Mountain conditions update

loghi partners

As they say mountain climbing is dangerous, and there are many dangers to deal with.

This service is a free and institutional teamwork and has been implemented as part of project III ALCOTRA n° 125 Safety in the Mountains around Mont Blanc, funded starting from 2008 by Compagnia di San Paolo di Torino.

This action is promoted by the Safe Mountain Foundation of Courmayeur and the High Mountain Office of Chamonix- La Chamoniarde.

You are strongly advised to consult all available bulletins before each ascent and to make use of the support of mountain guides before undertaking any excursion.

All information found on the site is from staff foundation's accounts according to region's persons in charge and is therefore closely tied to specific weather and snow conditions, which can change unexpectedly. Furthermore, the situations described should be considered in the light of an individual's physical condition and his mountaineering skills .

We are not responsible for the use of the information published on the web

  1. OHM Chamonix

    Finally, some weather that could be called “summer”.

    The snow is rapidly melting from the mid mountain and the trails are becoming more and more popular for properly equipped hikers.  Note: some paths remain unadvisable to non-alpinist hikers. For example, the north side of the Aiguilles Rouges (Aiguillette des Houches from the Brévent, Col du Brévent, Lac Cornu and Lacs Noirs, Col de la Glière, Col de Salenton / Buet), Nid d'Aigle, Jonction, Grand Balcon Nord, Albert Premier, Col de la Terrasse.

    With a return of good weather, there is a need for prudence.  The rescue organizations fear there could be an increase in the number of accidents as a result of people slipping on hard snows.  This could be particularly bad because the snow is now in patches, meaning a slide could end up into rocks.  Also, there is a risk of snow bridges collapsing when crossing mountain streams.  

    Ice axe and crampons are still necessary to reach some climbing areas in the Aiguilles (The approaches to the Chéserys and Mont Oreb are dry).

    In the high mountain, the conditions are now more typical for this time of year.  The snow is firmer, with the recent snowfall stabilizing quickly. It is, however, soft in the afternoon.  Snowshoes are no longer essential.  Generally, the classic snow and mixed routes are in good condition, (assuming a good night-time freeze).   The rock routes on the S faces are Ok but it is still early for the long ridge routes and the N facing rock climbs.

    Tour Sector

    It is still recommended to approach the hut by the moraine.  The traverse approach from Charamillon and the Autannes chairlift has sections of snow, where a slip would have serious consequences: hikers are advised not to use this option.

    Aiguille du Tour and Table Ridge are OK.  There is still some deep snow in the Table Couloir. The normal route is in good condition. 

    -Tête Blanche and Petite Fourche are OK.

    -Parties went today, Monday, for the Dorées traverse and the S ridge of the Purtscheller, no further information.  

    -The Chardonnet is not yet tracked. The snow looks to be stable on the upper slopes of the Migot.

    Argentière Sector

    The Plan Joran lift and the Argentière hut are open.  Generally, conditions are good. The hut approach is by the winter route and by the ladders, tracked by skis and foot. With skis, the approach is also possible by the Col des Rachasses and the Rognon glacier.

    Good ski conditions for the Col du Tour Noir.

    The Couturier was done in OK condition, (some ice), the bergschrund goes on the right.   

    It is too early for the Tournier (too much snow)). The N faces (Droites, Courtes) are still dry.

    The Courtes NE and the Col des Cristaux have purged and look to be feasible (on foot).

    Aiguille d'Argentière: this Monday there were parties on the Y couloir and the Flèche Rousse Ridge, (should be in good condition). The Glacier du Milieu looks OK (on foot).

    The rock climbs in this sector are drying rapidly.

    La Charpoua

    The hut is open, (new tel. No.  +33667250866). There is still a lot of snow on the hut approach, not recommended for hikers.

    The Y Couloir is still feasible but maybe not for long.  The same is true for the Cardinal and the Sans Nom.

    The Flammes de Pierre are very dry.  The Drus traverse is not yet in condition.

    Talèfre Sector

    Good conditions in this sector. Snowshoes are no longer essential, though the snow does become soft in the afternoon.

    The Whymper Couloir, Col Armand Charlet and the normal route on the Droites are all popular.

    The normal routes on the Courtes and Pointe Isabelle are not yet tracked but look to be OK.  

    The Courtes traverse and the Aiguille du Moine look feasible, (S Ridge and E Face are dry but still snow patches on the normal route, care needed, especially when descending.

    Leschaux

    The hut is open. There is snow on the Leschaux glacier; the ladders are OK.  The balcon path still has a lot of snow.  It is tracked but wearing crampons and carrying an ice axe is essential.

    The snow routes are in very good condition, (SE couloir of the Éboulement and Périades are tracked). The rock routes behind the hut are dry

    It is still too early Petites Jorasses. The N face of the Grandes Jorasses is very dry, though still plastered low down.  (It is too early for the Walker.)

    Envers des Aiguilles / Requin

    The Requin hut is open and the Envers hut opens on the 25/06.

    There is nothing special to note about the approach from Montenvers; still plenty of snow.   It remains possible to get to the Requin on skis from the Aiguille du Midi.

    The rock climbing areas below the Envers hut are virtually dry.  The longer routes higher up are not yet in condition.

