Ok – time for another roundup of whats going on out here in the Alps. We’ve just had a couple of weeks of mostly hot sunny weather, so great for climbing – but snow and ice lines are obviously drying out and rockfall is becoming more frequent.
CHAMONIX – lots of big rock classics are seeing regular traffic including the WALKER SPUR on the GD JORRASSES (good conds, a bit icy at the top), TRAVERSE and N FACE CLASSIC RTEs on the DRU (Charpoua Glacier is OK), stonefall reported accessing W FACE of PETIT JORRASES, SWISS RTE on GD CAPUCIN – big bergschrund, but can use the gully to access (stonefall), MIDI + CHAMONIX AIGUILLES – everything dry and rock rtes in cond. On snow and ridge rtes, things are drying out – from the Albert 1er Hut most rtes now have patches of ice which are making things more delicate (Aig du Tour, Petit Fourche, Chardonnet), on the AIG VERTE the JARDIN RIDGE is still in, but the moine ridge is snowy and awkward. TRAVERSE of the GD JORRASSES + FRONTIER RIDGE on MT MAUDIT are in good nick, traverse of the courtes is in poor cond, normal rtes on MT BLANC all in good cond – but still serac risk on Tacul + Maudit, stonefall in Gd Couloir etc, Tour Ronde SE Ridge is looking very dry now, Midi Plan has few delicate icy sections. Regarding ice routes, it’s generally been too hot recently – though we did manage to sneak in an ascent of the CHERE COULOIR on Monday during the brief cold snap – conds were excellent, but don’t try the same till temperatures drop again!
ITALY – GD PARADISO still in good cond, but sections of ice appearing on the lower half of the normal rte, LYSKAMM teams doing the traverse via Il Naso.
SWITZERLAND – High alpine rock ridges are in good dry cond: MATTERHORN, DT BLANCHE, OBERGABELHORN TRAVERSE, ZINAL ROTHORN, NADELGRAT etc, the easier 4000m peaks are still in great cond with good snow for cramponing and well covered glaciers – WEISSMIES, ALLALINHORN, STRAHLHORN, ALPHUBEL, BREITHORN etc
ROCKFALL – due to all the hot weather, we are seeing a lot more rockfall on the hill each day now – so time to start choosing routes carefully and maybe avoid known blackspots such as the Tour Ronde, approach to the Dt du Geant, Gd Couloir on Mt Blanc etc