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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.)

 

Report 14th July 2021

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. 

 

Tour Sector

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.

Argentière Sector

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).

Helbronner Sector

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

No Comments

 

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)

 

Monzino Sector

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.    

 

Hiking

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.

 

Report 8th July 2021

The weather continues to be disappointing  with rain (snow), storms, wind, etc.  Freezing is not always good.  It has snowed at altitude, (for example, 20cm at the Aiguille du Midi on Thursday morning) and, as usual,  there has been a lot of wind.  On a positive note, this has prolonged the conditions for the snow and mixed routes.   Care is needed on slopes above 3500m. The rock routes should start drying out from Friday onwards.  

It is difficult to give reliable information about the high mountain, as the weather and conditions are so variable. It is, therefore , preferable to contact the OHM (Chamoniarde)  directly to discuss your projects.  It is also possible to contact the hut wardens.

Regarding hiking, the snow is going but still present in places. After all the rain, the trails are very wet: waterproof boots  are recommended!  

The Tour of Mont Blanc is OK with poles and good footwear. Crampons are probably needed for the Fours variant and the Fenetre d’Arpette.

Regarding the Aiguilles Rouges Tour, the Brévent col is OK from Planpraz (a few snowfields, no recent information on the snowfield under the ladders below the Brévent). On the other hand, the Col de Salenton has a lot of snow:  faint track on the west side;  a better track with markings on the Bérard side, crampons could be useful , (likewise for the Buet).

There is snow below the Albert 1er hut. The Jonction, (path closed above the Pyramides chalet on weekdays,) is now accessible to experienced hikers.

As for the mountain lakes, Lac du Brévent and Lac Blanc are  accessible from La Flégère or Col des Montets.  Approaching  Lac Blanc and the Lacs Noirs / Lac Cornu sector from the Index, is reserved for experienced, well-equipped hikers (poles and good footwear, (with crampons in the rucksack) .

Report 25 June 2021

MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS  25/06/2021

The weather continues to be unreliable. May was very unstable , then there was a 10-day heat wave, then last week there was more unstable weather with often poor night-time freezing. As a result, the  snow , technical mixed routes and “grand courses”, which should normally be in condition at this time of the year, are not.

The shorter classic routes or rock routes remain the  best option.

The storms of the last few days brought some snow, the amount varying according to the sector and the altitude: a dusting from 2500/3000m; 10-15cm at the Cosmiques hut; 15cm at the Durier hut, 5cm at the Argentière hut, 25-30cm on the Dômes de Miage.  There are probably more important accumulations above 3800 m, take care!  In all, a good covering of snow.  For example,  the track on the Tacul is no longer visible.  Some purges and slab avalanches could already be seen on Friday morning , e.g.  E face of Tacul, N face of Mont Blanc .

With the sun, the rock should dry quickly. There is also a small improvement in the mixed routes but do not expect miracles.

 

Tour Sector

There  are still some snow patches and greasy passages on the way up to the hut from the Col de Balme: only for experienced hikers with poles and good footwear.

Good conditions on the classic routes, (normal routes  Aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche, Petite Fourche). The good tracks compensate for the bad refreezing.

For technical routes on the Chardonnet (Forbes ridge, Migot spur), it's more complicated. They should be OK. given good refreezing.

The Table ridge is being done regularly.

 

Argentière Sector

The Plan Joran lift opens this weekend. During the week, it operates only from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

It's over for the N faces and for the Y couloir, (Aig d’Argentière ): large purges, runnels etc .  The Couturier has a lot of avalanche debris at the bottom and well loaded at the top.  Your choice!

The Flèche Rousse ridge is reported to be in good conditions when it freezes. Ditto for the Glacier du Milieu and the Whymper ,(Aiguille d'Argentière).

It may be a bit early for the Jardin ridge (quite a bit of snow).

Plenty of possibilities for rock climbing.

