Tete Blanche Summit

4 July 2020, High Alpine Traverse Of The Trient🇨🇭& Tour Glaciers 🇫🇷

What a difference a day makes….yesterday morning at Le Tour it was spookily quiet and seriously driech.  This morning, les grandes vacances had arrived, the lifts are open, the sun is out, the car park was full.   We had worked our way back in to France over the high level border crossing of the Col Supériour du Tour, 3289m after a fine high altitude glacier journey starting in Champex-Lac and finishing at the top of the ski lifts near the Col du Balme high at the North Eastern end of the Chamonix Valley.

Chamonix glacier walk
Sunrises over the Swiss Valais as we head west back in to France and the crossing from Trient to Tour Glaciers at the Eastern end of the Mont Blanc Massif

The Breya chairlift leading out of Champex Lac is open for the season and gives rapid access to nearly 2200m and the start of the now pretty much snow free path leading to the Orny Hut.  The clouds remained pretty thick as we walked in but we were happy to not get a soaking!

The iconic Ibex takes pride of place at the Cabane d’Orny and note the striking crag of the Petit Clocher du Portalet emerging from the clearing cloud behind.

The damp weather meant there were not many teams climbing on the famous sunny granite crags of the Aiguille d’Orny but we enjoyed a quick scramble and some big boot rock climbing behind the hut.

Scrambling and big boot rock climbing behind the Cabane d’Orny en route to the Trient Hut

There were plenty of teams heading up the path to the Trient Hut but as the clouds were clearing and the snow was still firm we enjoyed a late afternoon stroll up the Glacier d’Orny and out on to the Trient Plateau before the final rocky climb to the Trient Hut.  Snow conditions on the glaciers up here are good with extensive snow cover and still relatively minimal open crevassing in evidence on the high glacier plateau.

Dawn start on the Trient Glacier with the Aiguille du Tour on the right and Chardonnet in the background left of centre.

There are good tracks leading across the plateau, up to the Aiguille du Tour, over to the Aiguilles Dorées, Fenetre de Saleina, Tete Blanche and of course the main crossing from Trient to Tour Glaciers at the Col Sup du Tour.  The Dorées looked impressive with dry rock on the buttresses but still some snow on the ridge and in the couloirs.  The north face of Tete Blanche is now lean but not yet a complete mess. There is a big track up to the Col Blanc but this appears to now only have a very narrow small bridge across the growing bergschrund.

Good stiff snow on the ascent to the Aiguille du Tour from the Trient side. Big peaks of the Swiss Valais beyond far right.

There is a very good track leading up to the Aiguille du Tour normal route and still plenty of snow leading across the bergshrund and up to the start of the rocky scramble.  It was quite quiet this morning but with the lifts of Le Tour opening today maybe plenty more teams on the way for tomorrow!  There were teams climbing on the South Ridge of the Purtscheller rock route and many more on the Aiguille du Chardonnet

Numerous teams could be seen early this morning beetling up the ‘Bosse’ approach to the Forbes Arete and conditions seemed to be good for this and the descent route.  At least one team could be seen climbing high on the Migot Spur on the North Face too.

There is some good weather forecast for this weekend and in to next week and we have availability for private guiding for mountaineering or rock climbing in Chamonix or in nearby Swiss Valais or Italian Val d’Aosta including Gran Paradiso which is still in good condition.

A popular rocky alpine middle mountain ridge and Chamonix day trip The Perrons de Vallorcine (AD) traverse. Good Matterhorn training!