    Near the Requin, the Aiguille de Pierre-Alain and the Chapeau à Corne Ridge (Dent du Requin) are dry.  The Renaudie still has a couple of snow patches.

    The Vallée Blanche has been ascended on skis though not yet on foot.

    Aiguille du Midi

    As stated in last week’s bulletin, conditions are awkward on the Cosmiques Ridge near the rockfall zone.  It is now recommended to reach the gap by making an 8m abseil on the NW side and then bypass a pinnacle, still on the NW side, after the gap.

    Conditions are OK for the Triangle du Tacul, (need now to overnight at the hut.)  The normal route on the Tacul is tracked both by foot and ski

    The Pointes Lachenal traverse is in good condition. 

    Midi-Plan Ridge is tracked as far as the Rognon with a descent to the Requin hut.

    The S faces are being rock climbed, though some snow remains on the ledges.

    Plan de l'Aiguille

    The Eugster Diagonal and the Mallory have been climbed.  (It is necessary to either sleep at the hut or bivouac at the foot of the route.) There was a party on the Frendo Spur, even though it is not dry yet.  The Papillons Ridge and the other rock routes in the area are also not dry yet.

    Grands-Mulets

    It is now necessary to carry the skis for 20 to 30 minutes from the Plan de l'Aiguille.

    Crossing the Jonction is still OK.  The conditions on the N ridge of the Dôme du Goûter have deteriorated due to strong winds, (15 m of ice, requires steel crampons and perhaps two ice axes.)  

    The N face was skied on the true left, in good conditions.  The Corridor route was also skied, no further info. (Verglas on the Mur de la Côte)  

    Mont Blanc by the Aiguille du Goûter

    There is still no date for the opening of the final stage of the TMB up to the Nid d'Aigle.

    The Nid d'Aigle hut will open on the 19th June. There is still plenty of snow above this, so it is better to via the true right bank of the Bionnassay glacier than via the Barraque des Rognes.

    The cable for crossing the Grand Couloir is in place. The snow is hard on the Bosses Ridge.

    Plan Glacier / Durier

    The approach is by the Moraine de l'Ours with the snow starting around 2630 m. The Contrebandiers footpath, (which traverses in from the Col de Tricot,) is not yet being used; it still has snow patches.

    - The Mettrier Ridge has been done in good conditions, (snow all the way).  

    - The classic approach to the Durier hut is not tracked but should be OK.  (Up to now, the parties have come to it either by the Mettrier or the Dômes de Miage).  

    - A party did a “there and back” and another the traverse of the Aiguille de Bionnassay on Monday; no further information.

    Trè la Tête Sector

    The approach remains by the Mauvais Pas and the glacier.

    Mont Tondu is tracked.

    Conditions are good for the Dômes de Miage traverse and the Bérangère.  The snow on the Armancette glacier is very hard in the morning, one needs to be confident with crampons.  

    There has been nobody recently either on the Lée Blanche (though a party is foreseen to do it on Tuesday) or the Aiguille de Trè-la-Tête.

    Gonella

    The glacier is in good condition. The ridge after Piton des Italiens is broad and without ice.  

     

    Monzino

    The hut is open. There is still a small snow field to cross to reach the hut. Only the Ottoz on the Croux has been done recently.  The Innominata should be feasible, (needs a “hero” to break trail!)

    Helbronner Sector

    The Tour Ronde (N Face, Gervasutti Couloir, Col Freshfield), Aiguilles d'Entrèves, Aiguille de Toule, Dent du Géant (some verglas on Monday morning) are all in good condition and are being done regularly.

    A party turned back on the Rochefort Ridge due to too much snow.

    A party is foreseen for the Kuffner on Tuesday.

    People are starting to rock climb on the Satellites, even though they is still a bit damp

    Dalmazzi 

    The hut opens on the 22nd June. There is a lot of snow above 2800/3000 m.  The SE Ridge of the Aiguille de Savoie, (Preuss route,) is in mixed conditions.

    Mont Dolent was done 16/06 in good conditions on skis from the Italian Val Ferret, (put the skis on at about 2100m).

  2. Fondazione Montagna Sicura - Courmayeur
    MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS
    MOUNTAINEERING: in the Helbronner area the snowfall of two days ago deposited 20 to 30 cm of snow that was worked by the action of the wind, forming some accumulation and covering some hole. Therefore, pay close attention to how you move, especially if you have to leave the already traced tracks (in which case the skis are advisable). As for the rock, some snow still covers many structures (eg Aig. D'Entreves south slope - exposed to the wind, upper part of the Dente del Gigante and the structures of the Arete du Dable) and the ledges are still a little snowy; on a hot day the situation should be optimal.
    With regard to the approaches, excellent tracks towards Aiguilles Marbrées, Dente del Gigante / Rochefort, crossing Helbronner-Aiguille du Midi, Tour Ronde and Col d'Entrèves. Some climber today on the Rochefort Ridge, on the Helbronner-Midi, on the Aigulle du Toula and on the normal route of the Tour Ronde. For the latter, the presence of a fair amount of snow makes the conditions fair at the moment, but it must always be remembered that numerous blocks on site are definitely unstable; pay close attention to passages that are often delicate.
    REFUGES: from today the Monzino Refuge is open and begins its season. For access, we are told of a snowfield on the last stretch of path for which we recommend crampons and ice axe. The Dalmazzi and Boccalatte refuges will open instead from next weekend.
    HIKING: on the paths around Courmayeur the snow is slowly giving way to green grass, but in the canals and on the slopes in the shade the snowfields are always present. Snow coveres the Grand Col Ferret, the Col de La Seigne, the upstream area of Col Chécrouit and the Col di Malatrà.
    As for the Tour du Mont-Blanc, remember that this year the Flégère cable car (Chamonix) will be closed for works and the paths below the cable line will be closed. Instead, the Refuge du Lac Blanc reopens. Moreover, the Courmayeur Mont Blanc Funivie have modified their timetable to favor the activity of the hikers: opening from 8.30 to 17.50
  3. OHM Chamonix
    Some information concerning the amount of snow that has fallen over the last two days