 

Charpoua Sector

The hut warden is there waiting for you! There is still some snow on the trail. It is preferable to take the  path with yellow markings.  (The one with shortcuts, green markings, is damaged by landslips).

It is too early for the traverse of the Drus, (approach gully avalanche prone, snow / ice above). Awaiting info on the state of the glacier.

Feasible to climb on the Flames of Pierre side. On the other side, it dries more slowly and needs a couple of days after rain.  

 

Talefre Sector

Access to the hut either by the new ladders (recommended) or the Egralets (shorter  but the  moraine unpleasant and the in-situ equipment not as well maintained.)

The crevasses a quickly opening up and there have been a lot of landslides.

For the Contamine on the  Aiguille du Moine the bergscrund is OK and the rock dry. There are still some problematical snow patches on the normal route, which may need abseiling on descent.

Some parties turned back from the Whymper couloir due to the lack of refreezing.  Need to see what it is like with a good refreezing (bergschrund?)  OK in descent . The Moine ridge will have been climbed, (no further information).

Jardin Ridge was done last week.

The normal route on the Courtes is in good condition if it freezes, (some  ice above the Col des Courtes).

Still sometimes steep snowfields on the balcony paths of the Mer de Glace, but feasible for experienced, well-equipped hikers (crampons).

Leschaux Sector

The N face of the Grandes Jorasses, which had been dry, is now plastered. It will take a period of good weather to clear it again.

The routes above the hut are dry but it is a bit early for the Petites Jorasses and the Aiguille de Leschaux.

The climb up to the Périades is OK given a good refreezing. Some doubt about the SW couloir of the Emboulement, it is probably over for the season, (inquire at the hut).

 

Envers des Aiguilles

The opening of the hut has been postponed to July 1st.

Take care as there is still snow on the approach to the hut, (on the traverse.)  

The normal route of the République and the Grépon-Mer de Glace were climbed ten days ago, (begschrunds OK, descent via the Nantillons glacier OK too). The (many) bergschrunds on the Ryan look to be OK recently.  No problems for the climbs on lower rocks (Pointe des Nantillons etc).

 

Requin Sector

Access to the refuge: still snow on the Mer de Glace. No problems with either the true left bank moraine or the ladders.

The ascent of the Valley Blanche is still filled in and OK,  though it may be necessary to retrack.  The descent from Midi Plan via the Envers du Plan glacier looks OK.

Chapeau à Corne ridge was done last weekend. There is still a snowfield on the descent (abseiling).

 

Helbronner Sector

Here too, limited activity due to lack of refreezing. The Kuffner ridge (new tracks visible) and the Aiguilles du Diable traverse have had little traffic since the last bulletin. The Rochefort Arete has not been done for at least 15 days. It is still too early to continue on to the traverse of the Jorasses.

The traverses of the Marbrées and the Aiguille d’ Entrêves OK but crowded.

The N face of the Tour Ronde has been affected by the warmth, (last ascent on Sunday 20/06). The gully directly above the Freshfield col goes in descent but not in ascent, (overhanging bergschrund). SE ridge is OK.

Following the storms there is a light dusting of snow on the Satellites which should clear rapidly. Frost on the Dent du Géant but two parties still managed to climb it on Wednesday 23/06. Conditions should improve.

 

Aiguille du Midi Sector

15 cm of fresh snow this morning, (Friday) at the Col du Midi. The normal route was retraced on foot and on skis this morning, (parties had turned around yesterday.)  The Mont Maudit col was also retracked , (no further information).  There is also a track coming from the top of the Kuffner.  Many obstacles on the Midi-Plan traverse due to  lack of freezing.

Otherwise there is little change, with people doing the easy classic routes (Lachenal, Cosmiques,) or rock climbs while waiting for better weather and freezing conditions.   Nothing special to report about the traverse of the Valley Blanche.

Still no news about the Gervasutti pillar, (only to be expected, given the weather and snow).

