Archive for the ‘Alps Mont Blanc’ Category

Monte Rosa and onwards to Mont Blanc

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

After 5 nights in huts above 3000m the team had a welcome recovery night in the Monte Rosa Hut, before the leisurely walk out to the train at Rotenboden, via the ever moving dry glacier beneath the hut and the gentle traverse path to the station observing marmottes and wild Alpine flowers.

The forecast in Chamonix was going to deteriorate from Wednesday afternoon so the chances of reaching Mont Blanc summit were at their best on Tuesday. The clients were well acclimatised after their week and so we est to task from the first lift from Aiguille du Midi. The track over Mont Blanc du Tacul, Mont Maudit and onto the summit of Mont Blanc were in perfect condition and we all made the summit before the descent to the Gouter hut, where it snowed overnight. The summit of Mont Blanc was windless and clear in all directions, a real pleasure to be there and the decision to go for it straight from Zermatt justified.

The descent to the train from the Gouter hut after breakfast this morning allowed a quiet crossing of the Grand Couloir and an amazing sense of achievement for both clients and guides on a 9 day trip summiting over a dozen 4000m  peaks including the highest 2 in the Alps. Poorer weather forecast for the next few days, but staying cold high up so conditions should soon get back to those we have had until this afternoon.

Exiting onto Mont Maudit col

Exiting onto Mont Maudit col



Nearing the summit of Mont Blanc du Tacul, Chamonix far below

John nearing the summit of Mont Blanc du Tacul with Andrea and Gary, Chamonix far below

Mont Blanc summit, zero wind, perfect visibilityMont Blanc summit, zero wind, perfect visibility

Monte Rosa HutMonte Rosa Hut

Grand Couloir

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

Reports suggest the route accessing the Goûter Refuge, via the Grand Couloir on the Mt Blanc approach is currently very dry and dangerous. This video shows what can happen. Anyone fancy a holiday in Scotland!?


Mont Blanc du Tacul North Face Triangle

Friday, July 27th, 2012


Did two routes on this left hand side (don’t know the name) and Cheri couloir on the right. Both in perfect condition but with temperatures rising they won’t be for much longer.Regards

Mike Anderson

(two days ago)

"mont blanc du tacul"

Mont Blanc du Tacul - North Face Triangle

Cosmiques and Mont Blanc du Tacul

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

Finally catching up with a host of photos from 9th and 10th September. After being reduced by poor weather on Monte Rosa, we moved over to Chamonix at the start of a good spell of weather. The previous week had given us good acclimatisation, which is always a bonus when catching a cable car straight to 3,800m and spending a night in the Cosmiques Hut. A leisurely afternoon start on the Cosmiques Arete after dropping our kit at the hut was supposed to avoid any crowds! Unfortunately we were in a bit of a ‘confusion’ of ropes, especially at the wall pitch close to the finish.

Various techniques were on display from prussiking up a fixed rope to cleanly by-passing the whole ‘guddle’ on the left or right. Interestingly the teams who showed a clean pair of heels were all British and fast. Leaving crampons on for this section (see photos), can provide added purchase on the smooth granite, as a number of conveniently slotted drill holes are placed just perfect for front points. Strange that! A night back at the hut plus an 0500 start placed us on the summit of Mt Blanc du Tacul all by ourselves on a very fine morning, with views all around. At the time of our ascent the approach face and seracs were all silent and well frozen. This area is notorious for serac fall and avalanche, so be warned in poor weather. Seracs are a law unto themselves and it’s wise to be swift when climbing below them in case gravity takes over!

At the time of our visit the conditions were very good and quite a number of teams were out on the Chere Couloir and adjacent routes. Since arriving home in Scotland another dump of snow has arrived in Chamonix, so my alpine blog is now out of date and climbers are asked to find more recent reports. One noticeable concern that will remain, was the amount of loose rock and glacial melt-back on the lower rock apron of the Aiguille du Midi, south face. So much so, that a fence has been erected below obvious loose ares to encourage climbers to stay clear!

Heading to Switzerland

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011



Good weather continues today. I’ll be off to Switzerland tomorrow for a prolonged ‘hut-fest’ over eight nights. Starting at the Hohsaas Hut, then moving on to the Almageller Hut for five nights, before descending and moving quickly over to Zermatt and the new Monte Rosa hut. So, for well over a week the blog will be barren.

Another fine day

Monday, August 29th, 2011

More settled weather today with a hint of high cloud over Mt Blanc. Check out the update on the rockfall on the Grand Couloir approach to Refuge Gouter and Mt Blanc

Another day out in the Aiguille Rouges. This time on the ridge uphill of the Index, itself a good accessible rock climb.  For anyone happy on the Skye Ridge, this outing above the Index offers good training up to 2800m. Plenty of loose rock and route finding issues. Descent by the same route is possible, as are many other non-obvious possibilities. Take a rope and some abseil ‘tat’ in case of problems.



New snow in Chamonix

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

After weeks of very warm weather in the Alps, last night a colder set of fronts moved through and dumped snow down to much lower levels. This latest snow has certainly burned off as today has progressed but it is still nice and cool. Check the weather

Mt Blanc Gouter closed

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

There has been a large scale rockfall today below the Gouter hut and as a result the ‘Gouter’ route on Mt Blanc is closed for the near future.

Video footage


Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Wet but happy

We followed the forecast, drank coffee until the sun came out. Went up into the Aiguille Rouge. The rain came back and the forecast was not quite correct. We retreated!

Petite Aiguille Verte

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Overnight rain and plenty of new snow lying to low elevations. Fortunately the weather forecast provided a window of reasonable conditions, allowing a good but wintry ascent of Petite Aiguille Verte. The higher peaks are covered in considerable amounts of new snow, some of which will avalanche, so be very careful with route choice in the next few days. One team we spoke to did retreat from the Grand Paradiso, where an avalanche was triggered just below the summit.