29 August 2018, Weissmies, Allalinhorn, Zinalrothorn, Late Summer Alpine Conditions

The long and warm, sometimes hot, summer has taken it’s toll on the glaciers and most snow routes and late summer conditions prevail across most of the Alps.  Here is a picture of the North Face of Ciaforon near the Gran Paradiso and above the Rifugio Vittorio Emanuelle in the upper Valsavarenche, looking dry to say the least!

Ciaforon North Face
A very dry and rocky looking North Face of the Ciaforon in late August 2018. Conditions were good in June!

Conditions are similar on most middle – high altitude north faces although they may start to improve if there are some cooler early autumn showers on the way offering that crucial sticky snow which can build some good mixed climbing for the autumn season.

Classic high altitude alpinism conditions are good however with still decent snow cover on the high altitude glaciers and dry rock conditions on many classic routes on the 4000ers.   We have a team heading to the Mantova Hut today and Gnifetti Hut tomorrow and hoping to climb some of the huge snowy summits in the Monte Rosa Massif including the Zumsteinspitze and the highest coffee shop in Western Europe at the Margherita Hut on the Punta Gnifetti.

Climbing to the remarkable Margherita Hut on the summit of Signalkuppe at over 4500m in the Monte Rosa Massif!

We had a team climb the Weissmeis South Ridge up and down yesterday in good style and climbed the Allalinhorn voie normal today.  The Weissmies North, glacial, side is being done and has a cut track and 70m fixed rope.   It’s steep and there is always the exposure to serac fall risk and the local guides bureau have changed the ratio to max 1:2.

Gav climbed the Zinalrothorn yesterday via the North Ridge and reported good conditions and Alberto also climbed the Obergabelhorn.  Stefano was leading the Monte Rosa Mountaineer team up the warm up peak from the Albert Premier Hut and they climbed the Tete Blanche as conditions on the Col Sup de Tour were too dry and loose for taking the full team over that crossing to the Swiss side.  A number of smaller teams were going over however despite the less than ideal conditions.

Also worth noting are the lift closures in Chamonix – currently the Aiguille du Midi 2nd section is closed largely restricting access to the Col du Midi area to those coming across from Hellbronner (heavily crevassed).  Also of note is the recent rock falls on the Cosmiques Arete which means this is best avoided for the moment.

Climbing the Allalinhorn normal route, with great views to the Valais Giants. Matterhorn on left, Dent d’Herens, Dent Blanche centre, then Obergabelhorn, Zinalrothorn & Weisshorn. Photo Robin Beadle

Our summer courses are mainly now full but we do have the following spaces still available on group programmes in Sept and early Oct.  All of the following courses are running and have existing teams to join.  Only 1 place available for the early Sept Alpine Intro course and 1 left for the Weissmeis course. All the details are here:

We also have places on our Snowdonia based Matterhorn Training Weekend, 6-7th October 2018.