Summer continues to be hot and dry on the coast, with no end in sight. Although the valleys have been filled with smoke from forest fires, it has normally been fairly clear up higher in the alpine.
The main thing to be aware is the lack of snow cover on glaciers this year, which seems to be a common theme across the range. As a result the glacier travel has been difficult, with many glaciers no longer passable on normal routes. Cristoph Dietzfelbinger reported that near the Burnie Glacier (up north), there is less snow cover than he has seen in 20 years, with one major glacier even separating from it’s tributary since last year.
Along with the lack of snow cover, you should expect natural rockfall from areas not normally of concern at this time of year.
On the plus side, alpine rock routes are in amazing condition everywhere, but be prepared...... Last week I found myself on unprotected bouldery face climbing out of a moat to get on a route, where I expected to find protection and change into my rock shoes for the crux. Alas, the protection was rubbish and I had to change into my rock shoes while balancing on a gravelly ledge, because down climbing was an even worse option. Ie. Moats will be troublesome the rest of the summer.
I hope you’re able to escape the smoke by getting into the alpine !!
1: Serratus Glacier August 15th
2: Anniversary Glacier a few days ago (Jeff Mitchell)