18 August 2021, Vallée Blanche Traverse, Chamonix High Altitude Rock Climbing, Matterhorn

19 August 2021, Matterhorn Summit

This was the scene on the Matterhorn from Hornli Hutte last night:

Dry conditions on the lower Hornli Ridge, snowy above the Solvay Hut, but improving conditions on the Matterhorn as we head in to late August 2021

And this is the scene from the summit at 0830 this morning:

Matterhorn Summit 0830, 19 Aug 2021, Kev and James after a rapid ascent from Hornli Hut.

Well done to James & Kev – A rapid 7 hour round trip despite the still quite snowy summer conditions with crampons on above the Solvay Hut although worn a bit lower down on the descent.

Climb The Matterhorn 4478m

If you would like to climb the Matterhorn, this year or next…or in 2023, please get in touch with your fitness and mountain walking / mountaineering / climbing experience and we can discuss a good training progression with you leading up to our summit attempt.  We run training courses in Chamonix, Zermatt, Snowdonia and the Scottish Highlands and run lots of summit programmes with both private guiding and the option to join another climber and share the guiding fees for the training & acclimatisation phase just before your 1:1 summit guiding.

18 August 2021, Vallée Blanche Traverse, Chamonix High Altitude Rock Climbing

Summer snow volume on the high altitude glaciers remains good around the Mont Blanc Massif, the best it’s been for quite a few years….but to arrive in the latter half of August with still fine glacier conditions for the traverse of the Vallée Blanche, there must have been plenty of wet and cool spring and summer days to get there!

Departing Rifugio Torino en route to the Aiguille du Midi for the high altitude crossing of the Vallée Blanche

Yesterday’s journey across the high glaciers of the upper Vallée Blanche, the traverse from Skyway to Midi and Italy to France presented the summer alpinists holy grail of good snow conditions, lovely sunny stable weather and a decent overnight re-freeze giving nice crisp snow conditions in the morning and decent conditions in the track even later on.

The long & steady ascent to Col de Gros Rognon during the traverse of the Vallée Blanche. North Face Tour Ronde beyond

This route is in good condition and nearly all teams were taking the high level route through the more crevassed central section whereas in many years, by late summer, it’s necessary to take the lower route to avoid the complicated crevassed central section.   There are still some big holes in there with a couple of positive & confident strides required and some overhung snow bridges.  So good freezing conditions are still required but overall it was a pleasure to make a steady journey with a relaxed pace.  Nearly 5 hours for the full crossing from Torino to Midi, with lots of picnic breaks to enjoy the great views & check out the conditions and watch the many teams enjoying the high altitude rock climbing.

Still good summer snow volume on the Col du Geant Glacier with Dent du Geant and Grandes Jorasses beyond

Teams were climbing the Dent du Geant, Arete Rochefort and some also continuing along the magnificent full traverse to the Grandes Jorasses.  There were several little tented base camps for climbers enjoying the dry and warm conditions on the Grand Capucin, Roi de Siam, Pic Adolphe Rey and south faces of Pt Lachenal and the Aiguille du Midi.

The wonderful granite spires of the upper Vallée Blanche and East Face of Mont Blanc du Tacul

James and Kev enjoyed these great conditions earlier in the week for climbing the Salluard Route and Lifting du Roi as part of their Matterhorn preparation.  See above for summit info and conditions update.

Le Lifting du Roi, Roi de Siam with the Pt Adolphe Rey below

General high alpine conditions are also still pretty good and tracks were seen going in to the Kuffner & Diable Aretes on Maudit and Tacul respectively.  Lower down teams were traversing the Pt Lachenal and snowy tracks were seen on the Left Edge / Contamines / Grisolles route with more bare icy conditions on the central section of the Triangle across to the Chere.  Lots of teams and a big track on the Tacul normal route.

James high on the Salluard Route. Photo Kev Avery

The Midi snow ridge was in good condition but is pretty narrow and exposed at the moment.  The upper snow fields on the Frendo Spur have more rock on them than I’ve ever seen before, so even in a good snow volume year, it’s sad to see how much general snow volume is disappearing, even on this high altitude north face.

Arriving at the base of the Midi snow ridge with the north face of Grandes Jorasses beyond.

We still have a few spaces left on summer alpine mountaineering courses during August and September 2021 plus an early autumn opportunity to climb Gran Paradiso and Mont Blanc in early October…

For group courses – there is a regularly evolving situation with both regular bookings and cancellations – please check the details on our main mountaineering courses page and get in touch if you would like to join one of teams training and climbing in the Alps.

Likewise in Snowdonia and Scottish Highlands for our late summer and autumn Mont Blanc and Matterhorn training programmes please check for details here or get in touch for private guiding & training.

Mark cruising the dry rock ridge on Les Perrons as part of his Matterhorn preparation phase in Chamonix. Photo Kev Avery