Autumn Conditions in Chamonix/Mont Blanc Massif

I’d like to give my take on this mixed seasons conditions for those of you interested.

Some of it is speculation, some of it experience and some just from talking to others and seeing others reports of routes. I’d welcome comments bellow if you have any input or want me to further shake the magic 8 ball.

Despite the hot and dry summer the mountains have recovered somewhat and there seems to be, in the right places, some good ice about.  Here is a brief run through of popular areas to give you some insight.

Tacul Triangle

Seemingly good conditions on most routes, lots of fun snow ice on the German gully, Profit Perroux, Chere and other mixed lines.  A good choice for a day hit to get some fun climbing in.

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Shot 9th October, German Gully Tacul Triangle

Passerelle Couloir/ off the Midi Bridge

Theres been a few teams going of the bridge each day.  Reportedly Vent du Dragon is good but the Pérroux-Profit Gully is lean and in a bad way.  Other routes might be good but I’ve not heard.

Midi North Face

The Chere Couloir is a Plastic neve Romp as ever and the top seracs are fairly begnin looking, however the serac next to the Frendo spur is very threatening right now. The Mallory would be climbable but needs more cover to make it enjoyable.  I climbed the Eugster Diagonal (see previous post) yesterday and it was fine.  I started 150m to the right in the next gully system and traversed hard left after 60m. This avoided the thin and spindrifty start. The Direct looks a bit thin but should be passable.  I did hear of a team climbing it but that’s just hear say.  Charli Chasagne looks ok aswell.

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Shot 11th October, Midi North face

Pellerin North Face

Not heard of any teams on this but the Carrington/Rouse would probably be pretty good.  Beyond is starting to form also.. Are you keen?

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Shot 5th of october

Grandes Jorasses

Looks quite snowy from this photo but I bet some of the routes are climbable.  Not heard of any ascents but it will be quieter up there than last year for sure!! Any news? Send me some photo’s and I’ll post them here!

Argy Bassin

I’ve heard of some teams climbing the Droites, ColtonBrooks Etc. Probably most classic routes, Ginat etc are good if your keen for the romp up there. Trip report of the DEBRUYNE-MANU/GABBAROU 79 here showing some pictures of the basin. However my friend Pete told me that the Chardonnet descent definitely requires a sense of humour! I’m sure this is true for the Droites too!

Nant Blanc and Dru Couloir

Nant Blanc is looking OK but I’m sure the glacier is horrendous to get to the base of it. not sure about the Dru Couloir area but It is probably ok.

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Shot 5th of October

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Cascade EMHM.

Yesterday me and Emily had planned on climbing the Claire Chazal on the Grands Montets ridge but we both decided we weren’t in the right mood for an alpine route on a north face in the blistering cold when we got to the bottom.  We skied some nice, tracked powder down to the glacier and bobbed down past the tops of the nearside icefalls.  Looking at the entry points of all the routes most had piles of ski’s and boot already so we carried on down. We made it to the top of the Cascade EMHM and dropped in for a look. It was super fat but pretty “dinner-platey”.  We also only had 5 screws (story of my ice climbing career!) so it was a good test of mental strength at a few points. All in all a lovely day out with one of my most favorite people… 🙂

More info and TOPO here.

Forbes Arete, Aiguille Du Chardonnet.

The Aiguille du Chardonnet, The Forbes Arete is the left hand skyline ridge.

Summer alpinism is here!! Long, sweaty approaches, manky snow conditions and rainy afternoons.  Still its all good fun and with the longest of days upon us getting out for a classic alpine route seems to good to pass up.  My original plan was to solo the Migot Spur  but with high temps forecasted I didn’t fancy A) walking across a glacier by myself or B) climbing on a north face.  Luckily my good buddy Ben O’Connor Croft (of Petit Dru North Face fame) was able to make it out so we headed up to the Albert Premier hut  for a Sunday night bivying on the rocks….. Continue reading