25 June 2017, Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa, Middle Mountain Rock!

Our teams attempting Mont Blanc via the Gouter side this week postponed their ascents due to increased stone fall risk in the Grand Couloir but they made some fine alternative ascents including accessing the high peaks of the Monte Rosa from the Italian Gressoney Valley. A good couple of nights were spent at the hospitable Gnifetti Hut which has quite a few crevasses around the hut but with reasonable conditions going higher up on the glacier to reach the Zumsteinspitze, Signalkuppe and Ludwigshoe.

Beautiful dawn view of the Eastern Swiss Valais giants from high on the Monte Rosa. Matterhorn on the left, Dent Blanche, Obergabelhorn, Zinalrothorn, Weisshorn.

High on the Domes des Miages, conditions proved to be not quite as favourable as usual for June with ice becoming exposed in various sections of the ridge and slopes along the traverse with poor and serious conditions & ice now being reported for the full traverse.

The Domes Des Miage Ridge traverse in the background as seen from the ascent of the Aiguille du Bionnassay above the Durier Hut.

Other teams climbed the Cosmiques Arete, Traverse of the Perrons above Vallorcine, and enjoyed some middle mountain multi pitch rock in the Aiguilles Rouges. On the descent of the snow ridge from the Midi station conditions are relatively poor with a crevasse appearing on the ridge itself and a new crevasse lower down making the transition from station to Col du Midi more complicated than usual. Pt. Lachenal has some ice lower down on the normal route slopes and some rockfall noted from the central summit.

The Grands Montets station opened this weekend and initial reports suggest that conditions on the Petite Verte are not great either. More info to follow as we hopefully have a team climbing / training around the Grands Montets tomorrow.