 

Plan de l'Aiguille Sector

Frendo spur: parties to attempt it on Saturday, (forecast for a good freeze.)  It looks like this route will be in condition only for a short time this year. (The exit is already grey ice.)

The Papillons couloir is dry (crampons not essential for the Papillons ridge and the Minettes Spur).

The normal route on the Peigne, the Grutter etc are OK but crampons and ice axe advisable. Ditto for the Aiguille de l'M,(NE ridge, normal route) and for the approach to the Pillar Rouge de Blaitière.

No information yet on Charmoz-Grépon (upper parts snow dusted by thunderstorms, residual snow in the shaded passages?), Should come into condition soon.

 

Mont Blanc via the Grands Mulets

Still ski activity!

Access to the hut is itself already an alpine route! Quite a bit of ski carrying from the Plan de l'Aiguille (you ski under the Mallory and at the glacier). The Jonction still goes either high or low, your choice, (crevasses are appearing.)  As is to be expected at this time of the year, crossing the Jonction can be complicated.

The plateaus were tracked this morning, (Friday) on foot and on skis. Only a few parties on the N ridge of the Dôme du Goûter ,(ice just below the surface, 2 ice axes recommended).

Mont Blanc via the Aiguille du Goûter

The Mont Blanc Tramway should be open tomorrow, (Saturday) as far as the Nid d'Aigle.

Still a lot of snow to go up to Tête Rousse.

Large runnel. (2m deep) in the Grand couloir. Quite a few rock falls reported last week in the absence of refreezing. Here too, the recent snow and better refreezing should improve conditions.

Crevasses are appearing on the climb up to the Dome de Goûter.

Bosses ridge in good condition.

 

Miage / Bionnassay Sector

Work on the footbridge on the summer path to the Conscrits hut will be carried out all next week for a possible opening on the weekend of 3-4 / 07. Access to the hut is therefore via the Mauvais Pas and the glacier (alpinists only). Try to get there early.

No changes on the Mont Tondu side since the last newsletter. Likewise, nothing to report for the Aiguille de la Bérangère, there and back.

Dômes traverse is in good conditions, (25-30 cm of fresh snow Friday morning.)  The ridge up to the Aiguille de la Bérangère is narrow and airy.

Still no news about the Aiguilles de Trè la Tête traverse.

Access to Durier hut (15 cm at the hut on Friday morning) is almost dry (snow on the last 100m below r the col). Traverse of the Aiguille de Bionnassay in good conditions (retraced this morning).

 

Mont Blanc from Gonella

Good track on the glacier, then good conditions from beyond the Piton des Italiens.

 

 

Monzino

No one has yet had the courage to go up to Eccles Bivouac, (lots of snow and no refreezing). The task promises to be tough for those who will put in a track, but the conditions of the routes (Brouillard – Innominata ridges - Red Pillar du Brouillard) should be OK soon.

Nobody on the side of the Punta Innominata either. It is still a bit early for the Ratti on the Aiguille Noire ,(South ridge OK). The Aiguille Croux is being climbed.

 

Aiguilles Rouges

Even if it is quickly melting, there is still a lot of snow about, making crampons and ice axes often useful for the approaches. They are not necessary to access the long routes under the Brévent, (Frison Roche or Poème à Lou sector).

Please note, it is not recommended to climb Cocher Cochon, as there is a snowfield on the slabs between the short abseil and the last bastion.

The Crochues traverse is good ,(crampons necessary on the approach, ) despite a delicate step to pass the gap between the snow and the rock at the start. No snow on the ridge or on the ledges.  

Crampons and ice axe are necessary on the Perrons traverse.

 

Hiking

The snow is gradually melting, and conditions continue to improve. Most of the hikes are now practicable. Others require one to be careful, surefooted and to be properly equipped (good boots and poles). Examples:

- Plan Glacier hut by the Miage chalets

- Nid d’Aigle

- Col d'Anterne

- Brévent / Brévent lake via Bel Lachat or the Brèche du Brévent from Planpraz

- Lac Blanc from Flégère or Col des Montets / Trè-le-Champs

- Grand Balcon Nord between Montenvers and Plan de l'Aiguille

Two other possibilities for the more experienced: Lac Blanc from the Index and the Albert 1er hut.

