The warnings about the heatwave turned in to warnings about storms and floods, and in a matter of hours the weather turned from 30+ and baking dry heat in Chamonix to monsoon rain and flooding! The weather has rapidly improved again and is set for a great busy weekend of activity in the high Alps before another storm passes through on Monday / Tuesday by the look of it.
We had teams doing lots of good routes last week but top of the pops, with 3 traverses, was Les Perrons, an excellent rocky AD ridge above Vallorcine and giving great views back to the big north faces of the Mont Blanc Massif.
Teams were traversing this in trainers now nearly all the snow has gone, but the approach on grass / heather was very slippery when wet after overnight storms etc. Likewise the traverse of the Aiguilles Crochues was done without wearing crampons although there is still plenty of snow on the descent to Lac Blanc, which generally makes it easier and faster!
Earlier in the week, and also following a significant storm, Tomaz and Ilari climbed the Dent du Geant in good style despite the heavily rimed and icy ropes and rock. The first pitch is particularly testing in these conditions without any fixed ropes and some steep and delicate climbing. The approach to the Salle à Manger is dry and loose as always and care is required if going there for the Dent du Geant or traverse of the Rochefort Arete – as an aller retour or continuing over the Grandes Jorasses.
In preparation for the ascent of the Eiger, hopefully tomorrow, Mike and Helen have been climbing on the East Ridge of the Grands Montets, Petite Aiguille Verte, Perrons Traverse and big boot rock climbing down in the Monte Viso area where Monte Viso itself was in good condition with Ben & Sarah climbing the East Ridge and descending via the normal route. Still snow on the route and, according to the guardian, ice axe and crampons “obligatoire!”
Away from the storms, conditions on the Matterhorn & Eiger remain good with plenty of teams making both the Aller retour from Hornli and ascents of the Italian Ridge, plus traversing the Eiger from Mittellegi Hut. The Dent Blanche South Ridge also saw ascents last week as did the Frontier / Kuffner Arete on Mont Maudit although the latter was reportedly getting dry and icy and not in great condition. The hot weather has taken it’s toll although in some places, like the Gran Paradiso, glacier conditions still remain reasonable thanks to a great winter / spring snow volume.
Our summer courses are mainly now full but we do have the following spaces still available on group programmes in Sept and early Oct. All of the following courses are running and have existing teams to join. Only 1 place available for the early Sept Alpine Intro course and 1 left for the Weissmeis course. All the details are here: