Chamonix & Alpine Climbing Reports Winter 2016
29th December 2015 - Chevalier Couloir, Petite Aiguille Verte, Les Grands Montets
A mountaineering ascent of the Chevalier Couloir in late December would often prove to be a snowy trail breaking epic at best - Today a pleasant steady track led all the way up the Gully to the aesthetic snowy Demi Lune col. The route is impressively easily accessed in a very short walk from the Grands Montets station and the bergschrund was easily crossed today to access the sustained 45-50 degree snow slopes. Some teams had skied the couloir but we were glad to be climbing up it!
From the Demi Lune we took an enjoyable mixed line keeping to the left of the face and joining the Voie Normale above its crux wall. After enjoying the superb summit views in sunny & calm conditions we descended the good snowy track down the Voie Normale. Some teams climbed the North Face which looked pretty straightforward with a snowy track leading directly up to the Demi Lune.
Over on the North Face of the Aiguille du Midi another team made a swift ascent of the Mallory Route and reported good conditions with a track all the way. On the south side of the Mont Blanc range, one team climbed the Aiguilles Marbrees and Jonny reported good conditions from Patri Left Hand cascade ice route at Cogne.
Good weather looks set to continue during Wednesday before more snowy conditions arrive on Thursday night and over the weekend. One forecaster is predicting over 1m of fresh snow in the next week or so. That would be good, let's wait and see, but if you want to get excited looking at an optimistic forecast, you can check it out on the We Powder site here.
26th December 2015 - Mont Blanc Massif Early Winter Conditions Round Up
A very enjoyable & mild Christmas trip up in to Combe Maudit from Punta Hellbroner saw lots of teams enjoying the dry & stable conditions. The mountain ice conditions are not great but the lack of recent snow means some snow & even rock routes were getting done!
We saw one team heading up to climb the sunny & dry looking voie normale on the Dent du Geant. Probably not done very often on Boxing day - but it looked good today! Several teams had climbed the North Face of the Tour Ronde with an icier section in the narrows and at the top of the face but otherwise a reasonable snowy track.
On easier routes, teams had climbed the Aiguille du Toule, Aiguilles Marbrees and there was a track leading round to the Col d'Entreves also. The Gervasutti Couloir on the Tour Ronde had a track leading up to but then stopping at the bergschrund and the Rebuffat Couloir looked very dry & unappealing with loose snow on rock.
Over on the Chamonix side of the range we heard reports of teams climbing both the Mallory on the North Face of the Midi and Fil a Plomb on the North Face of the Rognon de Plan. Routes on the Chardonnet North Face have also been climbed but in pretty dry conditions and with a heavily crevassed approach. More teams have profited from the mild & stable conditions for climbing the accessible classics like the Cosmiques Arete & Pointe Lachenal.
Conditions in Cogne are very dry with regard to snow cover but there is ice on the frozen water courses and routes in this style are being climbed in thin conditions.
20th April 2015 - Perfect Spring Mountaineering Conditions - Aiguilles Marbrees
A little fresh snow late last week gave a velvet & pristine feel to the South side of the Mont Blanc massif as the weather turned to perfect today. Lovely spring high alpine weather and decent snow cover gave a very enjoyable PD traverse of this fine... more>
An impressive collection of galleries giving an insight in to the quality and huge variety of mountaineering within and around the Chamonix Valley. Routes include classic beginners alpine ridges, 1000m+ classic North Faces, winter style Chamonix Goulottes and many more.
There are some alpinists who consider summer to be the only 'off-season' period for alpine mountaineering. It is in winter, spring and autumn that the combination of snow, ice, low temperatures and quiet mount... more>
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