15 September 2021, Mid Sept Mountaineering Conditions – Mt Blanc Massif, Zermatt, Gr Paradiso

With the Hornli Hut on the Matterhorn closing earlier in the week, some of the lifts in Chamonix winding down and, more to the point, plenty of cool and wet weather arriving, it’s starting to feel autumnal around the Mont Blanc Massif.  But that’s a good thing, autumn is a great season for mountaineering & rock climbing!  Check out our article on seasonal mountaineering conditions in the Mont Blanc Massif and good options for climbing in the autumn and winter seasons

Kev and Simon the Riffelhorn summit with the striking pyramid of the East Face of the Matterhorn behind. The last day of the summer 2021 season? Photo Kev Avery

Simon & Kev were deflected from a deep field trip in to the heart of the Bernese Oberland as the weather forecasts were really poor for the middle of the week but they were able to hit the ground running Zermatt with rapid ascents of Pollux and the South Face of the Riffelhorn for 2 brilliant day trips.

The fixed chains on Pollux, good training for the Matterhorn! Photo Kev Avery

The approach to Pollux / Castor / Breithorn from the Kleinne Matterhorn lift is still in relatively good condition for the end of the summer season, but, like many glaciers around the Alps at the moment, there are still plenty of big holes and even more care will be required when these are covered in fresh snow with the inbound stormy weather.

Simon on the sunny steep wall on the fixed chains on Pollux, good training for the Matterhorn! Photo Kev Avery

The rock on Pollux was nice and dry and gives a good scramble with some steep pitches of fixed chains which are fun and good Matterhorn training.  Superb views from the summit over to Castor, Lyskamm and Monte Rosa one way…and the East Face of the Matterhorn and Breithorn the other way.

Simon on the summit of Pollux with the Castor north side route behind. Photo Kev Avery

Egg on the South Face of the Riffelhorn gave another really enjoyable day climb accessed via the Gornergrat Railway from Zermatt and it’s a pleasure to soak up the sunny late summer ambiance high above the Gorner Glacier and take in not only the remarkably spiky Zermatt Skyline, but the high quality fun steep big boot rock climbing too!

The superb position on the South Face of the Riffelhorn with the Gorner Glacier below and Mont Rosa – Dufourspitze beyond

Back in the Mont Blanc Massif, well done to George, Gavin, David, Sandy & Kenny for making the most of the last day of good weather for a while and climbing Mont Blanc.

Sandy Allan on the summit of Mont Blanc. Photo – thanks to George Grimes. 

All to the summit yesterday from the Tete Rousse Hut with good conditions on the upper mountain and pretty quiet in the Grand Couloir.

George on the summit of Mont Blanc. Photo Sandy Allan

Elsewhere in the massif folk have been enjoying good high sunny mountain rock climbing whilst it stayed relatively dry and warm but this looks set to change today, 15th Sept, with the arrival of wet and cool early autumn weather.   This could be good for building and improving ice and mixed conditions in the mountains for later in the autumn season.

October Mixed climbing on the NW face of the Aiguille du Midi.

Well done to our double group team climbing the Gran Paradiso over the weekend.  Still good conditions and we have a few places still left on our late Sept and early Oct courses, see details below.

Gran Paradiso summit Ridge. Photo thanks to Klemen Gricar.

We have also been out checking the interesting “trad” crag above Plateau d’Assy in the Arve Valley, the ‘Jardin de Trad’.  This is a relatively small crag with a handful of interesting routes on the steep limestone crag above the nice ‘Jardin des Cimes’ (which has a good café).

The Jardin de Trad, with lots of bolts! Steady 6a groove crack up the middle and long 6b+ up the R hand groove. The fine wall on the L is taken by sustained 6b crack and 6c wall pitches. Both very good although the latter is probably easier than the former!

We still have a few spaces left on late summer alpine mountaineering courses plus an early autumn opportunity to climb Gran Paradiso and Mont Blanc in early October…

We also have places available on group courses and for private guiding for our UK Mont Blanc & Matterhorn training weekends.  Plus we have started taking bookings for winter ski touring & off piste courses based in Chamonix and our popular Chamonix off piste & touring skills course dates are up and taking bookings for Jan 2022 through to April 2022.  We hope to climb – train – ski with you this coming autumn and winter season.

Aravis Ski Tour
Ski touring high on the Croise Baulet with Mont Blanc beyond