Mountain conditions update

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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. Fondazione Montagna Sicura - Courmayeur

    Mountain conditions: the autumn conditions that have been established in recent days will continue for a few days. From the Regional Functional Center the forecasts announce in fact the minimum depression directed towards the Portuguese coasts will continue to send disturbed flows, with precipitation that will continue this afternoon. Tomorrow the minimum will shift, allowing a wedge of high pressure to expand also towards the Valle d'Aosta, bringing more stable conditions and temperatures slightly higher due to the call of more mild African air. But Wednesday the minimum will regain strength, again conditioning the weather with rainfall on Thursday and falling snow levels. Improvement later.

    The amount of snow deposited on the ground, being very windy, is not easily quantifiable (up to 40 cm) due to the inhomogeneity of its distribution. This contribution is gradually transforming the conditions, making the situation of mixed routes slowly evolve - after the extremely dry summer - towards more normal conditions. However, the weather situation is not allowing the mountaineering activity (if not in a very limited way on the easiest and closest routes to the cable cars); of course for the rock roads, at medium and high altitudes, the structures are snow-covered and wet.

    As for the trails and hiking, snow is currently confined to altitudes above 2,500 / 2,700 meters; be careful, however, to assess the exposure well: in this period of great temperature changes, it is often possible to find areas in the shade that are fresh and still covered with snow, although in the sun you still walk in a t-shirt! However, walks immersed in autumn colors are an experience not to be missed.

  2. OHM Chamonix
    Conditions are very much evolving in this period between seasons.

    The successive weather fronts have deposited a lot of windblown snow at altitude. The exact amount is difficult to ascertain but was about 40cms above 3500m at the start of the week.   The conditions of the mixed climbs are slowly improving, following the exceptionally warm and dry conditions this summer.  There is virtually no alpine activity for the moment, given the unstable weather, (some activity on the Cosmiques ridge, Pointes Lachenal traverse and the Entrèves.

    Concerning the rock routes, the Chamonix Aiguilles are plastered with snow.  If the weather allows, it is possible to climb in the Aiguilles Rouges or on the valley crags.  

    The hiking trails below 2500m , resplendent in their autumn colours, are without snow and are feasible. 

    The Aiguille du Midi and Skyway Monte Bianco cable cars are running until the 3rd November. 
    The Montenvers train re-opens on the 19th October, (ice cave and cable car remain closed.)
    The Planpraz lift will be open from 19th October to 3rd November. 

    All the mountain huts are closed except for the Plan de l’Aiguille and the Torino, (which both close on the 3rd November.)   The CAF mountain huts have winter rooms available. 

  3. Fondazione Montagna Sicura - Courmayeur

    The second week of October opens with a first weak autumn snowfall that has reached the mid-mountain (lower limit at around 2,000 meters in the Upper Valley) whitening the landscape. Let's see in detail the weather evolution.

    The high pressure on the Middle Atlantic tends to strengthen until Friday with a rise in temperature to a decidedly warmer climate tomorrow, but with a probable incursion disrupted on Wednesday. After the snowfall of this night, today the day will be sunny with some initial residual cloudiness, located in particular on the ridges. The strong winds at altitude are attenuated until they become weak in the afternoon; also the foehn in the valleys is expected to be attenuated. Thermal zero from 2100 meters up to 3300 meters.

    General conditions in the mountains: in the high mountains the activity is significantly reduced, the snow and the wind have diverted the climbers towards the medium and low altitude rock routes. To assess the evolution at altitude it is necessary to wait for the new impulse of the next few days and see its effects. In medium mountain, considering hiking activity, the snow fallen above 2,000 meters, should quickly melt, but beware of the shady slopes (north) where it will be possible, especially early in the morning, to find ice on the ground. It could therefore better to prefer sunny routes and paths, at least for the days of today and tomorrow.

  4. Fondazione Montagna Sicura - Courmayeur

    Close to the weekend, we update you on the general conditions in the mountains.

    From the meteorological point of view, the conditions are typically autumnal, with more pretty cold temperatures. In detail, the western currents will bring on the Aosta Valley an alternation of weak disturbances; between Sunday evening and Monday, cold air from the north will cause a temporary drop in temperatures with possible weak snowfall even in medium mountain areas, while later there will be a partial anticyclone comeback with a subsequent return to an Atlantic flow.

    As for the alpinism, the situation does not seem to favour a great activity in the high mountains. The faint snowfalls that have just fallen (between 10 and 20 cm) have created accumulations on the ledges and clogged the cracks, precluding rock activity for a few days. For the other routes, the more classic ones remain (Aig. Entreves, Dente del Gigante, Marbrées ...) but great attention is recommended to the presence of snow. For the rest, pay attention to the covering effect of the holes that snow has often made on glaciers: caution.