    This morning (Wednesday) it was reported: 

    - Cosmiques Hut: 60 cm on average, wind affected. 
    - Couvercle Hut: 15 cm, the snow settling rapidly. 
    - Albert 1er Hut: 40 cm on average, wind affected.
    - Conscrits Hut: only a few centimètres due to the strong foehn wind.
    - Grands Mulets Hut: 60 cm (wind)
    - Tête Rousse Hut: 40/60 cm
    - Torino Hut: between 20 and 40 cm (wind)

    As activity in the high mountains is only just restarting, there is no information for conditions above the huts.  Be warned, there is likely to be important accumulations of snow in certain sectors due to the strong winds.
     
    For the moment, (Wednesday,) there is a lot of fresh snow on the rocks in the Aiguille Rouges.

  4. Fondazione Montagna Sicura - Courmayeur
    After the slight instability of yesterday and the cloudy passages of today, tomorrow the day seems to be discreet, with a reduced cloud cover. On Sunday, greater instability is expected with time marked by variability.
    The conditions in the high mountains of the Italian side of the Mont Blanc have not changed much in the last two days, but the meteorological instability suggests choosing routes with the possibility of escape routes or otherwise not too adventurous.
    Trekking and Hiking: even if at the bottom of the valley the temperatures are mild and the ground conditions are almost summery, you don't need to be fooled. Above 2000 meters the snow is still abundant, so much so that some ski touring itineraries are still passable on skis. We therefore recommend maximum caution in choosing the route and it is recommended to equip yourself with good footwear, poles and crampons always ready in your backpack.
  5. OHM Chamonix
    Some information for this Whit weekend. 


    Some of the lifts open on Saturday, 8th June: Bellevue cable car, Prarion telecabins (only at the weekends until 23 June), Planpraz telecabins, Brevent cable car, Charamillon telecabins and Autannes chairlift.  The Montenvers train, Aiguille du Midi cable car and the Skyway Monte Bianco remain open. 

    Specific information for hikers: The opening of the lifts allows one to easily gain altitude.  However, despite the start of the thaw, there is still a lot more snow above 2000m than usual for the time of year. There is a risk of slipping/falling, the paths and waymarks are often not visible and there are weak snow bridges over fast flowing streams.


    Warning: Some of the classic hikes are not currently feasible, being more like alpine climbs e.g. Lac Cornu and Lacs Noirs, Lac Blanc, Grand Balcon Nord, Jonction, Albert 1er, Buet, Lac de Pormenaz, Col d'Anterne.

    Other hikes are possible if one is “surefooted” and properly equipped, e.g. Mont Lachat, Chalet des Pyramides, Montenvers /Signal Forbes via Les Mottets (via Caillet is not feasible), Lac des Chéserys from the Col des Montets, Grand Balcon Sud,  (note: the Flegere cable car is closed as are most of the paths leading to La Praz), Pierre à Bérard hut.

    Other safe hikes have been suggested in previous updates. The Charles Bozon piste/track is closed until mid-June due to work in progress. The path leading up to the Barberine waterfalls has been cleared of fallen trees but there is still work to do there, (crossing 2 gullies). 


    Tour du Mont Blanc, TMB

    Since the start of the week the route is being done. There is still a lot of snow, so it is suitable for experienced hikers only; one needs good boots, hiking poles and to take crampons. The way is becoming more obvious with the passage of hikers but there are still long sections where the path and waymarks are under snow, navigation skills are needed. The variants, (except for the Col de Tricot, footbridge in place) are not yet practical. 


    Rock Climbing in the Aiguilles Rouges

    Crampons and ice axe necessary for the approaches and descents. Be aware of closed paths e.g. Charles Bozon piste and the  Flégère sector . Climbing in the sun possible at Cheserys, Montenvers and Mottets. It is still too early for Mont Oreb.




    For the alpinists, the weather remains unstable (south westerlies). It is probably best to keep to routes that are not too committing and with escape options. The SW wind and cloudy nights means the freezing level will be unpredictable for the next few days.  


