Busy day in the high mountains
The high mountains were taken over on Friday by a swarm of budding alpinists keen to make the most of the perfect weather and ideal conditions
The Aiguille du Midi was teaming by 7am with the masses eagerly awaiting its 8:10am opening. When the gates opened, 50+ climbers and sightseers were being deposited at 3842m every 10 minutes. Most of them heading down the knife-edge arête to continue onto their chosen route, while others abseiled off the bridge that connects the two areas of the lift station.
Many classic climbs were being tracked by large numbers of climbers and guided groups. On the Aiguille du Midi side there were tracks to be seen on the Pointe Lachenal traverse, Cosmiques arête, Triangle du Tacul and Mont Blanc du Taculs north face with a track continuing to Mont Blanc via the 3 monts route.
With the warm temperatures up high there was also a lot of rock activity with climbers spotted on the south face of the Aiguille du midi, the Contamine route on Pointe Lachenal, and the east ridge of the Pyramid du Tacul.
It was also busy on the Italian side with many parties spotted climbing the Tour Ronde north face and the Entreves traverse. These routes are very popular with Italian guides as they offer the same accessibility as the Cosmiques arête does with Chamonix guides.
Although it is almost mid June there are still some people not wanting to accept winter is over and searching for some spring corn. The Gervasutti couloir on Mont Blanc du Tacul was skied yesterday in what looked like perfect spring conditions and there were also lots of tracks to be seen down the north face of Mont Blanc du Tacul.
With the weather set to deteriorate over the weekend and into next week there will be a period of inactivity in the Mountains. The snow line is set to drop to 2000/2200m so this will cover some of the tracks leading to many routes. We will give further updates as the summer season continues.
NB: Off piste skiing and mountaineering are 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.
Location: Chamonix / Mont Blanc Valley