21 June 2019, Chamonix Mountaineering Conditions Update

It’s been another mixed week of weather with both storms and sunshine but not too hot thus preserving the great early summer season snow volume in the high mountains.  It looks like there might be a heatwave on the way for next week with wall to wall sunshine and hot temperatures.   Our Chamonix Intro+ Alpine Mountaineering course had a great 3 day expedition around the Tour and Trient Glaciers using the Albert Premier & Trient Huts as base camps.   They found very good snow cover on the glaciers and enjoyable conditions for climbing the Aiguille du Tour, Tete Blanche & Petite Fourche.

Marcel & James on the summit of the Aiguille du Tour on our Intro+ Alpine Mountaineering Course, June 2019. Photo Simon Hale.

Our Mont Blanc team also had good success and timed their summit period well at the start of the week and had near perfect weather for both the snowy ascent to Tete Rousse and then the summit day and down to the Gouter Hut.  The crossing of the Grand Couloir was snowy with a good track and the mountaineering ridge scramble between Tete Rousse was also well snowy but with a good track and in enjoyable conditions.

The mixed ascent to the Gouter Hut from Tete Rousse, mid June 2019 Photo Neil Hitchings

Some teams have also been successful climbing Mont Blanc from the Italian side via the Gonella Hut with good snow volume albeit with some crevasses as usual!  The 3 Monts Route is likely to be a lot less popular this year due to the difficult conditions on the North Face of Mont Maudit due to the large and threatening looking seracs.   Alternatively, you could just fly your plane up there like one team did this week!!  Not allowed and the team were reprimanded by the Chamonix PGHM!  Some teams have also arrived at the Dome du Gouter via the magnificent ‘Royal Traverse’ via the Conscrits Hut, Domes de Miage, Durier Hut and traverse of the Aiguille du Bionassay.

Good early summer season on the glacier above the Chabod Hut and below the North Face of Gran Paradiso, mid June 2019. Photo Klemen Gricar

On Gran Paradiso snow cover remains very good and we have a couple of teams climbing there over the next couple of days.  Worth noting that there is often a short steep snow slope below the Vittorio Emanuelle Hut which can catch teams unawares who have taken off all their mountaineering gear and gone in to summer path walking mode…only to be presented with the most hazardous slope on the whole route!  The north face has also been climbed in decent condition and so had the North Face of the Tour Ronde, as well as the Dent du Geant with still decent snowy conditions on the approach.

North Face Of Les Grandes Jorasses, June 19, 2019

Snow volume remains extensive in the Aiguilles Rouges with many / most of the higher paths still snow covered meaning mountaineering skills and equipment are required on what can be easy paths later in the summer.   Work is in operation on the Flegere lift meaning some of the lower paths around there are closed for the summer season.  More info here.  Teams have been climbing the Aiguille Verte this week including via Whymper Couloir but it looks like this may become a much less good option if the weather is as hot as forecast next week and doesn’t freeze overnight.

Snow volume and cover in the Aiguilles Rouges, June 19, 2019

We have teams in the Swiss Alps this weekend aiming to climb the Weissmies, Lagginhorn & Allalinhorn.  It looks like Sunday is the day of the good weather arriving before the heatwave later in the week…Bon weekend, good climbing & let us know if you have any good conditions info to share. Rob.

We still have a few places available on this summers alpine mountaineering courses…