    Tour Sector

    The approach to the hut is by the moraine.  The summer path still has lots of snow and is not tracked.  With the opening of the lifts it will almost certainly be tracked at the weekend and alpinists should not have a problem, (attention: snow slides and cornices!).   However, hikers are strongly recommended not to go this way.   Snowshoes could be useful on the glaciers, depending on the night-time freezing and the time of the descent.
    Aiguille du Tour is popular by the normal route.  Table Ridge and Table Gully, (15-20m section of mixed low down.) are OK   Mediocre conditions for the Chardonnet but it is still being done.  There is lots of snow on the Forbes Ridge and the upper part of the Migot Spur fairly dry with ice showing through in places.  The descent is on snow, more or less supportive.  The bergschrunds below the Adam Reilly col are OK.
    No information for the rock routes e.g. Dorées traverse, Aiguille de Purscheller S ridge.


    Argentière Sector

    Little information for this sector as the hut and lifts are still closed.  Some parties have done the Couturier: icy narrow section, ( possible to bypass by the lower part of the Z/Washbrum route,)  and ice showing through in the upper part, (a crevasse blocks the way by the snow dome, so it is necessary to continue higher up the gully than usual.)
    A party turned back from the Ginat (unstable snow and no ice for ice screw protection.)  


    Flammes de Pierre
    The routes are becoming “dry”.


    Charpoua

    The hut is due to open on the 15th, (no gas left).  The last information is from 03/06: a lot of snow to reach the hut, tracked on foot but would have been easier with snowshoes, (no re-freezing.)  Good conditions for the Y couloir, lower bands well formed, good snow in the left branch. 


    Talèfre Sector

    The hut approach by the Egralets is now almost free of snow, (take care on the moraine below the ladders.)  There has been little re-freezing over the last few days.  Skis no longer recommended, too much carrying for little skiing and poor snow quality at the time of descent.   Snowshoes are still perhaps useful.
    The Aiguille du Moine is not yet in condition: S Ridge intégrale and E Face are dry but the normal route (descent) is dangerous. (wet, loose snow).  Likewise, for the Évêque (there will certainly be snow in the chimney).  
    The Whymper on the Verte: bergschrund remains OK on the left or centre, the secondary gully is virtually dry.  Higher up the snow alternates between being very hard or very soft.
    A week ago, a party turned back on the Droites normal route between the exit of the couloir and the mixed section, (unstable snow).  Nobody has tried it since.  
    A party has done the Courtes normal route.  They descended by the NE face, (a lot of snow following the ridge.)
    Pointe Isabelle is OK (with snowshoes!)
    The ridge routes, (e.g. Moine, Jardin, Courtes traverse,) should be in condition soon, once the snow is fully transformed. 


    Leschaux

    The hut opens on Saturday 8th June. 
    Latest information from the hut’s Facebook page: “still a lot of snow patches on the on the balcon path, crampons and ice axe essential. The recent good weather has dried the rock climbs.  Crampons and ice axe are needed to reach the routes.  Excellent conditions for the snow routes e.g. Aiguille de L’Eboulement, Périades, Mallet, as long a s there has been a good freeze. “


    Plan de l'Aiguille

    The hut can be reached by hikers via the Grand Bois (two thirds of the snow fields can be avoided by taking to the rocks). The Pré du Rocher path is not feasible.  There is still too much snow on the Grand Balcon Nord. 
    The Mallory-Porter and the Eugster Diagonal are being done regularly but check the freezing level. 
    It is still too early for the Papillons Ridge and the other rock routes in the area, (Peigne, Pilier Rouge de Blaitière).
    The Aiguille de l'M and Petits Charmoz should be feasible but in mixed condition, (snowshoes useful for the approach, crampons and ice axe essential.) 


    Aiguille du Midi

    As stated in a previous update, the Three Monts route is very awkward this year and is for excellent alpinists only, (a lot harder than the given grade PD+). An imposing serac barrier has made crossing the Maudit very difficult. One needs to go the left of the face.  4 pitches of 50m are necessary, (foresee at least 5 ice screws and some nuts). The first two pitches are very hard snow and virtually impossible to protect.  The next pitch is up a small gully of mixed, (ice screws and rock protection possible).  The last pitch is more enjoyable.  An easier line up the serac/bergschrund may have been created following a partial collapse, no further information.   
    Conditions are OK for the Chéré and the Contamine-Grisolle.  There is a lot of ice on the Contamine-Mazeaud.   The Contamine-Negri has been done, no further information. (take care of the serac low down.)   It is necessary to sleep at the hut, as an early start is needed. Stonefall has been observed, a result of the bad snow conditions, (re-freezing poor to not at all).   
    The Midi-Plan Ridge has been done, (there and back,) but the snow conditions were not good.
    The Pointes Lachenal traverse is in good condition. 
    The Cosmiques ridge has become more difficult, as the area near the abseil, (where there was a large rockfall last year,) no longer has snow.  A chimney on the N side, (10m abseil) should make it possible to reach a gap where a second abseil leads back to the terrace on the usual route. 
    The Aig du Midi S face, Pointes Lachenal, Pyramide du Tacul E ridge, (Ottoz route,) are in good condition, (bergschrund OK).


    Grands Mulets
    Still good conditions here.  Good snow already from the Plan de l'Aiguille, the Jonction is OK, there is snow all the way on the N ridge and the N face skiable.  It is also possible to go and down by the Corridor route.  However, the weather is not stable for the moment. 
    There is now a foot track up to the hut and then on up the N ridge, giving a good, early season, alternative to the normal, (Gouter,) route for Mont Blanc.  


