2017 has started as 2016 finished, still no precipitation!
The gullies remain very bare, and technically much more difficult than usual.
The Mallory-Porter on the N face of the Aiguille du Midi has been climbed, with passages of ice, notably on the exit. There were no problems with the approach.
The Chéré Couloir has also been climbed, (no further information.)
The routes being done near the Torino hut are the same as reported in the last update.
For the Argentiere sector, the Chevalier gully is being climbed, (bergschrund fairly wide, the gully itself OK, with mixed climbing to exit.) The Pépite gully is “dry” and the Couturier has passages of ice which are getting ever longer.
Descending the Whymper is becoming more difficult as the number of bare ice sections increase.
Conditions for ski and ski touring in this sector have got worse. A decision has been taken that only alpinists on foot can use the Grands Montets top cable car.
It is probably best to go to Italy or the Grand Bernard pass for ski touring. People have been out, however, to the Pointe de la Terrase area, starting from Finhaut/Emosson.
We remind you that the road up to Emosson is officially closed to vehicles.
The ice climbing conditions are slowly improving.
Climbing continues at the Crémerie, the Déferlante, Noix de Samba and Mini Couloir as well as the new sector, “Les Dents de la Mer”, (true left bank.)
Parties have been seen on the Grand Bleu et Mer de Rêve, (true right bank.)
There is also climbing next to the Cascade de Bérard.
For Cogne, see the www.hotellabarme.com website for more information.
The Fallo di Plutone icefall is out of bounds due to bearded vulture nesting.
Conditions for walking remain difficult and potentially dangerous above 1800/2000m. Hikers starting from the lifts need to be experienced and have good boots, crampons, hiking poles and eventually an ice axe for some areas.
The snow has become very hard and even on the lower paths there maybe passages of ice.
There is still no forecast for a significant dump of snow.
The temperature is expected to drop dramatically over the next few days, with a strong northerly wind at altitude.