long. 

The normal routes on the Droites and Courtes are OK, if there is a good freeze.  

Leschaux Sector

The Mer de Glace balcon paths are OK.

The rock climbs behind the hut are in condition.  The W face of the Petites Jorasses and the Aiguille de Leschaux are dry.  It is still too early for the Walker Spur, (snow).

The Périades Glacier is OK, if there is a good freeze.  Need to be good at reading the terrain.

Envers des Aiguilles Sector

The Tour Rouge bivouac hut is in place, (info click here).  A new way to reach it, (and other routes) has been equipped (see photo).

The Grepon-Mer de Glace and the République normal route are being climbed.  The snow bridge at the bergschrund is holding up but awkward if there is not a freeze

There has been nobody recently on the Ryan.

Otherwise, nothing special to report; the bergschrunds and crevasses are not causing problems for access to the rock routes.

Requin Sector

The lower part of the ladders has been re-equipped.  There is still a lot of snow on the glaciers.

As was already talked about last year, it is now possible to reach the Envers hut from the Requin high up, by going past the Pierre-Alain (snow band) then up the Envers de Blaitère glacier before descending to the Envers hut. Only for alpinists.

The way up the Valley Blanche is tracked. The descent from the Aiguille du Plan is by the  Envers du Plan glacier.

Rock climbing on the  Dent du Requin (Chapeau à Corne ridge, Renaudie, Paraudie) and on the Pierre Alain (Congo Star).

Helbronner Sector

The Rochefort Ridge and the Dent du Géant are in good condition. There is a good track in the approach gully and the spur is dry to reach the Salle à Manger.

A few days ago, a party traversed the Jorasses  but it is better to wait a bit.  The rocks on the Pointe Young above the Canzio bivouac are still verglaced. (Yesterday another party escaped by abseilling towards the Planpincieux glacier.)  Also, there is still a lot of snow on the rest of the ridge (Pointe Walker etc). The descent by the normal route is OK.  

It is OK for the SE ridge of the Tour Ronde, the traverses of Marbrées and Aiguille d'Entrèves (take care, the last part on the E side is unstable).

Quite a few parties on the Kuffner and the Aiguilles du Diable traverse with good conditions, if it freezes.  The Brenva Spur looks to be OK but not tracked.

The bergschrunds for the satellites are not causing problems.

Aiguille du Midi Sector

Midi -Plan ridge is OK, given a good freeze.   The Col du Plan  bergschrund is opening up. Even starting from the first lift, parties have turned back at the Rognon du Plan (the slopes on the Valley Blanche side heat up quickly.)  

Traverse of the Valley Blanche, Pointe Lachenal and Cosmiques ridge are popular.  

Good conditions,  (if frozen,) for the Triangle du Tacul (notably the Chéré and Contamine-Grisolle).  The bergschrunds are appearing but not yet a problem, the descent from the end of the routes to the normal route of the Tacul is OK, (no ice.)

The Trois Monts is in good conditions overall. The track goes very close to the serac on the lower part of the N face of Mont Maudit, though not exceptional, have made several parties nervous.  There are a few metres of ice below the Col du Mont Maudit.

There are no problems to report for the rock climbs, the bergschrunds remain OK.  There have been several rescues, (technically too difficult or losing the way) over recent years from the upper part of the Gervasutti Pillar, (which has changed a lot recently).  Heve a good reserve in technical ability and timing. 

Plan de l'Aiguille Sector

The Frendo is OK if it freezes but maybe not for long, as the upper part is deteriorating.

Rock climbing on the Peigne : Papillons Ridge, Minettes Spur, Normal route, SW ridge and the Lepiney crack, (crampons not necessary, ice axe for confidence on the lower snowfield), on the Gendarme Rouge (crampons or ice axe useful for the snow field,) and the Peigne slabs (crampons or ice axe useful).

Grutter Ridge and the Peigne-Pélerins-Deux Aigles traverse with return by the Midi-Plan or the Envers du Plan glacier are popular. Note, there has been a landslip in the area near the abseil to reach the amphitheatre of the Deux Aigles. It is necessary to descend from higher up the ridge: 2 abseils (10+25m) and 25m of down climbing. 

Rock climbing also at the Blaitière (Pillar Rouge, NW ridge), the Aiguille de l'M (normal route, NE ridge, Couzy,  Ménégaux) and the Petits Charmoz (traverse, crampons needed).

The Charmoz-Grépon is in good condition, (no info for the Cordier Pillar).  The Nantillons glacier is still relatively OK.  

Grands Mulets

Virtually nobody in this sector despite the conditions being not bad for the time of year.  The hut warden has returned to the valley. He will go back up if requested, until the official closing on 31st July.

Mont Blanc by the Aiguille du Goûter

The section between the Tête Rousse and the Goûter hut is becoming dry.  A falling rock has ripped out the cable in the Grand couloir.  Good conditions above

Miage-Bionnassay Sector

The lower part of Mont Tondu is also becoming dry.

Good conditions for the Dômes de Miage traverse. There is still a lot of snow here and this makes the descent, (or ascent,) of the Aiguille de la Bérangère easier.

Some ice is appearing on the climb up to the Aiguille de Trè-la-Tète, when doing the traverse.

The Mettrier ridge integral was tracked on 18/07 in good conditions.

Parties have been doing the Tricot ridge. The traverse of the Aiguille de Bionnassay is in excellent condition.

Mont Blanc via the Gonella

Ancora tutto bene!  (Still good)

For the moment conditions are good for the Tournette Spur, (info click here).

 

Monzino Sector

The approach to the Eccles is OK.

Parties on the Brouillard and Innominata ridges (if frozen).

Climbing on the Pillar Rouge (Bonatti- Anneaux Magiques) and the Freney Pillar (approach: 40m of down climbing then a 50m abseil.)

Some parties on the Aiguille Blanche by the Schneider ledges and on the Peuterey integral, (good conditions, no further information.)

As for rock climbing, all are in condition, except for the Ratti-Vitale (Aiguille Noire) which is still wet.

 

 

Report 16 July 2021

Finally, the storms are over and “here comes the sun” (George Harrison)

However, caution will be needed over the next few days because all that precipitation has affected the conditions.  There has been a significant amount of snow above 3000m depending on the sector, (between 40 and 80 cm at the Cosmiques hut and 20 cm the Helbronner)  and many slopes throughout the range are heavily loaded.  Spontaneous avalanches are already happening .  With the rise in temperature, one needs to be very careful in the choice of snow route.  

The rain-snow limit fluctuated between 2500m and 3000m.

With the return of the sun and the rise of the thermometer, the rock routes exposed to the sun will dry quickly and soon return to the conditions described in the last update.  

The  Chamonix Aiguilles of Chamonix were well covered in snow.

The  Envers d’ Aiguilles sector also got some snow. However, climbing behind the hut was already feasible on Friday afternoon.  Likewise, for the Leschaux hut sector. The granite behind the Argentière hut should dry quickly.

Patience is needed for the big routes (Grandes Courses,)  which were plastered.

The Aiguilles Rouges was spared the snow, (just got soaked.)