Latest mountain information :
Ski touring remains the main activity despite some bad weather at the end of last week. The snow/rain limit went as high as 2300m, with a lot of fresh snow above this.
The avalanche risk remains at 3/5 and not all the classic tours have been retraced yet. Caution is still needed. The snow remains cold on the north facing slopes but is beginning to transform on those facing south.
Argentière Sector : the cols du Passon, du Tour Noir, du Chardonnet (3 Cols) and d'Argentière are tracked. The Glacier du Milieu is tracked up until the base of the final slopes, (20/02). No information for the north faces or gullies in this sector.
Mer de Glace Sector: the Valley Blanche has been popular these last few days. Conditions are mainly good but it still for expert skiers only. The crest of the ridge and the “Z” track are equipped. Take care selecting the correct way into the “Salle a Manger” area. The descent to Chamonix via Les Mottets is still very good, despite some sections with poor snow cover,
The exit from the Pas de Chevre is awkward, with a lot of stonefall once the sun hits it. One is advised not to do this route.
The Col du Tacul, the Brèche Puiseux and the way up to the Couvercle hut are tracked.
The Talèfre basin looks to be OK. As to be expected, there is a bergschrund at the base of the Whymper.
Aiguilles Rouges : a popular sector. The Bérard valley has hard snow/ice but goes OK. The Buet is tracked.
There has been very little activity concerning “classic” alpinism or the gullies. Only ascents of the Cosmiques Ridge and the Chéré couloir have been reported. For the Chéré, the first two pitches are more technical than usual, (difficult to place ice screws due to the ice being too thin or too hard.) Conditions improve above this.
The snow on the marked paths for snow shoers tends to be very hard/icy. Though OK, snow shoes or crampons + poles are essential.