25 June 2021, Cabane de Moiry & Chamonix Mountaineering Conditions

The parking above the Lac de Moiry is not your average car park.  For a start it’s already over 2350m and those unacclimatised may notice a slight shortness of breath on starting the climb to the fine Cabane de Moiry.  It’s also just a beautiful place to take in the alpine ambiance and glaciated peaks at the head of the Val d’Anniviers.

The Parking above Lac de Moiry with fine views up to the Moiry Hut on the rocky outcrops left of the Moiry Glacier Icefall…what’s left of it.

We took the longer Rive Gauche approach which gives a pleasant walk through high altitude alpine meadows before descending through the steep and loose moraine to the glacier, which is still largely covered in snow.  The normal hut approach also has some snowy sections covering the summer path which makes it more exposed than normal. 

The short traverse of the Moiry Glacier en route to the hut from the Rive Gauche approach.

The benefits of these snowy early season conditions are felt rapidly after the but with continuous snow cover from just above the hut up to the Col de Pigne at 3137m and the start of the North Ridge of the pigne de la Lé.  It was hailing this morning and we climbed this fun blocky easy PD ridge in crampons.  It leads directly and rapidly to the Pigne de la Lé summit at 3396m in 2 hours from the hut.  Great views of the big peaks of the upper Zinal Valley (Obergabelhorn & Zinalrothorn) emerging from the thick clouds with a liberal plastering of overnight snow and hail.

Scrambling up the mixed North Ridge of the Pigne de la Lé

The snowy then glacier descent via the SW face can be made rapidly in current conditions, with the odd crater in the tracks, and there was a reasonable track and very light re-freeze high on the peak and glacier but only above 3000m++.

Final few steps of the North Ridge with a nice little snow ridge with great views across to the upper Zinal Valley.

Although there is good snow cover on the glacier and minimal evident crevassing, the snow conditions are still ‘transitional’, the hut was quiet and there was no evidence of teams heading further up the glacier to Les Bouqetins, never mind the Grand Cornier.

Descending the snowy SW flank of the Pigne de la Lé with Les Bouqetins and Grand Cornier beyond

One other team were out above the hut this morning making swift work of climbing the Pointe de Mourti – postscript – and we had another team climb Mourti today, Fri 25 June who reported great conditions and an excellent end to their Intro Alpine Mountaineering week based in Chamonix.

Oliver and Paul cruising to the summit of the Pointe de Mourti with the Weisshorn in the background. Moiry Glacier, Val d’Anniviers, Swiss Alps.

The alpine ridge traverses on either side of the Moiry Valley, Aiguilles de la Lé and Courronne de Bréonna, looked dry on the crests but there are still plenty of snow patches about round the tops. 

Last snowy section of the descent of the Moiry Hut normal route approach – above the beautiful green lake with icebergs!

Back in Chamonix we have had teams doing Ecole de glace mountaineering training days on the Mer de Glace; traversing the Aiguilles Marbrees; Cosmiques Arete and Aiguille du Tour.   The latter was in good condition yesterday and formed part of our warm up on our Mont Blanc course which is hoping to summit early next week.  Good conditions in general reported from Mont Blanc Gouter Route recently. 

Returning to Montenvers after a Chamonix Mountaineering Training day on the Mer de Glace…Photo Kev Avery

We have availability for private guiding in Chamonix in early July and still for most periods over the summer season.  Likewise in Snowdonia and Scottish Highlands for Mont Blanc and Matterhorn training programmes.  For group courses, we have available spaces on the following courses which are  already running plus you can check our full list of courses here. 

Pitch 2 (5b) of several golden granite grooves on the Kohlman Route, one of the easiest routes on the magnificent South Face of the Midi.