 

Hikes that are not advisable except for the very experienced  because of snow and exposed passages are:

- the traverse from the Col de Tricot to the Plan Glacier hut

- Jonction,  (also the path is closed for works until 30th June)

- Lac Cornu and Lacs Noir / Col de la Glière

- Mont Buet

- Col de la Terrasse / Emosson sector

 

There is still snow on the Tour du Mont Blanc high cols. Poles and good footwears are needed. A pair of crampons in the bottom of the rucksack is good for peace of mind, (hard snow in the morning.)

Crampons are still recommended for the TMB variants (Col des Fours and Arpettes) and for the Tour des Aiguilles Rouges.

 

There is a  deviation at the level of the footbridge on the Planpraz Vertical Kilometre (officially, this is not a footpath but the line of evacuation under the cable car.)

The path up to the Chapeau buvette has reopened.

Report 16th June 2021

MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS 16/06/2021

Summer is here !

Despite the clear nights with a reasonable amount of freezing, the days rapidly become hot and « sweaty . However, this morning (16th) there was no re-freezing and a lot of the parties turned back.  With the high temperatures and a tendance for foehn winds the next few days, conditions are unlikely to be good.  There have been many (snow) avalanches between the 2800 et 4000m altitudes, (N face Aiguille Argentière, N face Aiguille du Midi, Dolent), indicating an unstable snow cover, ( a cocktail of weak layers, little re-freezing, and high daytime temperatures. )

The snow routes are generally in good condition if there is a night-time freeze. It is probably over for the technical mixed routes, and for skiing, (apart from Mont Blanc.) The rock routes are becoming feasible just about everywhere. 

 

Tour Sector

Generally good conditions in this sector.  The normal routes on the Aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche, Petite Fourche and the Aiguille du Chardonnet (Forbes Arete + Migot Spur; descend early), are popular.

The Table ridge is becoming more popular than the Table Couloir.  

The rock on the Dorées S Face is being climbed, (the traverse still has quite a bit of snow.)

 

Argentière Sector

The hut opens this weekend. Snowshoes are still useful in this sector until the tracks become more established.  The Couturier couloir, Y couloir (conditions will quickly change) and the glacier du Milieu are popular.

The rock here is waiting to be climbed  :)

 

Mer de Glace Sector

It is advised not to visit the Moulins and the Bédière because a glacier lake has formed on the Mer de Glace below the Envers des Aiguilles.   

The Leschaux and Requin huts are due to open this weekend.

A lot of people on the Whymper and by the Jardin ridge, (bergschrund OK but for how long?).  An early start is imperative, to be able to descend in the morning.

No news for the Pointe Isabelle, the normal route on the Droites or the Aiguille du Moine (still snow on the normal route?)

The rock is slowly drying in all this sector, (crampons and ice axe for the approach.)  However, it is perhaps too early for the long routes and ridges, (Moine ridge on the Verte, Walker, Grepon-Mer de Glace etc). Maybe the Ryan ridge will be possible if it freezes enough to overcome the bergschrund.

 

Helbronner / Monzino Sector

It did not freeze this morning, (16th), most of the parties returned early to the hut!

Otherwise, conditions are generally good with plenty of people for the Dent du Geant, (the approach to the Salle à Manger still has a good snow cover,)  the Marbrées traverse, the Aiguille d'Entrêves traverse, the N face Tour Ronde (the “normal route” is no longer being done , it is necessary to pass by the col Freshfield and it is for the  Gervasutti couloir); the Brenva Spur; the Kuffne Ridger and the Aiguilles du Diable traverse.

