Mountain conditions update

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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:

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Fondazione Montagna Sicura - Courmayeur

    With the heat of these days and the very high isotherm, it is essential to pay close attention when walking on the glacier: the snow bridges are very thin and even following the track the risk of breakthrough is considerable. We are now in the most critical period; in a few weeks much of what is unstable will collapse and thus be visible, but so far be very careful.

    Monte Bianco area: the Kuffner Ridge has been climbed by a couple of ropes and it has been reported that snow is not completely transformed, but with a better refreezing (waiting for lower night temperatures) it should be fine. It should be noted, however, that the conditions of the Rochefort Ridge are more demanding than it may seem at first glance. Monte Rosa area: the huts are now all open and the first weekend saw a good frequentation of the main routes that seem to be in good condition at the moment. We look forward to more detailed information in the coming days with meteorological evolution.

  8. Fondazione Montagna Sicura - Courmayeur

    Focus Mont Blanc. The perturbation of these days has only brought a bit of rain at the altitude and has basically not changed the conditions that can be considered almost unchanged: good in general on rock, on the Diables Ridge and on the Rochefort Ridge. Over the next few days, we can imagine that with the return of the thermal zero to season levels, the Kuffner Ridge can finally get in condition. In this regard, let us point out that the path has already been done but, at the moment, the track is still vague and the cornices continue to be important and rather dangerous, particularly in the area beyond the Androsace.

  9. Fondazione Montagna Sicura - Courmayeur

    Very high temperatures even at high altitude favor good general conditions.
    In the area of the Glacier du Géant and the Combe Maudite, the glacier is still fairly well covered, although it is important to consider that snow quality changes a lot with daytime heating. The Satellites are perfectly dry and in condition, good condition at the Dent du Géant, which is already very crowded. The Traversé des Diables seems in good condition while for the Kufner ridge is perhaps still too early since the cornices after Androsace are still very pronounced.

  10. Fondazione Montagna Sicura - Courmayeur

    Information Note issued on 11/7/2016 at 04.30 p.m.

    Avalanche danger: 
    The avalanche danger level becomes relevant above 2500-2700 m on the coldest slopes (exposed from east to north and northwest) and increases with the altitude becoming more consistent above 3000 m at all aspects. The danger is given by the new and by the wind drifted snow. 
    At high altitude the snow has been strongly worked by the wind, before from south-west then from north and northwest, so that surface slabs, which can be triggered at the passage of a person, have been built up at all aspects. 
    The danger is greater in the north-west areas of the region, where it snowed more, from Valgrisenche, passing through La Thuile, the Mont Blanc and Gran San Bernardo areas, up to Ollomont. The danger level decreases moving towards the south-east areas of the region and it is the lowest in the Champorcher area where lower altitudinal levels and the few amounts of snow are present. 

    Snow and weather: 
    A southwestern stream - winds from SW moderate to strong, has passed through our region from Friday evening until the early hours of Sunday morning; later a north-westerly flow, generally cold, have brought good weather on Sunday, with residual cloudiness on the main alpine ridge associated with some precipitation, moderate winds from W strengthening and changing from NW and foehn in the valleys. 
    The rainfall, widespread especially during Saturday, have been moderate in the western sector, generally weak elsewhere, with a snow/rain level at about 1200 m rising at 1500 m. 
    Below, the new snow amounts registered by the automatic weather station network at 2000 m are reported: 
    - up to 60 cm in the Mont Blanc areas (partly eroded by the wind); 
    - 40 cm in Valgrisenche, La Thuile, Gran San Bernardo and Ollomont areas; 
    - 10-15 cm in the Gran Paradiso valleys, Valtournenche and Monte Rosa; 
    - 5-10 cm in the Champorcher valley. 

    Also at 2000 m above the past two days temperatures dropped at 8 °C. 
    In the shady slopes above 2500 m the new snow leans on an unfavorable surface, possibly formed by faceted crystals. 
    In the sunny slopes the snow leans directly on the ground, still warm, up to 3000 m. 
    The old snow has already shown signs of instability in the last two weeks, with natural release slabs of medium size above 3000 m from the colder aspects. At the sunny aspects, the situation was quite different: the strong sunshine and mild temperatures have humidified the snow in the steep slopes until at least 3600 m of altitude; on these slopes an accidental release of a medium size slab happened in the Mont Blanc area. 
    Trend: the cold temperatures, the light snowfalls on Wednesday in the northwest area and the moderate winds confirm the avalanche danger at high altitude.