Chamonix Blog: Sunday 20 – Friday 25 June 2010.
 
Tony and Mark enjoying the view - Dru, Jorasses and Mer de Glace from above Index chairlift

The weather system which brought the flash floods to the French Riviera a couple of weeks ago also brought a huge dump of snow to the Alps. The floods subsided pretty quickly but most of the fresh snow is still here in the Chamonix Valley, which is great news for lots of routes.

Here's a summary of my week - what I've done and what I've seen. 

Start of the week up around Albert Premier and Trient huts

There's lots of snow on the approach to the Albert Premier hut and this continues when you leave the hut to go bag your peak. Right from the outset you're on snow, not the usual stony gravel track.
  • The Le Tour Glacier is in fantastic condition;
  • the north face of the Chardonnet has had ascents;
  • the Table du Roc couloir of la Tour has also had ascents;
  • the small north face of the Tete Blanche looks good at the moment.
  • There are ski tracks everywhere and that's not a bad way to move around at the moment. Now, I don’t want to be the harbinger of doom but, unfortunately, these conditions aren't going to last as the daytime temperatures are starting to warm up.


    Mid week on the Aiguilles Rouges side of the valley

     
    Looking across to the peaks of le Tour and le Tour glacier from above l'Index chairlift

    Again lots of snow and you're probably going to need crampons and axes up there for a while yet, to access some of the rock routes and descend safely.

    Teams on the Index as you'd expect
    Many teams heading for the Traverse of the Crochues - up to the col, it’s a mix of snow and rock with particularly steep snow at the top. The usual chock stone at the top is under several metres of snow at the moment. There are also a few large-ish patches of snow to cross to get the start of the route. I kept my crampons on until I got to the big corner. The rest of the route is quite clear, except for one or two other sections of snow that require care and diligence.
    The descent to Lac Blanc: I wish I'd had my skis with me. The snow ran straight from the ridge itself right down to Lac Blanc. There are also a few patches of snow to negotiate on the way back to Flegere cable car.


    Aiguille Verte and the Dru with l'Index lift below us


    Latter part of the week up around Cosmiques hut

    On Friday 25th June this was the state of play up on yonder peaks:

    • 6 team battering the hell out of the Chere Coulior,
    • 3 teams on the central route of the Triangle du Tacul, Contamine/Mazeud
    • 4 teams on the Contamine/Grisolle (left edge) route.of the Tacul
    .
    All 3 of these routes looked and sounded in stonking condition

    • Midi Plan Traverse also looked like it was getting done
    • Point Lachenal was swarming,
    • So was the Cosmiques Arete.
    • There were many teams on the rock routes of the South Face of the Midi
    • Teams also skiing down to do routes on the Grand Cap
    • The Blanc has and was getting skied - I went past 2 teams on their way up to the summit to ski back down via the Grand Mulets and they started from the first cable car up from Chamonix, Good effort!
    • The Kufner Arete has been climbed
    • So has the Gervasutti couloir on the Tour Ronde


    Summary

    In general, conditions are really, really good for this time of year, especially considering what it's been like for the last few years. If you're on your way here or popping out soon, you're in for a great time. Just keep and eye on those daytime temperatures.

    Take care, be safe, do your home work before coming out here and have fun.