John and I have been out in the Alps together the last few days.
On Sunday we walked to the Tracuit Hut before climbing the Bishorn on Monday. Conditions on the mountain were good. There are two areas of significant crevasses that need to be crossed. Having a good amount of rope out is important.
Yesterday we visited Servoz crag before making the approach to the Rifugio Vittorio Emanuel. Today we climbed the Gran Paradiso via the classic route. The snout of the glacier is getting icy as is the area around 3600m. Soon it may be better to go by the variation route described in Martin Moran’s 4000m peaks book.
I have just had an excellent week with Mel, Michelle, Tom, Andy and www.frostguiding.co.uk.
Our week began with an ascent of the Bishorn (4153m) from the Tracuit Hut in perfect conditions. We then completed two via ferratas (Nax and Evolene) on Tuesday as a semi rest day before our next planned route!
On Wednesday we made the significant approach to the Refuge Gonella before traversing Mont Blanc (via the Pope Route and the Gouter Route) on Thursday and overnighting at the Refuge Gouter. Today we descended at 5am from the hut to the valley.
A few notes on conditions:
- The glacier on the approach to the Rifugio Gonella is not as dry as normal. A rope is advised.
- The glacier above the Rifugio Gonella has significant serac danger.
- There are only a couple of icy sections around the Piton des Italiens.
- There has been stonefall in the Grand Couloir. It is best to cross this early.
Paul Skipworth and I are climbing together this week basing our trip from Saint Gervais Les Bains.
On Monday we spent the day on the Mer de Glace above Chamonix completing an Ecole de Glace session. We then made the short drive to Les Aravis on Tuesday before completing the traverse of the Pointe Percee (2750m). This is a beautiful peak with lots of good rock routes on it in a stunning limestone location.
On Wednesday morning we travelled to the Zinal valley before walking to the Tracuit hut. We were accompanied by snowfall above 2700 metres. Yesterday, we climbed the Bishorn (4153m). The mountain was in excellent condition due to the large quantities of new snow. This new snow will however make the rock ridges of the Valais very difficult.
This past week I have been with Frost Guiding who are based in Evolene.
We began the week on Sunday by completing an Ecole de Glace and crevasse rescue session on the Ferpecle Glacier before walking to the Tracuit Hut on Monday and climbing the Bishorn (4153m) on Tuesday. The mountain was in good condition with a track in the glacier to the summit. The new Tracuit Hut is very comfortable.
On Wednesday we approached the Gnifetti Hut from the Gressoney valley. We had hoped to climb Lyskamm the next day but had to abandon this plan due to very high winds that were not forecast.
Instead, we climbed II Naso (4272m) and Punta Giordani (4046m). II Naso was in good condition. The route from Punta Indren to Punta Giordani is drying out very fast in the current heatwave and may not be in safe condition for much longer.
Yesterday, we completed the Clocher de la Couronne (3101m). This mountain provides an excellent rock traverse and can be accessed from the Moiry Dam.
Of note, this season I have already witnessed more significant rockfall than I did during the whole of last season. This problem will continue as long as the current heatwave continues.