    In the mountains, hiking and rock climbing are practiced without any particular problems, but beware of snow or glass walls above 2400 m, particularly on the northern slopes. It should also be noted that some paths in the shade or in the woods can be damp and have slippery tracts at this time of year.

  5. OHM Chamonix
    We are now well into Autumn and it feels cool in the valley. The last weather front brought snow down to 2200m, with 10 to 25cms at altitude in some sectors.

    The high rocks are snow covered and patience is needed before the rock routes come back into condition.  Concerning the mixed routes, the new snow serves only to hide the dry conditions underneath, so here also patience is needed for conditions to improve.

    With the doubtful weather and poor conditions, all the lifts have closed, except for the Aig du Midi and the Skyway Monte Bianco. The huts, (except for of the Torino), are also closed and very little alpinisme is happening for the moment.
    However, some routes remain feasible: e.g. the traverse of the Pointes Lachenal, Cosmiques Ridge (retracked this morning, no further info,) Aiguilles d'Entrêves traverse, Dent du Géant, Aiguille du Tour and Grand Paradiso.
    At lower altitude, the Petit Charmoz, Ecandies traverse and Perrons traverse are also feasible.

    There are no special problems for hiking and rock climbing at mid altitudes, though there is a risk of snow and verglas above 2400m, especially if north facing. The forest paths, particularly those in the shade, can be slippery at this time of the year.
  6. OHM Chamonix
    Some information for this September, which has had good weather for mid and high mountain activities.

    Lift closures:

        Charamillon and Autannes lifts (La Tour) open until 22/09

        Montenvers train running until 29/09

        Aiguille du Midi lift open until 03/11

        Bellevue lift and Mont Blanc Tramway open until 22/09

        Monte Bianco Skyway (Italy) open until 03/11

    Alpine Huts closures:

        Cosmiques hut open until 28/09

        Plan de l'Aiguille hut open until 03/11

        Nid d'Aigle and Tête Rousse huts open until 22/09

        Goûter hut open until 29/09

        Conscrit hut open until 22/09

    Vallée d'Aoste and Valais Hut closures:

        Cabane d'Orny open until 29/09

        Rifugio Torino open until 03/11

        Rifugio Chabod (Grand Paradis) open until 28/09

        Rifugio Guide del Cervino open all the year

        Rifugio Gnifetti (Monte Rosa) open until 06/10

    Mid Mountain Hut closures:

        Loriaz hut open until 06/10

        Pierre à Bérard hut open until 22/09

        Lac Blanc hut open until 31/10

        Moëde Anterne hut open until 01/10

        Col de Balme hut open until 30/09

        Miage hut open until 30/09

        Varan hut open until 30/09

        Tré la Tête hut open until 20/10

        Nant Borrant hut open until 25/09

        Robert Blanc hut open until 21/09

    Alpine Conditions:

    Rock routes remain the main activity, with routes being climbed in the Argentière sector, the Leschaux sector (Aiguille de Leschaux, Petites Jorasses), the Envers des Aiguilles, the Aiguilles de Chamonix and the Géant sector (S faces of the Aiguille du Midi, Pointes Lachenal, Satellites du Tacul).

    The winter room at the Albert 1er is now accessible.  The Aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche and Petite Fourche remain feasible by their normal routes, as is the S ridge of the Purtscheller.

    A party turned back while trying to cross the Charpoua glacier, (for the Drus traverse,) despite a full moon and checking out the way the evening before.  There are plenty of possibilities to find water near the hut.

    In the Talèfre sector, the S ridge and normal route on the Moine are still being done.  The bergschrund for the Contamine, (E face) is well opened.  

    The Moine Ridge on the Aiguille Verte was climbed in good conditions on 13/09, (an abseil needed to cross the bergschrund in descent.) 

    The Valley Blanche traverse can be done but the way is complicated, (end of season conditions!) 

    The traverses of the Pointes Lachenal, Aiguilles d'Entrèves, the Marbrées (abseil points re-equipped; 3x20m) and the Dent du Géant are being done.  No recent information for the Rochefort Arete, which does not look to be in condition. The Cosmiques Ridge is being climbed again, (potentially unstable, as are other sectors.) 

