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Mountain conditions for Chamonix July 2018

Where to find regular updates for the Chamonix Valley

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Brian Kieran | Chamonix Editor | Published: 11 Jul 2018


Mountain conditions for Chamonix July 2018

Winter and inter-season have come and gone here in Chamonix and the summer lifts are in full swing 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 the 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.



July has started with a period of warm weather that has complicated conditions in the high mountains for climbers, but has improved the situation for hikers and walkers. Here are some details of conditions on some of the more popular routes around the Chamonix Valley.

Though the snow is rapidly disappearing, some paths, namely those north facing, remain awkward. On the Aiguille Rouges, still no news about the opening of the Lac Blanc hut this summer. The snow starts about the level of Lac Blanc, which can now be reached without special equipment, but still some snow between the Chesery and Lac Blanc. Between the top of the Index chairlift and Lac Blanc much of the snow has gon, but some hard snow patches remain, so crampons are advised.

The way up to the Brevent col from Planpraz is dry, so good footwear and hiking poles are sufficient for this and the decent towards the Arleve bridge and the Moede d'Anterne hut. For the Brevent, it appears to be better to go via the Breche du Brevent. Crampons are still necessary for the descent from Col de Salenton to the Pierre a Berard hut (no longer any snow between the hut and Buet village). The Buet summit still has a lot of snow.

On the Tour du Mont Blanc, the Fenetre d'Arpette variant is not recommended due to the amount of snow on the Champex side and the state of the path on the Trient side (repair work due to start on July 11th). There is still a lot of snow on the summer Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt, so hiking poles and crampons are advised.

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Mont Blanc via the Gouter - The tramway has been running since July 7th, making the approach easier. Between the Tete Rousse and the Gouter there is a lot of stone fall during the day, so crossing the Grand Couloir as early in the day as possible is advised. Via the Grands Mulets route, some parties who summited before the recent storms reported good conditions via the north ridge of the Dome du Gouter. It's worth noting that the Gouter hut is fully booked for summer 2018, so other arrangements will need to be made.

On the Aiguille du Midi sector, the Three Monts route is popular at the moment as conditions are generally good. There is a long deviation to pass a crevasse at the foot of the north face of Mont Maudit. Two axes are recommended for the ice section at the Mont Maudit col and the Mur de la Cote.

The recent storms have hardened the snow surface, which is not yet glass-like, but still requires good crampon technique, especially on the descent. On the morning of the 5th there was 5cm of fresh snow at the Cosmiques hut. A party on Mont Blanc du Tacul the same morning found between 20 and 60cm due to the strong west wind. The rest of the route will likely be unstable for several days. For more conditions, check out the full report here.

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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If you'd like to experience some of the best outdoor activities Chamonix has to offer, book in with a local mountain guide or activity company. Read more about hiking, mountaineering, cycling, paraglidingrunning and mountain biking in Chamonix. 

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