Mountain conditions update

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

  4. Fondazione Montagna Sicura - Courmayeur

    The last week of a particularly hot August has begun. Let's see how the conditions of the coming days are presented.

    The Regional Functional Center announces a temporary anticyclone comeback that favors some more stable and sunny days until tomorrow. The next evolution is uncertain, but the approach of a low depression area from Wednesday seems likely.

    In the high mountains there are no particular changes compared to the past few days, so we renew the recommendations made in our previous updates.
    In the middle of the mountains and on the trails, a particularly intense week is expected: in fact, starting today, the various races of the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc © are held. We remind you that these last ones absolutely do not prevent normal hikers from being able to walk on the paths around the Mont Blanc, indeed they can be the occasion to support the trailers in the race. To find out which races run along the paths of the Italian white valleys and to check the possible times of the passages, consult the official website of the event: https://utmbmontblanc.com/it/home

  5. Fondazione Montagna Sicura - Courmayeur

    The Regional Functional Center informs us that, from a meteorological point of view, an unstable circulation will remain in the next few days, with alternating lightening and clouding with occasional showers, especially in the afternoon.

    In the high mountains, the mountaineering activity has restarted practically only from today, after the spell of bad weather in recent days. We therefore await the return information from industry professionals to detail the situation. Meanwhile, we draw attention to the presence of snow accumulations and the risk of snowfall at high altitudes. Specifically, particular caution is advocated by the French colleagues of La Chamoniarde on some routes (such as the route des Trois Monts on the Mont Blanc). Yesterday's snowfalls, which mainly impacted the Chamonix side, accompanied by strong winds, may have hidden some crevasses and created precarious bridges. On some slopes, recent snow often serves as a cover, barely concealing live ice or glacier fractures. As for the rock roads, some walls were still white this morning, but the sun should quickly clean up the surfaces. Be careful, however, on the northern slopes where ice and snow could clog cracks and corners in the shade for a few days.

    The excursion activity is resumed at full speed (on the Tour du Mont Blanc it has practically not been interrupted). The trails around Mont Blanc are often frequented by trailers who are preparing for the UTMB, in anticipation for next week. Preparations for the organization of the race are already underway; in this regard, it should be remembered that on 31 August, the Dolonne cable car and the Chair lift Maison Vieille Courmayeur Mont Blanc Funivie, will open extraordinarily at 6 am.

  6. Fondazione Montagna Sicura - Courmayeur

    The beginning of this week welcomed us with the arrival of clouds and some precipitation; let's see what will happen for the next few days.

    From a meteorological point of view, after a long period of pleasant summer weather, from yesterday evening a vast perturbed front reached the Valle d'Aosta. For today great variability is expected with alternating dry and showers or thunderstorms, while tomorrow precipitation will be more intense and frequent. This situation will be associated with a drop in temperatures that will record an isotherm of 0 degrees around 3,600 / 3,800 meters today, 3,400 / 3,600 meters tomorrow. The next evolution is uncertain, with a possible partial anticyclonic recovery only from mid-week.

    High mountains: the situation that has continued to this day, characterized by high altitude and very dry areas, could undergo evolution (already this morning a very light layer of snow settled above 3,500 meters). From mid-week we will be able to verify any improvements and changes for the various sectors.

    Medium mountain: the rains arriving especially the next night and tomorrow, even if not foreseen as particularly intense, could sometimes cause phenomena of increase in the flow of streams and watercourses that could present problems in their crossing. Recall that, especially in the mountains, it may happen that the center of greatest intensity of rainfall causes waves of floods that quickly reach slopes even far from the heart of the storm. It is therefore recommended to pay particular attention along the paths, especially where watercourses and streams are crossed (the latter, even if normally dry, with thunderstorms could give rise to even major runoff phenomena).

  7. Fondazione Montagna Sicura - Courmayeur

    Update for the weekend on the mountain situation.

    From the METEO point of view, the atmospheric instability that brought clouds, some showers and temperatures slightly decreased between last night and this morning will be followed by the return of good weather which should last until Monday. From Tuesday a vast and deep North-Atlantic trough will determine a week of humidity and instability with showers.

    Helbronner Sector / Turin Refuge: good frequentation of the routes on the satellites with refreezing that allows the approach without major problems (surmountable terminals). For the other routes, numerous roped parties on the crossing of the Aiguille d'Entrêves and the Marbrées. Access to the Gingiva / Dente del Gigante - Rochefort continues to deteriorate and is now definitely dry: for this stretch maximum attention is required. Rare cordate on the Diables where, even here, the access is very delicate and dry. Situation even more complicated at Kuffner. Still a few roped parties on the crossing of the Jorasses with descent from the normal, but the live advice remains to carefully evaluate the situation of the sections on rock that have often uncertain conditions.

    Brouillard / Freney / Monzino sector: in this area the situation is constantly changing. Various rope groups concentrate on the rock roads of the Aiguille Croux and the Noire de Peuterey, but the situation is more delicate at the higher altitudes, frequented by very rare roped parties. Access to the Eccles still presents a fair practicability of the glacier, but the great high-altitude routes are characterized by conditions that require extreme caution and a willingness to desist.

