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. OHM Chamonix

    The season has finally got under way with the dump of snow last weekend.

    The Compagnie du Mont Blanc is partially opening the ski area this weekend. 


    The snowfall last weekend resulted in:

            65 cm at Tour Village

            80 cm at 2000m on the south facing Aiguilles Rouges (Brévent/Flégère) and at Grands Montets

            100 cm Charamillon (Balme area)

            150 cm at 2500m


    However, as is often the case at the start of the season, the snow conditions are not always good and can be treacherous in places. The new snow was very much affected by the wind resulting in significant accumulations. In addition, these accumulations have often formed on a weak under layer in the shadier aspects. At the same time, the glacier crevasses have been progressively filled in due to some earlier snow falls and wind action. However, the snow bridges are still thin and often very weak.  


    The recent snow has allowed for some of the pistes to be prepared and for the ski domaine to be partially opened (see herei).

    Skiing is also possible at Courmayeur.  Good conditions for the Toule glacier. 


    The ski touring season has started, albeit limited.  The Balme area is very popular.  Because of safety issues during work preparing the ski area, please do not ascend /descend the pistes. One can ascend the Posettes via the Ardoisières or take the track at the side of the pistes.

    Ski touring also at Bel Oiseau (skis on at the car, some thin patches on descent), and at the Pointe Ronde.


    Likewise, snow shoeing, (Granges loop, chalets de Loriaz) and Nordic skiing, (a few kilometres of prepared track at Vallorcine and Argentière), are now possible.


  2. OHM Chamonix
    A quick update before the weekend:

    The snow continues to recede on the lower slopes. There should be no problem when hiking below 2500m on the south side and 2000m on the north side.  The paths under the cables of the Plan Joran lift are closed by local council order from 20th to 30th November.  The paths under the cables of the 
    Plan de l'Aiguille lift are also closed, (the only access is via Blaitière).

    It remains feasible to climb in the Aiguilles Rouges, though it is getting significantly colder.  The approach is on foot because all the lifts in the valley are closed, except for the Montenvers train.

    No recent information received for the high mountain, though it seems there has been some activity around the Aiguille du Tour. No information for the mixed routes.

    There is partial opening in nearby ski resorts in Switzerland, (Verbier, Zermatt, Saas Fee) and Italy (Cervinia, Monterosa Ski). Ski touring is also possible in some of the valleys (e.g. Valgrisenche, Valtournenche...). Here in Chamonix one needs to wait a bit more before getting out the skis. 

  3. OHM Chamonix
    Some brief information for this holiday week. 


    The forecast is for bad weather for most of the week, (rain/snow, strong winds and poor visibility.) Already yesterday 30cms of snow fell above 2000m.  


    Unlike at the beginning of this autumn, conditions for hiking are no longer ideal. The paths are greasy and with snow above 1800m, the way is often hidden. Therefore, the higher paths are reserved for experienced hikers, (with good boots and sticks.) Treks over several days are no longer really feasible. 


    The paths beneath the lift cables up to the Plan de l'Aiguille are provisionally closed by council order until 31 December. 


    Both the weather and conditions do not favour high mountain activity, (mixed routes very dry and the rock climbs plastered.) 

  4. Fondazione Montagna Sicura - Courmayeur

    Some updates on the conditions at high altitude. As the situation in the mountains can change in a short time, we invite you to contact the Aosta Valley Alpine Guides Societies for further information and for your ascents.

    Monte Rosa - Gressoney

    Rifugio Città di Mantova

    We point out the presence of fresh snow at altitude for a recent snowfall (5 cm at Rifugio Mantova, 30-40 cm at Rifugio Regina Margherita) which has covered some crevasses superficially. Pay attention to wind accumulations. There are large crevasses behind the Capanna Gnifetti.

    Mont Blanc

    Rifugio Monzino

    The climbs to Pic Eccles, Punta Innominata and Cresta del Brouillard, the passage to Col Émile Rey are in poor condition. We report the presence of fresh snow for a recent snowfall.

    Rifugio Torino

    Pay attention to the ridge for the Aiguille de Rochefort, which is thin and sometimes unstable.