    A ramp, to the right of the fixed rope, allows the bergschrund on the Mont Blanc du Tacul normal route to be crossed easily. After this there is good track with steps up to the summit.  Take care; a portion of the serac overshadowing the track looks ready to collapse. Remember that falling seracs are an objective danger on this route, (as they are also on the Mont Maudit, for example.)
    Experienced, well equipped alpinists, (2 ice axes, ice screws etc,) could attempt the 3 Monts route.  The Col du Mont Maudit is bare ice but there are no special problems for the traverse to the col de la Brenva or on the Mur de la Côte. 

    Conditions are also OK for the Mont Blanc normal route, (by the Goûter.) However, it is necessary to be aware of the crevasses between the hut and the Dôme du Goûter (especially while descending when there is a temptation to take “short cuts”,) and on the  Bosses ridge.

    A few parties are still doing the Bionnassay traverse. It is more technically difficult than usual, (the initial rock buttress is very dry, there is ice below the summit and the ridge is very thin with ice showing through in places. However, there is no cornice.)

    The Dômes de Miage are not in condition, parties are generally stopping at the col. 

    For the Grand Paradiso (via Chabod), the Laveciau glacier is chaotic, with numerous crevasses.  There are 2 ladders in place and there are some ”jumps” to make. 

    Conditions are good for the Matterhorn by the Lion Ridge, (the hut is closed on the Swiss side).

  7. OHM Chamonix
    A quick update after the weekend of rain and snow

    For the hikers: There is snow starting at 2000m.  The paths have a light covering which will gently disappear.  The hunting season has started.  There is no hunting allowed on Wednesdays and Fridays, (except bank holidays.)

    For the climbers: The Aiguilles de Chamonix are plastered and feeling very cold. Patience is needed for the rock to dry.  Likewise, for the Aiguilles Rouges, though the climbs here should come back into condition more quickly. 

    For the alpinists:

    This morning, Monday the following was reported : 10 cm with a little bit of wind at the  Albert 1er hut (the telephone is working again),), 20 cm at the Envers des Aiguilles hut, 30 cm at the Cosmiques hut with a W wind and -10°C this morning, 15/20 cm at the Goûter hut, the snow is down to the Tête Rousse, 15 cm  at the Conscrits hut with not much wind.  

    The following closing dates have been announced:

    The lift Planpraz-Brevent, the lift at Prarion and the lift at Les Bossons close on 15/09, the Requin hut closes on 12/09, the Envers des Aiguilles hut closes on 14/09, the Leschaux and Couvercle hut close on 15/09, the Conscrits hut closes on 22/09 and the Cosmiques hut closes on 28/09. The Mottets cafe closes on 28/09.
  8. Fondazione Montagna Sicura - Courmayeur
    The second weekend of September is about to begin; let's see what conditions the mountain will have in the coming days.
    News from the meteorological point of view: a vast trough favors the current marked cloudiness on our region with some precipitation, especially in the low valley. From tomorrow clearings are expected in progressive extension, accompanied also by some episodes of foehn. The temperatures, already in the descent phase, will tend to fall even further, with the isotherm reaching up to 2,300 - 2,400 meters on Sunday (in some sectors minimum night-time temperatures below zero, already around 2,000 meters). Attention therefore to the windchill effect which, with the northern winds, will tend to be felt in a decisive manner.
    High mountains: this morning the high altitude refuges awoke under a layer of snow of varying thickness depending on the area. The rain / snow limit has sometimes dropped to around 2,600 meters (especially in the eastern quadrants) and snow events could still be repeated today. It follows that the conditions for the weekend will be rather unfavorable to the attendance of the higher altitudes, also considering the wind forecast for Sunday. The rock routes will be affected by today's snow spray, while mixed routes (despite the cold and snow that help to evolve the situation) will continue to present the same problems of the past few days. It is therefore advisable to carefully evaluate the available options with great caution or to orientate your choices towards lower altitudes.
    Please note that the Boccalatte Piloti Refuge has closed its season and that the access path to it has been closed by order of the Municipality of Courmayeur (see post).
    Mountain and hiking: the Tor des Géants weekend is upon us. Today at noon the longest race of the event has started, the "Tor des Glaciers" which precedes the start of the late summer queen race, scheduled for Sunday at 12.00. At a general level, the lower temperatures of these days and the snowfalls of today should not be too disturbing for the participants in the competition, who may however encounter some difficulties at the highest hills. In terms of hiking, the "randonneurs" are advised to equip themselves with appropriate clothing, given the cooler temperatures, and not to underestimate the windichill effect. The snow has not yet practically affected the trails around Mont Blanc, but the cold front, arriving from the north on Sunday, could create some discomfort, particularly on the hills on the border with Switzerland.
  9. Fondazione Montagna Sicura - Courmayeur

    The first week of September begins with good weather, but with fewer degrees. Here is the update of the conditions in the mountains.