    MB normal  route, Aiguille du Goûter

    The Bellevue cable car opens on Saturday, 8th June.
    Note: the road to access to Bionnassay will be closed all day on the 11th and 12th June, (Tuesday, Wednesday). 
    For a recent report on the MB normal route click  ici.
    The railway track is in the process of being cleared of snow and still has sections which are very exposed, (possible to go up via the Are chalets)  
    The Prefect legislation concerning the new rules for the normal route are available ici.
    An article in Montagne Magazine on this subject is interesting.


    Miage / Bionnassay Sector

    The Plan Glacier and Durier huts open on Thursday 13 June.
    Good conditions are expected for the Durier hut approach and the Mettrier Ridge.
    Some parties have done the Aiguille de Bionnassay (either as a traverse or from the Gonella hut).  The ridge is narrow but apparently free of bare ice.  Snowshoes are still useful at the Conscrits, depending on the amount of re-freezing.
    Mont Tondu is tracked, by skis only. 
    The N faces are still “white”, (i.e. no bare ice), but better re-freezing is needed. 
    The Dômes traverse (or there and back) and Aiguille de la Bérangère are in good condition. 


    Italian Side
    Opening dates for the main huts:
    - Rifugio Gonella: 7/06
    - Rifugio Monzino: 14/06
    - Rifugio Boccalatte: 15/06
    - Rifugio Dalmazzi: 22/06

    There has been little change in conditions since last week’s update for Punta Helbonner sector. The Marbrées traverse, Dent du Géant/ Rochefort Ridge, Aiguille d’Entrêves and Tour Ronde (N Face still in good condition on 05/06) remain popular. (There are foot tracks to and from the routes.  It is also possible to use skis or snowshoes). 
    The rock climbs on the Satellites are should soon be free of snow, (assuming they are not affected by the forecasted storms.)

  6. OHM Chamonix

    An update for the last day in May.

    There have been only minor changes to the conditions in the high mountain. The weather front last Tuesday put down about 30cms of snow at 3500m. Apart from near the Pointe Helbronner, snowshoes are recommended in order to reach the routes, (and especially for the way back).

    In the mid mountain, the snow is slowly going but is still restricting hiking. For those wishing to do the trails still under snow, you will need a good basis in mountain craft, (including navigation skills) and foresee crampons, ice axe and snowshoes.

    The huts, both high and mid mountain, are beginning to open for the summer season and so their approaches are slowly becoming easier.  


    Tour Sector
    The Albert 1er hut opens on the 1st June. The approach is by the moraine, alpinists only as there is still too much snow for hikers.  The moraine is free of snow up to 2200m but one can start using skis a little lower. The ski conditions higher up merit the hour of carrying them. There is a walking track towards the Col Supérieur du Tour, and there was a party on the Migot Spur on Friday, (ski approach, no further info.) 


    Argentière Sector
    The lifts and huts are due to open on the 15th June. It is possible to start using skis at around 1700m on the Pierre à Ric (the track has not yet been cleared of snow). The Couturier was done on 30/05. The ski classics in the area look to be feasible, (Aiguille d'Argentière by the Glacier du Milieu, Col du Tour Noir, Col des Cristaux, Courtes NE face.)  No recent information about the mixed routes, which are still very dry.


    Talèfre Sector (hut open)
    Little change since the last update. The approach is still by Egralets, start early and take care on the moraine at the foot of the ladders.  The Whymper on the Verte, the normal routes on the Droites and Courtes and the Pointe Isabelle are in condition. There is still a lot of snow on the ridge routes. 

    Aiguille du Midi
    Here also there is little change in conditions. Snowshoes or skis not strictly necessary for routes close to the cable car station.

    The Triangle du Tacul is popular, (Contamine-Negri, Contamine-Grisolle, Contamine-Mazeaud, no further info; Chéré reported to be in good condition).

    The normal route on the Tacul is tracked both on foot and by ski. The usual “normal route” on the Maudit is blocked by an impressive serac barrier. Is was done on Friday, by some technical climbing to the left of the face, (a small mixed gully between the rocks.)  Another solution could be to go via the E ridge, (exit of the Kufner).  In all cases, an ascent is going to be much harder and longer than usual, 2 axes recommended.

    No problems for the Cosmiques Ridge and the Pointes Lachenal.

    The Mallory Porter was skied on 30/05 but has not been climbed recently.  The Eugster Diagonale was climbed on 31/05.

    The rock routes still have a lot of snow on the ledges and terraces.  However, since Thursday, there have been some parties on the Cosmiques Spur and with the rise in temperature, the S faces (Aiguille du Midi, Lachenal), are expected to come into condition soon.


    Helbronner Sector
    The classics in this sector are in good condition, with tracks to the starts of Dent du Géant, Marbrées and Aiguille d'Entrêves traverses, Aiguille de Toule and Tour Ronde. Snowshoes or skis are not essential but may be useful on the way back.

    Good conditions for the N Face and the Gervasutti Couloir on the Tour Ronde. However, the normal “winter” route is not recommended, (unstable boulders), one needs to go via the Col Freshfield.

    The Kuffner has been done, no further info. 
    There have been some parties on the Dent du Géant, no further info, (still with snow.)  There has been nobody recently on the Rochefort Ridge, which looks to be feasible.

