28 June 2020, Chamonix, Mont Blanc & Alpine Mountaineering Conditions

Bishorn Ascent Guide

The forecast good weather window for this morning never really materialised and, at setting off time from the Tete Rousse Hut on Mont Blanc, it was raining with plenty of uninspiring cloud and wind swirling above meaning teams at the Gouter Hut had a pretty similar response.  Back in the hut for a brew…then down to catch the Tramway to trundle back to the valley.  Can’t win them all, but it was worth a try as early summer snow conditions are still reported as being pretty good higher up despite the very warm weather last week.

Mont Blanc Course
The Glacier du Bionassay on the old school, or out of season, route to Mont Blanc without using any lifts

Lots of snow on the lower slopes has been stripped, and it’s possible to walk from Bionassay to Nid d’Aigle without any snow, or take the tramway!   Numerous teams made the ascent to Tete Rousse via the normal summer route which is still pretty snowy and exposed in places and not like the high summer rocky path yet.  The snowy Bionassay Glacier descent route down towards the Nid d’Aigle Hut from the Tete Rousse Hut was fine this morning and whilst the snow was not re-frozen it was firm enough to give a pleasant rapid descent.  The solo ski alpinist at the foot of the North Face of the Aiguille du Bionassay early this morning did a ‘demi-tour’ due to the relatively warm snow conditions and uninspiring clouds higher on the face.

Great views of the Swiss Valais sunset from the Cabane Tracuit above Zinal. Base Camp for the Bishorn ascent. Photo James Carr.
On the Chamonix side of Mont Blanc, teams have been climbing over the Tacul and up Maudit via a new route as per indicated on the Cosmiques Hut Facebook Page, which also has some good info regarding recently conditions on the Kuffner, Arete de Diable and smaller local routes on the Triangle and Cosmiques Arete etc.
Climbing The Bishorn
Nice fresh snow and good conditions for the Bishorn ascent from Zinal – Tracuit. Photo James Carr.
We are proud of James and Scott who made a fine guide-less ascent of the Bishorn 4153m today.  The problem with our good practical training is that is sometimes makes us redundant!  Conditions were good with a nice fresh feel, plenty of snow on the glacier making the final summit slope nice and easy compared to the sometimes icy conditions later in the summer.
Thanks again for the help and advice for James and I’s trip this weekend. It was a different experience to do it on our own, but of course we had good conditions on a relatively easy climb which helped!
Good snowy conditions and a bit of trail breaking for teams on the Bishorn this morning, with more snow due later today and tomorrow also

We were also really pleased to hear that Cath & Russ were inspired to also make a 1 day ascent of the Gran Paradiso and did it in fine style, completing a tough round from the valley in good conditions over a sustained and tiring, but highly satisfying 10 hours of climbing.

Cath enjoying the views in to the heart of the Gran Paradiso National Park en route to making a fine 1 day ascent of the mountain from the valley.
There have been various other good 4000m peaks climbed over the last few days, despite the hot weather and some poor overnight re-freezes on the snow at times and good snow volume and nice conditions have been reported from the Allalinhorn, Breithorn, Strahlhorn and Rimpfischorn.  Note that, in places, the combination of this still decent remaining early summer season snow volume and hot mid summer temperatures, has caused various avalanches such as on Castor & the Monte Rosa Massif as described on the Data Avalanche site here.
We are now getting a lot more enquiries for Chamonix and alpine guiding this summer 2020 season but still have lots of availability for July through to September so please get in touch if we can help.
Hannah on the summit of the Rimpfischorn with the spiky north ridge beyond.