Alpine Climbing Conditions – 18-07-2010

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Ok – time for a roundup of current conditions in the Alps:  over the last couple of weeks it’s been very hot with no significant precipitation, so ridges and faces at all altitudes have been drying out significantly.

Snow conditions on the easier classic Swiss 4000m peaks still remain good however, with firm cramponing snow on most voie normales and snow ridges (Weissmies NW Flank, Allalinhorn Hohlaubgrat, Lagginhorn SW Flank etc).  The snow is thinning out now in places however and will sooon be replaced by much icier conditions if the hot weather continues. 

Rock ridges on the other hand are for the most part dry now and also in good condition – eg over the past week I’ve been up the S ridge of the Lagginhorn and the Hornli Ridge on the Matterhorn.

Over in Chamonix we’ve had teams on the Rochefort Arete and numerous rock and ridge classics, but not on any ice routes which are currently out of conditions due to the high temperatures.  Neil also climbed that classic italian 4000m peak, the  Grand Paradiso on Thursday – reporting good snow conditions, but steeper sections of the normal route starting to dry out in places.

The forecast for the coming week continues to be hot, with storms due later in the week – so best to get on anything big at the start of the week rather than later on.