21 May 2018, Tour Ronde – North Face, Gervasutti Couloir, Voie Normale

The mixed weather in the Mont Blanc Massif, with some particularly cloudy weather on the Italian side of the Vallee Blanche, has not stopped plenty of teams enjoying the good conditions on the Tour Ronde, for going both up & down!  A strong team skied the North Face yesterday with some fine looking steep shallow powder turns and one long (60m) rappel through the icy looking narrows.

Skiing the North Face of the Tour Ronde with 1 skier enjoying steep fresh tracks above the narrows and 2 others waiting at the top of the Gervasutti Couloir

With an early start from the Torino Hut this morning we made the most of the short weather window and nipped round to do the Voie Normale on the Tour Ronde which was in good snowy condition.  Combined with the early hour and cool & cloudy weather it was about the only time we would go this way anymore due to the extensive rock fall and very loose unstable blocks.  There is currently good snow cover in the couloir just to the climbers left of the ‘old’ normal route and this is considerably less exposed to stone fall.   There were no tracks on the extended Ridge route which continues along towards Col Freshfield and this area and the West Face all look well snowy.

Good snowy and cool conditions on the Tour Ronde in mid May 2018

Teams were also climbing and skiing the Gervasutti Couloir which looked to be well filled with an easily crossed bergschrund:

Gervasutti Couloir, Tour Ronde, 20 May 2018

The weather was generally slightly better on the Chamonix side over the last few days, but as the Aiguille du Midi was shut, it looked pretty quiet over there.  A few teams were traversing the Vallee Blanche which, like many of the high glaciers in the Northern Alps at the moment has high snow volume & good conditions as we head towards the start of the summer alpine season…