It felt pretty special to be back up the Aiguille du Midi and into the Chamonix alpine again. It’s over 7 months since the Midi was last open and it was particularly good to see such high snow volume on the glaciers and most peaks with Meteo France describing high altitude snow volume, as we head in to early summer, as ‘quite exceptional!’
The Midi was running at much lower capacity than normal due to Covid Regulations but there were still lots of skiers and climbers out enjoying the fine late spring weather and good conditions for a variety of mountain activities.
Many teams trekked over the Col du Midi to do the summits and traverse on Pt Lachenal and there were lots of ski tracks heading down in to the upper Vallée Blanche although many teams were also skinning back out and conditions are reported as not good at the Salle à Manger. There were also teams on a very snowy looking Arete Laurence & Cosmiques Arete and a dry looking Chére Couloir. The Tacul Triangle appeared to be one of the few places not utterly plastered in snow.
This worked quite well for some alpine ice climbing training on the lower approach slopes on the left side of the Triangle and several teams booted up the steep snow country between the Triangle and the Seracs and either skied back down the same area – or – one team topped out on the Triangle and skied the descent of the normal route on Mt Blanc du Tacul, which is very snowy but also has some serac debris across the tracks lower down.
The Midi snow ridge itself was in very good condition and still currently has a single rope with some metal stakes going down from the station. The Cosmiques Hut is open and there were numerous teams rock climbing on the South face of the Midi – which looked good for the rocky bits – but still quite a few snowy bits higher up! There were lots of ski tracks coming down from Mont Blanc although a serac had also run across the tracks in the upper plateau area above the Grands Mulets Hut. Significant sections of bare ice and no tracks could be seen on the North Ridge of the Dome du Gouter but apparently pretty good snow conditions for some of the classic snow routes on the Aiguille Verte including the Whymper Couloir.
On the Italian side of the Massif there looked to be great snow cover on the North Face of the Tour Ronde as well as North and West Face of the Toule and the glaciers in general. There was a track going round to the Col d’Entreves and then coming off the other side of the Entreves so it looked like folk had done the snowy traverse. There was also a track heading across the glacier and towards the approach to the Dent du Geant.
Today up the Midi was a great compliment to yesterday’s rock climbing and rope work training in Chamonix. It’s much easier to learn the skills on a sunny valley crag than on a high alpine route. Please get in touch if you would like some Chamonix mountaineering or rock climbing training & guiding.
For group courses, we have spaces available for our Mont Blanc & Weissmies course 23-29 June plus our Mont Blanc training weekend in the Scottish Highlands 19-20 June and Matterhorn training weekend in Snowdonia 31 July – 1 August. Full list of courses here and please get in touch if you would like to arrange some mountain adventures this summer either in the UK or the Alps.