    The snow is slowly clearing from the satellite rock climbs. It is still a bit too early for the Diable Ridge.  


    Grands-Mulets
    Generally good conditions.

    The Jonction still goes on ski. To repeat, an early start to go up to the hut is essential and think about spending a second night on the way down, if already late. 

    The N ridge of the Dôme is in good condition and popular, (about 50 people on Friday morning).
     
    The N face has been skied, both on the right and left sides. 


    Dômes de Miage Sector

    Spring conditions here also, skis or snowshoes recommended.

    The hut approach is by the Mauvais Pas and the glacier. The summer path is not feasible.

    The N faces now have a snow cover, (i.e. white not grey). There was a party on the Lex Blanche on Friday and another foreseen for the Aiguille de Tré-la-Tête on Saturday, no further info.

    The Dômes traverse and the Aiguille de la Bérangère are in good condition.  


    Hiking

    The snow is slowly going but the trails at altitude, including the multi day routes, are not yet feasible.  This is true for the Tour du Mont Blanc, which still has a lot of snow, (e.g. Col du Bonhomme is still being skied )

    Some suggestions: Aiguillette des Houches, Bellachat hut, (there and back from Chamonix), Alpage de Blaitière, Montenvers via the Mottets snack bar (open), Tête de Prapator via the Chapeau chalet (open,) Aiguillette des Posettes, Loriaz chalet.



  7. OHM Chamonix
    Some information for this weekend.

    We find ourselves in two seasons, Spring in the valley and Winter/Spring up in the mountains, a situation typical for Chamonix in May.  Quite a lot of snow fell this winter at mid altitudes which, together with the very little sunshine and cooler than average temperatures in April and May, means the snow is taking a long time to disappear.  

    For example, it is still possible to ski in the Berard Valley, with the snow down to15 minutes above the cascade. 

    This makes things awkward for hikers as there is still a lot of snow above 1700/2000m. This is not just snow patches but rather whole valleys remain under snow making paths and waymarks invisible.   There is often a need to break trail in deep snow with also a danger of slipping/falling in places.  The mountain lakes are not yet accessible and remain under snow, as are the Grand Balcon paths

    Little has changed since the update of May10th. Below is a selection of recommended hikes with great views. 
    - Lac Vert
    - Alpage de Charousse
    - Chalets de Chailloux (snow below the Aiguillette des Houches)
    - Alpage de Blaitière Dessous
    - Rocher des Mottets (possible to continue up to Montenvers.  Do not go up to Montenvers by the Caillet path.)  
    - Buvette du Chapeau and viewpoint.
    - Petits Balcons north and south, Buvette de la Floria (open),
    - Chalets de Loriaz from Le Couteray (snow on leaving the forest) 
    - Aiguillette des Posettes starting from Tré le Champ.
    Do not forget to check on the Chamoniarde site for which paths have been closed  (avis de fermeture de sentiers) and especially those in the Flegere sector, (secteur Flégère ).

    Tour du Mont Blanc 

    As is normal for this time of the year, it is still too early for hiking.  There is no evidence of hikers in the Chapieux valley yet, only skiers


    In the high mountain we are between seasons, most of the lifts and huts are closed.   There is too much snow unless using snowshoes or skis, which then need carried when lower down . The weather windows have been rare and often brief.  The good news is that the snow that fell last weekend, (without wind and between 50 and 70cm depending on the altitude) has stuck to the ice and rock, leading to a start in the improvement in conditions for mixed routes.

    Tour Sector

    The approach to the Albert 1er hut is by the moraine path.  The upper part of the Migot Spur is dry and the Forbes Ridge has a lot of snow since the last storm.  The Aiguille du Tour, Tete Blanche etc. are feasible. 

    Argentière Sector

    - Aiguille d'Argentière, Glacier du Milieu has ski tracks, (no more info.)  
    - Col des Cristaux, NE Face of the Courtes look to be skiable.
    - Couturier does not appear to have any recent tracks. 

    Couvercle  Sector (hut open )

    To reach the hut, it is no longer feasible to go by the Pierre à Bérenger and the CentralCouloir. The new approach, (shared with the Charpoua hut) crosses too many gullies which have not purged yet. All that remains is the Egralets route, which still has a lot of snow.  It would appear best to take a rounabout route to the left to reach the foot of the ladders. 

    Below is information taken from the hut Facebook site before the last storm, (no activity since, the faces and gullies are well purged) : 
    "For the 2019 season: “the Couvercle hut will open on 1st June and close on 15th September.  The hut will be renovated to meet modern building standards and offer better conditions for the alpinistes and wardens and to make it more eco-friendly.  The work is due to start mid-September, assuming the planning permission is obtained."
    Concerning the routes in this sector, the two main objectives are the Whymper on the Verte and the Pointe Isabella.  Conditions are OK with a good snow cover since the recent snowfalls.  The bergschrund on the Whymper is crossed on the true left, though it is starting to open up. For the Pointe Isabella, the crevasses are filled in.
    Some parties on the Droites and the Courtes but there is a lot of snow high up and bare ice on the N faces." 

