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Hiking & Mountain Conditions in Chamonix

Where to find regular updates for the Chamonix Valley

Winter and inter-season have come and gone here in Chamonix and the summer lifts have started to open up again, giving hikers, climbers and mountain bikers access to some of the higher trails.

But what are conditions like up there? How do you know if it's snow free or safe to tackle some of the climbing routes? What condition are the routes in? 

Of course you check the weather forecasts and reports, or take a look at some of the webcams dotted around the valley, but these don't cover all of trails and routes and they certainly can't give you a first hand account of what conditions are like.

This is where the Chamonix High Mountain Office (OHM) comes in. The OHM publish helpful information on how to organise trips into the mountains, reducing risk and how to get assistance or rescue on their website. They also have a facebook page "La Chamoniarde" where they post detailed updates on mountain conditions, in English and French.

If you're looking for regularly updated information, then make this your go-to place for updates on mountain conditions. Here's today's update: 

La Chamoniarde Mountain Report 14th June 2017


Some news of mountain conditions during this period of heat and sun, with night time re-freezing either very weak or non-existent. It is important to respect the time of day and chose routes not affected by the warm conditions. With the heat, the paths at mid altitude are becoming free from snow. At mid altitudes, the heat is clearing the snow from the footpaths.

Hiking:
Though the snow is rapidly disappearing, some paths, namely those N facing, remain awkward. No problems with the Plan d’Aiguille to Montenvers traverse. The Planpraz lift is open but the Flegere lift only opens on the 17th June. No problems going to the Col Cornu and back but there is still snow on the path to the Col de la Glière and the lakes in this area remained covered. The Chésery Lakes are accessible and reappearing from under the snow. However, there is still a lot of snow towards Lac Blanc, which remains iced over.

Because of work being carried out, it is forbidden to use the approach to Flégère by the main track, (Lanchers piste,) including all the paths that cross it, until 28th July, (Council decision).. This also means there is no access via the Floria Cafe 

Some snow remains on the last part up to the Junction, take care! 

Condition are much improved for the Tour du Mont Blanc, though some sections still demand care and good equipment.

Alpinism:
- Albert 1er: Until the lifts open this coming weekend, the approach to the hut is either by the moraine or by Charmillon. On the Chardonnet, the Forbes Ridge and the Migot Spur have been climbed; some ice not in good condition but basically OK. No particular problems experienced on the descent by the normal route. The normal routes on the Aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche and Petite Fourche are in good condition. The first third of the Table Couloir is dry, making the Table Ridge a better choice. The Copt couloir was climbed on 10/06; there is an ice section in the middle, though conditions OK for the moment by keeping to the left.

- Argentière: No information for the moment.

- Couvercle: climbing has started on the Moine, (normal route and S ridge,) the Nonne and the Evêque. The Whymper Coulir is still being climbed but conditions are deteriorating, the final ridge has become narrow and with soft snow. A party completed the Couturier, where the conditions seem to remain OK for the moment. The normal route on the Droites is tracked, as is part of the Courtes traverse. The Pointe Isabelle remains feasible, though several of the snow bridges are becoming delicate. Nobody has attempted Jardin Ridge yet and it does not look like crossing the bergschrund will be feasible for much longer.

- Leschaux: The hut is open; approach by the new ladders, taking care on the moraine. The traverse from the Couvercle is OK, even though several snow patches remain. No problems for the approach to the Périades. The Petites Jorasses looks to be in good condition. There is still too much snow on the Walker Spur, (Grande Jorasses.)

- Le Requin: Good climbing in this sector, (Renaudie, Congo Star, Pierre Alain normal route, Chapeau à Cornes). Crevasses are appearing on the way back up the Valley Blanche, take care with snow bridges weakened by the heat.

- Envers des Aiguilles: The hut should open on the 16th June. There are still a few snow patches between the ladders and the hut. Some routes have been climbed recently in this sector but no further information. The rock looks to be free of snow.

- Torino: A lot of activity in this sector; with the Marbrées and Entrêves traverses, Dent du Géant, Rochefort Arete (very narrow in places,) and the SE Ridge, N face and Gervasutti Couloir on the Tour Ronde in condition for the moment. Parties are rock climbing on the Tacul satelittes. The Kuffner ridge has been done but there are large cornices after the Androsace.and the warden recommends waiting still for better conditions. 
The Brenva Spur has also been done, the bergschrund could prove awkward. Theoretically, there should be no problems for the Aiguilles du Diable.

- Cosmiques: Traverse of the Valley Blanche and the 3 Monts in condition. There has been activity on the Contamine routes and the Chere couloir, (Tacul Triangle). The bergschrund on the Grisolle is awkward. Lots of parties on the Cosmiques Ridge and the traverse of the Pointes Lachenal. A party turned back on the Midi-Plan because of poor re-freezing. 
Good rock climbing conditions in this sector.

- Plan de l’Aiguille: Parties climbing on the Aig d’M and the Peigne, crampons useful for the snow patches. The Frendo Spur and the Mallory-Porter have been done, no further information.

- Grands Mulets: Though it is still just possible to do Mont Blanc with skis, it is now better on foot. The traverse of the Jonction requires care but is still OK for the moment; (though becareful not to return too late in the day.) Very good conditions for the N Ridge of the Dôme with only 2 x 15m sections of ice. The N face of Mont Blanc is in bad condition.

- Goûter: Very popular, with good conditions for the Mont Blanc normal route. Be aware of the time of day and the risk of stonefall in the Grand Couloir. The cable is now in place in the couloir. 

- Plan Glacier: The Mettrier Ridge intégrale is mostly dry, crampons needed for the last 400 metres. There are some snow patches on the hut approach from the Col de Tricot, but none that cause a problem.

- Conscrits: The summer approach path is nearly completely free of snow and OK for properly equipped hikers. There is a very good track on the Dômes de Miage, which has a narrow and airy section on the traverse. Mont Tondu and the traverse of the Aiguilles de Tré la Tête have been done in OK conditions. 
 No information for the Bionnassay ridge, though it will certainly have been done. Attention, however, with the poor re-freezing conditions.

- Robert Blanc: Good conditions for the alpinists, though snow remains on some of the footpaths. Crampons and experience needed for crossing the Col du Bonhomme.

Bookmark La Chamoniarde facebook page to keep up to date with current conditions, or if you're already in Chamonix, you can call into their office which is open from Monday to Saturday, from 09:00 - 12:00 and 15:00 - 18:00. See the location of the office on the map link above. 

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Location: Chamonix / Mont Blanc Valley



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