High Mountain Guides / News / Claire Chazal & Chamonix Mountain Ice Climbing Conditions

Claire Chazal & Chamonix Mountain Ice Climbing Conditions

Approaching the belay at the base of the crux corner on the Claire Chazal, Argentiere Basin, Chamonix

An extremely windy day up high in the Chamonix Valley gave some pretty tough mountain conditions for those venturing out on to experience the good quality ice that currently exists. This is one aspect of winter sport in the valley not suffering from the month long snow drought!

Fellow British Guide, Jonny Baird and I made a, mostly, enjoyable ascent of the 'Claire Chazal' (II,4) on the Pointe Farrar face of the Aiguille Vert in the Argentiere Basin and approached extremely rapidly with a downhill ski from the Grands Montets top station. I say 'mostly' as at times the intensity of the spindrift (see photos below) challenged even our sense for climbing in ridiculous conditions well honed with many lashings of 'Scottish Alpinism!' The route, accessed with a long rightward traverse just above the bergschrund, follows a slightly itinerant line but is channeled into some good ice and mixed climbing at around Scottish grade IV with one slightly leaner section giving a short sharp technical 6.

Ross and Leanne climbed the Frendo Ravanel next door and over the previous few days other teams have been climbing the Couturier Couloir, North Face of Les Droites (Ginat), Swiss Route on Les Courtes North Face, Petite Viking and on the North West Face of Mont Dolent.

Over the hills at the upper end of the Vallee Blanche good ice conditions prevail on the East Face of Mont Blanc du Tacul with teams climbing the Pellissier on Pt. Lachenal, Gabarrou-Albinoni, Pinnochio, Laratoune and the Supercouloir is looking pretty fat!

The prevailing cold, dry and sunny weather looks set to continue favouring the winter alpinist over the powder hound! Get in touch if you are interested in any Guided winter alpine climbing.


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