    Weather: this night's rapid disturbance is giving way to an expanding high-pressure field from the west that has already caused a rotation of currents from the north. It follows sunny weather and fresher air especially today; an increase in temperatures is expected tomorrow and Wednesday, with more clouds on Thursday.

    High mountains: even for this beginning of September there are no great variations on the conditions of the different sectors of Mont Blanc. On the glaciers, in some areas, the action of leaching caused by rains and thunderstorms is clearly visible, which, together with the heat at the end of August, have contributed to the reduction of the snow cover and the thinning of snow bridges. As already mentioned, the approaches are therefore sometimes tortuous but visible.

    Focus at Rifugio Dalmazzi: from today and until September 15, the refuge will observe the following schedule:

    - Saturday and Sunday open all day;

    - from Monday to Friday open from 3.00pm until 8.30am; closed between 8.30 am and 3.00 pm, ie lunch time; open for evening service on half board.

    Mountain and hiking: once the UTMB week is over and waiting for the Tor des Géants, the trails around Mont Blanc will return to be relatively less frequented. The shelters are still open and the conditions of the paths are signalled to be still good (some traces of storms without criticality). Recall that the Courmayeur Mont Blanc Funivie ropeways closed yesterday and will reopen on November 30th.

  10. OHM Chamonix
    The update for the end of August. 

    The conditions have not changed much recently.

    Tour Sector

    The Aiguille du Tour is still being done but the conditions are very dry and not suitable for beginners. The Col Supérieur du Tour is not recommended, the Col du Tour being the preferred option. The normal routes on the Tête Blanche and the Petite Fourche remain feasible. 

    Argentière Sector

    The Argentière hut and the Plan Joran lift close on the 31st August.  This means a long approach to the beautiful granite climbs in this sector.

    Charpoua Sector

    The hut here also closes on the 31st August, (the warden has left some gas.)  The glacier (for the Drus traverse, Contamine route) is becoming more and more complicated. In descent, the parties do not pass back behind the Gros Rognon to join the ascent track.

    Talèfre Sector

    All the bergschrunds here are starting to open up and are becoming more awkward.   Some ingenuity is needed, especially for the Contamine route on the Moine. 
    For the Moine Ridge on the Verte, the bergschrund goes on the true left. 

    Leschaux Sector

    Latest information here: ici !

    Envers des Aiguilles Sector

    No major problems for the approaches to the Tour Rouge, Tour Verte, Nantillons and Aiguille de Roc.
    For the normal route on the République, please see the previous updates.
    Subtilités Dulfériennes has become more awkward, one needs to descend into the bergschrund to reach the ramp.

    Aiguille du Midi Sector

    The Three Monts route remains possible for experienced alpinists.
    Pointes Lachenal traverse: the snow last week has stuck to the ice, making conditions temporarily better. 

    The traverse of the Valléé Blanche is still being done but route finding through the crevasses is difficult. 

    It is still possible to cross the bergschrunds below the climbs in this sector: (Aiguille du Midi - Pointe Lachenal - Satellites).

    Mont Blanc by the Gouter

    The conditions are normal and OK.  The Grand Couloir and the way up to the hut are dry but the stonefall is no worse than usual. There is no ice on the ridge. 

    Miage - Bionnassay Sector

    The conditions remain technically difficult, (ice, crevasses,) for the Domes de Miage, there and back, from the Col des Dômes.

    The Aiguille de la Bérangère, there and back from the hut, is completely dry.
    The traverse across to the Durier hut is very dry, with holds coming away in your hand.  It is best to reach the hut via the Plan Glacier.  The glacier is still OK in the upper part, (pass below the red marker,) providing that it is early in the day. 
    The traverse of the Bionnassay remains feasible. The passage before the buttress is awkward, (very dry). There is some ice just below the summit, (which is bypassed on the left,) and at the start of the NE ridge, (good crampon technique needed).

    Helbronner Sector

    The main activity here is the traverse of the Aiguilles d'Entrèves.

    The approach to the Salle Manger, (Dent du Geant) remains very dry.  Take care to stick to the route and be aware of other parties. 

    Traverse and normal route on the Grandes Jorasses

    It is end of season conditions for the Rochefort Arete (ice, gravel). The traverse of the Grandes Jorasses is feasible, (given that the Pointe Young is done in the afternoon.) 

    It is over for the normal route this summer.  The conditions have got a lot worse.