16 July 2018, Col du Midi Mountaineering Conditions, Chamonix

A combination of Bastille day celebrations, France playing in the World Cup final…and a pretty poor weather forecast meant it was no surprise that it wasn’t very busy at the Cosmiques Hut and mountaineering around the Col du Midi above Chamonix.

There was a great atmosphere staying in the Cosmiques Hut watching the World Cup, especially when France started scoring lots of goals!  We had just got back in from a team abseil down the crags below the wooden ‘Perroux’ shed and can confirm those cracks on the front face are pretty steep, and look hard!

Abseiling down the fine rock walls below the Peroux Hut, which is below the Cosmiques Hut, Chamonix

We had climbed the small North Face of Pt Lachenal that morning and only got hailed on as the main event of the electrical storm arrived late in the evening.   The North face of the main summit gave fun snowy / icy front pointing with our teams taking various lines including the also quite icy ‘normal route’ on the hard climbers right of the face.

Climbing the North Face of Pointe Lachenal, above the Col du Midi, Chamonix

Today, a few teams were breaking trail up through the shallow layer of fresh snow on Mont Blanc du Tacul and heading up towards the summit.  No tracks were seen higher up on Mont Maudit shoulder.  There had been a serac tower collapse over night with significant fresh debris extending down in to the area at the base of the Chere Couloir.  This latter route looked very thin / dry and not appealing and there were no teams seen climbing on the Triangle at all, although there were some tracks on the Left Edge Route.

The fine crux granite slab on the traverse of the Arete Laurence above the Col du Midi, Chamonix

This morning was sunny & clear and the fresh snow on the steep and sunny rock soon burnt off although lingered significantly on the shady aspects.   We enjoyed a good traverse of the Arete Laurence from the Cosmiques Hut towards the Tacul and many other teams were on the Cosmiques Arete (icy finishing chimney) and just 1 team enjoying the sun rock and rare solitude on the Midi South Face!

The Piton Sud – The fine summit at the top of the Aiguille du Midi South Face
The last move on the Arete des Cosmiques, Chamonix

Well done to the great team from Giggleswick school who have really made the most of their Chamonix Mountaineering week and got loads of good routes and peaks done.   We enjoyed the quiet ascent back to the Midi station via a good track on the snow arete before a final end of course drink at the Plan de l’Aiguille.

The fine exposed snow ridge on the return to the Aiguille du Midi. Chamonix nearly 3000m below!