    Focus on the French side (information reported to us by La Chamoniarde): the Des Cosmiques refuge has some difficulties with the telephone, in case of need do not hesitate to insist. The route of the Trois Monts al Bianco still has a potentially unstable serac in the upper part of the Tacul (along the axis of the track). Serac falls, it is known, represent an objective risk in this way, for which everyone must make their own decision independently. It is possible to form an opinion on the situation on the north side of the Mont Blanc du Tacul by looking at the Aiguille du Midi webcam. However, the terminal at the bottom of the slope is opening and there are no equipped sections; it is therefore necessary to use 2 ice axes at least for the first group.

    Via Normale Francese da Goûter: "normal" situation in the couloir of the Goûter which appears dry, with few rocks moving only early in the morning. From the latest news, the ice does not seem to be far from emerging on the arête des Bosses.

    The refuge des Grands Mulets closed yesterday, Thursday 1 August.

  8. Fondazione Montagna Sicura - Courmayeur

    A quick update on medium and high mountain conditions for this new summer week.

    After a weekend disturbed by heavy storms, during which the climbing activity in the high mountains was very limited, the week resumes with a more favourable climate: sunny conditions in Aosta Valley probably for most of the week, with pleasant temperatures and only temporary cloud cover for the passage of weak low-pressure waves north of the Alps.

    High mountains: rainfall on Saturday and on Sunday morning has left relatively few traces. As expected, the temperatures have dropped, although a slight rise of the isotherms is expected for today and tomorrow (up to 4000 - 4200 m). The refreezing on the snow routes has therefore improved, but we await more detailed news from the Guides and huts Managers after the resumption of today's activities. At the moment we can only confirm that most of the rock routes are, de visu, dry.

    Medium Mountain: Saturday's violent storms left some traces of water runoff on the trails, but there are no indications of criticality so far. For those who go on the Tour du Mont-Blanc, we remind you that a particular situation remains in the French area of La Flégère (already mentioned in the previous posts), for which we refer to our TMB information site: https: // bit.ly/2ywok4t

  9. Fondazione Montagna Sicura - Courmayeur

    This new week in July begins with the return of the summer heat. Let's see the updates on the conditions.

    As for the meteorological aspect, an anticyclone tends to expand towards Central Europe and to strengthen, favouring sunny and stable conditions with an increase in temperatures and some afternoon heaps. In the next two or three days the isotherm is therefore expected to rise to around 4,800 / 4,900 meters.

    High mountain: in anticipation of rising temperatures, it becomes increasingly important to check the quality of the night refreezing. The choice of schedules will be fundamental especially in the planning of returns. It is also recommended to tie yourself immediately to the exit from the huts and not to underestimate the conditions of practicability of the glaciers: follow the traces and manage the rope according to the presence of crevasses and the quality of the snow. In case of uncertainty, it is always good to rely on a professional.

    In general, it is confirmed the indication to pay attention on mixte in particular where the access channels are crossed (eg Diables, approaching the Dente del Gigante ...) and where you move on unstable ground which, with the merger of snow, could be potentially dangerous. On the other hand, the rock routes (eg Satellites, Triolet - Dalmazzi, Aiguille Croux and Aiguille Noire ...) are very busy and in favorable conditions.

    Medium Mountain: the paths around the Mont Blanc are increasingly popular, in particular the Tour du Mont Blanc which, as far as the Italian and Swiss sectors are concerned, is in good condition. On the French side, the critical situation already reported in the Flégère area, affected by the renovation of the cable car, remains. Some trails in the area are indeed closed, while the classic route remains accessible. For more information, check the map and consult the website https://www.chamoniarde.com/actualites/acces-et-fermetures-de-sentiers/travaux-secteur-flegere-acces-lac-blanc

  10. Fondazione Montagna Sicura - Courmayeur

    The week began with a small meteorological surprise: a light sprinkling of snow at medium altitudes. However, the situation should evolve rapidly.

    Weather update: the small low-pressure wave that brought disrupted weather in the Aosta Valley, with the return of snow at altitudes just over 2000 m, moves away to the east; the occurrence of a western flow will favour sunny weather in the coming days, with temperatures gradually increasing.

    High mountains: while awaiting the return information from Alpine Guides and Refuge Managers about the potentially positive effects of this lowering of temperatures, we remind you that some delicate situations persist, effect of the great heat at the end of June / beginning of July. Some areas, in fact, have been the subject of discharges of rocky material (examples: Triangle of Tacul, Tour Ronde, Couloir du Goûter ...) and for this reason a good ability to assess specific situations is required - or the support of professionals for the evaluation of the feasibility of some trips - in particular for those routes that stand in areas where the absence of snow has exposed surfaces covered by debris (especially canals and conoids). It is therefore important not to underestimate the potential dangers.

    As for the average mountain, the rains and thunderstorms of this night / morning should soon leave room for good weather. The crossing of the streams could therefore be more complex at this time due to the greater flow of the rivers. Maximum attention is recommended.

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