Mountain conditions update

  1. 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 ").

  2. 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.$first?OpenDocument&L=_e

  3. Fondazione Montagna Sicura - Courmayeur

    A north-east perturbation has brought rain and snow during the weekend, starting from Saturday evening. Precipitation was more intense in the south-eastern sector and along the bordering ridge, the winds at 3000 m were moderate to strong, first from south (during the snowfall), then by N-NE with foehn in the valleys (after the snowfall).

    Fresh snow
    The rain/snow limit has been at 1700-1800 m (few cm).
    The amounts of fresh snow recorded are 10-15 cm at 2000 m, 20-25 cm between 2200 m and 2500 m along the ridges bordering with Switzerland and Piedmont (then from Gran San Bernardo to the heads of Cervinia and Monterosa valleys and in the heads of the Gran Paradiso and Champorcher valleys), with a maximum of 30 cm recorded at Gabiet. While in the north-west and central parts of the Valle d'Aosta the amounts are slightly lower.
    The snow is wet up to 2500 m, more and more dry and cold moving up above this altitude.

    Wind and temperatures
    At the end of the snowfall, from Sunday afternoon, moderate-strong N-NEwinds began to blow, which resulted in a strong snowdrifting (bumps and ridges are already eroded) and in a sharp fall in temperatures with average values (at 8.00 am) of -3°C at 2000, -8°C at 2500 m and -12°C at 3000 m (-20°C at the Margherita hut, 4560 m).

    Typical avalanche problem
    The moderate/strong winds, from S during the snowfall, from N-NE after, promptly wind-drifted the fresh snow: the typical avalanche problem is linked to the wind-drifted snow, with the possible release of dry snow slabs (already reported with weak overload), at high altitude (> 3200 m) where the slabs (up to 1 m thick) stand on ice, the most critical are the southern aspects for the action of cold winds from N-NE, still in progress.

    Today some weak snowfall are still expected, especially in the southern areas, and a new depression will result in a modest perturbation in the middle of the week.$first?OpenDocument&L=_e

  4. Fondazione Montagna Sicura - Courmayeur

    Focus Monte Bianco: These days we have good conditions for Traversée des Diables.
    Beware, however, of the conditions at higher altitudes: the storms of recent days and the cold currents taken on Sunday have created particularly dangerous conditions of "snow-blown snow" (particularly on the French side of the Dome du Gouter, north of the Mont Blanc du Tacul And Mont Maudit) that require great attention and special experience in cramponnage. For more information and pictures:
    Likewise, the conditions are not yet good in the West side of the Jorasses, where several climbers have abandoned near the Canzio bivouac.
    In this regard, there are some problems in the last few rappels, those to get off the bivouac, where we recommend 2 ropes of 50 m, as a rock collapse struck some spit

  5. Fondazione Montagna Sicura - Courmayeur

    Focus Grivola area (Cogne - Aosta Valley): do remember that the order of the municipality of Cogne is still in force, which, due to a massive collapse on the Grivola, has interrupted the transit along the route between the Trajo Glacier and the Bivouac Balzola.

  6. Fondazione Montagna Sicura - Courmayeur

    Due to the complete fusion of the snowfields that provided water to Rifugio Gonella, the managers were forced to close the hut in advance.
    We point out that this is an isolated case and that the other shelters will remain open until the dates set. For more information, see the "info-huts" page of our site:

    With regard to conditions in the high mountains, the violent storms of yesterday and Saturday did not substantially alter the conditions of the main routes. However, we recommend you to check the weather forecasts (the most reliable ones are on our homepage), especially the day before your trip, remembering that summer thunderstorms can form very quickly, especially over reliefs.

  7. Fondazione Montagna Sicura - Courmayeur

    There has been a lot of wind at high altitude and we suppose that in some areas there have been heavy snowfalls. The wind should continue to blow for the whole day and calm down somewhat tomorrow. At the moment, it is advisable to wait for the snow to stabilize and the rock to dry.