    Aiguille du Midi Sector (Cosmiques hut open):

    - Cosmiques Arete, Pointes Lachenal, Triangle du Tacul (Chéré, Contamine-Mazeaud, Contamine-Grisolle): there are walking tracks in place.  Likewise, for the traverse and descent, (and ascent to the summit) of the normal route of the Tacul from the top of the Triangle. 

    - Normal route on the Tacul was done on skis, there and back, on 23/05 (no problems with the bergschrunds). 
    - Mallory Porter and Eugster Diagonal were climbed on23/05 

    - Vallée Blanche: Need to walk to reach the ladders or the ice cave, (see Montenvers webcams).   It is warming up, making the snow bridges weak. The Requin hut is open but will be closed from 29/05 to10/06.

    Pointe Helbronner Sector

    - Traverse of the Marbrées has been done, (on foot).
    - Tour Ronde is popular:  Gervasutti Couloir, North face, descent by the Freshfield Col. The normal winter route is feasible. 
    - Good track to the Col d'Entrèves, (the traverse looks feasible.)
     
    Mont Blanc

    - The Trois Monts is still not being done.  A descent sized weather window is needed to work out the route to cross Mont Maudit.  

    - good conditions by the Grands Mulets: From the tunnel one needs to carry the skis to just above the ancient Gare de la Para.  If not, one can use skis from the Plan de lAiguille.  As a reminder, one needs to start EARLY, in order to reach the hut, (risk of snow slides and the traverse of the Jonction is awkward when it warms up.)   The snow is sticking to the N ridge of the Dôme du Goûter, (skied on 23/05.  There is still some bare ice, between 4 to10m according to the guides.)  The route by the Plateaux is also tracked, the danger from falling seracs is still there.  The N face has been skied on the true left in good conditions.  

    - the Goûter hut opened on 24/05. The Tête Rousse opens on Monday, 27/05. The Bellevue cable car will open on 8/06 and the TMB on15/06. This early in the season, snowshoes are useful to reach the Tete Rousse.  Starting from Bionnassay is perhaps easier, (or 4x4 taxi to Bellevue.)  It is best to take the path by the Are chalets to reach the Nid d’Aigle.  (The Dérochoir has too much snow and the route following the railway track is dangerous.) 

    Conscrits Sector

    The Mont Tondu, the traverse of the Dômes de Miage (the skiing ends just above the Armancette lake) and the Aiguille de la Bérangère (there and back from the hut,) are all in good condition.  
    Before the latest snowfall, the upper part of the N faces, (Lex Blanche, Trè-la-Tête, Mettrier,) were bare ice. 

  8. OHM Chamonix

    Some information for mid-May:

    Wednesday/Thursday’s weather front brought with it 50cms of new snow at 3000m and 30cms at 2500m.  There was a lot of wind giving rise to unstable conditions by the end of the day on Thursday and Friday, (risk of avalanche.)  
    Bad weather with more snow is foreseen for Friday night and Saturday.

    The Aiguille du Midi cable car, (ridge no longer equipped), Montenvers train, cable cabins to the ice cave and the Skyway Monte Bianco (but closed from 13 to 17 May) are the only lifts still open.


    High Mountain
    The Conscrits hut is now closed.  The huts still open are: Couvercle, Requin, Cosmiques, Torino, Grands Mulets.
    Due to the bad weather there has not been much activity recently. Next week should be better.  Conditions for ski mountaineering and classic snow routes should be OK, (not too much ski carrying, crevasses filled in, etc,) but do not forget to check the avalanche risk.  Concerning the mixed routes, it is not known if conditions have improved.


    Hiking
    Down in the Chamonix valley it feels like spring or even summer.  However, up in the mountains, conditions remain wintery.
    Due to so much snow, there is little chance that the footpaths above 2000m, (1800 for N facing,) will be feasible this spring.  Some sections of the classic trails are likely to remain awkward even at the beginning of summer, e.g.  Lac Blanc – Lac Cornu – Grands Balcons – Tour du Mont Blanc.

    One can get an idea of the amount of snow by looking online at the Chamonix webcams.  Also, do not hesitate to get advice on what paths are feasible from the Chamoniarde (OHM) office. Be sensible in your choice of route and make sure you are properly equipped.


    Mont Blanc Normal Route
    The Goûter hut opens on the 24th May and the Tête Rousse hut on the 27th May.  The Bellevue cable car opens on the 8th June and the Mont Blanc tramway on the 15th June.  
    The amount of snow at mid-altitudes makes the approach to the huts more difficult than normal but should not be a problem for fit, experienced alpinists.  
    A new warden for the Nid Aigle hut is in the process of being appointed. The hut should be open at some time between 1st and 15th June. The reservation system will be identical to that for the Tete Rousse and the Gouter, nominative, online, (50% of the places through resa web) and by telephone.  Proof of a reservation is needed to access the huts.

    As reported in previous bulletins, camping will be forbidden anywhere on the route, including the Tete Rousse.  Therefore, it is pointless carrying a tent.  As an alternative, communal tents, Himalayan base camp style with mattresses and blankets, (5 tents, each with 8 places i.e. 40 places total,) have been made available.  They can be reserved using the the Tete Rousse website. Full price is expected to be about 30€; usual reductions available.

     
    Miscellaneous
    The road up to the Emosson dam is due to open soon.  However, there is work planned on the dam from 13th May for three weeks.  Hikers and skiers will be forbidden to go across the dam during this time.