    Rifugio Boccalatte

    The normal route to the Grandes Jorasses presents a complex access to the glacier. We report the presence of fresh snow for a recent snowfall.

    Rifugio des Cosmiques - French slope of Mont Blanc

    The normal route for Mont Blanc is passable. There are 20 cm of fresh snow for a recent snowfall and the presence of ice towards the Col du Mont Maudit. Stay near the rocky sector on the right to get past the bergschrund of the Col du Mont Maudit.

    Rifugio del Goûter – French Mont Blanc slope

    The climb to the hut is done without the use of crampons and it is in good condition.

  5. Fondazione Montagna Sicura - Courmayeur

    The high temperatures of this summer can make some rock walls subject to discharges of stones that, even if small, can create problems to the rope teams.

    Always plan your ascents, take care of your equipment and carefully evaluate the high mountain conditions by contacting the Aosta Valley Alpine Guides Societies.

    Monte Rosa - Gressoney

    Rifugio Città di Mantova

    Good conditions on all routes. We point out the presence of fresh snow at altitude. Pay attention to the large crevasses behind Rifugio Gnifetti.

    Breuil - Cervinia

    Rifugio Teodulo

    Good conditions on all routes. We point out the presence of fresh snow at altitude.

    Matterhorn

    The Normal route presents good conditions. Crampons needed by the Great Cord up to the summit. Contact the Cervino Alpine Guides Society for further information.

    Gran Paradiso

    Rifugio Vittorio Emanuele

    Good conditions on the Normal route to the Gran Paradiso. Pay attention to the snow bridges that cross the large crevasses of the Laveciau glacier beyond the "schiena d'asino". Good conditions on the via ferrata.

    Mont Blanc

    Rifugio Monzino

    The climbs to Pic Eccles, Punta Innominata and Cresta del Brouillard, the passage to Col Émile Rey and the climbs to the Red Pillar of Brouillard and to the Central Pillar of Freney are in poor condition. The route Ratti Vitali on Aiguille Noire de Peuterey is not accessible.

    Rifugio des Cosmiques - French slope of Mont Blanc

    The Arête des Cosmiques is not recommended, given the rock falls that affected the area last week. As already noted, pay attention to a snow bridge in the middle of the Col du Mont Maudit and to the presence of ice on the crossing to the Colle della Brenva. It is advisable to leave early to face the route.

    Rifugio Torino

    Pay attention to the bergschrund at the Aiguilles d'Entrèves and the crevasses around the Tour Ronde.

    Conditions are good at the Aiguille de Rochefort (ice at the start) and at the Dente del Gigante (pay attention to the base). The Roi de Siam on the Petit Capucin is in good condition. The Cresta Kuffner on Mont Maudit is not accessible.

    Rifugio Gonella

    The first part of the Italian route to Mont Blanc on the glacier is articulated. The connection point between the last plateau presents a large serac. The slope of access to the ridge and the first part of the ridge that reaches the Piton des Italiens are free of snow and ice, so you climb on a rocky plate. Closure of the hut scheduled for 1 September 2018.

    Rifugio Boccalatte

    The Normal route to the Grandes Jorasses presents a complex access on the glacier.

  6. Fondazione Montagna Sicura - Courmayeur

    Updates about some Mont Blanc mountaineering routes very popular during the summer. Always check the conditions at high altitude by contacting the Aosta Valley Alpine Guides Society.

     Rifugio des Cosmiques - French slope of Mont Blan

    Huge stone falls are affecting the Arête des Cosmiques route. The area is under surveillance. The route is extremely inadvisable.

    The route Trois Monts to the Mont Blanc is passable. Pay attention to the crevasses below the Aiguille of Midi and to a snow bridge on the way to the Col du Mont Maudit.

  7. Fondazione Montagna Sicura - Courmayeur

    We invite you to carefully check the mountain conditions by contacting the Aosta Valley Alpine Guides Societies.

    Monte Rosa - Gressoney

    Rifugio Città di Mantova

    Good conditions on all routes.

    Breuil - Cervinia

    Rifugio Teodulo

    Good conditions on all routes.