    Some info about the amount of snow fallen (snow limit above 2500m).
    Mont Blanc:
    40 cm at Gouter hut, about 40 cm at Torino hut, Col Flambeau and Cosmiques hut; all Aiguilles de Chamonix are covered with snow, also on the Envers des Aiguilles side; about 20 cm on top of the Grands-Montets.
    Monte Rosa:
    Between 10 and 20 cm of snow and strong wind. The conditions have not changed much but it is extremely cold and the rocky parts are covered with snow.

  8. Fondazione Montagna Sicura - Courmayeur

    Snow dropped before last weekend has stabilized and is virtually disappearing from the south facing slopes where the conditions has now returned to the situation we had before the perturbation. The rocky routes have returned perfectly practicable, while the ice / mixed routes have had a few days of glory, but by now, the ice is emerging.

    Attention: In the last few days, several rock collapses, even quite significant, have been reported in various areas of Aosta Valley, probably due to the degradation of permafrost: in particular, there have been evidence of collapses in Grivola, Aiguille Noire de Peuterey and in the Triolet basin (North face of the Greuvetta). It is therefore advisable to pay close attention if you decide to climb itineraries that might potentially be subject to instability (classical routes, paths on highly articulated rock structures, etc.).

    Focus Monte Rosa: From the latest news, the normal route to Polluce has dried up, while the West face of Castor has returned to being rather icy (it is advisable to be very cautious and not to form big groups – 2 or 3 pers. max). Lyskamm traverse over has been done several times but in quite difficult conditions, with very sharp ridges and emerging ice.

    Focus Monte Bianco: the Kuffner ridge, the Diables traverse and the Sperone della Brenva have been done. For the Kuffner, the snow was still not completely transformed, but the track it is pretty good.
    On the Brenva and above all on the descent from the Trois Monts, we have reported great difficulties in recent days: the track was done in 40-50 cm of fresh snow, 20-30 on the Tacul.
    As for Satellites, Dent du Giant, and Rochefort's ridge, conditions are good even if you have to be very cautious on the Rochefort for the particular conditions (sharp ridges, ice).

    As far as the areas of the Chamonix area are concerned, we refer you to our friends of La Chamoniarde:

  9. Fondazione Montagna Sicura - Courmayeur

    General situation: recent precipitations have deposited a modest amount of snow at altitude (maximum accumulation of around 10 cm for some sectors) without thus changing the conditions of the main itineraries. For today, in the afternoon, more intense phenomena are expected, which will require a detailed check of the conditions in the various sectors. At this moment we can report the following situation:

    Monte Rosa: Castor's west wall has a rather open bergschrund and the ridge to the summit is pretty sharp, while the normal route has a slightly more sharp ridge than usual. The route to the Naso del Lyskamm from the west has many ice pleats and it is normally walked on the rocky side on the left of the wall. Even the climb to West Lyskamm from the Rifugio Quintino Sella has some parts of ice that oblige to use the rocky section on the right of the wall. Last but not least, the Lyskamm traverse has a pretty precarious condition with cornices on both the right and the left side.

    Gran Paradiso: Fallen about 10 cm of snow, several groups each day starting from both the Chabod Refuge and Vittorio Emanuele; The route is largely on uncovered ice. The North Wall is all in ice.

    Mont Blanc: irrelevant precipitation, several groups directed towards the Dent du Géant, some at Rochefort ridge which continues to be rather delicate (sharp with ice tracts), as well as towards the Vierge and to the Aiguille du Midi.

  10. Fondazione Montagna Sicura - Courmayeur

    The heat and the very high isotherm of these days are rapidly changing the conditions of the high mountain. At night, the refreezing is quite good, but it is highly recommended to pay attention to the ice-bridge thinning. As reported by the Guides and huts managers, the problem is slightly more serious in the Mont Blanc area, while on the Mont Rose the heavier spring snowfalls allow regular frequentation of the itineraries, despite conditions are comparable to those typical of mid-July. In detail: Various ropes on Castor, traversing from the Guide di Ayas to Quintino Sella Huts; Numerous groups to the Colle del Lys and the Capanna Margherita (some even with skis); Two groups attempting the Lyskamm traverse preferred to give up for the presence of ice.