The Company of Guides- Saint Gervais have suspended the ascent of Mont Blanc via the Gouter Route as the high temperatures continue to make the infamous Grand Couloir highly dangerous.
Yesterdays fatality in the Grand Couloir on the Gouter ridge was a clear message to budding alpinists about the current conditions in the high mountains. With rapidly melting snow dislodging rocks the Grand Couloir has become a bowling alley of debris and has already claimed several lives this season. The PGHM (Peloton de Gendarmerie de Haute Montagne) have renewed their appeal for high mountain caution during these high temperatures.
With the freezing level staying around 4000m the snow below this altitude is constantly melting and therefore makes crossing the Grand Couloir at night just as dangerous.
If you are considering climbing Mont Blanc by any of its routes it is advisable to consult the OHM Guides office for current information on conditions. The office is located just next to the Tourist office in the Centre of Chamonix.
*Update 20th July 2015* The Gouter Refuge has now been closed for an indefinite period. Some mountaineers are still attempting the route, and the decision has been taken over the weekend by mayor of St Gervais, Jean Marc Peillex, to close the refuge.
NB: Mountaineering is dangerous. The opinions expressed in these articles are very much time and condition specific and the content is not intended in any way to be a substitute for hiring a mountain guide, undergoing professional mountaineering training and/or the individual's own back country decision making.