The Rochefort Arete was done yesterday (15th) there and back.  It is a bit too early to attempt the traverse of the Jorasses; (the Boccalatte hut is closed all summer.) 

On the approach to the Monzino hut, the via ferrata has cleared but there is still snow below the hut.  The Pointe. Innominata and the Aiguille Croux (normal route, Ottoz, SE ridge; snow on the abseils but not a problem), are being climbed. 

Nobody has gone up to the Eccles and there is still a lot of snow, The Pilier Rouge du Brouillard looks to be dry.  It needs a good freeze and someone well-motivated to break the trail!  

 

Aiguille du Midi Sector

As a reminder, the top station of the Aig du Midi is not a refuge and overnighting there is forbidden.

The Cosmiques ridge remains in good condition, (but crowded !). The Pointes Lachenal traverse is being done (though the passage near the abseil remains unstable.) The Contamine-Grisolle and Contamine Negri are also being climbed. The traverse from the summit of the Triangle to the Tacul  normal route is OK.

Generally good conditions for the Trois Monts, (fragile ice below the Col du Mont Maudit, no ice on the traverse towards the Brenva col and improved conditions on the Mur de la Côte due to the snowfall during the storms last week. There is a good foot track. It is more awkward on ski, (better to carry them, which avoids spending time to take on and off skis or crampons while below the seracs.)  Remember this is a route exposed to serac fall, and is technical, especially in descent,  (snow stake for possible abseil in place at the Col du Mont Maudit.)  To get the best ski conditions, one should think of doing the Mont Blanc in three days, with a night at the Grands Mulets on the descent.

The Midi-Plan ridge is tracked, there are still some large cornices and snow mushrooms.  It is necessary to leave from the hut to be early enough on the route.

The S face of the Aiguille du Midi, the Cosmiques Spur and the S face of the Lachenal are being climbed.

 

Plan de l'Aiguille / Grands Mulets Sector

The infamous sérac between the Frendo Spur and the Mallory has become unstable and threatens the base of the N face.  It is advised not to climb the Mallory, (the end of the ramp would be exposed if the collapse was bigger than foreseen.)  Use the lower track to access the Grand Mulets.  The Frendo Spur is feasible as long as one keeps well to the left on the approach.

To get to the Grands Mulets, it is necessary to go along under the N face of Aiguille du Midi  and keep low to pass the moraines where it is vegetated. Then go up via a flat area below the attack gully for the Mallory. After this, there are still two options to cross the Jonction (high or low.) 

Conditions for skiing remain generally good. The N ridge of the Dôme is being done and stable for the moment, (no ice, one axe suffices, but two more comfortable.)  The snow on the  N face remains “cold”,  the snow at the plateaux has transformed, or hard if one descends early to cross the Jonction at a good time.

Climbing on the Aiguille de l'M and Pilier Rouge de Blaitière should be feasible. No info for the Papillons Ridge. Crampons and maybe an ice axe are useful for the approaches.

 

Mont Blanc by the Aiguille du Goûter

Fairly good conditions , though the stone fall has started in the Grand Couloir. Think to cross it as early as possible, both in ascent and descent.

 

Miage / Bionnassay Sector

If the works go well, the footbridge on the approach to the Conscrits hut should be in place by the beginning of July.

The traverse of the Dômes de Miage is in good condition.  The ridge up to the Aiguille de la Bérangère is thin.  

Mont Tondu is being done but take care on the slopes underneath the Pointe des Lanchettes.

The N face of the Aiguille de Tré la Tête is in good condition.  The traverse has not yet been tracked, (two large avalanches on the decent from the Col des Glaciers).

Gonella Sector

A recent report in the OHM route book:

https://www.chamoniarde.com/montagne/cahier-de-courses#

There are parties planning to do the Tournette Spur, waiting for their info!

 

Aiguilles Rouges

Crampons and ice axe necessary for the approaches to the rock routes .

 

Hiking and the Tour du Mont Blanc

Find the latest updates ici !