The past few weeks have seen really stable weather & hot temperatures in the Alps with very little precipitation or no late afternoon thunderstorm risk which is very unusual. The snow on the Tour du Mont Blanc has been melting fast however those arriving in the Chamonix valley don't be deceived as we still have a great deal of snow in some areas of the trail & it is still advisable to go equipped.
We have both guided & self guided groups out on the trail & our second guided group reached Courmayeur yesterday after a fabulous few days on the westerly section. Gary lead the group safely over the Col des Fours but it was felt necessary for the group to wear Micro spikes & use poles.
It is imperative that all trekkers have the correct equipment including:
Crampons or Microspikes
Good boots that will give you the support on all types of terrain & that will accommodate a crampon or Microspikes.
Poles, 2 per person to aid balance on steep & slippery terrain.
Plus all the usual kit needed for walking at altitude (see our kit list)
Therefore we now advise that the Col du Fours is passable with the correct equipment and with extreme care as a slip could have consequences.
The Col du Bonhomme & the traverse between the two Cols still has snow but the route is well marked. There is still a good deal of snow on the Col du Seigne & the Grand Col Ferret, again care needs to be taken & the correct equipment needed.
The Fenetre d'Arpette is still very dangerous, extremely steep at either side of the col & a slip here even with crampons could be fatal. There has already been one fatality via this route this season where an hiker from Israel slipped and fell to his death, please don't be tempted and go via the Bovine route.
Further updates can be obtained via the http://www.autourdumontblanc.com/en/index.cfm/general-conditions.html website.
Next week we will be out on a recce on the high sections of the Walkers Haute Route, further information to follow.