Information for the high and mid mountain during the Easter holidays:
Some of the ski areas are already closed (Les Houches, La Flégère, Vallorcine, Megève, Saint Gervais).
Areas still open are Balme/Le Tour, Brévent, Contamines (until 22/04) and Argentière/Lognan (until 01/05 then the weekend 4/5 May). The Aiguille du Midi cable car and the Montenvers train remain open. More information on the CMB website.
Tour / Trient Sector
Not much has changed since the last update. Access is either by the Balme chairlift and the Col des Autannes or from Lognan and the Col du Passon.
A bit of walking is necessary to reach Trient village. All the cols are being done and are in condition. The Couloir de la Table is tracked, (the gully in the lower band is OK), as is normal route on the Aig du Tour, (by the E ridge and the col between the two summits.) A party has done the Table ridge.
Some parties have traversed the Chardonnet, (up by the SE couloir and descent by the normal route.)
It is still just possible to ski all the way to La Tour, but expect some walking at the boardercross area soon.
Depending on the chosen route one can get onto the Argentiere glacier by the return route (Passon, Chardonnet) or by the Col des Rachasses (Glacier du Milieu, Argentière hut, Col du Tour Noir etc).
- The Lognan hut closed on the 14 April.
- The N faces are not in condition (1 party on the Couturier and the Courtes NE 15/04)
- Col des Cristaux is in good condition, cramponning for the last 150m.
- The gullies are not formed, (not enough ice etc.)
- Cols d'Argentière/ Tour Noir/ Passon are OK.
- The Flèche Rousse ridge in good condition.
- The “Y” Couloir: bergschrund OK then a pitch to overcome the lower band, (ice on rock, 2 axes useful.)
- Aiguille d'Argentière by the Glacier du Milieu: good ski conditions up to the bergschrund, ski depot. then cramponning to the summit and back.
- Col du Chardonnet: rock hard snow in the couloir on the Saleina side. More information in the OHM route book.
Little change here, one can find the latest information in the hut blog.
Aiguille du Midi / Helbronner Sector
Due to the dry conditions there has not been much ice climbing, (Chéré and Contamine-Grisolle on the Triangle du Tacul, Gabarrou-Albinoni and Pas d'Agonie 1 have been done).
It is forbidden by a council order to enter the Glacier Rond area from 17th to 20th April due to work there on a pylon.
The Valley Blanche, Brèche Puiseux and Capucin couloir are still being skied.
The normal route on the Tacul was tracked on skis the 13/04 exitting by the Shoulder. The old ladder has been repositioned in order to cross the impressive bergshrund.
The Cosmiques ridge is in condition for the moment. The rockfall area before the abseil is delicate but has a fixed rope for security. A 40m or 50m ripe suffices for the abseil.
Pointes Lachenal are still bare ice.
The Mallory on the Aig du Midi N face is tracked in ascent.
Rochefort Ridge was done on 13/04 in good conditions. The party turned back below the Aiguille due to snow on the slabs.
Approach to the Grands Mulets hut: The best option is probably to start from the Plan de l'Aiguille. (Rock hard snow in the Cosmiques couloir and Glacier Rond, also they are forbidden until 19/04, see above). Take the lower path, (as shown on the IGN map) to cross the Jonction. The higher path leads to an impassable crevasse.
Higher up conditions remain complicated. The N ridge of the Dôme du Goûter is bare ice for 250m, (foresee 2 axes + ice screws for 50m pitches.). This makes progress very slow and has been enough to deter most parties attempting this way to the summit.
A party climbed Mont Maudit in bad conditions (“rock hard snow”) but no further information.
The remaining way to summit Mont Blanc is to ascend by the Plateaux, (good track keeping as far left as possible.) This route is exposed to serac fall. The decision to risk it or not is entirely up to the individual!
The N face is not in condition for the moment, ski depot at the Vallot.
Two skiers descended by the Corridor, (a rope was used to pass an ice cliff and at the bergschrund).
It is best to descend by the Para, (30mins of walking at the end to the tunnel) or to traverse to the Plan station. It is not advisable to descend the Bossons glacier; bad conditions in the gully above the Plateau des Pyramides on the left bank, rotten snow on the right bank, (15/20 minutes of walking.)
Little has changed since the last update.
For the hut approach one needs to carry the skis as far as Nant du Tour, (circa 1 hour).
In general, very good conditions for the Miage traverse, (no ice) and for the descent of the Armancette (15 min of walking above the lake then skiing again down to 1700m.)
Mont Tondu is in good condition.
SW Couloir of the Aiguille de la Bérangère has been skied in good conditions.
There has been nobody on the N faces, which are bare ice, the foehn wind of 15/04 having stripped away the snow.
It is necessary to remain at the lower altitudes. Higher up there is a serious risk of falling.
Some examples of feasible hikes are:
- Lac Vert from La Côte (Servoz)
- Chailloux chalet from Le Bettey
- Petit Balcon Sud and the Floria chalet
- Chapeau chalet
- Loriaz chalets from Couteray, Vallorcine, (higher up snowshoes useful.)
Due to work replacing the Flegere cable car, access to this sector, including the way to Lac Blanc, is blocked this year. Lac Blanc remains accessible from the Col des Montets. The paths leading up to Flégère have been closed by order of the council.
The Curala via ferrata (Plateau d’Assy) opened on the 15th April. The Gorges de Bonnant (Saint Gervais) opened on the 10/04, starting from the 2nd escape, known as "Maurice Lenoir".