Chamonix's high mountain office (OHM) have released a statement advising against summit attempts via the 'voie normal' of Mont Blanc after increased rockfall in the Gouter couloir, with local guide companies deciding to suspend all ascents via this route for the time being.
The couloir is on one of the most popular routes to the summit of Mont Blanc, but since the recent heatwave more rockfall has been occurring, with the OHM and the prefecture calling for mountaineers to avoid taking this route, stating that it is "extremely inadvisable". Earlier in August, it was announced that an order barring those from the normal route without a reservation in the Gouter hut was to be extended. Originally from July 14th to August 2nd, officials later stated that the restrictions were to remain in place until August 15th, with the possibility of being extended further, depending on how the situation progresses.
It was previously reported in June that the Gouter refuge had reached maximum capacity for the summer season, with all 13,000 nights already reserved. Those without a booking would need to hope for cancellations to free up beds if they wanted to tackle Western Europe's highest peak by the standard route. Should the heatwave continue and the conditions on the mountain not improve, authorities could end up closing the route altogether, as has happened in the summers of 2015 and 2017.
More Chamonix Insights...
- Travellers welcome to Chamonix from June 15th 2020
- Flights to Geneva restart in June 2020
- Chamonix sights reopen in May 2020
- A farewell to the 2019/20 ski season in Chamonix
- French ski areas close on 15th March 2020
- Mixed conditions in Chamonix as spring approaches