Late July 2021, Classic Chamonix & Valais Summer Alpine Mountaineering

22 July 2021, Traverse of Les Perrons & Snowy Matterhorn Condtions

The great summer weather continues, for another couple of days with the forecast for more mixed and stormy weather from Saturday PM and rolling in to next week.  We enjoyed a variant on the classic traverse of Les Perrons today with an approach via the Rampe à la Enclave to access the narrow col between the Perrons itself and Pointe Vouilloz (2672m).

Lou on the final ascent of the traverse of the Perrons in perfect summer weather and conditions.

The climbing on the Ramp is not as solid or as good as on the ridge but it provides a interesting journey in to the South Face and an impressive and exposed slanting line across the S Face of the Perrons as a means of starting the traverse and avoiding the abseils off the Perron, although a keen team could leave their sacks here to climb the Perrons summit as an aller retour (via the fierce looking chimney most teams abseil down!) before rapping back to the Col and continuing the E-W traverse.

Grand Perron and Pointe Vouilloz from the Swiss, Veudale, side

There was a very short section of stiff snow still at the bast of the South Face which we crossed with an ice axe and teams approaching from the Aiguille du Van side reported similarly using an axe but not crampons.  The descent at the W end of the ridge has some pleasant easy snow slopes which currently still make the descent a bit smoother although it’s melting fast.

Andy and Lou on another fine sustained ridge section on the Traverse of Les Perrons

We have a couple of teams at the Hornli Hut tonight taking an 0330 breakfast to try and climb the Matterhorn tomorrow.  It’s quite snowy conditions still but several teams have been summitting with crampons from above the Solvay hut, over the last few days.

20 July 2021, Classic Chamonix & Valais Summer Alpine Mountaineering

After last weeks seriously wet and cold weather…the phrase of this week in the mountains has been, ‘summer has finally arrived!’

Lou & Andy approaching Pic Janvier on the fine Chamonix – Flegere Via Corda. A nice approach to the Index or Aiguilles Rouges middle mountain rock climbing and a fine big boot Matterhorn training day.

We have several teams on Eiger and Matterhorn courses this week but despite the warm and sunny summer weather, the mountains are still very snowy albeit steadily starting to clear.

A very snowy mid July North Face of the Eiger and Mittellegi Ridge – from the hut webcam.

Andy, Lou and Rob had a brilliant couple of days AD rockaneering above the lovely Moiry Hut and Glacier at the head of the Swiss Val d’Anniviers.

Lou approaching the imposing ‘crown’ summit of the Couronne de Bréona, Moiry.

The traverse of the Couronne de Bréona is a really excellent rocky scrambling and big boot climbing ridge that undulates between the Cols Couronne and Bréona along the wonderful watershed ridge separating the Val d’Herens and Val d’Anniviers.

Superb rock and position – Lou down climbing the north ridge of the Clocher de la Couronne. This section can be abseiled but the climbing is very good and there are some bolts and cracks for protection.

This is a solid AD ridge traverse and both an exciting means of approaching the Moiry Hut as well as excellent training for other higher alpine objectives and good acclimatisation as most of the day is spent over 3000m.

Another very good rock pitch to reach the main summit. Steep and imposing at first sight…but on closer inspection endowed with magnificent rough clean rock and big holds…a real big boot pleasure!

There are numerous very good pitches of rock climbing at 3-4 level with lots of easier scrambling, route finding and managing the rope as per a classic big alpine ridge.  Billed as a short day, we were not convinced, especially as we traversed the ridge in the classic sense from the Col Breona to the Col Tsaté before then climbing back up to the hut via the Glacier….A brilliant day, but we were a bit late for dinner!…(And you can also do the ridge in the reverse direction meaning a more direct approach to the hut)

Appoaching the Moiry Hut after the traverse of the Couronne de Bréona…Not such a short day after all!

