8 June 2020, Mont Blanc Massif & Contamines Valley Snow Conditions

There is a good intro on the latest Chamonix conditions info update from La Chamoniarde.  The good news is that there has been a lifting of the restriction of the day routes only rule, with mountain huts starting to open already and winter rooms now accessible and bivis possible again.  The bad news, for those heading in to the mountains, has been that the weather has been pretty wet and grey….although that is pretty also actually good news for the higher mountains which are not very snowy for this early summer period after a mild winter and lots of very sunny spring weather.

The Chamonix Valley and Chamonix Aiguilles from near the summit of Le Prarion above Les Houches. Relatively lean snow conditions for early June.

On Mont Blanc the huts are planning to open in the next few days with the Tête Rousse planning for the 10th June and Goûter for the 11th.  In general the snow line is a lot higher than last year and higher than average for the start of the summer with only the odd snow patch remaining below the Nid d’Aigle 2372m.  The combination of lots of very sunny spring weather and recent rain fall well above 2000m means much of the lower slopes are now snow free whereas much of the upper mountain has plenty of fresh snow and the slopes above the Tete Rousse Hut, 3187m looked plastered white at the weekend and it looks like there will be plenty more precipitation this week with a rain snow limit hovering around the 2000-2500m mark, so not very summery!

Dry lower slopes and snowy upper slopes. Snow conditions on the North & West sides of the Mont Blanc Massif, 6 June 2020.

A few teams have  been climbing the Mont Blanc normal route but we don’t have any specific conditions info  and presumably there will be a strong increase in activity once the huts open, and the weather improves!  On the 3 Monts Route from Chamonix there had been plenty of activity on Mont Blanc du Tacul but the classic route on the North side of Mont Maudit looks even more complicated and difficult than normal this year with big seracs & crevasses.  There is an option to climb it’s little facette nord to access the upper Kuffner Arete and proceed to the summit via the fine upper NE Ridge, but that is harder & more exposed than the more normal route to the col on the NW ridge taken by the Mt Blanc 3 Monts Route.  There have been some good conditions for early summer alpinism with various teams climbing on the Aiguille du Chardonnet and Aiguille du Tour above the Refuge Albert Premier which is due to open on the 13th June.

The NW Face of the Aiguille du Gouter with Tete Rousse Hut below and Gouter Hut above the snowy Grand Couloir and normal route on Mont Blanc in-between.

The Refuge Conscrits in the upper Contamines Valley is now open, with various Covid-19 measures in place and this is a great base camp from where to do the Domes de Miage, Mont Tondu or even begin the fine traverse over the Aiguille du Bionassay and on to Mont Blanc which has been done in the last week.  As has the ascent of the Arête Mettrier on the North Face of Domes de Miage with teams descending either via the Conscrits Hut or down the Armancette Glacier on skis.

Aiguille du Bionnassay South Ridge.
Paul enjoying the alpine rock section on ‘The Bastion’ on the Aiguille du Bionnassay South Ridge.

At the head of the Contamines Valley there still looks to be lots of snow heading up towards the Col du Bonhomme and on the North Face of the Tête Nord des Fours (2756m) & Col d’Enclave area as well as still plenty of snow below the classic ski descent on the north side of the Col des Chasseurs.  The approach to the Refuge Tre le Tete however looked pretty dry, see photo below of the upper Contamines Valley from the North side of Mont Joly.

The upper Contamines Valley from the north side of Mont Joly. June 6, 2020

Whilst our Chamonix based mountaineering courses for open groups have been cancelled through to the end of June, we have plenty of availability for private guiding for rock climbing and alpine mountaineering.  Please see our previous news post on what is possible at the moment in the mountains of the Mont Blanc Massif.  Good training, good climbing, we hope to see you in the hills soon.

Rock Mountaineering In The Chamonix Aiguilles