This weeks Mont Blanc courses started with ascents of the Gran Paradiso and, another course, with the Weissmies. Both are in excellent early season conditions with abundant snow on the glaciers / high slopes and excellent chilly alpine early mornings with a good overnight re-freeze of the snow. Great conditions!
The South Ridge of the Weissmies itself is getting pretty rocky as it’s steep, south facing and, rocky! But snow cover on the snow slopes to the climbers right of the ridge gave rapid access to higher up the ridge and conditions were equally excellent on the fine snowy summit crest. Here is the classic Weissmies Summit Ridge shot!
Equally the Gran Paradiso featured great snow conditions on the ascent under the North Face via the Chabod Hut and descent via the Vittorio Emanuelle Hut. On the Monte Rosa and run up to the Margherita Hut (accessed from Gressoney on the Italian side of the range) the glacier from the Gnifetti hut to the first col below the Balmenhorn Bivvy was quite soft and with a few very small crevasses showing. Above this however, the track was easy and flat all the way to below the Margherita hut. They are preparing for a running race from Alagna to Margherita and back so the track is probably going to be pretty wide soon! Pyramid Vinson was also being climbed in good conditions.
Conditions high on Mont Blanc also remain excellent with a big track high on the Bosses Ridge. The huts are still full reflecting this combination of both great conditions and weather (albeit with some very strong winds over the weekend and this morning). The rocky ridge below the Gouter Hut is now more rocky than mixed and there has been some more stone fall in the Grand Couloir, some of it caused by wind but probably mainly due to the early season snow melting and revealing the loose rock below. This happens every year and whilst the weather is sunny are warm, it is nowhere near as hot as the early season heatwaves of last year, with temperatures in Chamonix more 22-24C rather than 32-34C!
Conditions were also very good on the Aiguille du Chardonnet with ascents of the Migot, Forbes and great snow conditions on the descent. With the Aiguille du Midi still being closed, the Grands Montets has opened early and many teams are climbing the Petite Verte in good conditions.
We still have 1 place available on our late August 5 day Monte Rosa Mountaineer course (25-29 Aug) if you would like to do some intro mountaineering and enjoy this high altitude, physical and beautiful journey through the glacier sanctuary of the Italian side of the Monte Rosa.