After a short nights sleep and too much hut sausage and brownie…we were glad to be cruising up a beautiful starlit and frozen Moiry glacier early the next morning…

Dawn approach to the Pointes du Mourti – Dent des Rosses traverse across the Glacier de Moiry

The snow cover on the glacier is excellent for late July and there was a good overnight re-freeze of the weight bearing surface crust that has now formed after last weeks fresh snow.  Thus travel conditions in the early morning were excellent but the crust had softened a lot by late morning, but still fine going in the tracks.

Mountaineering high on the Pointe Des Mourti above the Moiry Glacier, Swiss Valais. Grand Cornier behind

Although there was plenty of snow on the glacier and very good conditions on the snowy upper NE ridge of the Pointes du Mourti, the rocky ridge was snow free and we removed crampons both for the enjoyable easy scrambling up the lower NE ridge and then the harder, but very good, down climbing of the S Ridge leading to the Dent des Rosses.

Lou down climbing the pitch of 3 below the Pointes des Mourti summit. This can be abseiled via the wall on the R but the down climbing is on good rock with occasional bolts for protection.

This ridge continues in much easier but still good quality scrambling until the obvious gendarme which can either be climbed or contoured on the shady west Val d’Herens side:

The exposed traverse of the gendarme, with several bolt runners, on the west side of the ridge with the Dent Blanche and Dent d’Herens at the head of the valleys beyond

Thanks to the current high snow volume, we were able to make 1 rappel, (handily marked with a big red R on the rocks!!) from the Col des Rosses to the Glacier, with a 50 m rope…but only just!   Conditions were good also for continuing the traverse over the Dent des Rosses and even Bricola for rejoining the glacier higher up and there is now a track in both to the summit of Les Bouquetins and up the full long glacier approach to the Grand Cornier.

Great mid summer conditions on the Moiry Glacier with the traverse of the Pigne de la Le in the foreground and the mighty Weisshorn in the background.

Back in the Mont Blanc Massif our other Matterhorn preparation teams did a great job of climbing a solid collection of rock routes including the Index, Modern Times, Chappelle de la Gliere and Frison Roche before heading over to the Rifugio Torino to traverse the Aiguilles d’Entreves and climb the Dent du Geant, still in good condition and very quiet, with a very early start!  There is also a good looking track on the Rochefort Ridge.

Jonas on the summit of the Dent du Geant, with Mont Blanc beyond. Photo thanks to Kev Avery.

Lots, and lots, of other good routes are being climbing in classic high summer alpine conditions around the Mont Blanc Massif at the moment with a fine combination of decent snow volume, reasonable overnight freeze and sunny day time weather, without any afternoon thunderstorms for the moment.   Here is just a quick sample of some recently climbed routes.

  • Mont Blanc by most routes including the Gouter, Bionassay traverse, via the Grands Mulets and from the Italian side via Rifugio Gonella.
  • Traverse of the Domes des Miage
  • Frontier / Kuffner Ridge
  • Lots of teams rock climbing on the brilliant granite satellite peaks in the upper Vallée Blanche like Salluard, Pointe Adolphe Rey, Grand Capucin as well as obviously the South Face of the Mide, Pt Lachenal etc.
  • Lots of activity in the Nantillons area also with teams on the Petit Charmoz as well as up on the main summits of the Grepon and Grands Charmoz.
Mid summer conditions on the Grandes Jorasses North Face & Rochefort area

We still have some availability for private guiding in Chamonix in early late July, August and for the rest of the summer and autumn seasons, so please get in touch if you would like to do some alpine or rock climbing in Chamonix.

For group courses – there is a regularly evolving situation with both regular bookings and cancellations – please check the details on our main mountaineering courses page and get in touch if you would like to join one of teams training and climbing in the Alps.

Likewise in Snowdonia and Scottish Highlands for our late summer and autumn Mont Blanc and Matterhorn training programmes please check for details here or get in touch for private guiding & training.

Chamonix Aiguilles and Mont Blanc Massif – mid summer conditions viewed from the Pic Janvier Via Corda above Flegere