Whilst summer weather and temperatures have finally arrived in the Alps, early season snow volume on the glaciers around the Mont Blanc Massif & Northern Alps in general, remains excellent, for this moment!
Early summer snow fields around the range are not just odd patches and old couloir lines. There is more extensive and continuous cover at lower altitudes than many recent years and the higher altitude glaciers like Tour and Trient have impressively high snow volume, look superb and have some great conditions for mountaineering in general.
From early on the Col de Balme path approaching the Refuge Albert Premier, there is plenty of snow burying the summer path in more places than normal and, whilst the snow is disappearing fast in the hot weather, some of these are pretty exposed with a serious run out. Thus this is still far from being the high summer trail to the hut and mountaineering gear and skills are recommended to safely negotiate this approach in current conditions.
But whilst this extra snow adds an extra dimension to the Albert premier hut approach, it also means great travel conditions higher up with very nice easy rapid access to the glacier en route to the Aiguille du Tour and likewise relatively good conditions for crossing both the Col Sup du Tour and Col du Tour, see topo photos from the Trient Hut below for the Col du Tour crossing:
Topo shots from the Trient Hut of the Col du Tour from both Swiss and French sides. Note that whilst the Swiss side is pretty steady and easy, the final section to the Col on the French side is steep and loose with some bolts on the more solid bits of rock!
The Tete Blanche ascent was in fine conditions and teams were also climbing both the little North Face and short mixed east ridge.
Likewise both the ascent of the Petite Fourche and descent of the Col Blanc were in excellent conditions.
There is barely a crevasse to be seen on the Trient Glacier and whilst this could change rapidly it’s good for now to use the winter approach to the Cabanne de Trient, in summer!
The approach to the Aiguille du Tour is also in very good condition and it made a change to keep crampons on for the fun rock and mixed scramble to the summit.
Various teams went various different ways but the guided team who had done the Couloir du Table reported conditions to be “dégueulasse…il faut pas y aller”. So, despite the apparently decent snow volume in the couloir, that’s pretty clear!
The South Ridge of the Aiguille Purtscheller had various tracks on the snowy approach and decent and one team on the lovely orange sun kissed granite. So that looked pretty good!
Good conditions also and quite a few teams on the Éperon Migot on the Aiguille du Chardonnet north face as well as the descent route. However there was mixed info about the Arête Forbes and less favourable info on the the mixed routes on the Chardonnet.
Good snowy conditions for early summer mountaineering exist around the Mont Blanc Massif with teams climbing Mont Blanc, Dent du Géant, Aiguille Verte. This current snow situation could evolve rapidly with the ongoing hot and then stormy weather forecast for later in this week but there is lots to do and please get in touch if we can help with any guiding, climbing & mountaineering training.
Summer 2021 Courses & Guiding Availability
For group courses, we have spaces available on the following courses plus many more on our Full list of courses here and please get in touch if you would like to arrange some private guiding & mountain adventures this summer either in the UK or the Alps.