    Landing at the Bois du Bouchet para gliding site is forbidden by council order from 13th to 22nd May.  This is so that the area can be put back in order following the Musilac festival.  During this period, landing is allowed at the Bois du Bouchet hang gliding site 

  9. Fondazione Montagna Sicura - Courmayeur

    Information Note issued on 5/9/2019 at 04.00 p.m.

    Avalanche problems:
    New snow -
    On Friday, with wide clearings up to clear skies over the entire regional territory and rising temperatures (freezing level at 2800 m), the natural slope discharge intensifies with several small and medium-sized avalanches.
    Below 2800-3000 m avalanches are wet, loose snow or slabs, sometimes even full-depth (where the new snow is directly on the ground), above this altitude avalanches are dry snow type.
    Wind-drifted snow -
    At high altitude still winter conditions due to the new snow and moderate/strong wind that accompanied and followed the snowfall, first by SE then by NW: possible new potentially unstable windloads. Hikers/skiers can trigger small or medium size slabs. 
    In the areas where it has snowed the most, in single cases, also natural slab avalanches of large size may occur and reach the base of the usual slopes and gullies, starting from high altitudes.

    General conditions:
    The snowfall on Wednesday has whitened again the landscape already from 1300-1400 m.
    Amounts of new snow at 2000-2400 m:
    - Mont Blanc, Great St. Bernard, Ollomont, Morgex-La Salle, La Thuile and Valgrisenche: 40-60 cm;
    - Val di Rhemes, Valsavarenche, Pila, Valpelline, Valtournenche: 20-40 cm;
    - Ayas, Gressoney, Cogne, Champorcher and central valley: 5-15 cm.
    Going up in altitude it is likely that the amounts are slightly larger. 
    The new snow is rapidly humidifying and settling at least up to 2500 m, between 2500 and 3000 m it is humid powder, above 3000 m powder.
    On Thursday morning we received reports of small and medium avalanches of wet fresh snow, both superficial and full-depth, below 2400 m. 
    Above this altitude, in the areas where it has snowed the most and weak precipitations are still in progress, there is no visibility, whereas where it has snowed less there are already large clearings and fresh snow seems to have bound well with the underlying snow cover.

    Snowcover and skiability:
    Snow already from 1800 m, umid/wet at low altitudes up to at least 2400-2500 m, above drier and lighter, on generally spring snow; powder cold winter snow on the northern slopes at high altitude.

    Tendency: 
    Natural release avalanche activity due to new snow decreases; weak scattered precipitations possible and winds at 3000 m moderate from SW, in rotation from NW in the afternoon and intensification up to strong.

  10. OHM Chamonix

    A quick update for this gap in the bad weather:

    Since Thursday the following amount of fresh snow has been reported: 

    - about 50 cm at the Cosmiques, (slightly wind affected.) 

    - 15 cm at Grands-Mulets, no wind  

    - 30 cm at the Conscrits hut

    More snow is foreseen this weekend. 

    The Grands Montets ski area closes on Sunday evening, (05/05). The Argentière hut closed on the 1st May.  There is still a lot of ski touring potential in this sector, (Col du Chardonnet, Aiguille d'Argentière, Col du Tour Noir, Col d'Argentière). Conditions are slowly improving for the steep skiing, (couloir Barbey, col des Cristaux, NE des Courtes) and the mixed routes. The Albert 1er and Trient huts are also closed.

    Though there are good conditions in the Talèfre area, the approach to the Couvercle hut is now awkward. The moraine is dangerous and there is a slab to climb in the central gullly, the Pierre à Béranger has no snow and the route by the ladders has too much snow.  More info in the cahier de course, (route book).

    The rope protected “Z” path from the Aig du Midi has been dismantled.  The Valley Blanche is still OK, (the snow bridges, especially in the lower part, need care.)  There is walking in some places on the Mer de Glace, as well as for 5 mins to reach the ice cave.  The Brèche Puiseux, couloir du Capucin and the col du Tacul, there and back, are still being done. 

    The Glacier Rond (rope useful at the start), Cosmiques couloir and the Col du Plan are being skied regularly.  The Mallory-Porter has not been climbed recently. 

    The Plan de l'Aiguille hut opened on the 1st May. The Grands Mulets hut is due to be very popular for people doing Mont Blanc over the next few days.  A serac fall crossed the track at the Petit Plateau on 1st May.  There is still an ice pitch, (60m, 6 ice screws useful) followed by a section of ice and snow for 300m, (short roping) on the N ridge of the Dôme du Goûter.  The snow appears to be stable but check when there! 

    On the approach to the Conscrits hut, (closes 11th May), one can start skinning on leaving the forest, (Nant du Tour).  The snow appears to be sticking to the N faces in this sector. The traverse of the Domes de Miage is still in condition.  On the descent the skiing now ends above the lake.

    Ski touring is still possible in the Col d'Encrenaz area from the Col des Montets or the Berard valley, (Mont Buet, col de Salenton, col de Beugeant...).

    Not much has changed for hiking. There is still a lot of snow above 1800m.  The feasible hikes remain the same as in the last update.  The footbridge at Merlet is now in place. Think about checking the list of officially closed paths, (liste) 


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