    Mont Blanc

    Rifugio Monzino

    The ascent to Pic Eccles and Punta Innominata are passable.

    The ascent to the Pilastro Rosso del Brouillard, the Pilone Centrale del Freney, the route Ratti Vitali on the Aiguille Noire de Peuterey and the passage to the Colle Emile Rey are not accessible.

    Rifugio Torino

    Good conditions for the Aiguilles du Rochefort. Pay attention to the bergschrunds around the "satellites", which are open.

    The Traversata del Monte Bianco is passable, although with a twisted path.

    Rifugio Boccalatte

    The Normal route to the Grandes Jorasses is passable. Pay attention to the presence of ice on the Couloir Whymper and under the peak (avoidable).

    Rifugio des Cosmiques - French slope of Mont Blanc

    The ascent to Mont Blanc du Tacul is passable.

    Pay attention to the presence of ice at the Col du Mont Maudit and on the crossing to the Colle della Brenva.

  8. Fondazione Montagna Sicura - Courmayeur

    Monte Rosa - Gressoney

    Rifugio Città di Mantova

    Good conditions on all routes.

    Breuil - Cervinia

    Rifugio Teodulo

    Good conditions on all routes.

    Mont Blanc

    Rifugio Monzino

    The ascent to Pic Eccles is passable.

    The ascent to the Pilastro Rosso del Brouillard, the route Ratti Vitali on the Aiguille Noire de Peuterey and the passage to the Colle Emile Rey are not accessible.

    Rifugio Torino

    Good conditions for the Aiguilles du Rochefort and for the west face of the Grandes Jorasses. Pay attention to the bergschrunds around the "satellites", which are open.

    The Traversata del Monte Bianco is passable.

    Rifugio Boccalatte

    The Normal route to the Grandes Jorasses is passable. Pay attention to the presence of ice on the Couloir Whymper.

  9. Fondazione Montagna Sicura - Courmayeur

    Focus hiking: given the reports of non-ordinary situations on the Alta Via n. 1 and Alta Via n. 2 and on the trails of the Aosta Valley, it should be remembered that over 2,000 meters, in the valleys and in the shade, especially under the hills, it is very likely to encounter snow on the ground that can be frozen in the morning or in cold weather creating difficulty of crossing. It is therefore highly advisable, to overcome these traits, to equip themselves with adequate equipment (crampons, trekking poles or ice axes, gaiters ...). Moreover it is possible to find snowfields that cover the riverbeds of the torrents that can, if crossed, suddenly give up ").

  10. Fondazione Montagna Sicura - Courmayeur

    Weekend characterized by strong wind and precipitations. The main snowfalls have been recorded in the northwest part of the region, the strong winds have definitively moved the snow. 

    New snow
    The rain/snow limit has been at around 1100-1500 m. 
    The amount of fresh snow recorded is higher in the Northwest part of the region. Along the border with Switzerland and France (Valtournenche, Valpelline, Val Veny, La Thuile, Gran Paradiso valleys), at 2000 m asl, we have 15-20 cm. In the Gran San Bernardo and Val Ferret valleys peaks of 30 cm have been registered. In the central valley and in the eastern part of the region the amounts are lower, about 10 cm.

    Wind and Temperatures 
    The wind has been the main actor of the weekend. In particular, since last night, strong winds from N have strongly wind-drifted the snow pack, with erosion even down to the ground. Temperatures dropped significantly with averaged values at 8.00 am of -6°C at 2000 m, -10°C at 2500 m and -14°C at 3000 m (-27°C at Capanna Margherita, 4560 m). 

    Typical avalanche problems 
    The strong winds from N NW, especially at the end of the snowfall, have strongly wind-drifted the fresh snow, creating eroded areas down to the ground and accumulation zones. The avalanche problem, associated to the wind-drifted snow, with the possible release of hard slabs of fresh dry snow, is present particularly along the ridges at high altitude (> 3000 m). In general they can be more commonly found along the areas bordering with France and Switzerland and at the southern aspects.

    http://appweb.regione.vda.it/DBWeb/bollnivometeo/bollnivometeo.nsf/vista_e/$first?OpenDocument&L=_e

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